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CuriousMomof3

If your kid(s) was/were adopted . . .

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1 hour ago, Homebody2 said:

I have mixed feelings about this.

I was adopted almost 50 years ago, so I know things may be different now, but I'm not sure I would have liked acknowledging the day I was brought home. I think it may have made me feel somewhat separate, if that makes any sense. I actually never knew the date until I was a young adult.

I've always known I was adopted, but it wasn't something that defined me. It just was. My parents were my parents, and my brother was my brother, even though he was adopted, too. It just wasn't a big deal, and I really liked that it wasn't. That fact made it feel normal. My parents loved me, and that's all that I needed. I didn't need to be reminded that I wasn't the same DNA as my parents. I just needed to know that my life was just like everyone else's. These are my parents, this is my brother, this is my extended family, this is my life...

I don't know if I'm making any sense, but I just wanted to share another perspective. You'll do what's right for your family and child.

It totally does make sense.

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On 11/18/2019 at 9:45 AM, Homebody2 said:

I have mixed feelings about this.

I was adopted almost 50 years ago, so I know things may be different now, but I'm not sure I would have liked acknowledging the day I was brought home. I think it may have made me feel somewhat separate, if that makes any sense. I actually never knew the date until I was a young adult.

I've always known I was adopted, but it wasn't something that defined me. It just was. My parents were my parents, and my brother was my brother, even though he was adopted, too. It just wasn't a big deal, and I really liked that it wasn't. That fact made it feel normal. My parents loved me, and that's all that I needed. I didn't need to be reminded that I wasn't the same DNA as my parents. I just needed to know that my life was just like everyone else's. These are my parents, this is my brother, this is my extended family, this is my life...

I don't know if I'm making any sense, but I just wanted to share another perspective. You'll do what's right for your family and child.

I agree. 


This is definitely something adoptive parents should be aware of and should listen for in their kids.  Plenty of adoptees won't want the differences pointed out, others will, some see it as an identity issue, others don't. 

Not all adoptees and adoptive parents have the luxury of keeping the adoption private if they choose.  It's literally written on our faces and there's a very strange need by many people to have their suspicions of adoption confirmed.  I have no idea what underlying psychological phenomenon causes this in people, but it's weird and annoying.   Yeah, the kid that ETA: DOESN'T look like everyone else in what appears to be a family unit is probably adopted, or a step-child, or it's a friend of the family, or a cousin, or child being babysat.  Do you, stranger asking me,  really need to have it confirmed? What's at stake if you don't have this verified? Or the doctor that just can't help but say in a visit completely unrelated to anything genetically inherited, "Soooooooo, she's adopted?" Yes, you guessed right, do you need my verification to confirm your perceived brilliance? Tolerances for differences being pointed out are going to be different depending on a combination of circumstances, personality traits, cultural and sub cultural norms, developmental stages, and such.  Which is all to say again that, parents have to be open to the idea that different kids will react differently to these things, sometimes at different stages of life, so they can't just jump onto whatever bandwagon the current trend is.

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
misleading typo
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I don't have an opinion on what others do...but we don't celebrate that day any different. We do celebrate bdays. My older biokids were born by c-section and we don't celebrate the day they came home from the hospital to join our family. It would seem odd to single one out. For her, there would be the day she came to us from foster care (5mo) and the day we finalized on her guardianship at almost 2yo (my older daughter's bday). Too much for us.

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3 minutes ago, Tap said:

I don't have an opinion on what others do...but we don't celebrate that day any different. We do celebrate bdays. My older biokids were born by c-section and we don't celebrate the day they came home from the hospital to join our family. It would seem odd to single one out. For her, there would be the day she came to us from foster care (5mo) and the day we finalized on her guardianship at almost 2yo (my older daughter's bday). Too much for us.

This would be my larger concern.  A very good friend of my husband was in a family with both bio and adopted kids and has lingering issues in how the 2 were treated differently than each other.  If your other kids are still processing the family change, it might feel hard for them them celebrate with a party atmosphere.   He may not want to be "different" than his brothers.   I don't think acknowledging and letting him know you're glad he's a member of your family is bad at all if you think he'd like that acknowledgment.  But I'd be hesitant to go over board after watching this friend of ours struggle for years with adoption related issues from his family.  And I know you are a much different family than his and are being very sensitive to all your kid's needs.  That was just the first thing that came to mind thinking of this guy.  

