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Happy Gotcha Day

Does this strike you as appropriate? The balloons and confetti? Like it's a smash-bang blowout.

Happy "all hope of ever reuniting with or playing a meaningful part in your real family" day.

Happy "ha ha I win I snatched you when no one was looking" day.

Even "adoption day" is no better. Happy "day I legally took a child to raise as my own" day. Happy "day a piece of paper severed you from your family and made you 'mine'" day.

This may be a cause to celebrate for you. Naturally. Everyone claims the adoption process is such hard work, (I don't really see how a bunch of cleaning, talking, writing, thinking, and waiting is such hard work, but I'm a writer) and after it's over and they hand off that traumatized little person to you, you're so happy you could twirl.

The adoptee is not. Especially if you are an infant adopter. That child knows where it came from and where it belongs. And it isn't with you. It doesn't want be there, and to celebrate that it absolutely inhumane.

Now, AP, don't come at me with your toddler who wants the party. Of course your toddler wants a party! Any excuse to have cake and ice cream. And while they will be clear on the reason you're having the party (because you're having it, not them) the connotations of that are beyond them.

The reality is, for most of us the realization that this isn't all rainbows, and that we're fucked up, doesn't hit us until later in life. For a majority, it's the death of a parent.

For your consideration. Let's say for sake of argument, you throw me "happy gotcha day" parties every year until I move away from you. Lets say, even as a teen, I'm fine with it. I get to be about forty. Everything's great. "I don't suffer from adoption trauma."

You die. My mom has died. Or my dad. But it's usually the mom, so we'll go with that. Many times, as soon as you're gone, I'm no longer considered family by your relatives. While I'm mourning you I realize I'm also mourning my birth family. 

And this is when I think back on all your precious "gotcha day" parties. And this is when I realize how fucked up it all is. How insensitive you are. You were so happy to "get" me, that you totally disregarded my reality. You had no conception of what he day symbolized for me. Nor did you give a damn. It was about you, and your need being filled. Your wants. Your dreams. Your happiness.

Now I realize you were celebrating the day I lost everything. Mother, father, siblings, aunts,uncles, cousins. A whole life. My mirrored genetics. My biology. My real history, my real family, erased by a signature on a piece if paper. A signature you were so excited about that you just had to throw a party.

Let's break this down for real. Does any part of you actually believe that this party is for ME? Do you honestly think this is a celebration for me? It's not. It's a celebration for you, to make joyful noise about your new toy. How about "Acquisition Day Party", like the Ferengi? "Appropriation Day"? Or perhaps, a "trail-of-trauma-culminating-in-your-placement-with-strangers-and-the-dissolution-of-your-real-family day" party?

Doesn't sound as "beautiful" when you call it what it really is, does it?

How about a little more reality? 

You aren't celebrating me. You aren't having this ridiculously insensitive party for me. It's for you to celebrate your selfish happiness. You "got your child ". You know what I got? I got trauma, heartache, fear, loss, loneliness, pain, displacement, and detachment. I got a plethora of issues and problems that may eventually kill me. I got developmental trauma. Sounds like a reason to PARTY!

If you live in a community full of adoptioneers, your child may ask you why they don't get a gotcha day party. Because your idiotic adopter friends are so fucking blind and selfish that they don't see the problem with celebrating the loss of a child's family. Don't traumatize your adoptee just because everyone around you is. If everyone else was sticking their fingers in light sockets, would you do it too? When they ask, tell them the truth. "Jack and Jill's parents are stupid and selfish. They think it's ok to celebrate the day Jack and Jill lost their first family and became a part of the second. I don't  think it's ok to celebrate your loss because I'm so happy about my gain. But if you want to celebrate being in our family, we can have a family day party on another day."

Such a terrible, insensitive solution, I know. To rob you poor APs of your special day to celebrate your special piece of paper getting signed. But that day is strange and terrifying for me. And you, my magnanimous, wonderful, selfless parents (I can't even type that without a sarcastic snicker) want to celebrate my fear, loneliness, and displacement.

Do you really want to take the chance that one day your adoptee is going to realize all of this? Do you really want them to know this level of self-centered disdain for the feelings of others exists in you? Do you want to take the chance that they're going to look back in twenty years and realize how selfish and hurtful you were in the name of your own happiness? Is it worth the pain you could be inflicting, the trauma it could cause later, for a cake and a few balloons and a horrible song now? (

Is your selfish happiness really worth the painful memories of your callous disregard of what that day really is? It it worth it to you to have your stupid little party when there's a very real possibility it could be damaging and painful to your child in the long run?

You aren't just an AP now. You will be one until long after you're dead. And your legacy of bullshit is what your child will carry.

Be very careful what kind of bullshit you pack into your children now. It will make or break your relationship later.


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