On not celebrating Gotcha Day

Most parents reminisce about the day they met their child outside of the belly with labor or hospital stories, but for those of us who adopted and who are somewhat conscientious, our memories of this day are bittersweet. Two years ago today I rushed home from work to meet a CPS worker who had in her possession a 9-lb beautiful 5-week 5-day old baby girl. And on this day that child would suffer one of the, if not THE, biggest losses and traumas of her life. And I would gain the biggest gift of mine.

A paradox like that is not one to be glossed over lightly. Even though it was the day I met the most important person in my life, it was the day that the person I love most in the world lost everything and everyone she knew. It was also the day that the family she was born to, especially her mother, suffered a huge tragedy.

It’s not exactly something that should be celebrated. We have her birthday and we have adoption day. But this day? This day is more a day of observance and recognition of the primal wound that results from the disruption of the deepest physiological and biological bond our species is created to have. It is a day to remind us that life changes suddenly, unexpectedly, and even tragically, and for those of us who are lucky, sometimes something wonderful follows on its heels.

Wherever she may be tonight, I think of my daughter’s other mother and offer up my hopes that she is safe and finding comfort in a world that has not been kind to her very often.

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Categories: adoption, foster care

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