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I think Gotcha Days are different for families whose kids were matched to them abroad then there was a long wait-on the order of a year or more before the child arrived.  There were often pictures and updates sent to the parents on a monthly basis during that time.  International incidents involving birth and adoptive countries added tension to when an arrival would happen and even made it a possible "if." Knowing your matched child, who you love, is in another country and you're at the mercy of a foreign government's bureaucratic whims creates a type of tension few other categories of parent have had to deal with.  Arrival was a much led up to event on the parental end, so its psychological impact might not be fully grasped by people who haven't been through that. 

We had to deal with North Korean saber rattling and missile launches that put things in S. Korea on edge in 2005-2006. Had an incident interfered with international flights, it would've added to her time away from us.  Then Russian international adoption issues caused the Russians to threaten to shut down their international adoption programs (they eventually did, at least for a while, I'm not up to speed anymore) while China was reducing adoptions.  Guatemala was on the verge of shutting down and since has. Since S. Korea refuses to be the country that has the highest rate of international adoption, parents of S. Korean adoptees had to watch and wait and see where those issues in other countries put S. Korea's rankings; if it moved it up to #1 , fewer than the then 2,500 S. Korean adoptees maximum per year would be allowed to leave S. Korea.

We already had our approved adoption delayed by a few months because S. Korea met the annual maximum (that the government imposed on itself for face saving reasons) in the fall. That means all adoptions over that number are put on hold until January 1 of the following year. The year before us the maximum had been met in August. Those parents had their adoption process frozen and processing resumed Jan. 1. They heard nothing about their kids in that time.   When the annual maximum is met all communications from the S. Korean end are entirely cut off.  They don't respond to emails or phone calls from the American agencies. It's complete blackout. No updates on the kids. Nothing. For months. So, yeah, some people are inclined to celebrate/acknowledge the day their kids arrived into their care and they no longer had to wait and worry about prolonged separation and possible disruption. 

Of course everyone should still be sensitive to the children involved.

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1 hour ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

I think Gotcha Days are different for families whose kids were matched to them abroad then there was a long wait-on the order of a year or more before the child arrived.  There were often pictures and updates sent to the parents on a monthly basis during that time.  International incidents involving birth and adoptive countries added tension to when an arrival would happen and even made it a possible "if." Knowing your matched child, who you love, is in another country and you're at the mercy of a foreign government's bureaucratic whims creates a type of tension few other categories of parent have had to deal with.  Arrival was a much led up to event on the parental end, so its psychological impact might not be fully grasped by people who haven't been through that. 

We had to deal with North Korean saber rattling and missile launches that put things in S. Korea on edge in 2005-2006. Had an incident interfered with international flights, it would've added to her time away from us.  Then Russian international adoption issues caused the Russians to threaten to shut down their international adoption programs (they eventually did, at least for a while, I'm not up to speed anymore) while China was reducing adoptions.  Guatemala was on the verge of shutting down and since has. Since S. Korea refuses to be the country that has the highest rate of international adoption, parents of S. Korean adoptees had to watch and wait and see where those issues in other countries put S. Korea's rankings; if it moved it up to #1 , fewer than the then 2,500 S. Korean adoptees maximum per year would be allowed to leave S. Korea.

We already had our approved adoption delayed by a few months because S. Korea met the annual maximum (that the government imposed on itself for face saving reasons) in the fall. That means all adoptions over that number are put on hold until January 1 of the following year. The year before us the maximum had been met in August. Those parents had their adoption process frozen and processing resumed Jan. 1. They heard nothing about their kids in that time.   When the annual maximum is met all communications from the S. Korean end are entirely cut off.  They don't respond to emails or phone calls from the American agencies. It's complete blackout. No updates on the kids. Nothing. For months. So, yeah, some people are inclined to celebrate/acknowledge the day their kids arrived into their care and they no longer had to wait and worry about prolonged separation and possible disruption. 

Of course everyone should still be sensitive to the children involved.


And our son’s journey to us was no less complicated.  We tried to adopt him 5 years ago, but he went to the other side of his family who refused all contact.  When he finally came to us it was after a prolonged hospital stay during which he almost made it home twice, and we were told twice that he probably wasn’t going to survive.  So walking out of that hospital with him was a moment to remember. 

