“Gotcha Day”

01 Mar

I’m used to the mishmash of terms used by some families who’ve adopted and celebrate the day.  It works for them, hopefully if they see it doesn’t work for their child they’ll stop.  Still detest the term “Gotcha Day” for many reasons that should be obvious. 

A person wrote to Dear Abby about “Gotcha Day” solving their concern about having “the conversation” and “Gotcha Day” solved that dilemma for them and wanted to let Dear Abby know about this super-duper idea.  The way it was framed, it seems like they think the telling substituted by “Gotcha Day” is all they need to do re talking about adoption and being adopted.  Hope that also works for the child…

Adoptive Families Celebrate With Special Day Each Year

So, of course, I cruised the comments and they went from good to bad – but nothing downright horrible.  Until I came to this comment:

“We do this in our family for our granddaughter. Her actual birthday is very low key, only a few small presents, no party. All the traditional birthday celebrations are on the day she was adopted, party, cupcakes at school, etc. We refer to it as a birthday party to those not close to her (school mates) but everyone else knows its a Gotcha party. She is 3 yrs old and will grow up knowing that the only really important day to her family is the day she was officially ours.”

I’m leaving it with you to mull on why it strikes me as egregious…


Posted by on March 1, 2017 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , ,

59 responses to ““Gotcha Day”

  1. Dannie

    March 1, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    And that was just….I have no words. I celebrated during E”s preschool years but as she has gotten older a) Chuck E cheese isn’t as magical for her lol and b) she loves her birthday and now loves mommy and me time so I usually take her out to yogurtland and we have a private conversation about it and I explain that sometimes she may not know what her feelings are telling her about it, but that its ok.

    My overall goal is that she should know yes her story is different and that is something to ponder, celebrate, mourn, quietly wonder etc. and that I know this, however, that she is loved and that I hope she knows there is no favorite in the home, just that each individual is different and has a different story and will connect differently than another individual might.

    She’s 7 but heres hoping it sets a foundation for stability of love no matter what her feelings morph into as she ages.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      March 1, 2017 at 7:18 pm

      I didn’t have words either Dannie. Glad your little one is enjoying both her birthday and your Mommie and Me days. Your Birthday is special growing up…and to downplay it or secondary status…just hurts.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. shadowtheadoptee

    March 1, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    And people wonder why adoptees are depressed on their birthdays? The day we are born is not important? I’m so stunned, I don’t know what to say.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      March 1, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      Agree Shadow. I think my mouth dropped open reading it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • beth62

        March 2, 2017 at 2:57 pm

        I ran scared when I read it. I guess you can rationalize anything to suit what’s most important to You, even the reason for this humans exsitance, which obviously isn’t so important to their grandmother’s family. More important to disconnect from that day of birth in every way possible. Their family time being in the middle may come too, doubt it would be easy for them either, if it ever does.

        This rationalization can only grow strong with the blank slate myth backing it up.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My Perfect Breakdown

    March 1, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    I’m appalled. Absolutely appalled.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      March 1, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      Yep – way to make the child feel special, your birthday isn’t exciting for us.

      Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      June 8, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      Hey MPB, is there a reason I can’t comment on your posts?


      • My Perfect Breakdown

        June 8, 2017 at 1:34 pm

        Not that I know of? I always appreciate your comments!! ‘ll go check my security settings and see if something’s happened.


      • My Perfect Breakdown

        June 8, 2017 at 1:38 pm

        I have no idea why but your comment was in my spam folder. I’m approved it now. 🙂


        • TAO

          June 8, 2017 at 1:40 pm

          Why I asked as it was about the 3rd time it happened. 🙂


          • My Perfect Breakdown

            June 8, 2017 at 2:30 pm

            Odd!! I only had the comment from today in my spam folder. And I have one comment from months and months ago that I you said not to share that I’m keeping (about complaining about our agency to the COA) as I plan to do this and need it for reference. 🙂


            • TAO

              June 8, 2017 at 5:25 pm

              Don’t stress about it, intentions is all that matters, now I know we’re good – it’s all good.

              Liked by 1 person

              • My Perfect Breakdown

                June 8, 2017 at 5:30 pm

                We are absolutely good!! I truly appreciate your comments and insight. Even Mr. MPB makes a point to read your comments and we often end up discussing them whenever we learn something new or you give us a new perspective to contemplate. ☺

                Liked by 1 person

  4. beth62

    March 1, 2017 at 8:16 pm


    Liked by 1 person

  5. pj

    March 1, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    What bothered me was ” relieved the need to have that dreaded conversation”. So what are they telling the child ??

