"I am adopted."
I know how it feels to tell people you are adopted...
For some, it is easy and for others, very constricting and emotional. I see many children with their biological parents, and sometimes when my mother and I are visiting my mum's friend who is Asian in appearance, I joke around and say, "Hey, now I don't look adopted!" When I was in year 5, I often felt ashamed of telling my friends that I was adopted. I found it extremely difficult to open up, so when my friends asked where I came from, I'd say Australia. This often put an expression of confusion and bewilderment on their face. They could not process the fact that someone Chinese in appearance like me could be Australian -- and they still do to this today (not my friends, just strangers). When they would ask again, I said "my father is Chinese" or "my mother is Chinese" (depending on who I was with). I was scared about my friends' reactions; I still think people today find it hard to process unconventional families and I honestly dislike the feeling I have when I am about to tell someone I am adopted -- they act as if a close relative of mine just died. I am sure many other adopted kids can relate to this in one way or another.
My family and I have never really over-celebrated Gotcha Day (my family and I call it Angel Day for some reason) -- I have never felt a great need to. I think children should not feel as if there is one day they celebrate when their parents signed some papers to have them: parents should celebrate EVERY DAY the child came into their lives. Behind this day is a constant reminder that the child's biological parents had to give them up for various reasons, or the parent/s died, etc. Gotcha Day for some is a dreadful day, in which many children won't open up to their parents about how they really feel. They are overwhelmed, sad, upset, feel unwanted and the list goes on.
Adoption and permanent fostering can be such a huge, significant and stressing psychological issue for every child; whether they choose to show this or not is different, but they carry this feeling around most of their lives. Some adopted kids feel the many pressures of not only fitting into their family, but feeling a part of one. Some children act up, some children distance themselves emotionally and there are some adopted children, like me, who honestly do not give it much thought and continue about every day life. Personally, growing up in such a Western society (Australia and the UK), I do not feel like I am adopted, and I do not really want to be reminded on one specific day, when I know perfectly well every day that the reason for my being alive is thanks to my parents adopting me. I honestly have no grudges towards my biological parents. Even though my biological parents probably gave me up for a particular reason, I could not care less -- I do not hate them. Why? Because I don't know them and I have no reason to hate someone I do not remember and have not known for the last 14 years of my life.
I think adoptive parents do not realize that Gotcha Day (as it is known in adoption circles in places like the United States) is not only a recognition of loss for the child, but one for their biological parents. As rosy and emotionally touching Gotcha Day is, filled with happiness and joy, I think deep inside the child, they feel a loss -- of their parents -- something that we should NOT be celebrating. For the last three years, I have completely forgotten about Gotcha Day -- I saw no need to bring it up, or to make anything out of it. I feel as if, every day, my parents recognize Gotcha Day; so why celebrate it on just one particular day of the year?