Maya Angelou: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”
Many adoptive families choose to celebrate and recognize the day their child’s adoption was finalized or the day they became legally a family. It is an important milestone in the journey for the family and the adoptee. However, at Hope’s Promise, we have been discussing new ways to mark this occasion appropriately, sensitively, and without the much-used old terminology of “Gotcha Day.”
We are always striving toward accurate and neutral adoption language as well as continuing to listen to adoptees’ experiences of adoption. Through listening and learning, we are finding that the term “gotcha” is not accurate or neutral. For the adoptee, the day they joined their new family also is a day that they forever left their birth family’s care and/or homeland. As with many things for adoptees, there is both/and – both joy and grief.
We have come to wonder if “gotcha” seems to either gloss over the loss of birth family or gloat over the joy of the adoptive parents. Some adoptees feel that this language sounds a bit like abduction or not being sensitive to the power structure of adoption. Adoptees have no power over any of the decisions that so dramatically changed their lives. In terms of relinquishment, we choose not to use the terms “give up” or “keep” because it objectifies the adopted person. In the same way, “gotcha” can objectify the adoptee.
Does this mean families cannot celebrate the day they became a family? By no means! But we would suggest using the term Adoption Day or Family Day, which is more accurate and neutral than the language “Gotcha Day.”
Want to learn more? Here are some articles from multiple perspectives we encourage you to read about this issue that helped inform our thoughts:
You know the saying “hindsight is 20/20”. We’ve all heard it before, but this exercise for adoptive parents, takes the saying to a whole different level. Writer, author, and adoptive parent, Lori Holden, revisits a letter she wrote to her adoptive children answering the following questions:
Read more to learn how this practice can help all adoptive parents outline what their adoption goal are and then see how well they are aligned in years to come. In writing the letter, parents not only practice seeing through their children’s eyes, but they also clarify what they want of their own parenting in the long run.
Read more here: Cringey! Midpoint of the Adoptive Parenting Feedback Loop
The state of Colorado recently passed a law that there is a legally enforceable PACA. A PACA is a Post Adoption Contact Agreement.
This article, from our friends at American Adoptions, outlines the benefits of a PACA. When you choose adoption, whether as a birth parent or as an adoptive parent, you can choose what kind of post-adoption contact you have with the other members of the adoption triad.
As adoptive, foster, or even biological parents, we all tend to wonder how we could be doing better.
Adult Adoptee Access to Adoption and Birth Records: History, Controversy, Legislation, and Societal Change
Written by our friends at the National Council For Adoption
At Hope’s Promise, we are for ALL children and families. That includes adoptees. Because our adoption program has been in existence since 1990, we have a lot of adoptees who are now adults. It is our priority through ethical practices and compassion to walk alongside these adoptees, no matter their age, to provide them with education and counseling when needed.
This blog, by our friends at the National Council For Adoption, addresses the adult adoptees access to adoption and birth records. Access to adoption and birth records for adopted individuals sits at the intersection of ethics, privacy, confidentiality, and adoptee rights. Carefully navigating these delicate topics requires an understanding of the history of adoptee records access, the legal statutes and legislative actions that have shaped it, and the impact of DNA technologies. In this month’s issue of the Adoption Advocate, author and adult adoptee Abigail Lindner, breaks it all down and offers some suggested changes and considerations for the future. https://adoptioncouncil.org/publications/adult-adoptee-access-to-adoption-and-birth-records-history-controversy-legislation-and-societal-change/
America’s foster care system is in crisis. Despite real efforts to effect change, over 120,000 children remain in the system awaiting a permanent family through adoption. Finding the right families requires innovative solutions and collaborative partnerships. In this issue of the Adoption Advocate from the National Council for Adoption , they highlight the work of private agencies, like Hope’s Promise, who are successfully partnering with the public sector to achieve better outcomes for kids in the foster care system. Their experiences and guidance can serve as a springboard for more agencies to expand their services into this critical area of work.
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