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      March 1, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      My guess, the Gotcha Day is intended to be the extent of any adoption conversation. We celebrate so it’s all good. Aren’t you glad adoption is handled so much better than our era?

      Liked by 2 people

  6. eagoodlife

    March 1, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    TAO writes on the offensive Gotcha Day and noted the comment which included the thought that the only important day for one adoptee was the day ‘she was officially ours’. I wonder what the adoptee will think as she grows up?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. bekahbug9412pranali23

    March 1, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    I don’t really mind Gotcha Days. A friend of mine makes it a tradition to cook a traditional Indian meal with her adopted daughter as a way to celebrate the day they became a family. But I was stunned when I read that quote….it should never, EVER be celebrated INSTEAD of a birthday. Personally my birthday is a little depressing because it was the last day I ever had with my birth mother. I would never want that day belittled, especially by an adoptive parent. That parent has no idea the trauma they are creating for when that child grows older and realizes what’s happening. Makes my heart hurt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      March 1, 2017 at 11:59 pm

      Marking the day doesn’t worry me – it’s a tradition for the family. The term Gotcha sends shivers down my spine…oh well. But yes, the quote just made me want to through my coffee mug…no, just no. Welcome.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Snarkurchin

    March 2, 2017 at 10:13 am

    It’s “the only really important day to her family.” And these people think they’re wonderful. That child will grow up believing having been born outside her adoptive family is shameful. So progressive.

    When I was a kid, the family celebrated my adoption day a time or two, and that’s just what we called it: my adoption day. I find the phrase “gotcha day” horrible. I can never read it without thinking of an old cartoon series.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. beth62

    March 2, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you snark! I had that cartoon in my head somewhere too, couldn’t put my finger on it.
    Penny Wise the scary clown is in my head too, saying, “I’m gonna get you”
    And people with ropes, chains, weapons, cages, boxes…

    Yes, many disturbing images come to mind when I hear Gotcha! And for me none are images of fluffy bunnies, duckies, hearts, rainbows or Adoption. Swapping or ignoring most of those conflicting images and thoughts in my head would be wonderful! I’d keep a head full of cute bunnies! What a wonderful thought! An impossible dream! Good luck with that.

    If I had a nickel…
    for everytime someone tricked me, picked on me, fooled me, lied to me, teased me, embarrassed me, caught me, caught me red handed, got me back lol, pranked me, made me mad as hell, worried me or scared the crap outta me or made me cry –
    and then yelled GOTCHA! hahahahaha or gotcha sucker! ahahahaha you fell for it dummy.

    a nickel for everytime I’ve seen gotcha used when criminals, fish, birds, animals, wives, slaves were caught and/or killed.nidley Wh
    yeah, google gotcha + slave and see if you can enjoy today.

    a nickel for hearing it when property is obtiained, when you win the bid, get the last one off the shelf, get the one you wanted, beat your competitor or enemy by winning the prize.. That Precious golden ring comes to mind.

    There are more nickels out there. So many lines in cartoons and movies,,, who was that guy Snidely Whiplash? I think I’ll go watch some cartoons and disney films so I can laugh about it today 🙂

    Nah, I don’t like associating all that with my Adoption, my family, my loved ones, the day I was Adopted – even tho this Gotcha! is meant to be, and stay, a happy thing forever and ever. Good luck with that is all I can wish for anyone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • beth62

      March 2, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      How could I forget these nickels! Gotcha! is right in my face everytime I go to the grocery store and pass, sometimes pick up, my free copy of Gotcha!
      or I can visit Gotcha! on facebook! 🙂


  10. discovering40blog

    March 2, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    “Gotcha Day”! Celebrating a day when many adoptees lose all rights to their original birth records?? I have not heard of this before, and I am not in total disagreement with it, but I would certainly be offended by celebrating that day. In South Carolina, my original birth records are still sealed.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Lara/Trace

    March 2, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    I can’t help thinking of slavery. And “I gotcha” means I boughtcha. This whole thing makes me ill.


    • beth62

      March 2, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      Slaves, servants, criminals…all the losers come to mind, do I really want to add Adoptee?

