This past week I celebrated my “Adoption Anniversary.” Actually, to be quite honest, I had not remembered until my dad said “Happy Adoption Anniversary” to me on the phone the other day. It seems to carry less meaning the older I get. When I was younger, I remember counting down the days, like my birthday or Christmas.
I’ve posted about this before, so maybe it’s a bit stale, but it’s always around this time that I get to thinking about what it means to celebrate an adoption anniversary. For my parents, it carries a lot of joy. It means the beginning of their lives as a family-when I first came to this country. That weight I can see, and I understand why they continue to celebrate it with my sisters and I. But for me, the meaning continues to slip away from me with each year that passes. Which is it, the beginning of my life in the US or the end of my life in Korea that I’m celebrating on my anniversary?
I hate the whole “Gotcha Day” reference. Not only does it feel like ownership, but it feels detached from the realities of what it means to be relinquished by one family and received by another. It’s a one-sided truth that feels phony and manipulative. My a-family never used this term, nor had they heard of it until I mentioned it once. But I have heard it from other adoptees who’s parents surely used it with them growing up.
It’s a lop-sided celebration, and I want for it to mean as much as it used to, but along with Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and the wonders of being a child, I seem to have lost the so-called “magic” or “true meaning” of my Adoption Anniversary. Or did I really lose anything other than my disillusionment?
I suppose it’s just the thought that I’m no closer to finding my birth family than I am the previous year when I celebrate the day I arrive in this country. I’m one year further removed from my life in Korea where I was born.
What does your adoption anniversary mean to you? Do you know what day it is, do you celebrate or mourn it? I’m interested in comments from other adoptees.