happy 22nd gotcha day to me!

Today is the first day of the 22nd year I’ve spent in good ‘ol ‘Merica.

22 years ago, I arrived in LAX and put into my parents’ arms.


Me and my leeetle Mama at the airport!

It’s been a wonderful ride so far, and I can’t wait to see what the years ahead will have in store.

Of course I found this post rejecting the term “Gotcha Day” on the eve of my day:

And it made me sad. I understand that everyone who is adopted comes from a different place in livelihoods, situations and adoptive families. But at least for me, I have never experienced feelings of “loss” surrounding my adoption, or other feelings that people often tie to their experience of “relocation.” I don’t invalidate those feelings, though, and my non-feelings should not be invalidated either. But it rips my heart out to think that people neglect the divine intervention of God based on the fact that one party had to suffer to get to where they are, and that miracles don’t exist.

As a Christian, I often forget that people don’t think about the adoption rhetoric in the story of humanity’s redemption. When we were “adopted as sons” (Romans 8:15), Jesus had to do his work here on Earth to allow us to have a relationship with His father. God doesn’t wish bad things onto people, but worldly circumstances render many people hopeless, and the fact that they were rescued from their emptiness, loneliness, depression, and other vices is often the greatest part of the story.

You can’t discount a miracle because someone’s initial life decisions were made for them as a result of policies and social stigmas. That child’s future is still a source or joy and love for both the child and their adoptive family. I might not have had the chance to choose the family I got, but now I’ve “got” ’em, and they’ve “got” me!

I was raised about as normally as possible. And sure, I dealt with the adoption-related issues (family trees, ugh, which we will be discussing this week with my preteens), but I kind of cross those bridges when we got to them. I grew up with my entire family embracing my home culture and supporting me as I explored it in whatever capacity I wished.

Besides the fact of the literal etymology of the word “Gotcha,” I think the right, positive sentiment is still there. It’s the day my parents finally “got” the opportunity to be parents, and I “got” the opportunity to grow up in a loving home. My Gotcha Day never neglects the pains and selfless love of my birthmother, whose birthday is earlier in the month. It is a celebration of the creation of my family, but not without a reminder of her every year. My story would not be complete without mentioning her in the very beginning. I think that it’s less about what you CALL it and more about what you DO for it.

Needless to say, I sent my mama those two links, and she wrote back with this:

I still like a red thread tattoo… it’s a symbol of two very hard situations that hopefully became an answer to prayer for each.  That’s how I look at it.  In the end I’ll always be thankful for the scars…for 6 miscarriages, 2 domestic adoptions that didn’t pan out, because in the end they led me to you.  That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have loved those 8 other babies, or that I’m glad they didn’t get born/placed, but it was life and that’s how it happened.  I’m thankful for the pain looking back, because otherwise, I would never have known such joy and gratefulness.  So I think [that writer] may not understand that yet, but someday probably will.  I know [friend] always said she didn’t believe in destiny, but now, if you ask her, I can guarantee that she believes in it… Maybe it’s not “destiny” but we make it “destiny” because we all live on the broken road in one way or another.  I don’t spend too much time wishing it weren’t broken because it’s turned out to be my favorite one.

Man, do I love her!

We love Gotcha Days in our house so much, that we’ve even assigned days to everyone that isn’t even adopted. For example, my step-brothers’ Gotcha Day is the day my mom and stepdad got married. And my stepbrothers’ wives each have a Gotcha Day that corresponds with the day they got married into the family. We’re just a big, happy family, excited that we “got” who we’ve “got!”