Homecoming

by Kathy on May 20, 2011 · 7 comments

in Adoption, Family, Godparents, ICLW, Milestones

Cora Joy crawling around on Easter last month.

A special welcome to those here for the first time and those returning for International Comment Leaving Week (ICLW), which officially begins tomorrow (Saturday, May 21)! I wrote this post during ICLW in February and it is a good place to start if you are not familiar with me or my blog. Thank you for stopping by Four of a Kind. I appreciate your comments on this or other posts and I look forward to visiting and commenting on your blogs in the week to come.

One week from today our family will celebrate the first anniversary of my niece/Goddaughter Corinne Joy Diana’s Homecoming! It was on Thursday, May 27, 2010 that my sister Meg and brother-in-law Bill (Molly’s Godparents) got to finally bring their daughter home from The Cradle in Evanston. Cora’s adoption was finalized in December of last year and though sometimes these milestones seem like just yesterday, most of the time it is hard to remember what our life and family was like without Cora Joy in it.

I was talking with my sister on the phone this morning and she mentioned that Bill was taking the day off work next Friday so they could spend it together as a family celebrating Cora’s Homecoming Day. Meg has told me in the past that she prefers the term “Homecoming Day” to describe this special milestone, as opposed to “Gotcha Day” which she learned is more widely used by many adoptive families.

Anyway, Meg was sharing how they are trying to decide what to do next Friday with Cora on this first anniversary of their becoming a family. She said they are hoping to develop some traditions for their annual Homecoming Day celebration and she was wondering if any bloggers that I knew and/or was connected to, through mutual blogging friends, would have any suggestions. I told her that I would be glad to write a post about this and ask any of you with experience in this area (either as adoptive parents, family members, friends of or adoptees yourself) to please share.

Meg and Bill with their daughter Cora on her 1st Birthday in March.

Also, unlike with many domestic adoptions where the parent(s) get to bring their baby home within in the first few days or week of their child’s birth, Cora’s birth mother did not decide on an adoption plan until after she was born on March 6 (also my birthday!) last year. So therefore, by the time the adoption agency was able to get the matching process going which led to the birth mother eventually choosing my sister and brother-in-law, Cora was already two months old. Thus Cora’s birthday and Homecoming Day are a few months a part. So please do share your thoughts about and experience with Homecoming celebrations in the comment section. Thank you! I (and Meg) really appreciate it.

Meg and Bill have an open adoption with Cora’s birth mother and have already gotten together with her a number of times since they took her home last year. They always want their daughter to know how loved she is by so many people in her life and are looking for some age appropriate board books about adoption that they can read with Cora. So if any of you are familiar with any board books about adoption for toddlers, please also share those recommendations in the comment section.

Lastly, as Meg, Bill and our extended family prepares to celebrate having Cora with us for a year next week, we also ask that you send your thoughts and prayers this way. Meg, Bill and Cora have recently started the adoption process again and are hoping, wishing and praying that they will be able to add to and complete their family through adopting another child. As soon as their adoption profile is live on their agency’s website (which should be very soon), I will share the link here, as I did when they were waiting to be matched the first time around. Until that link/contact information is available, if you know of anyone currently considering an adoption plan, please feel free to have them contact me and I can put them in touch with Meg and Bill and/or their adoption agency. Thank you!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 HereWeGoAJen May 20, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Hmm, just off the top of my head, maybe get family pictures taken that they could hang on the wall every year? And I don't have any personal experience with Homecoming celebrations, but I'll keep thinking.

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2 Lavender Luz May 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I like the term Homecoming better than Gotcha. What a happy day for your sister and her husband to commemorate.

In my own mind, I held on to all sorts of dates back when my children were very young. I knew the dates of The Calls. And The Meetings. And The Labor. And The Births. The Homecomings. And The Court Dates.

But as time goes on, those have faded in significance. The perspective has changed, and now pretty much my children just have birthdays. I kind of like it this way because it makes them less unlike other kids.

From talking with some adult adoptees, I think this is a key desire — to fit in and not be "special." Of course, there are probably a lot of adult adoptees who would say that they LIKE being special.

So all that's to say, "Congrats to Cora Joy and her forever family. My thoughts are with you this week, as well as with your birth family."

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3 Meg May 20, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Thanks so much, Kath, for posting this. I know you have such a solid network through your blogging and the connections you've made.

Thanks, too, for all the support you've given me–both through our adoption journey and as a new mom. I feel like you're the big sister at times as you have so much wisdom to share.

I know that we don't have to make Cora's Homecoming Day some super special event. Just having Bill home and spending the day as a family celebrating Cora is enough. But I do like traditions and would like to start a couple small things.

Thanks, Jen, for the family picture idea. We will definitely take a picture and maybe in addition to hanging it, I could start an album with the pictures from each year.

Lori, thanks for forwarding Kath the link to books. She passed them on to me. I think one of our traditions–at least for the next several years–will be to give Cora a book about adoption. I researched some board books aimed at toddlers today as the ones we have already are wonderful but are too advanced (and would be quickly torn up as Cora loves eating paper!)

I really appreciate your point, Lori, that having a separate Homecoming Day makes the child feel different from other kids. I guess once Cora is old enough to potentially feel this way, we'll talk with her and see whether she wishes to continue or not.

I can completely relate to remembering all of the dates. I don't have a blog so I've been posting longer notes on facebook with e-mails I sent last year sharing my feelings around key dates. When we first got the call, when we found out we were chosen, and when we first met the birthmom and Cora (her birthmom wanted us to meet her prior to making a final decision about the adoption). I don't plant to post notes every year but I'm enjoying this year looking back and sharing the journey we took.

Thank you, Lori, for your congratulations as well as your thoughts to Cora's birth family. Her birthmom happened to call me yesterday to check in and share some news and say "hi." I asked her if she realized that it was a year ago that day that we had met her and Cora. She hadn't and we spoke a bit about that day. I feel blessed that we have a relationship with Cora's birthmom (and full sister).

Thanks, again, Kath for posting this. I really appreciate the ideas.

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4 Kristin May 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Happy Birthday and Happy Homecoming Day to Cora Joy! I love the idea of a family picture every year. And, maybe as Cora Joy gets older, a nice family dinner would be a great way to celebrate.

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5 C May 22, 2011 at 3:40 am

Happy Homecoming Cora!

Wishing you all the best!

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6 Christy May 23, 2011 at 6:37 pm

We celebrate Family Day each year on the anniversary of Andy's court date to finalize the adoption. He's been with us since birth, so a "Gotcha Day" didn't really fit, but his finalization happened when he was 3 months old. We celebrate by spending time together as a family and having a special cake of some sort. This last October Andy got to decorate it with sprinkles, which was quite an accomplishment given that he was 2. He also gets a small present of some type. I thought this was a good way for us to formally reflect on our blessings from adding him to our family, and letting him know that it is indeed very special how he joined our family. Good luck and you search out what works best for your family.

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7 loribeth July 3, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Happy (belated) homecoming to Cora! I have several friends who adopted & talk about their "Metcha" & "Gotcha" days, & the terms never did sit well with me — I couldn't exactly tell you why, but I do think "Homecoming Day" is a much nicer way of saying it. ; ) I know they usually have cake, but I'm not sure what else they do.

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