Dear Adoptive Parents: Please Stop Celebrating Gotcha Day
Everyday, I hit the ground running.
I was adopted transracially as a baby and I’ve been fighting to reclaim myself since. Imperialism, Orientalism, Racism, the Patriarch, and Colonization have been and continue to be major themes in my life.
Tomorrow is August 15, Korean Liberation Day. We will celebrate our historic independence from Japanese colonization. Last week, August 7, was my Gotcha Day. It was named this by some White people who thought it was a sweet way to reminisce and celebrate their adopting Korean children.
This year, my adoptive mother forgot. The next day, she approached me and said, “Hey. I forgot your Gotcha Day. I don’t want you to feel we forgot you. What do you want?”
“Oh, it’s ok,” I replied, casually peeking my head into the refrigerator, trying not to look her in the eye.
I sighed relief when she meandered into the living room.
Gotcha Day. Like the first 18 years of my life celebrating the Sunken Place every August 7. “We gotcha!” the White people exclaim.
Yeah. You got me alright. Haha.
The joke’s on me to find a way to learn my culture, my language, my heritage, my family, my people, my way.
'Gotcha Day' celebrations spark debate among families who adopt
The date on which a child meets his adoptive parents is one that many families like to honor each year, much like a…
These power dynamics have been in tow my whole life. I carry them with me wherever I go. Sometimes it’s evident through my broken Korean. Sometimes it’s evident through my very mixed race family on all sides, in every way. Sometimes it’s evident in my relationship troubles over the years.
When you’ve been colonized and strong armed, gaslit, and guilted into gratefulness all your life by those who claim to love you and care for you the most, how healthy of a relationship do you think you could have?