      It certainly could become awfully racist, especially if parents are white and kids are black, in my opinion. not sure how anyone wouldn’t realize that.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. beth62

    March 2, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    I dare ya to google the often heard phrase Gotcha you little bastard! or Gotcha, you sneaky little bastard! which is used a lot too.

    Good Grief, just google gotcha, if that definition is not enough to deter I don’t know what more anyone would need to say LOL

    TAO, you got further than I did in the comments, I got to Chosen Child Day, and picture with the Judge – better than a picture with Santa!
    so yeah, this Live Doll decided she has better things to read today 🙂


    • TAO

      March 2, 2017 at 6:16 pm

      You always make me smile Beth…


      • beth62

        March 2, 2017 at 7:57 pm

        probably not wise to encourage me 🙂 good to know tho.

        I want to throw the dog, dog catcher and pet adoption in the Gotcha bucket too, let em swim around with the rest of the gotchers and gotchas.

        The gotchers in the movie Animal Control had license plates that read GOTCHA 2 and GOTCHA3

        I think I found a great present to take to the next Gotcha event I get invited to! what do you think? appropriate?

        TAO, please don’t post the last one if you don’t want it stinking up your page, even tho it was a “good” day for others. Beth – I took it out…you rock…
        I’ll quit now for real 🙂


        • beth62

          March 3, 2017 at 3:22 pm

          thank you 🙂


  13. beth62

    March 2, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Is it okay to call parents who celebrate the Gotcha idea, Gotchers?
    Looks like some should probably change it to Gotcher Day!
    Hey, it’s the word 🙂 I’ll try to stop now.


  14. Tiffany

    March 2, 2017 at 9:29 pm


    We don’t celebrate the adoption finalization day. I actually don’t recall what day it was… I know the month, but I’d have to check the day. Of course, I remember it, and it was nice, in its own way. But it’s not a celebration for us. I would feel weird celebrating it, honestly. It was just filing paperwork. She was already a part of my heart and my life… I was just relieved to be able to finalize some other legal paperwork as a result.

    I replied on the linked post both generally and to the comment you highlighted. I think it’s awful not to celebrate the birthday fully. To me, it is trying to take away the individual identity of the person and make it out like the only important moment in their life is when they came into a family. That just isn’t true.


    • TAO

      March 2, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      Hey Tiffany – missed you. Glad you commented on the comment. Cheers…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tiffany

      March 6, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      The poster of the comment you quoted replied back to me. I will copy it here.

      “Well, her birthday is two days before Christmas. Our family has 3 birthdays in December and those children weren’t adopted but never got birthdays like the other children either. Being born in December means presents wrapped in Christmas paper, bigger” single gifts covering both occasions, or small gifts because everyone is broke and your friends being out of town and not able to come to your party.”

      Hmm. Convenient truth, is what it is feeling like. This is completely different from what she said originally.


      • TAO

        March 6, 2017 at 7:10 pm

        I saw that – who knows…but I’d guess the first is the truth they want to happen, regardless if the dates are true.


        • beth62

          March 7, 2017 at 1:06 pm

          I can’t help but wonder what in the world they would do if her Gotcha date was Christmas Eve – like mine is… think they’d pick another day?
          Believe me, two weeks later isn’t any better to have a special day. After xmas and new years, everyone is broke, out of wrapping paper and too exhausted to go buy more, let alone show up for another party! 🙂


          • Tiffany

            March 7, 2017 at 8:04 pm

            Beth, you are so right, and this is what I replied:

            “That’s different than what you originally posted, to be fair.

            My daughter who is adopted was born very close to Christmas. Her birthday is treated exactly the same as my daughter who was born in the summer. We do not combine Christmas and birthday gifts, and she gets equal birthday gifts as her sister, in spite of the fact that she just got gifts at Christmas. She didn’t ask to be born so close to Christmas, and her birthday deserves being treated as something special because she is something special. Now, this may be in part because my mother was born close to Christmas, and she always talked about how her birthdays when she was a kid were overlooked as a result, and it made her sad. So I am extra sensitive to how it can make a kid feel.

            But you didn’t say any of that- you said it was specifically because you choose to celebrate the day she was adopted instead, and you tell her friends that is her actual birthday, which isn’t true.”

            Liked by 1 person

            • beth62

              March 8, 2017 at 2:58 pm

              I’m glad you replied, and your reply makes good sense! Unlike this persons rationalization in hers’.

