Question: What Day do You Celebrate?

The fun of hearing what you all have to say continues! Lori sent me this great question:

What date do you choose to celebrate as your “gotcha” day or “forever” day – or however you choose to name it? With our adoption, we arrived in India, met our girls at the orphanage and spent several days visiting with them and didn’t leave with them as “ours” until a day before we left the country. Also, in India you leave the country with guardianship and have to finalize the adoption here which gives you another day to consider.
So I see our choices for a day to celebrate as:
1) The first day we met them.
2) The first day they left the orphanage with us.
3) The first day we arrived back home.
4) Our court date for adoption finalization.
I tend to think of when we arrived home as our day to celebrate, but I was curious how other families chose their day and what their reasons were. I would also like to know what you call your special day.

Let’s hear it. What day do you celebrate, and while we’re at it, how do you celebrate?

As always, you can post your response as a comment, or you can keep everyone in suspense and email it to me ( and I will share it in the “Answers” post.

I look forward to hearing from everyone!


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Nicole Anderson
    January 27, 2009

    Isn’t adoption fun!! There are so many days to celebrate! All of the days that you mentioned are remembered at our house. We tend to really celebrate each of their referral days, and their court date for final adoption!
    Usurally, we celebate by watching home movies and looking at photos taken on the day. We will also get out traditional clothing, or items that we purchased while in their birth country. The boys also get to pick a special meal, or dessert.

  2. Leslie
    January 27, 2009

    Because there was such a long time in between the court date and when we were actually together, it didn’t seem to make sense to celebrate those days (although they are important), and the day G arrived in the US was actually 2 weeks after we had been together as a family, so that didn’t really resonate either. So the day that seems the most significant anniversary is the first day G and I were together in Ethiopia, and the day K came home. It happpens that the first day G and I were together (when I arrived in Ethiopia and she left the orphanage) was on Jan 7, Ethiopian Christmas, so that is somewhat of a natural occasion to celebrate the amazing gift that God gave to us of becoming a family. And then one year later, on Jan. 7, we found out that at long last K could join us, and she arrived to us on Jan. 10. So I think that really we will celebrate in between those 2 days, or perhaps on the 7th. I think in the long run we will call it family day, although this year, I just described it as “exactly one year ago.” 🙂 We had planned to make Ethiopian food this year, but that got delayed due to all we needed to do for the flights and everything for K’s homecoming. So we did pick up Ethiopian food the day or 2 later, and I think we will probably eat Ethiopian/ Haitian food and look a pictures. I am also conscious from reading that it can be a difficult day for children, triggering losses, so I don’t want to overdo it. But being at the same time as Ethiopian Christmas lends it to both remembering and appreciating the gift of our family and of their first families.

  3. Becky
    January 27, 2009

    We have so many special days now that we just celebrate on National Adoption Day (in November). We make sure to draw attention to the fact that our family was formed differently, but we celebrate that too!

  4. Laurel
    January 27, 2009

    Great question. We are coming up (Feb. 4th) on the one year anniversary of the day that we met our children. Then, after 6 weeks in Ghana, we brought them home on March 18th. So, that was their “homecoming” and the day they met all of their brothers and sisters.

    Look forward to hearing all of your answers.


  5. KT
    January 27, 2009

    Since I traveled alone to pick up our daughters, we celebrate the day I arrived in the US with the girls, and we were united as a family. We call our special day ‘Family Day’. Our daughters arent the only ones whos lives changed through adoption, all of ours did! This is why we decided to call it ‘Family Day’, and give ALL of the kids special gifts on that day! We also either go to an Ethiopian restaurant, or have as close to Ethiopian at home as I can make it!!

  6. Caroline
    January 28, 2009

    We celabrate the day we got our children in South Africa as our special day. We went the whole family to South Africa and our biological son celebrates that he become a big brother. So we have two very special dates in March that we celebrate. We werte in South Africa March 2004 and March 2006. We try to make an South African meal at home and this year it is 5 years ago we were in South Africa for the first time. It is very special. We give all of the children a small gift on the days becaouse it is the day they became big brothers and little sister!

  7. Family of Six: Going
    January 28, 2009

    Our Embassy Date in Ethiopia also landed on our daughter's one-and-a-half. So, we plan to celebrate her half-birthday as the day our family became complete with traditional ET food and a gift-giving ceremony. While in Ethiopia, my husband shopped again and again, picking a special Ethiopian momento for her next 19 half-birthdays! He said he envisioned each celebration, and what significance that particular gift might bring at that point in her life. Crystal

  8. lorismusings
    January 28, 2009

    Thank you Lisa for posting my question and thank you to everyone who answered.

    We had been talking about how to celebrate our one year anniversary and it came to us to have a dedication service at church like people do with their babies. The girls will be able to understand the significance of it now that their grasp of English is so much better.

    We will be able to show them that not only are we as their parents proclaiming that we desire to obey God as we parent them, but also how special it is that God planned for them to be in our family. It was not an accident, but God’s divine providence. And, they will see that there is a community of family and friends who will be walking this journey in support of our family.

    I love how every family finds their own unique way to celebrate the special ways that God put their family together.


  9. Donna
    January 28, 2009

    Ours is easy because we were not allowed to travel due to presidental elections and the upheaval it caused in Liberia. We chose to have our children escorted to get our daughter who was exteemly ill home the quickest way possible. So we celebrate on the day we met in the airport. It is in November so we can also bring attention to National Adoption Day.


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