I am not looking to celebrate though.  I just want to stop for a moment in a chaotic time of the year and acknowledge the milestone.  All of us, including my other kids have worked so hard this past year to figure out to build a new family structure, and we’ve come so far.  So acknowledging that makes sense to me.

I also anticipate that Christmas is going to be hard.  The last good Christmas he had he was 3, and he barely remembers.  Last Christmas he was so overwhelmed.  My other kids were confused and threatened by his presence.  DH and I had no strategies to support him.  So, I think that some kind of ritual might helps us acknowledge first of all that we are a family and also that this Christmas he can expect it to be different because we know each other, and we have some sense of the strategies that work for us as a family. 
 

I also can guarantee that he will  be thinking about the day and also that he won’t bring it up, not because he doesn’t want to talk about it, but because that kind of initiating is hard.  So giving him a structure will help.

 

 

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Would a cozy gift for all, like matching family winter pajamas be something desirable? Cozy and family based and a whole “we”—at least all the kids, but could include mom, dad, and even close uncle...   ??? 

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2 hours ago, Pen said:

Would a cozy gift for all, like matching family winter pajamas be something desirable? Cozy and family based and a whole “we”—at least all the kids, but could include mom, dad, and even close uncle...   ??? 


We think alike!   We've already decided that instead of matching pajamas for the kids, like we've done in the past, we're doing T-shirts and fleece pants for everyone, including Mom and Dad, with the idea that we'll keep the T-shirts on when we go visit the relatives.  But our plan is we'll give them on Christmas Eve, because that's when we've always done them. 

We'll have family in from out of town, with cousins about the same age.  I think that having DH and I doing parent like things, like making meals for and reading stories to and hugging our nieces, and hearing them call us Aunt and Uncle (like he did until a few months ago), and talking about being the godparents to one of them (like we are/were to him) has the potential to be confusing and anxiety provoking, so we figured that having a really visual cue that we're his, with matching shirts, would help.

But that's the next day. I don't think we need a thing for this.  I think we need something that feels like ritual.  The suggestion of going to Mass is a good one, or looking through pictures, or lighting a candle and saying a prayer.  Something that acknowledges, or commemorates, without adding a thing.   Normally, I'd think a special meal or food would work, but this is my kid with all the food issues, so special food would just cause stress.  

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12 hours ago, Homebody2 said:

I have mixed feelings about this.

I was adopted almost 50 years ago, so I know things may be different now, but I'm not sure I would have liked acknowledging the day I was brought home. I think it may have made me feel somewhat separate, if that makes any sense. I actually never knew the date until I was a young adult.

I've always known I was adopted, but it wasn't something that defined me. It just was. My parents were my parents, and my brother was my brother, even though he was adopted, too. It just wasn't a big deal, and I really liked that it wasn't. That fact made it feel normal. My parents loved me, and that's all that I needed. I didn't need to be reminded that I wasn't the same DNA as my parents. I just needed to know that my life was just like everyone else's. These are my parents, this is my brother, this is my extended family, this is my life...

I don't know if I'm making any sense, but I just wanted to share another perspective. You'll do what's right for your family and child.

Yes, that makes a lot of sense. In particular with a family of both bio and adopted kids, it seems more "separating," to use your root word, than including, to make a big deal out of the adoption anniversary. He's our kid, like all our kids, and just like everybody else, he gets special treatment on his birthday. And just like everybody else, he gets verbal affirmation by being told we're glad he's in our family.

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10 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

I have no idea what underlying psychological phenomenon causes this in people, but it's weird and annoying.   Yeah, the kid that looks like everyone else in what appears to be a family unit is probably adopted, or a step-child, or it's a friend of the family, or a cousin, or child being babysat.  Do you, stranger asking me,  really need to have it confirmed? What's at stake if you don't have this verified? 

 

Boy, isn't this the truth.  My kids are not adopted but we're a mixed race family and it never ceases to amaze me how some people seem to just urgently need to know exactly who in the family has what ethnic origins.  

OP, I have nothing useful to add re commemorating adoption, but I often read your posts and would just like to say that I think you are a wonderful mom.

