Happy Gotcha Day! If you’re not familiar with that term (like me three years ago), you probably don’t know anyone who’s been adopted. In the world of adoption, “Gotcha Day” celebrates the day when a child comes home to his or her forever family. Growing up, Sam’s family celebrated his Gotcha Day on October 30th, the day his plane landed in Dallas and they got to meet him for the first time. It’s a special day in the lives of any family with adopted children. Here’s what Sam had to say about it in a post on his 2010 Gotcha Day:
Gotcha Day. I’m not sure if you celebrate this day with your kids, but it still remains important in my life. Gotcha Day is the day that I was adopted, which is October 30th. As a kid, my parents would treat me out to dinner (my choice of course) as if it was another birthday. We would eat cake and icecream, and then go upstairs and watch the video of me being carried off the plane that had flown from South Korea. Growing up I had thought that the day was about me, and how special it was for me to come to America. But now, at the age of twenty-one, I’ve started to see things differently.
This year I reflected on just how much my parents have given me in life. How much time, love, and money they have spent on me without hesitating for a second. My parents were right in celebrating Gotcha Day as a birthday, because it was really like being born again, being given a new chance to live in a great home. I realize now, that instead of celebrating and honoring me all of these years, I should have been the one honoring and celebrating them. They have shown me the love of Christ and have given me more than I could ever repay. I love them with all that I have and try to make them proud.
So if you don’t celebrate that special day when your little child came off that plane and into your arms, I strongly encourage that you do so. Let them know how much you love them and how much it took for them to be with you. I hope that one day your children will understand just how much love adoption truly takes and that they too will appreciate you as much as I appreciate my parents. If you want to talk some more, feel free to call me. Love you all and God Bless.
Isn’t he wonderful? I certainly think so. Here’s a picture of him on his Gotcha Day, October 30, 1989:
That’s him fresh off the plane from Korea. His mom, Sue, is excited to finally hold her new son. His dad, Ron (in the background), is equally as excited. I’m so grateful for all the hard work and dedication his parents put into Sam’s adoption process. It’s a long road full of setbacks and uncertainty. Without all their prayer and steadfast faith, I wouldn’t know my best friend and husband!
Last night, I couldn’t sleep. Sam was peacefully slumbering next to me, and I had my head under my covers browsing Pinterest on my iPhone. I finally came into the kitchen for a glass of milk and decided to find Sam’s Facebook post about Gotcha Day. After I found it, I still wasn’t sleepy and it was 2 a.m. I kept browsing through his old Facebook notes and found one of those classic “21 Questions” posts. The last question he asked was, “Where do you think I’ll be in 25 years?” This was on May 30, 2009, 5 months before we started dating. I answered, ” You’ll probably be married with cute little asian kids, who all are excellent spellers with fantastic vocabularies.” That answer made me laugh alone in my kitchen at 2 a.m. If only I’d known those “cute little asian kids” would be mine! It’s amazing that, after reading that post from three years ago when Sam and I were strictly “just friends,” I was able to finish my glass of milk, turn off the light, and crawl into bed with him and go to sleep.
That’s why I celebrate Gotcha Day. It’s the day that made what I love about my life possible.
PLUS, it’s the day I get to pull out one of my favorite pictures of adorable baby Sam:
Finally, Gotcha Day reminds me of the debt I owe Sam’s mom. I have the journal she kept during Sam’s adoption process, from the day the idea of adoption came to her to the day Sam became an American citizen. Unfortunately, Sam’s mom is currently battling the later stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, and she’s had it as long as I’ve known her. When I read her journal, I’m able to see the strong and determined woman she once was, the woman I never had the privilege of meeting. I wish I could sit down with her and express my gratitude for bringing Sam from Korea, for loving him as much as her other sons, for accepting him into her family and being the mother he needed. When I read her journal, I see how much she wanted him and it makes me so happy to know he was (and is) so loved by his family. It’s too late to tell her all these things and have them mean what I want them to mean, but I hope she knows. I’m so glad Sam has such wonderful parents that loved him when his own parents weren’t able to. Here’s a clip from her journal on the day Sam came home. I always cry when I read it. Happy Gotcha Day, Sam! We all love you and are thankful for you.