It’s crazy to think that I’ve been adopted for 11 years - how is that even fathomable? To celebrate, we joined my best friend’s family on their uncle’s island. Both my friend and I were adopted on the same day, so we do Gotcha Day together. We went to see a lighthouse, took a hike, played a few games, and ate a lot!
My Gotcha Day is probably my favorite day of the year. Even though we celebrate my birthday, my Gotcha Day has more significance in my eyes because it’s a day that celebrates and honors not just my adoption, but the miracle of adoption. On this day, we honor my heritage and past; we tell stories and my friend, sister, and I get a gift that is usually from China.
I think Gotcha Day has certainly helped me embrace my adoption. Not only is my adoption remembered and acknowledged, but it is cherished, and I think that is important. In many adoptees’ blogs and confessions, they felt like their adoptions were pushed under the rug. Having a Gotcha Day doesn’t make me feel like an outcast, but rather it makes me feel like it’s okay to address adoption, it’s not supposed to be “hush-hush”. Even though I didn’t come from the womb, the way I entered my family’s life is important, valid, and beautiful.
There’s a lot of controversy when it comes to Gotcha Day. And to some adoptees, this day reminds them of how much they don’t know about their past, or what they could be missing from not being with their biological families. And while I do agree that sadness can sprout from this, many times it’s not the day or term “Gotcha” that is the problem, but rather it is more of how the day is presented and what is being focused on. For me, my stories are sweet ones about my first days, my first words, and how I did my dad’s hair up in little girl clips. Many families choose to focus completely on the past, before they were adopted, and emphasize the fact that the adoptee is no longer there anymore. I can understand why they would feel upset, but what if we didn’t focus on that?
This day represents love, birth, and new beginnings, and while many people don’t see it this way, I think sometimes they seem to forget the entire meaning of Gotcha Day. Adoption is a miracle and a blessing just like a birthday, and that’s what we’re celebrating.
Another reason why I love my Gotcha Day is that it is a set date and time. My family doesn’t have a set date or time for my birthday, just what the Chinese gave them, so having a solid date is important to me. Many other international adoptees share this sentiment, as many foreign countries do not bother to gather exact dates, so having an exact time is in some ways, feels like security.
In the end, it’s up to the adoptee and the family, but despite what many people say, Gotcha Days can be honored positively. With many cases, it is simply the perspective of which you have. As for myself personally, I will keep on celebrating my Gotcha Day because it’s helping me grow in my adoption story.