Gotcha Day

Three years to the day after her first Gotcha Day, her official adoption day.

The complete insensitivity and the utter joy wrapped up in the title of this day.

Mim’s Gotcha Day is in February and we celebrate with balloons, cupcakes and a trip to Goodwill for more high heels. I revel in the day and the happiness of the memory of meeting our baby girl. The cosmic folly of somehow being matched up with this tiny baby angel who is now our incredible Mim. How did it happen?How did the universe join us? The great fortune I have to be her mom.

And the trauma of being separated from her birth family.

Mim’s personal birth story is miraculous. Her birth parents could not parent her because they both have severe disabilities that made them look to adoption. I am grateful to her birth parents. Infinitesimally gratefull. Mim’s birth mom died a couple of years ago. Her passing has added a new element to Mim’s relationship to adoption and her understanding of herself. She imagines her Moona in heaven hanging out with her grandfather. They did not know meet each other on earth but that is not a deterent to Mim’s faith. Aubee would thank Moona for sharing our precious Mim. I bet they are listening to Alicia Keyes together. Moona loved her and Aubee was a fan of R and B.

Mim announces her Gotcha Day to passers by and friends. When she told her class in a Zoom meeting , one child asked what is a Gotcha Day. Mim answered “when your mom and dad come to get you.”

I think of the name as a tribute to the baby games of I’m gonna getchoo. I gotcha and tickles and rasberries on her soft brown belly with the herniated belly button. I tell her how happy I am that I got come get her. About Daddy and I flying toNew York and then flying right back home with our baby in Valentine’s pajamas to take her home to her siblings. We fought over who would hold her and who would feed her. And who would watch her sleep. I praise her dark skin and luscious hair. Her strength. I talk of India and Africa and Brooklyn, the Flushing stop on the subway. I tell her of my nightly prayers of Thanksgiving to Moona.

Her first day in South Carolina

And way in the background of our lives, I learn. I read. Adoption- traumatic and a system of oppression. The title Gotcha Day – morally superior white women needing to be mothers and swooping in to erase a babies pure existence and family of origin. We do it. I am not saying I should not have adopted Mim. I am talking about a system that I am reading about. I only tip toe into this information because it is deep and dark. I have a responsibility to learn about Mim’s experience. I have to parent with eyes open. But this pain is shattering. Think about how churches, white churches have huge fundraisers to make money so adoptive parents can adopt a child from. the other side of the world. Thousands of dollars. Maybe millions. And who is fund raising for the birth mom? A mother in need toils alone. Works her tail off. Why aren’t our white churches fund raising so she can raise her baby?

The expensive systems needed to coordinate to support a family in need are overwhelming. What if all the energy and money that goes into adoption went into supporting families. What if Amy Coney Bryant did not pluck those boys from Haiti? What if our country supported and funded democracy and global health? I don’t have answers. But one thing that a friend shared on Facebook has lodged itself in my brain right behind my bangs. Puppies cannot be separated from their mama dogs until at least six weeks old. We have standards. We have obligations to the puppies and mama dogs to do what is best fro their emotional and physical development. And when it comes to infants, some birth moms never hold their child and some infants never rest in the familiar ams and hear the familiar voices from the womb.

And yet, the gift of Mim to my family, to me, to the city of Decatur, to the heavenly angels watching from above, to all of us- is such a wonder. And this day- the anniversary of when we first met our baby and her birth parents is a momentous day. A miracle on earth. Who would we be without Mim?

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