Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | January 16, 2013

Gotcha Day

If you have been in the adoption community for a while, you have probably heard of families that have adopted internationally celebrating Gotcha Day. It is an annual celebration, much like a birthday, of the day that your child was placed in your arms. Literally, the day you could tell your child “I gotcha.”

I have seen many families celebrate Gotcha Day, so I thought I would give a couple of ideas regarding this celebrated day.

  • While traveling to pick up your child, take time to buy items from that culture. Then each year give your child one of the gifts in order to celebrate his/her birth culture.
  • Make it a family event. I have seen instances where Gotcha Day is seen as unfair by the family’s biological children. The adopted child in essence gets “two birthdays,” while the biological child does not, and so it can turn into a situation of jealousy. Instead of celebrating only the adopted child, celebrate the family as a whole. It’s the day your family became whole. Therefore you might not call it Gotcha Day. Maybe you would call it Family Day or something of the like.
  • On a significant Gotcha Day, such as year number 10, or the year they turn 16 or 18… save up so that you can take your child on a trip to his/her country of origin.
  • If you scrapbooked your adoption, each Gotcha Day bring out the scrapbook to remember. If you are not a scrapbooker, then take time to tell your child his/her story.
  • If you have open communication with the biological family, the orphanage workers, the foster family… then take time to write a letter from your family to them.
  • Do something fun as a family, such as going to the zoo, going ice skating, a family picnic, etc.
  • Have a feast of foods that come from your child’s culture of origin.
  • Do something for others… such as making cards for children in foster care, giving a donation to an orphanage, or sponsor a child. At, you can purchase clothing, emergency aid, medicine, even animals for families all over the world in need.
  • Take time to talk to your child privately about their adoption. As they get older and begin to experience more emotions regarding the their adoption, this day is a good time to discuss those emotions and thoughts. However it’s important for your child to know they can talk to you about these things anytime.

If you have any other ideas, or have things you have tried yourself, please feel free to share.



  1. We adopted our daughter Maci from China. Her “Gotcha Day” is Christmas Eve so we always gather the whole family and go out to eat to the Chinese restaurant of her choice. I also purchased a cookie cutter in the shape of China and always make “China Cookies”. We bought lots of little trinkets while we were in China and always give her one of them. We have tons so I believe we are covered for quite a while;) We also bought her a tea set and a pearl/jade bracelet we will give her on her wedding day.

  2. What a great idea Gina, especially the wedding gift!!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Our son and youngest daughter were adopted from Peru. We (Mom, Dad and two older sisters) celebrate their Gotcha Day each year with a HUGE Peruvian feast with all of our family coming together, aunts, uncles, grandmas and cousins! We watch the video of our first meeting and talk about how all of us have changed and grown since that day! We all love Gotcha Days!

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