Edited by JennyD

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We also try pretty hard to refer to adoption in the past sense.  "He was adopted."  Not "He is adopted."   Because it's something that happened to them, not an identity.

This has always intrigued me as my husband is adopted and when I presented this past tense use thing to him (many years ago based on a discussion on another forum) he shrugged and said, "I'm a guy, I'm from Vietnam, I'm adopted...it's my identity. And who cares anyway?" That last part said in honest inquiry, not snarky. He's never had an issue with the present tense - it's part of who he is. But I can see how others would want to use the past tense.

My husband's family never celebrated the day he was adopted but not because of any particular reason - they didn't avoid it, in other words.

I celebrate Gotcha Day with our last little guy because that particular day and the way we brought him home was very personal and special for me (snowflake/embryo adoption) but I only celebrate that day privately with friends who knew and were a part of the process. But that day remains beautifully special  - the day we brought him home as yet unborn yet every bit as loved.

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4 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:


And our son’s journey to us was no less complicated.  We tried to adopt him 5 years ago, but he went to the other side of his family who refused all contact.  When he finally came to us it was after a prolonged hospital stay during which he almost made it home twice, and we were told twice that he probably wasn’t going to survive.  So walking out of that hospital with him was a moment to remember. 

I am not looking to celebrate though.  I just want to stop for a moment in a chaotic time of the year and acknowledge the milestone.  All of us, including my other kids have worked so hard this past year to figure out to build a new family structure, and we’ve come so far.  So acknowledging that makes sense to me.

I also anticipate that Christmas is going to be hard.  The last good Christmas he had he was 3, and he barely remembers.  Last Christmas he was so overwhelmed.  My other kids were confused and threatened by his presence.  DH and I had no strategies to support him.  So, I think that some kind of ritual might helps us acknowledge first of all that we are a family and also that this Christmas he can expect it to be different because we know each other, and we have some sense of the strategies that work for us as a family. 
 

I also can guarantee that he will  be thinking about the day and also that he won’t bring it up, not because he doesn’t want to talk about it, but because that kind of initiating is hard.  So giving him a structure will help.

 

 

I like the matching shirts idea. When I read this, it made me think that under these circumstances, rather than singling him out, I'd focus on the family aspect of it. "We've been a family of five for a year now," with an appropriate activity. It could be going to Mass as you mentioned, perhaps followed by driving around to look at Christmas lights--just something quiet and simple that helps everyone in the family feel valued and secure. And maybe an acknowledgement of how proud you are of all of them. 

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3 minutes ago, JennyD said:

 

Boy, isn't this the truth.  My kids are not adopted but we're a mixed race family and it never ceases to amaze me how some people seem to just urgently need to know my kids' ethnic origins.  

OP, I have nothing useful to add re commemorating adoption, but I often read your posts and would just like to say that I think you are a wonderful mom.

 

It's so odd how people just cannot contain their curiosity. I mean, I understand mild curiosity. But control yourselves, people! I am still shocked, every time, that they must also ask the rude and insensitive questions when the kids are right there. "So, where did he come from?" 😬 "Our kids' stories are private, they'll decide what they'd like to share when they're older." 🤐 "Yes, but why was he up for adoption?" 🤯🤦‍♀️

Or, my personal favorite, "What is he?" Umm, a human child? My son, who will later comment on the strange lady who didn't know what he is? 

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3 minutes ago, Jaybee said:

I like the matching shirts idea. When I read this, it made me think that under these circumstances, rather than singling him out, I'd focus on the family aspect of it. "We've been a family of five for a year now," with an appropriate activity. It could be going to Mass as you mentioned, perhaps followed by driving around to look at Christmas lights--just something quiet and simple that helps everyone in the family feel valued and secure. And maybe an acknowledgement of how proud you are of all of them. 

 

Yes, that's what I want. It's been a really challenging year.  Everyone has had to work hard and learn new things for us to become a family. He's worked particularly hard, but my other kids have done a lot of work too.  And now, a year later, I feel like we've built a family that knows how to be together, and support each other, and communicate.  At least some of the time. I feel as though that's something huge, and worth acknowledging.  Saying that we should keep our family rituals the same as before he came seems like brushing that enormous change under the rug. 

