January 15, 2014 was the anniversary of finalizing Cassie’s adoption. We celebrated by giving her 3 presents:
- a book, The Day We Met You. (I’ll write a review of the book, but I can say that I recommend it.)
- a special stuffed animal, a Bee pillow pet. (We chose a Bee pillow pet because the honeybee is the Louisiana state insect.)
- a toy, a tricycle. (We chose a tricycle because Cassie’s previous “bike” was from a garage sale, and not a very good one. I have always wanted one of the trikes with a push handle. Target had this one on sale.)
After presents, we went to a local Mexican restaurant. Cassie’s favorite food is pizza, but she had had pizza for lunch and dinner the previous day and lunch that day. At least at Mexican, she drinks the salsa and gets some fruits and veggies.
I did not, however, finish her very own adoption storybook. I made one for Jackson when he turned 2. I haven’t done Cassie’s yet. By her third birthday, I promise!
I’m really writing about Cassie’s Adoption Day because there has been some discussion of Adoption Days in general within the adoption communities I frequent.
Some families call “Adoption Day”, “Gotcha Day.” I’m not a fan of that moniker. When I hear “gotcha,” I think of capturing someone, or of playing the game, “I got you” in which you chase a little kid around the house playfully and tickle him at the end. Neither image is one that I really want associated with adoption.
Different people have different days that they celebrate. Some celebrate the day that they brought their children home. Some celebrate the day that the adoption was finalized. Because we brought our kids home close to when they were born, we celebrate the day we finalized their adoptions.
Some people don’t celebrate because they don’t want to make a big deal out of adoption. To that I say: Adoption is a big deal. Without adoption, we wouldn’t have our family. That’s not to say that we need to have a huge party and presents, like a birthday. We just have a family celebration, with three presents and dinner. (One year, we did have a picnic with 3 families, because Jackson asked for it.) Our kids did join our family in a different way than biological children. There’s nothing wrong with that. We celebrate the days that we legally became family.
Celebrating Adoption Day also gives us a definite chance to talk about adoption. It shows that adoption is a topic with which we are comfortable.
Some people have a problem celebrating Adoption Day, because it celebrates the day that the adoptees lost their families. Kids don’t lose their families when their adoption is finalized. My children’s birthparents had their rights terminated long before finalization. We have open adoptions, so they will always know at least some of their families. Kids adopted from foster care may have lost many families before finally being adopted. Kids adopted internationally lost their families well before finalization too. On their Adoption Day, they gained their adoptive families. I know some people have a problem with the term “forever family,” but we use it in our house. Our children gained us, and we became a family forever, bound by love and law. Of course adoption includes loss, and we acknowledge that, but we also acknowledge the gain.