One of the things, by definition, that the LDA never had to cope with was the practice of ‘Gotcha Day.’ In the adoption world, this is the day the adoptive parents celebrate the arrival of their adopted child. It is analogous to their birthday though I understand it is in addition to as opposed to instead of. The more I hear about this practice the more it disturbs me, for reasons that dovetail with my ongoing battle with The Narrative. I can only assume that this is the adoptive parents’ conscious effort to add more ‘special’ to their adopted child’s existence. For example, if they had biological children, the adopted child is meant to feel extra special since they get a birthday and a ‘Gotcha Day.’
To me it feels forced. It feels like the adoptive parents demanding that the event of being adopted by them is a cause of celebration. Even the word ‘Gotcha’ denotes a level of possession I find irritating. We celebrate many non-natural events such as wedding anniversaries, but the missing factor here is consent. A wedding anniversary is two people celebrating the day they chose to form a marital union. The very essence of the celebration is the choice. Indeed some couples renew their marital vows in that same spirit.
Certainly in the case of infant adoption there was no consent on the part of the adoptee – and for that matter no ‘choice’ even on the part of adoptive parents. And at least for Baby Scoop Era babies, no choice on the part of the biological mother, either. It seems to me that the process generally involved the adoption agencies pairing adoptive parents and babies largely by ethnicity in an effort to allow them to lie to their adopted children and society at large. But even in this more enlightened age, with the promises of ‘open adoption’ the ‘Gotcha’ day is the day that you were forever separated from your biological kin, and in some cases your country and ethnicity. I can’t imagine that being a cause for celebration to the adoptee.