I think that part of what we'll want, given the timing, is an excuse to carve out space for just us, at a time when there is a lot of family around.  If he had come home in October, then maybe a celebration would be in order, but I feel like we need something quiet and calm. 

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8 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

Yes, that's what I want. It's been a really challenging year.  Everyone has had to work hard and learn new things for us to become a family. He's worked particularly hard, but my other kids have done a lot of work too.  And now, a year later, I feel like we've built a family that knows how to be together, and support each other, and communicate.  At least some of the time. I feel as though that's something huge, and worth acknowledging.  Saying that we should keep our family rituals the same as before he came seems like brushing that enormous change under the rug. 

I think that part of what we'll want, given the timing, is an excuse to carve out space for just us, at a time when there is a lot of family around.  If he had come home in October, then maybe a celebration would be in order, but I feel like we need something quiet and calm. 

It sounds like your extended family does a lot of celebrating together. So yes! some time for just the five of you to be together sounds very important. Maybe a night when you can express the above to all three of your boys (not focusing on anyone having to work harder than the others, but on the fact that they have all worked hard to do all of the things you describe above). It doesn't have to involve "celebrating" to be very meaningful. If you don't want to go out somewhere, you could light some candles, build a fire if you have a fireplace, talk to them about the above, pray together and thank God for each member of your family, and cuddle up to read a special book together or something. You could start a tradition of reading a Christmas book like The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, A Christmas Carol, The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas, or perhaps change it every year. Or you could watch The Muppet Christmas Carol together, which we have watched every year for years, though not with a particular plan in mind.

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2 minutes ago, Jaybee said:

It sounds like your extended family does a lot of celebrating together. So yes! some time for just the five of you to be together sounds very important. Maybe a night when you can express the above to all three of your boys (not focusing on anyone having to work harder than the others, but on the fact that they have all worked hard to do all of the things you describe above). It doesn't have to involve "celebrating" to be very meaningful. If you don't want to go out somewhere, you could light some candles, build a fire if you have a fireplace, talk to them about the above, pray together and thank God for each member of your family, and cuddle up to read a special book together or something. You could start a tradition of reading a Christmas book like The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, A Christmas Carol, The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas, or perhaps change it every year. Or you could watch The Muppet Christmas Carol together, which we have watched every year for years, though not with a particular plan in mind.


I would never say out loud to any of my kids that I think DS2 has worked harder than they have!  

But yes, that's the idea, quiet, calm, cuddled up together. If we go out, it would be to Mass, and that decision will probably depend on whether we're going to take DS2 to Mass on the 24th.  I'm still on the fence about that one.  

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50 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

Yes, that's what I want. It's been a really challenging year.  Everyone has had to work hard and learn new things for us to become a family. He's worked particularly hard, but my other kids have done a lot of work too.  And now, a year later, I feel like we've built a family that knows how to be together, and support each other, and communicate.  At least some of the time. I feel as though that's something huge, and worth acknowledging.  Saying that we should keep our family rituals the same as before he came seems like brushing that enormous change under the rug. 

I think that part of what we'll want, given the timing, is an excuse to carve out space for just us, at a time when there is a lot of family around.  If he had come home in October, then maybe a celebration would be in order, but I feel like we need something quiet and calm. 

Maybe it shouldn't focus on one person or that event. Maybe a "celebrate our family night" would be more in tune with what you are wanting to accomplish.  Tell the story of each person coming into your family and maybe everyone can prep ahead of time, with a favorite memory of each person, favorite trait,  or favorite thing to do with them.  Nothing fancy (definitely not pressured), but a way to affirm the positive growth that the family has made this year.  Sometimes, being an equal part of something real, means more than being special!  Especially for our kids that struggle. They get so much "your wonderful and fabulous!" that it can start to feel a bit hollow. But being the same....without the platitudes...can show a real sense of belonging and growth. 

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We don't celebrate adoption days, mostly because with such a big family it's enough to just celebrate birthdays and holidays!  I think that for most of my kids it isn't a big deal. Adoption doesn't define them and they don't think about it much. 

Sometimes I read from adult adoptees saying that even though kids don't bring it up, they do still think about being adopted quite a bit. Maybe I'm naive, but most of my kids are the type to say everything in their heads and I do think that I'd hear about it from time to time if they were actually thinking about it. 

