Wow, a whole year has passed… really? It seems like this has been the fastest year of my life. It seems like just yesterday that that little baby was still in T’s belly. It seems like just yesterday I fearfully attended doctor visits with her and made trips to the hospital for amniotic fluid checks, wondering what day he would come and would she really be able to let him go? I can’t imagine the pain she had, even knowing the choice she made was going to allow her the ability to give more to the children she was parenting and to him at the same time. What kind of selfless love is that? The strength in her and J’s choice astounds me.
So as I celebrate his day of birth, I also will be taking a moment to mourn their loss with them. I thank God every day that through the miracle of open adoption I get to share him with them still. They can see him periodically, text or call when ever they want, follow him daily with the countless pictures, videos and statues I post on Facebook. I am thankful that when the day come that he starts asking questions, he will already know the love they have for him. They hug him and kiss him and tell him they love him every time they see him. He will already know them and his biological siblings, before he even knows how to verbalize his questions. He’ll never have to search. How amazing is that?
As Ezra has reached this giant milestone of turning ONE today, (*sigh, cry, weep, sniffle, smile, cry again*) I want to thank his first parents for trusting us and our family to love him as much as they do. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of them. This year has been such an amazing journey for us. Our family has grown in ways more than just being a family of 4 now. We have learned our strengths, our weaknesses and our endless love for each other. We have watched this little, once helpless infant, learn to smile, “talk”, crawl, feed himself, test us, giggle, and now walk! He now enters toddler-hood! A new phase and a new stage. Where has time gone lil’ man?
Happy Birthday Ezra Joseph! You are loved by more people than you will ever know or understand. You are our precious little boy and the child that completed our family. I love watching you with daddy and your big brother. You are an awesome kid and I can’t wait to watch you grow into a young man just like I have watched Isaac over the last 12 years!
Stay tuned for birthday cake and party pictures. 🙂
One of the things that has recently been on my mind is celebrating something called “Gotcha Day”. While I think this often pertains to children from international or foster care adoptions, it is becoming more and more a thing to celebrate in the adoption community by all (or more) adoptive families. In my understanding, the celebration started because in some situations the exact birthdate is unknown for the child and a celebration of when the child came into their family became the day to give gifts and celebrate their child’s life. The new “holiday” has evolved and taken on this name “Gotcha Day”. It is commonly celebrated by gifts, special treats, trips to the zoo or other outings by many more adoptive families than the origins intended. This is where it seems to confuse and confound me.
The term in itself, “Gotcha Day”, while I think it is intended to be a funny little play on words that kids understand, I think it also stoops to sound like our children are commodities. Like celebrating the day I bought my first house or got my first car. I know not all my adoptive parent friends see it that way, I apologize if this post offends you. I just don’t understand the logic behind celebrating this day. Granted, my adoption was a domestic infant adoption. I “got” my son the day he was born. I “got” to hold him in my arms seconds after his birth. I “got” to spend the days at the hospital with his birth family and we all rejoiced his entrance to the world as we ALL loved him dearly. I “got” to bring him home when he was released from the hospital. I “got” to formally give him our last name 6 months later in a formal court hearing when our adoption was finalized. While I put the word “got” in quotations… the key to each of those sentences is actually the word “I”.
I was the one who benefited from “getting” Ezra. I gained a child. He lost the parents he had known from the womb. They lost him. Celebrating “getting” him and calling it “Gotcha Day” seems to belittle the loss that surrounds adoption to me. While Joe and I may always smile and acknowledge the day we brought him home from the hospital and how surreal it was and we will also always smile at the thought of him being forever “ours” after that emotional day in court. That celebration will not be as our new property, but that we welcomed a child into our home to love, raise and be our own. I see him no different than our biological son. I didn’t “get” Isaac. He was born into the world and he was mine, a human being to love and cherish forever. Not to mention, for Isaac, would it be fair if Ezra got essentially two birthdays (a Birthday and a Gotcha Day), while Isaac only got one?
The idea of parenting an adoptive child is to raise him as my own, while recognizing he WILL have differences that need addressed as he gets older and has questions. But, for me to single him out and celebrate his being adopted, seems to me, to be insensitive. While other parents may argue it makes their children feel special to have a day dedicated to them, I worry about the implications it will have on them as they get older and may see the day as pointing out their non-biological ties to the family they are raised in.
So, if I feel so inclined to celebrate a Gotcha Day, I’ll do so with my pets. For my son, we’ll find other ways to celebrate his life and our family together.