Yesterday was my oldest daughter’s anniversary – we have been a family for exactly five years. I started out by calling this day “Gotcha Day”, which is a common term in adoption circles. But after listening to what many adult adoptees have to say about the term, I made a decision to stop using it. I mostly use “Family Day” to describe the day, but now that I have a second daughter, this seems somehow false. K was the one who started calling it an anniversary, and maybe that’s the best – it is the anniversary of the day we met, and it’s hers, and mine too. Later this year when we celebrate the first anniversary of the day my youngest daughter joined the family it will be her anniversary, and mine and K’s too. But of course we all celebrate them together.
We watched the video of the trip to China after dinner, which also includes photos and snippets of film from the next three years or so. K had what she calls “stick-up hair” when I first met her, and it’s now shoulder-length (with frequent cuts!). She’s grown in so many ways – I told her I wish her birth mother could see what a beautiful, sweet, smart, funny, wonderful person she’s turning into. K was sad to think her birthmother won’t recognize her without the stick-up hair. I didn’t mention that she likely never saw even that, as she had not lived with her for a little over a year when I adopted her. But I suggested she could write her a letter or draw her a picture and we could keep them if she ever wants to try to find her. My heart does break when I think of her — a mother without her child who probably has no idea whether her child is even alive, let alone where she is or how she is. We can only hope that someday the avenues will open and K can find her if she wants.
We celebrate a happy day every March 24th. Even though that date has no relation to my daughter’s birthmother, it is still a reminder, to me at least, that my gain was first the result of someone else’s loss.