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12 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:


We think alike!   We've already decided that instead of matching pajamas for the kids, like we've done in the past, we're doing T-shirts and fleece pants for everyone, including Mom and Dad, with the idea that we'll keep the T-shirts on when we go visit the relatives.  But our plan is we'll give them on Christmas Eve, because that's when we've always done them. 

We'll have family in from out of town, with cousins about the same age.  I think that having DH and I doing parent like things, like making meals for and reading stories to and hugging our nieces, and hearing them call us Aunt and Uncle (like he did until a few months ago), and talking about being the godparents to one of them (like we are/were to him) has the potential to be confusing and anxiety provoking, so we figured that having a really visual cue that we're his, with matching shirts, would help.

But that's the next day. I don't think we need a thing for this.  I think we need something that feels like ritual.  The suggestion of going to Mass is a good one, or looking through pictures, or lighting a candle and saying a prayer.  Something that acknowledges, or commemorates, without adding a thing.   Normally, I'd think a special meal or food would work, but this is my kid with all the food issues, so special food would just cause stress.  

 

If it doesn’t bother him in a respiratory way, candle and prayer seems like it would be an excellent simple and repeatable ritual. Even if he were in hospital a battery operated electric light type candle could possibly be substituted. 

Mass could be done this year if the day and his health permit, but might not be good for repeating  ritual because of health issues

Edited by Pen

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I would suggest to him a few options that would respect all of the affected family members.  I do understand that the others are affected, but I still think the adoptee's feeling in this situation is most important.  In any case, I would not make the choice without his advance agreement.  Especially given all that is going on around the same time.  What may seem low-key to me may be a big deal to my child.

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2 hours ago, mom@shiloh said:

 

Sometimes I read from adult adoptees saying that even though kids don't bring it up, they do still think about being adopted quite a bit. Maybe I'm naive, but most of my kids are the type to say everything in their heads and I do think that I'd hear about it from time to time if they were actually thinking about it. 

I didn't think about it a lot as a kid, but it did cross my mind sometimes. I never spoke about it, not because I felt uncomfortable about it, but because it's a strange feeling to ponder being adopted, and it's not something that anyone could really understand. The thoughts I had weren't upsetting to me; they were just moments when I reflected on the fact that my DNA was different. 

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My adult friends/relatives have expressed similar sentiments. If I didn’t ask my kiddo from time to time, I’d never know. 99% of the time, she’s just busy living life.

Edited by Sneezyone
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2 hours ago, Pen said:

 

If it doesn’t bother him in a respiratory way, candle and prayer seems like it would be an excellent simple and repeatable ritual. Even if he were in hospital a battery operated electric light type candle could possibly be substituted. 

Mass could be done this year if the day and his health permit, but might not be good for repeating  ritual because of health issues


I don't know that it needs to repeat.  I don't have any ability to predict what things will be like a year from now. So, I don't want to start this as "this is how it will always be", just something that feels formal and ritualized for this year.  

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12 hours ago, Tap said:

Maybe it shouldn't focus on one person or that event. Maybe a "celebrate our family night" would be more in tune with what you are wanting to accomplish.  Tell the story of each person coming into your family and maybe everyone can prep ahead of time, with a favorite memory of each person, favorite trait,  or favorite thing to do with them.  Nothing fancy (definitely not pressured), but a way to affirm the positive growth that the family has made this year.  Sometimes, being an equal part of something real, means more than being special!  Especially for our kids that struggle. They get so much "your wonderful and fabulous!" that it can start to feel a bit hollow. But being the same....without the platitudes...can show a real sense of belonging and growth. 


I think there's a tendency among adoptive parents to think of adoption as parallel to birth, but in our case, with our particular story, I just don't see a parallel.  My kid has a birth story, and one that I'm fortunate enough to know, and be part of (although I was a bit character at that point), and be able to tell.  We'll tell that story on his birthday the same way we tell our other kids' birth stories on their birthdays.  

But what we'd be acknowledging on that day is an end as much as a beginning.  It's like acknowledging the anniversary of the end cancer treatment, or of the end of a war, or the day you got rescued from a kidnapper, and the beginning of recovery, and then also how far we've come in that recovery.  

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If it doesn’t need to repeat, and given that your son is religious, I’d be inclined to go with him to Mass if day permits that. 