              My favorite cousin was born two weeks before me, on christmas eve. The next xmas eve my adoption was finalized. Our Moms were very close, and thrilled their first babies were the same age, and girls! We lived far away and traveled there on holidays and summer vacation. Both of our mom’s, and dads, managed to handle it just fine, and were sensitive to both of our birthdays being swallowed up by xmas. I never noticed anyone mention my finalization thru all of this, but I figured they were thinking about it, like I was. I imagine they must have mentioned it on the first two or three.

              We always got a special birthday event and party, usually on my cousins bday if possible. I got early birthday gifts from, and got to see all the relatives and friends there. And then my birthday in two weeks, which was pretty lame usually because everyone was sick of parties and presents by that point, and it’s cold and dark, many get the flu after christmas, all the pretty lights and decorations get put away… the world just seems so much more dreary two weeks after christmas.

              When we were little we realized we were similar to Jesus because of our birthdays and my official day… that was interesting LOL oh my how little girls can spin such a thing. Me, Cuz and Jesus – rockin the party 🙂 Especially when we realized his birthday party was the same as mine… took two weeks for the wise men to get there with his presents.

              So, now the party is on 🙂 for at least three weeks at my house! We have quite a few with birthdays, and Anniversaries, on or near christmas and new years eve. And many dreary springmade January birthdays. I’m usually pretty set up to entertain when the kids begin their holiday break – so why not just party on til it’s back to school time?

              I was jealous my cousins birthday was christmas eve, plus she always got more and better presents, her parents were loaded and showed it. My cousin was jealous that I got a second party, and she usually didn’t get to come, not to mention after-christmas-sales, haha.
              We were both jealous that our annoying little brothers were born in the first week of July and got a beach party every summer…. jealousy never ends 🙂 suck it up!

              My advice, try to have or adopt your kids in the summer so they can have a pool party, campout or day at the lake or beach!! 🙂
              And if it’s July 4th, Memorial day, Labor Day – even better! When older, it’s similar to a christmas or new years eve holiday birthday – but warm, and you can always find a party to go to!

              But honestly, for those who celebrate Jesus’ birthday…December could be the perfect month of celebrating birthdays??


  15. Cindy

    March 2, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    Beth62 Your descriptions of ‘Gotcha’ are exactly it! The term is actually quite fitting from this mothers perspective. My child was taken and they “GOTCHA you wriggling, wet, squirmy, crying thing. Yep. Sad, tragic, awful, hurtful, nasty spirited…but in some cases…truthful?


    • beth62

      March 3, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      ((Cindy)) It is sad, that awful day we really got got was at birth for so many. I really can’t think of that moment as something to celebrate, and that’s the first thought, the first moment that comes to my mind when I hear gotcha. This moment is where Gotcha and Adoption mean the same thing to me.
      The next thought is for my mother’s feelings of any Gotcha Day celebrated for me. And then I get mad as hell, protective of my ((Momma and Me)), and seek to find those people that did that to us, and others, so they can experience my Gotcha… but I’m too late, found em all on My father didn’t get his Gotcha until I was 40 and found him, they didn’t tell him I existed. In fact he was told my Momma had miscarried, false alarm, then they shipped her off to the maternity jail.

      I probably have some serious gotcha issues 🙂 okay, there is no probably about it.
      I watch people label it all as abandonment issues or seperation issues for so many of us. While that is part of it – I believe, for me, and many, the gotcha issues are much more plentiful.

      I think “they” call it defiance issues, control issues sometimes. Rebelious, defiant, out of control, resitant, combative, angry, quiet, runaway, which Dad changed to “decidedly free” my favorite lol ((Dad)) “as-if your mother set you free in the world when you were born”. My reply to that one now is, “Yes, I am certain she did, no as-if about it, I’m all the proof you need, just look at me now Dad!” And he does, and how happy we are today as we celebrate those once so-called negative words.
      There are more words that I can’t think of now. I can see how all those words, those symptoms, shift the blame…from Gotcha.

      I always knew I’d gotten got, not abandoned, not given up or placed with free choice and love.
      I’m not stupid. No Gotcha celebration could cover it up, for long anyway.
      I am not a fool to be momentarily tricked with rainbow head games played to make me, or my ((Mom and Dad)) feel better about it. I love celebrating family whenever possible, especially new family. But not like that. Gotcha Day is no one’s birthday, or reason for existance, and IMO it becomes very disrespectful when it’s treated in that Gotcha way.

