Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gotcha day

OK....maybe I am a little emotional coming off of my estrogen high....today I was obsessing about Gotcha day. As some of you may know, next week is the one year anniversary of when we picked Zeb up in Bishkek. If we were to celebrate a gotcha day, I would celebrate it on August 6th, when Z really came home (in a figurative sense!). However, I am torn about the gotcha day thing....the idea as well as the name.
I thought maybe a family day would be better - but we plan on adopting again and I can't imagine that the family days will be on the same day. Then I thought well maybe we shouldn't have a gotcha day....after reading a blog by an adult adoptee who reminisced about how much she abhored her adoption day celebrations every year. Seriously though, having a day to celebrate adoption and talk about adoption - Z's story, culture, etc could be a very important way for him (and the other kids) to process any issues and become more self-aware about feelings toward adoption. That is my thinking, however, I am not an adoptee and I learned a long time ago that unless you have experienced something first hand you can't know what it is like.
How do I make August 6th about adoption, the entire family, Zeb, and Kyrgyzstan? Should the focus be Zeb? I googled gotcha day...I did...I will google anything. Lots of ideas about how to make the day special for Z. Will that make the other kids feel slighted - they only get a birthday. Of course they will never have to process the loss of a birth family, birth country/heritage etc. Somehow, making a paper crown for Z once a year doesn't seem like it will make up for that loss anyway. I am not trying to be glib. There is a lot of pain in adoption and I think I am trying to find a way to separate the happiness of Z becoming part of our family from the sadness of him needing to become part of a new family. The problem is I can't seem to separate it in my mind - maybe I have googled too much on adoption! Will it lessen his pain later if we are proactive about addressing the sadness of it from the get go. How to be solemn and happy at the same time....should we be solemn about the day or just happy?
So the question is...how do I frame August 6th?
Is your gotcha day celebration called something else?
What exactly are you celebrating and how are you celebrating it?
Do you address the loss of adoption at all on this day?
Am I just all hepped up on estrogen and caffeine and obsessing about something that is not an issue?
And....will I ever figure out what is wrong with my camera so I can post some pictures of whatever event takes place on August 6th?

6 comments:

Maria said...

I am adopted. We celebrated my "Gotcha" Day every year since I can remember and I'm 40 this year. I don't think we called it "Gotcha Day" way back when, but I don't remember. I always had a cake and got a card from my mom telling me how important I was to them. We would talk about "my story" and how they brought me home. I LOVED it. Granted, my birthday is Christmas Day so it was nice to have a time not surrounded in holiday to have time about me. I think your family has to find a way that works for your family -- something that you all feel comfortable with. But hey, isn't ANY excuse to have cake a good one? :-) Personally, I think it's probably important to talk about it and celebrate it adn create a tradition around it. If you adopt again, I think it would be nice to celebrate each separately. As we have a biological child as well, I can hear some complaints down the road about the "celebration", but I don't think that giving each child a small gift to commemorate the day is a bad idea either. Good Luck!!

Michelle said...

Thanks for your comment Maria. My husband thinks a gotcha day celebration would be a bad thing and make Z feel like he is different and an outsider....I think it would destigmatize the idea of "different" being in anyway bad. When you talk about it and celebrate differences from the age of 1yo, it is easier to feel proud and good about different! So gotcha day is still a work in progress here!

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle, Your questions are good ones, and have been on my mind since I read your post yesterday. I'd never considered that a child wouldn't like this celebration. And I imagine every child and every parent is different in approach. In your family, each child so far has a different story, and that's certainly worth celebrating - the real meaning of family. I think now Gotcha Day may be more about ME and my happiness and nostalgia over the whole event. I wouldn't ever want my child to feel like an outsider...I sure don't think of my child being different from bio kids in general, and hate it when others make comments that insinuate that. But thanks for making me think more about this. I'm glad to hear someone at least did enjoy her gotcha days! Kara

Shannon said...

We celebrated "family day" for E and plan to do the same for K. We plan to be completely open with them and if a time comes down the road where they are uncomfortable or unhappy with such a celebration perhaps things will change. For now, though, we feel the need to celebrate that day that our family was born. It's a little more complicated for you - you have a good point about L and Ben - they don't get 2 special days. Hmmm.....

Elizabeth and Bill said...

We are planning on having a Gotcha Day celebration every year. I'm thinking we will have a family day with a field trip and then have a cake (cause Maria is so right about cake) in the evening and have the time to talk about the adoption if Aidai wants too. As she gets older I think we will let her decide what to do but even if, in a teenager way, she says she doesn't want to do anything, we'll probably still have a card for her just so she knows it is important to us even if it isn't to her in that moment. My hope is that every day will be a day to openly celebrate and talk about her adoption and Gotcha Day will just reinforce the conversations that come up.

Christina said...

Hi, I happened onto your blog, and saw your gotcha day post... although the day has passed, I thought I'd share what we have done. I have 3 adopted children. We have a "Family Birthday". My kids are 10, 8, and 6. I realize that because we adopted them all at the same time that it is easier to call it a family birthday than if we had different gotcha days.... but Family Birthday works well for our situation. The kids love it! This week we celebrated our 2nd Family Birthday as we adopted them officially 2 years ago... we spent the night at an in town hotel, and even had ice-cream for breakfast (something that NEVER happens on normal days!) The kids are always excited to tell others that it is our family birthday because they were adopted. I hope they continue to enjoy the day we celebrate being a family. Hope this helps :)

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