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16 hours ago, Jaybee said:

Yes, that makes a lot of sense. In particular with a family of both bio and adopted kids, it seems more "separating," to use your root word, than including, to make a big deal out of the adoption anniversary. He's our kid, like all our kids, and just like everybody else, he gets special treatment on his birthday. And just like everybody else, he gets verbal affirmation by being told we're glad he's in our family.

It depends on the situation.  There's an age gap with my bios and adoptee and they were very enthusiastic about the adoption.  They remember eagerly awaiting the arrival and being thrilled she finally got here. Their experience with arrival is much closer to ours as parents, not state of confusion and involuntary adjustment like young siblings and the adoptee.

It's another example of how each adoption situation is unique and lots of different factors have to be considered before deciding what to do and how to do it.  Flexibility really is essential.

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15 hours ago, Jentrovert said:

Or, my personal favorite, "What is he?" Umm, a human child? My son, who will later comment on the strange lady who didn't know what he is? 

When that happened to us I pretended I had no idea what the woman meant by her question.  I smiled and said happily, "What?" She repeated.  I looked very confused and said nicely, "I don't understand." She repeated word for word again.  I looked even more confused and said, "I don't know what you mean." She got frustrated and said, "Where is she from?" I smiled happily and said, "Oh. Are you asking me what country we adopted her from?  South Korea." I doubt that lady will ever utter the sentence, "What is she?" again.

And yes, I have to specify which Korea to Americans.  I specified it once to a South Korean woman married to an American and then laughed at myself and said, "Oh, sorry.  I don' t have to explain that to you." She laughed and told me she understood why I was in the habit of explaining-she was too. Not all Americans are up to speed on current events.

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I just asked DD (16 yo) if she'd like to celebrate her Gotcha Day and she gave me a weird look and asked, "Why?"  So, fwiw, that's one adoptee's perspective.

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The quietest and most peaceful Christmas activity we ever did was seeing Christmas lights. I think the youngest was 4ish the first time.  We got the 3 kids in the van in their jammies and blankets, put on a Sara Groves Christmas CD just barely loud enough to hear (it's very peaceful music; soft instrumental music or silence would work too) and drove around the neighborhoods near us in the suburbs. It was dark, quiet, cozy, and beautiful. The four oldest of us are introverts, so we spoke just a little as needed between light displays. The youngest (the adoptee) was mesmerized the first time and happily chattered off and on other times.  That's fine. We took hot/warm chocolate with us.

We do a Christmas read aloud most years.  You can either get a recording or read t aloud yourself.  It can be done quietly with dim lighting(the reader can use a book light if needed.) We allow very quiet activities like arts, crafts, dolls, quiet construction toys, etc. for kids than need to by physically occupied to listen well. Everyone living at home listens and we chat about the books at meal times or throughout the day.

I don't go anywhere on Dec. 26th.  I don't even get out of my jammies.  We eat leftovers and other no-prep food I make sure to have on hand for then. We use disposables so there are no chores.  I eat truffles and drink mimosas for breakfast. Everyone is on their own to do whatever they like at home: craft, read, watch movies, play board games, whatever.  No one has to be anywhere. If the kids want to play with the neighbor kids, fine, but not at our house.  Any other day they're welcome to come over, not on Dec. 26th.  Nothing other than eating and sleeping needs to be done.  I used to live next to 3 branches of family and in-laws within a 20 minute drive and one close relative 45 minutes away.  It was 4 celebrations in 2 days.  So 26th became an official, annual downtime day. I encourage anyone who needs it to plan as many down time days in the holiday season as they think they need.  Need one every 3rd day?  Take it and don't apologize for it!  No guilt, just sweet peace.

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3 hours ago, Pen said:

If it doesn’t need to repeat, and given that your son is religious, I’d be inclined to go with him to Mass if day permits that. 


If we decide that he's not going to Mass on the 24th, then I think we'll go on the 23rd (the day he came home), if we can make it work to all go together.  We don't have DH's work schedule yet, to make those decisions. 

If he's going on the 24th, then we'll probably do something different on the 23rd.  