      I hear the “dog whistle” at every gotcha I hear.
      Others obviously don’t hear a thing, even after it’s pointed out. And I have to wonder if they just choose to not hear it, or maybe so exposed to it they pay it no mind, often dismiss it with a giggle. How could anyone not hear that damn dog whistle, it’s deafening to me, stops me in my tracks, sends chills down my spine everytime.


      • Cindy

        March 3, 2017 at 10:05 pm

        ((Beth)) awe, t’anks. You’re sweet and your words are healing. The gotcha issues are sure plentiful..and yeah, I ‘like’ (not!) the way they try to rename them so they resemble fault or so-called ‘flaws’ on the part of the one exhibiting the gotcha issues. So glad you have so much family (new and old) to love and celebrate!

        You made me chuckle with “that damn dog whistle”, and you’re right, they don’t seem to hear or perhaps want to. Now if only those that “blow it”…uh, well, I’m having a cartoon vision moment. If you catch my drift. (~_~).

        What a beautiful mind your Dad has. I like that “decidedly free”. In fact I love it.


  16. Gregory Luce

    March 3, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks for calling this out. I commented in a couple of places on the post. I feel it’s necessary that we do so, at least to try to counter the dominant narrative of adoption, which people like Dear Abby have promoted for many years.


    • TAO

      March 3, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      Well done Gregory – will check it out.


  17. beth62

    March 3, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    This is way more fun than reading and rereading business tax publications today, driving me crazy.


    me and my Dad LOL

    Poor Ole Dad. So glad we watched this cartoon together when I was little. Can still hear him laughing. So glad he never gave up either 🙂 I finally let him catch me, it wasn’t a trick, even tho I’ll always still smile and beep beep when I dash away. He now knows I am coming back, I’m good, no need to chase me. He’s learned he’s not getting rid of me that easy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. beth62

    March 3, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    awwww crap! My husband just said this to me LOL I guess I will never escape gotcha.

    “I gotcha 33 years ago, and I’m not about to let you go now baby doll. It’s still seems like some kind of magic trick, I still can’t believe it, I’m a lucky man.”

    Believe me, yes he is. It’s been no magic trick putting up with his sorry ass for 33 years.
    Yesterday his own adoring son called me to say, “holy crap mom, I just realized you’ve been putting up with Dad for 10 years more than I have been alive!!” Gotta admit, I loved hearing that and the newfound creds that came with it LOL
    It’s all good of course… got flowers, smiled well and didn’t punch him in the nose 🙂
    And there will be cake later, and presents apparently, so, what can ya say, Happy 33rd ANNIVERSARY to us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      March 3, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      Happy Anniversary Beth – I’m around that number but I split it between two different husbands…


  19. AdoptiveBlackMom

    March 4, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Ick. My daughter likes the term, but we are very low key about celebrations. They are more like acknowledgements. It’s usually just the two of us for a private celebration of dinner or dessert and some reflection on our time together as a family. We observe placement and finalization and we will as long as she wants to. To make a big to do about it publicly–ick. No and to suggest that *that* day is more important than the child’s birthday could not be more AP centered and birth parent erasing.She is young, so I hope her parents will learn to do better on this path, because they are not doing something healthy there. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  20. L4R

    March 6, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Because it’s narcissistic. That little girl apparently didn’t exist, wasn’t important UNTIL “Gotcha Day.”


    • TAO

      March 6, 2017 at 4:27 pm



      • beth62

        March 7, 2017 at 12:42 pm

        Yes. Just like the narcissistic man I married who quite often dreams, thinks, and even says – my life began when I met him…

        buncha buttheads


  21. onewomanschoice

    March 7, 2017 at 3:44 am

    It’s very sad. I wonder if they don’t bother to celebrate their birthdays either? Maybe just the day they got married “gotcha day”? Seems so silly. So disrespectful. When you truly love someone, you honor and celebrate the day they were born. I would think adoption would enhance that feeling of wanting to celebrate such a special day.


  22. jazzygirl

    March 12, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Wow, seriously cringeworthy. To not celebrate the actual day of someone’s birth is almost like giving them a false identity (in my opinion). The adoptive family fails to see the importance of shaping her own individual identity. Perhaps one day, that little girl will want to celebrate her own actual birthdate, not the one her parents chose for her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      March 12, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      I so agree with you. Hopefully they will be wiser by then and apologise and do better.

      Liked by 1 person


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