Category Archives: Guest Post

Dear Abby, We Need to Talk About Gotcha!

gayle swift on dear abby adoptionGayle Swift here, guesting in Lori’s space. She wasn’t ready to take on another adoption expert so soon after the last one, but seeing as how I have strong feelings about Gotcha, as well as ideas on a more attuned approach, I am happy to step in with my own advice.

Dear Abby: Three Reasons to Rethink Gotcha

Abby, you recently responded to a letter from an adoptive parent who wanted to share how she informed her child about his being adopted. Her solution was to celebrate his “Gotcha Day,” the day he joined their family. By making it a party day she hoped to take the sting out of telling him he was adopted (how and when to tell are a whole ‘nother issue).

While the intent of this unfortunate term is positive, the reality is a bit off the mark. It is good that Mom wants to strengthen her relationship with her child and tell him the truth, and you affirmed her celebration of this significant day. But please consider why “Gotcha Day” needs further evaluation.

  • First, “Gotcha” focuses on the parental experience instead of the child’s.
  • Second, it objectifies the child, like a prized toy that was finally acquired.
  • Third, “Gotcha” is often a term used to indicate victory or advantage over another person. Adoption is a life-altering experience for a child. “Gotcha” frames it in negative or depersonalizing language. This is not the best foundation for building a family; it almost certainly was not what this mom intended.

Alternatives to Gotcha

An adjustment in language can help. Some more suitable titles are: Arrival Day, Homecoming, Family Day, Johnny’s Day. They are all better choices because they affirm relationships and center on the child’s experience. Remember there are two sides to his special day: the happy part about joining a permanent, loving family, and the sad part, losing the family to which he was born. Be prepared for your child to feel mixed emotions. His attitude toward this day may evolve over time as he comes to understand how adoption delivered losses along with gains.

dear abby gotcha

Continue reading Dear Abby, We Need to Talk About Gotcha!

#flipthescript 15: No Easy Button in Adoption

Tracy Hammond is a baby scoop era adoptee and adoptee rights activist. This is her second post here in this #flipthescript series (the first: Why Are Adoptees Doing It?),  in which adopted people take over the microphone in this space for November’s National Adoption Awareness Month.

You may not agree with everything that is said in these #flipthescript posts. You may even find parts of these posts hard to read. But I believe there is value in listening, in being willing to see a viewpoint different from your own, in uncovering your own triggers and fears, in understanding how adoption is experienced by some people.

adoptees flipthescriptImage: Tracy Hammond

A Lamentable List

L’Wren Scott, 50
Emilie Olsen, 13
Charlotte Dawson, 48
Continue reading #flipthescript 15: No Easy Button in Adoption

#flipthescript 14: Adoption & Eating Disorders

Jodi Haywood returns for the third November in a row (2014 post | 2015 post) to participate in the #flipthscript movement, in which adopted people take over the microphone in this space for November’s National Adoption Awareness Month.

You may not agree with everything that is said in these #flipthescript posts. You may even find parts of these posts hard to read. But I believe there is value in listening, in being willing to see a viewpoint different from your own, in uncovering your own triggers and fears.

adoptees flipthescriptImage: Tracy Hammond

But of Course

There seem to be several topics frequently discussed among adoptees, within private adoptee circles, which when brought up cause the majority of the group to nod our heads in understanding and think, yes, we could put our collective heads together and write a book on this subject.

Yet when we bring up the same topic with adoptive parents, they seem amazed that we connect it with adoption at all. Continue reading #flipthescript 14: Adoption & Eating Disorders