I recently read an article in Adoptive Families magazine by a mother who wanted to banish the term, "Gotcha Day" from the adoption lexicon. All I can say is Amen.
For those of you not familiar with the term, it has been used in the recent past to describe the day when you officially become a family, when your baby is "given to" you, you know what I'm saying: The Big Day. I always struggled with what to call it, almost immediately disliking the flippance of "gotcha", but sometimes using it for lack of a better term. Since coming home with my daughter last March I have never said it, preferring to call it conversationally The Day We Became A Family.
I have always cringed whenever hearing someone say it, but I could never quite verbalize the reason why. Then in chatting with some friends the other night, good old Miko perfectly articulated my ongoing discomfort with "Gotcha Day:" it negates the involvement of the baby. It makes the day all about ME "getting" something rather than about this very monumental event happening to everyone involved, wherein all of our lives are changed forever.
Along those same lines, my additional discomfort with "Gotcha Day" involves the elaborate celebrations some parents plan, making it almost like a second birthday. If that works for them, then I don't want to judge it. For me, however, while I want my daughter to know that the day we became a family is the most momentous day of my entire life, I want her to feel like any other kid where no other day is on par with her birthday.
Besides, if my belief in the Red Thread is true:
An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break. ---An Ancient Chinese Belief
then she was always my daughter, and The Day We Became A Family is still the most momentous day of my life, second only to the day she was born.