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1 hour ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

When that happened to us I pretended I had no idea what the woman meant by her question.  I smiled and said happily, "What?" She repeated.  I looked very confused and said nicely, "I don't understand." She repeated word for word again.  I looked even more confused and said, "I don't know what you mean." She got frustrated and said, "Where is she from?" I smiled happily and said, "Oh. Are you asking me what country we adopted her from?  South Korea." I doubt that lady will ever utter the sentence, "What is she?" again.

And yes, I have to specify which Korea to Americans.  I specified it once to a South Korean woman married to an American and then laughed at myself and said, "Oh, sorry.  I don' t have to explain that to you." She laughed and told me she understood why I was in the habit of explaining-she was too. Not all Americans are up to speed on current events.

 

I don't get that, partially because he looks like us, and partially because people are too busy asking "What's wrong with him?"  My favorite answer to this came from oldest who told someone "I think he's bored." 

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1 hour ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

The quietest and most peaceful Christmas activity we ever did was seeing Christmas lights. I think the youngest was 4ish the first time.  We got the 3 kids in the van in their jammies and blankets, put on a Sara Groves Christmas CD just barely loud enough to hear (it's very peaceful music; soft instrumental music or silence would work too) and drove around the neighborhoods near us in the suburbs. It was dark, quiet, cozy, and beautiful. The four oldest of us are introverts, so we spoke just a little as needed between light displays. The youngest (the adoptee) was mesmerized the first time and happily chattered off and on other times.  That's fine. We took hot/warm chocolate with us.

We do a Christmas read aloud most years.  You can either get a recording or read t aloud yourself.  It can be done quietly with dim lighting(the reader can use a book light if needed.) We allow very quiet activities like arts, crafts, dolls, quiet construction toys, etc. for kids than need to by physically occupied to listen well. Everyone living at home listens and we chat about the books at meal times or throughout the day.

I don't go anywhere on Dec. 26th.  I don't even get out of my jammies.  We eat leftovers and other no-prep food I make sure to have on hand for then. We use disposables so there are no chores.  I eat truffles and drink mimosas for breakfast. Everyone is on their own to do whatever they like at home: craft, read, watch movies, play board games, whatever.  No one has to be anywhere. If the kids want to play with the neighbor kids, fine, but not at our house.  Any other day they're welcome to come over, not on Dec. 26th.  Nothing other than eating and sleeping needs to be done.  I used to live next to 3 branches of family and in-laws within a 20 minute drive and one close relative 45 minutes away.  It was 4 celebrations in 2 days.  So 26th became an official, annual downtime day. I encourage anyone who needs it to plan as many down time days in the holiday season as they think they need.  Need one every 3rd day?  Take it and don't apologize for it!  No guilt, just sweet peace.


Those sound like lovely traditions.  

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41 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:


If we decide that he's not going to Mass on the 24th, then I think we'll go on the 23rd (the day he came home), if we can make it work to all go together.  We don't have DH's work schedule yet, to make those decisions. 

If he's going on the 24th, then we'll probably do something different on the 23rd.  

 

I didn’t realize it was that close to Christmas. 

That’s a lot of close stuff.

Fwiw, my son has not wanted to commemorate arrival to me or adoption in years I asked him if he did.  And now I cannot recall those dates.  

 

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I have two who were adopted, and one who came to me as a bonus kid/stepkid. DH and his sister were also adopted. 

While he was young, and he was our only, we celebrated “familyversary” with SS.  On our wedding anniversary.  🙂  Some people thought we were crazy, but ... It was the day we became a family.  We did a special meal and shared photos and stories of things we’ve done together and talked about how much we love being a family.  

We intended to do something similar on our middle son’s finalization day, but it worked out to be on SS’s birthday.  We didn’t want the two to overlap, so we just ended up just celebrating birthdays.  We often go through photos and talk about birth stories and birthfamilies, and we have a few visits each year with birthfamilies that prompt stories and talking.  It seems to be enough for both kids who were adopted (DD came later).

I think, for OP, I would focus on the family aspect.  Our SW always called theses kind of activities “claiming” ... the matching jammies, Christmas ornaments with all the kids’ names, a family portrait.  It’s the day you became a family, so maybe make that into a quiet celebration of that.

I, personally, never used the word “gotcha” ... but being in two very open adoptions I was always hyper aware of birthparent feelings, and potential feelings of loss. It didn’t feel appropriate for our family.

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