DEFINING GOTCHA DAY
Are you curious about Gotcha Day or in need of inspiration on ways to celebrate the yearly anniversary? Either way, Adoption Choices of Colorado has you covered!
Gotcha Day, also known as Homecoming Day, Family Day, or Adoption Day, is a commemoration of the day on which your child was adopted. It’s a celebratory day set aside each year to remind your child of how he or she was brought into you and your family member’s lives. The idea behind Gotcha Day is all about the bringing together of families – celebrating the wholeness that adoption makes possible. It speaks of the joyfulness of the adoptive parents over finally getting to hug the child they’ve been hoping to hold for years. The day also celebrates the adopted child finally finding his or her forever home.
GOTCHA DAY IN HISTORY
In her book, The Pumpkin Patch, Margaret Schwartz declared September 15, 2005 as International Gotcha Day. However, the definition of Gotcha Day may vary depending on who you ask and what part of the country they are from, for families of international and domestic adoptions celebrate the life-changing event on different days.
The more widely held understanding of Gotcha Day is the day that an adoption is finalized. With domestic adoption, there is typically a big courtroom affair where family and friends are often invited. The significance of the finalization day is often magnified by the ceremony of it all. Each year the family sets aside this day to celebrate the day they legally became a family.
Some families have the long-held belief and understanding that Gotcha Day is the day that they brought their child home. With international adoption, there may not be as much fanfare for the finalization day as there is for the day that the child is brought home to the U.S. For them, they celebrate the yearly anniversary by remembering the day they physically took custody of their child and arrived home with him or her in tow.
There is no steadfast rule when celebrating Gotcha Day! When it comes to a hard definition of what Gotcha Day is, it simply depends on who you ask as well as their circumstances.
WAYS TO CELEBRATE GOTCHA DAY
Gotcha Day is commonly celebrated like a birthday or anniversary, with family members, presents, and cake! But you can customize the celebration to suit your family and adopted child’s preference. This is a very special day, and there are lots of fun ways to celebrate it! Here are a few ideas for how you can make your Gotcha Day extra special.
1) Take a trip down memory lane.
From travel to thorough vetting to lengthy wait times, becoming an adoptive family is a true journey. Every adoption is an adventure, and Gotcha Day is a time to reminisce on the process and share stories. Retelling the adoption story helps your child visualize the obstacles you overcame in order to bring your family together. Treat it as an opportunity to remind one another that your family is special!
2) Honor the child’s birth and foster parents.
It’s important to remember that your adopted child may not be as excited for the day as you are, and to treat these feelings with sensitivity. While Gotcha Day is full of fun and enjoyment for you, the adoptive parents, it may bring back bittersweet memories for your child. Be sensitive to your child’s emotional state, and modify the anniversary of his or her homecoming accordingly. It may be most fitting to have a quiet ceremony as a family, in which you and your child sit quietly or light candles to commemorate your child’s birth parents. Your child will appreciate you keeping the memory of them alive!
3) Throw a party with cake and gifts.
A party or small gathering is a typical way to celebrate Gotcha Day! Many families celebrate around cakes, topped with candles equal to the number of years since the adoption. Depending on your child’s age, you can even invite several of his or her friends over. If you’d prefer that the party be more intimate, you can have a smaller family-only party. Try making your child’s favorite meal along with a cake and a small gift. Any commemoration, big or small, will make your child’s day!
IT’S OKAY TO NOT CELEBRATE GOTCHA DAY
The term “Gotcha Day” has gained some popularity, but, for a variety of reasons, not all families like the term or celebration. While some families have taken to celebrating the anniversary as Family Day, Adoption Day, or Homecoming Day instead, some simply don’t celebrate it at all. That’s more than okay! If you’re among those families, know that you’re not alone in how you feel. First and foremost, Adoption Choices of Colorado encourages people to do what is right for their family and for their child. If that means taking a pass on this kind of celebration or reframing it in a way that makes it more comfortable for your unique situation, do so. After all, that’s why we’re here! To help families become the family they have always wanted to be.
No matter how you choose to celebrate Gotcha Day remember to make your child feel like an important part of the family. This beautiful anniversary celebrates old memories and creates new ones that last a lifetime. It reminds your child of how much you love him or her and that he or she is “one of the family.” Blood relation doesn’t make a family, love does.
Adoption Choices of Colorado
For more information on adoption please contact Adoption Choices of Colorado. We can be reached via our website or phone 303-670-4401.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Patience Bramlett, a University of Southern Mississippi news editorial graduate, is a seasoned and award-winning freelance writer. She is also a passionate reader, whose only wish is to live life without fear of the unknown. Her motivation and inspiration to live her best life stems from the words of John Lennon:
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
This year, she’s joining Adoption Choices Inc. as an Editorial Intern. Fueled by her love of family, she hopes to educate those looking to grow their families through adoption.
When Patience is not exploring Colorado with her husband, she’s drinking coffee, forever figuring out how to tame her hair, growing her library, and trying to break into the publishing career.
“Gotcha Day.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 6 May 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotcha_Day.
Johnson, Sophie. “‘Gotcha Day’ Isn’t a Cause for Celebration.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 3 Nov. 2014, www.huffpost.com/entry/gotcha-day-isnt-a-cause-f_b_6094206.
“What Is a Gotcha Day? Do You Celebrate a Gotcha Day?” Adoption Makes Family, 16 Mar. 2018, www.adoptionmakesfamily.org/blog/gotcha-day-celebrate-gotcha-day/.