Monday, July 19, 2010

Why We Celebrate Family Day

When I was growing up, my aunt would always tell me on my birthday "I remember the first time I held you...". I loved this story when I was little, hearing about how tiny I was and how it felt to hold me in her arms. As I got older, I'd roll my eyes and sigh, pretending I was too cool for that type of thing, although both of us knew that wasn't the case. Its always special, hearing how the beginning of your life impacted somebody else's.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Buddy's Family Day, marking the 3rd anniversary of the day we adopted him. Some people think acknowledging this day unnecessarily emphasizes the fact that an adoptive child is different from a biological one. Others think a celebration of this day is disrespectful to birth families and sends the message that adoptees should only have positive feelings about their adoptions. Both are valid points, but...

I feel these arguments are more about how parents choose to handle adoption in their family and less about whether or not to have a celebration. We aren't the kind of parents always harping on the fact that our kids are adopted, constantly pushing the "You're different" message. On the other hand, we're not the types who gloss over our kids' pre-adoption lives, pretending they slid down a rainbow from heaven right into our arms.

What we are trying to be are the kind of parents who help our children understand where they came from and how that influences who they are. That's not something we accomplish simply by celebrating family day, but by how we choose to handle all the other days.

So yes, we choose to celebrate family day. In our family, the day isn't really a tool for teaching the boys about their adoptions - we do that in other ways on other days. It also isn't an attempt to validate the existence of our family by minimizing the boys' first families - they are every bit as real as we are. Its more about giving the kids what my aunt gave me, the gift of knowing they changed our lives forever the day they joined our family, that we will never forget a moment of it and that we love them so very much.


  1. Happy Family Day!! On the journey of your family, these are the road signs that mark where you have been and where you are going. Enjoy!

  2. I totally agree! And who doesn't need another day of celebration?! Very well put.

  3. So well said. I really like your approach.

  4. Happy Family Day!! I love your family!!

    love, leslie

  5. Hope you had a very happy Family Day! It's so interesting for me to read a current perspective on this kind of celebration. Back in the '70s, it didn't even occur to our family. I only found out much later, after my adoptive brother died, that the day he arrived at our house was more important to my mother than his birthday. I wish she had told us. I wish we had celebrated. Funny enough, I wrote about this just yesterday at

  6. Happy family day! I think that is fabulous.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog :)
    Friendships are so hard as we get older, but my closest friends are my mom and my sisters - something I hope everyone can experience in their families. I am sure you and your boys will!