This is a question I see come up often in the different groups I am part of on the internet. Some refer to it as “Gotcha Day” while others like ours call it “Family Day”.
What is family day you ask? For us it is the anniversary of the day we sat before a family judge in court and officially became a legal family. Although both of our girls were entrusted to us at birth, there is a time period during post-placement that you are assisted with social worker visits to ensure all is going well and then the final report and documents are drawn up that will be presented in court. Here in California the timeline is about 6-9 months for the post-placement visits. For our second daughter it was shorter as we had adopted only 2 years before.
We received a court date for our local county family court and on that day friends & family joined us for each of our daughter’s finalization hearings. We pledged before the judge our love and care for our daughter as we had to their birth parents.
Our first daughter’s birth father himself is an adoptee. He was interested in how we would recognize our court date when it came. He shared how much he liked having his family celebrate and recognize his family day. We knew from his positive experience that this was something we would do as well.
Now that our girls are 7 and 5 years old, they like the recognition and celebration of their family day. We allow them to choose the way they want to celebrate. Usually a dinner out or something fun to do.
Our girls like to see the pictures that were taken with us and the family judge that presided over our hearing.
It is a reminder to all of us that this is how our family was formed. As I sit here today we are reminded that it is our youngest daughter’s family day. In May we will celebrate our older daughter’s day as well.
Do you celebrate or recognize Family Day within your own family?