Family Day celebration suggestions

When Christian and I adopted Zoe two years ago in Vietnam, we thought she would be our last child. We thought Noah and Zoe were it. Christian has one brother who is 16 months older than he is, so he always wanted to have two children close together. I was an only child, so I just knew I wanted more than one child. Before we got married, I told Christian I wanted to have two or three children. I really thought I only wanted two, but I didn’t want to shut that door before I even knew what it was like to have children.

Back when we thought we were only having two children, our plan was to celebrate the anniversary of Zoe’s G&R as our Family Day, or the day our family was complete. We thought that rather than just make it a day for Zoe, we would make it a day for all of us. We bought gifts for Noah and Zoe in Vietnam that we planned to give to them each year on our Family Day.

Well, now that plan doesn’t work so well. We only bought two of everything, so we don’t have stuff to give Colin. I’m sure we could get more stuff. I’ve found several things online, and we definitely plan on going back to Vietnam in the next several years. But then what do we do for Colin’s Family Day? We would celebrate on September 23rd, the day we went to court to finalize his adoption. Colin’s birth father was Hispanic, probably from Mexico. We will be going to Cabo again next year, so we could look for stuff there, but is that even appropriate? We don’t know if his birth father was really FROM Mexico, or if he was a 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation American. We have no idea how important Mexican culture would have been to him.

And if Zoe and Colin both get special days, shouldn’t Noah get a Family Day too? I think I could look back and figure out when I found out I was pregnant, the first time we saw his heartbeat, etc, and we could make one of those days his Family Day. But if we are doing gifts on Family Day, what the heck do we do for Noah’s day?

Maybe we skip the gifts and just make Family Days times for us to make sure we do something together. But then what do we do with all of that stuff from Vietnam? We could give it to them on Christmas.  Colin’s birth mom’s sister sent gifts for all three of them for Christmas this year, so maybe that’s Colin’s “adoption” gift? But then I don’t want to count on that each year either. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t. I don’t want to set that up as part of a tradition and then have him end up being disappointed if it doesn’t happen. Is it OK to just give them gifts from Vietnam, or would we be excluding Colin’s adoption by doing so?

I would appreciate thoughts on this!

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8 thoughts on “Family Day celebration suggestions

  1. I have in the past and will continue to celebrate Meliah and Khai’s referral and Forever family day. I think a celebration of these moments is important for an adoptive kiddos self worth. I want them to understand how important those days were to our family. How our life and family changed forever when they entered it. To me it is like my bio kids days of birth; I can’t share any stories of Meliah and Khai’s day of birth with them but I can share stories of these two special days that they entered my life forever. I have a six year old bio Daughter who has never questioned why. She was very much a part of the adoption process and remembers all these special moments and how much they meant to the whole family. I think our adoptive kiddos need extra affirmation to make sure they feel secure in the fact they were very much wanted.

  2. I am pretty sure that we will adopt again and the what to do about family day is a big questions for me as well…we will celebrate not only their birthday, family day and then their adoption day for the twins at least. Then our next child – only God knows how many day that child will have or any future children. The more I think about it though I think that I want each child to know that those days for us are VERY important and we plan to use Family Day to also celebrate the twins birth parents, not so much for gifts but a day to write a letter and remember not only the birth parents but the foster parents as well. When they are old enough I want them to write letters to go with ours, I think they need those days. I am not sure what I would do in your situation. Good luck and I hope that you can figure it out…

  3. We honestly don’t make a big deal at all about family day, or gotcha day, or whatever you want to call it (which isn’t to say we don’t acknowledge it — just no gifts or celebrations). I figure whatever we do will be considered horribly insensitive and politically incorrect by the time my boys are adults, and then they’ll wonder how they wound up with such lousy parents. Plus, yeah, what do we do for the three bio kids? Happy conception day? That would have grossed me out as a kid. We’ve decided (though somehow we haven’t made it happen yet) to just make our anniversary our family day, because really, the day we got married is the day this family started. So, a day of fun family stuff and celebration, and then an evening out for the prarents.

  4. Just a suggestion but I wouldn’t over complicate it. Why not just celebrate the usual holidays & b-days, then once a year pick a day to be Family Day for all of you? Where you talk to all the kids about how you became a family,how you two met, fell in love and how each child arrived to join the family in their own unique way. You could give the VN gifts to all the kids some years because now they’re all a part of VN because one of you came from there. I would still reserve some back just for Zoe since its her birth country and may mean more to her later. And if you run out of VN gifts, ok, pick another theme each year, doesn’t have to be country related. And maybe gifts shouldn’t be the theme anyway, just a celebration of family. I thinks, as long as you do it with love and its all inclusive almost anything will work. Just a thought.

  5. We have 3 kids nearly the same age. Two adopted, one bio. We will have at least one more bio and maybe down the road 1 or 2 more adopted kids.

    We don’t celebrate either referral day or gotcha day. I feel like if I did that for my daughters I’d have to celebrate Coby’s “gotcha day” and “referral day” like the day we brought him home from the hospital and the day we found out we were pregnant with him.

    We feel like they all came to our family a different way but we kind of feel like reminding them of that 2x a year (that they are different than their brother, that they are adopted) wouldn’t be right and isn’t really necessary. We don’t want our daughters to feel any different than our son does, ever– and likewise. We celebrate as a family on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter etc. And we make a huge deal out of each kids birthday ever year. I think that’s enough. That being said we do make an effort to keep the girls culture apart of their lives. We have regular play dates 2-3x a month with VN, adopted kids. We celebrate TET each year as a family, even with extended family. And as they get older we plan on learning how to make certain VN dishes and enjoying them as a family a few times a month.
    And of course if our girls are interested in doing more we are open to that.

    Jake and I do get take out each year on the day we brought them home and kind of “celebrate” our anniversary of being parents. That day will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s the day I first got to hold my baby girls.

  6. oh, I came back to see what kind of responses you got because I’m still trying to decide how we will handle things going forward and with all due respect to the other posters, including me, ha ha. I LOVE Natalie’s the best! Natalie, how did you get so smart?! ;0)

  7. It really is a personal choice and everyone does things differently. I’m kind of struggling with the same thing right now too so was happy to see your post.
    We plan on celebrating the day before their birthdays (due to time zone thing, long story, see our 2nd blog 😉 as their birth parent day by lighting a candle and writing in a journal to their birth parents about all they accomplished that year, celebrating their birthdays as their birthday, and the day they were placed in our arms (still waiting for the second one on that) by focusing on their home countries and reliving that day.
    Just our 2 cents. Honestly, no matter what you do it will be right for Colin, Zoe, and Christian bec it will be out of LOVE.

  8. I know I’m late to the discussion – just now getting caught up on blogs.

    We don’t make a huge deal about Adoption Day. Currently the kids love looking at our photo albums so we hooked the laptop up to the TV & looked at our trip pictures & pictures of our bio kids births & homecomings. There are so many days to mark – the day we first met Tova, her G&R, the day we arrived home – all are pretty significant. We mark her Adoption Day just as we mark the boys bday’s, by being a little more pointed about their stories & spending time together as a family. I think it helps that my bio kids were old enough to remember most of the adoption journey. They didn’t travel with us, but we did daily webcams & especially my oldest, remembers how exciting getting a little sister was. Now that she destroys his Lego’s with regularity, he’s not so excited about having a little sister…

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