In 2002, I began to chronicle my adoption journey and created Forever Parents, a supportive online community for adoptive and waiting parents. Over the next year, we grew our support forums to include an adoption shop and a blog. Forever Parents stayed active, helping thousands of people for over ten years. I’m in the process of updating and moving all the posts to this blog, in the Forever Parents section. This post was originally published on April 7, 2008.
Are you looking for ways to celebrate and honor your adoption anniversary? There are lots of possibilities, from ways to give back to activities that strengthen your family bond. I’ll share thirteen ideas for you, including a few that we’ve done over the years!
What is An Adoption Anniversary?
An adoption anniversary is the anniversary of the day you legally finalized your child’s adoption.
Note; If you’re an extended family member (aunt, grandparent, etc) or friend of someone who’s adopted a child, your support helps more than you know. As you read through the list below, look for ways you can help celebrate this special day. Trust me, they’ll love it. One of our family’s favorite treasures is a Christmas ornament we got on our first Christmas as a family. (How extended family helps adopted children)
13 Ways To Celebrate Your Adoption Anniversary
1: Lighting candles to honor those who made the adoption possible.
2: Family activities such as a picnic or a day at an amusement park.
3: Purchasing a gift that represents the child’s birth heritage such as the country they were born in.
4: Display or fly the flag of the child’s birth country in the front yard.
5: Reviewing a child’s life book, and perhaps adding a page to represent the past year
6: Preparing a presentation for your child’s classroom, homeschool group or scouting troop about adoption and how all families are different.
7: Remembering children still in foster care or orphanages by volunteering or sending a care package.
8: Writing in a family journal.
9: Take a professional family picture.
10: Helping your child to write or draw something about their life, their adoption, or their past.
11: Reading a book about families and/or adoption.
12: Buying a book about adoption and donate it to your child’s school library or public library.
13: Create something to remember each anniversary.
How my family celebrates our adoption anniversary
The first few years we celebrated our adoption anniversary we went BIG, especially the first year! Since we live so close to Orlando we spent time at Disney and Universal for a few years. We were able to use a friend’s timeshare one time which made it much more comfortable for our family of five. After those first few years, we settled into going out for dinner, planning family activities and enjoying a special meal at home.
Regardless of what we did, we always made a point to acknowledge it because it was an important day for us. It’s also the day I celebrate Mother’s Day so there’s that also. That’s a whole other blog post but I’ve been doing that since the year we finalized our adoption.
How Families Celebrate Gotcha Day
Gotcha Day is how some families refer to their adoption anniversary. Here are families in our adoption group celebrate their special day.
** My daughter and I celebrate finalization day. She has no siblings, but I think we still would with each sibling. I take her to lunch and buy her a present.
** We don’t celebrate but we do talk about it on that day. We let him know that is the day we became a family. We tell him it was the happiest day of our lives and one we will never forget. We remind him what country he is from, and that he had to fly on an airplane to come home to us.
** We celebrate our “Family Day” on the anniversary of our daughter’s finalization. That was an important day not just for her, but for our entire family. In the words of my husband, it was the day the wagons were circled. So we’ve celebrated it now for the last few years by going to our county fair, eating too much junk food, riding crazy rides and just enjoying each others’ company. I love it. It’s like celebrating our wedding anniversary…it’s not the day our family was born, but it was the day our family was COMPLETE.
** We went on vacation for the first anniversary. It was so much fun. We do something different every year.