One Year Anniversary – Why We’re NOT Celebrating “Gotcha” Day!

cropped-BB_Icon_final_HR-copy.jpgAround this time, on the 24th April 2013, Walter and I were being introduced to our daughter, Hannah, for the very first time, after a long and painful 60 day wait.

I can’t believe my Little Bird has been with us a year already!

At this time a year ago, we’d spent a little time getting to know her birth mom, discussing her reasons for placement and just generally chatting. When she’d asked if she could leave the room to fetch Hannah as she wanted to to be the one to hand Hannah over to us. She hadn’t seen Hannah herself since the day of her birth, when she’d signed the first consent and allowed her to be taken to a place of safety for the duration of the 60 days.

I’ll never forget, for as long as I live, the look of pride on her face as she carried our precious Little Bird into the room, of how tightly she hugged me when she past her to me, of how she couldn’t stop staring at Hannah’s face, memorising every detail of her child that she was placing in our care.

I have many photo’s from that day of us all together, taking turns holding Hannah and in everyone of them, she’s staring at Hannah’s face, trying to cram a life time of memories into those few minutes.

When it was time for her to leave, she kissed Hannah, told her she loved her, hugged us goodbye and then turned around and left. It was one of the most bitter-sweet moments of my life. I cannot imagine how hard that must of been for her. To walk out & not look back, not break down. I have the hugest respect for both her and Ava’s birth mom. I cannot imagine the burden these women live with EVERY SINGLE day of their lives.

So here’s the thing… If we were American, we’d be celebrating “gotcha” day today. For those you who don’t know what “gotcha” day is here is the definition:

“Gotcha Day” is an term used by some to describe the day of adopting a child or animal. It is considered offensive by some, who feel it relegates the adoptee to the level of acommodity.

I am part of the camp that feels “gotcha day” is HUGELY offensive. I cannot nor will I consider celebrating it. In my mind, “gotcha” day only looks at adoption from my point of view, from the point of view of the adopter. And yes it was and is a joyful day. It was a day I was blessed with another daughter but we are not the only ones to be considered, hence the reference to the adoption triad.

Adoption Triangle or Adoption Triad: A term used to describe the three-sided relationship that exists in an adoption between birth parents, adoptive parents and the adoptee, each of which is interrelated and inter-dependent on the others.

It is also a day of immense pain and loss for Hannah’s birth mother and indeed for Hannah herself. I feel it is HUGELY disrespectful to the  other corners of our triad for us to celebrate such a day. It blatantly disregards everyone’s feelings except those of the adopters. And I cannot condone that, I cannot be apart of that.

I love Hannah and her birth mother too much to disrespect them in such a way.

Instead, today will be spent in quite reflection of our memories from that day and my heart is with Hannah’s birth mom as I’ve sure today is not an easy day for her. I’m sure she’s flipping through the mental images in her mind of the last time she saw her child and that cannot be easy.

Hannah - then & now

Hannah – then & now

27 Comments

  • twitter_Choffel

    April 24, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Sharon, it’s sentiments like these and your constant caring nature, that make it obvious why Hannah’s birth-mom chose you and Walter. Beautiful post.

    Reply
  • Adele

    April 24, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    I totally understand the reluctance to celebrate “Gotcha Day”, but also think the term and the “offensiveness” of it is thrown out of porportion. I think it was started as a very well intended celebration and there is always people who will find wrong with it. I do not share the same feelings/bond with either my two childrens’ birth moms and very rarely or seldom think of them as I never met them. They are too far and too vague for me to truly think of them. I do think of them on occassion but without emotion as I do not have a person linked to the term “birth mom”. Is it right to celebrate Gotchay Day – I think for certain families maybe it is – why not celebrate becoming a family, but you can also remember the loss should you wish to do so …. All that being said, we also do not celebrate Gotcha Day, but for diffirent reasons.

    Reply
    • Sharon

      April 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      I think it’s important to note that the sense of loss is not just from the birth mom’s but as our children grow older they may become more aware of a sense of loss too and I don’t want to disregard their feelings or draw attention to something that could be bitter sweet for them too.

      Reply
      • Adele

        April 29, 2014 at 7:04 pm

        True, as they get older they will realise they are adopted and deal with what that entail. That is something they will need to cope with. But also they need to enjoy the family they are with and that life is sometimes good and sometimes bad. Adoption does not always have clear and easy answers unfortunately. All we can do is the best in each circumstance to try and get well adjusted adults on the other side!

        Reply
  • Nisey

    April 24, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    We certainly don’t celebrate ‘gotcha day’ but i’m always quietly aware of it. I doubt whether I will even mention this date to Jaden unless he specifically asks when he was placed with us. I don’t think its important, what’s important is that we’re all together now!

    Reply
  • Tracy

    April 24, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Hard to believe that it is a year since your gorgeous little girl’s arrival in your lives. I completely agree with you that “gotcha” day is a hugely offensive notion. I think it is disrespectful of birth mothers and, ultimately, of our children too. Sjoe, so much of adoption is bitter-sweet.

    Reply
  • Gaelyn Cokayne

    April 24, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Gotcha Day? Really??? Absolutely horrendous! I would prefer it if people used something like annivrsary, its neither negative nor positive but does highlight a memorable occasion or moment in your life. Congrats on your first year and your respect for her BM, that isn’t easy for most moms!

    Reply
  • St. Elsewhere

    April 28, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I appreciate your thoughtfulness, and I fully understand your contention behind it.

    Also, what a journey it has been! Hannah is beautiful.

    Reply
  • Mama Bear

    April 12, 2018 at 11:22 pm

    I was looking for something to celebrate our “Gotcha Day” which is tomorrow when I came across your blog. I do appreciate your opinion and totally understand. From the other side of the coin, I wanted to give my .02. My husband and I were foster parents for 16 months, during that time we sort of got to know the bio parents during visitations. We didn’t know that we would be able to adopt, there was a lot of opening and closing of doors and windows. It ended up that one bio voluntarily gave up rights, the others were taken away by the court. After, we were able to step up and petition for adoption. At that final hearing, we wore Gotcha shirts, when the judge asked my oldest, 7 at the time, what that meant, he said, “It means we got them and they got us”. Gotcha Day is not, from our vantage point, a negative. We have no contact with the bio’s or bio family, but we do talk about them as the kids bring them up, and we pray for them. It’s a hard journey for the triad, but as we see, after adoption, we are a new family and need to move forward as a family unit, because we’ve got them and they’ve got us.

    Reply

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