A Mother’s Thoughts on Gotcha Day

We love to celebrate anniversaries.

Whether a birthday, wedding, graduation… when something big happens, the date is etched in our minds. So it comes as no surprise that when adoptive parents first meet their child, that day is (often) celebrated for years to come. Many call this day “Gotcha Day.”

To those in the adoption process, “Gotcha Day” might feel like the end of a long race. The paperwork, planning, and fundraising have finally paid off—you’ll experience what you have spent months (or years) waiting for! But as Becky points out, it’s only the beginning. Exactly one year after meeting their son, Joshua, in China, she shared these thoughts.

In her words…

It’s Gotcha Day—or Family Day, as some like to call it.

The day that celebrates the first time we ever met and became a family with our son Joshua.

One year ago Nathan and I were in China, getting ready to meet Joshua (named Xia Zhi at the time) for the first time in real life. At that moment I felt such intense anxiety. I had no idea what, or rather who was behind the little knocking at our hotel door.

Since the moment we had landed on Chinese soil, I had increasingly realized that the premise of inviting a child into your family whom you have never met and know nothing about, and then bonding with that child and becoming a new family… well, it’s rather a strange concept. Crazy. Impossible? I didn’t know. But there was no going back.

But there we were—meeting him! And we ushered in the beginning of the wildest ride of our lives.

Today, I plan to do a bit of soul searching.

Journaling about milestones, looking at videos and pictures. We will have a family celebration with Chinese food.

That is not to say that this day means a lot to Joshua (yet) or that it is any more special or important than other days we have had this year. In fact, I would most definitely love to show you days that are infinitely more important to us.

The day he said he would miss me (and meant it) when I left to go shopping. Or the day that he started laughing when I tickled him. The day that he gave Ezra a pet name and told him he loved him. The day that all the kids laughed at his antics with him at the dinner table.

These days are the moments that have made the past year good and worthwhile, and they are treasures that were certainly not seen on that first day of meeting our son.

We had many expectations.

Oh so many. Many of those are still dreams that are being pondered, put aside, put to rest, or just left until an unforeseen future date. But the growth in the past year…well, it honestly brings me to tears.

I don’t know close to everything Joshua has been through or felt or thought. His story is still, to this point, largely unchronicled. We cannot wait until he can share his past stories and feelings with us, if he is willing. But even now we can see great growth and change. He is literally a different person—physically, mentally, emotionally. When he hears himself in the videos from China, he doesn’t even know what he’s saying. Can you imagine not remembering yourself?


The videos from our first few hours together take my breath away (like, I’m scared to death!). I told Nathan, “I can’t believe we survived the past year. And I feel like I can’t survive most days now!”

The understanding, language, comprehension, connection, and bonding have happened through many, many tears.

Only a good, compassionate Father who loves us and calls us his children through adoption would have been able to create such a process.

So when you see pictures of our family, we hope you not only see a little boy from China who, though he had no family, is now a son and brother. But also see two adults and four kids that were once blind but now have begun to see.

We can see how God has graciously stood by our sides and will not let us go. We can see how physical blindness is an issue, but emotional bonding and love are the bigger goals and rewards in our lives. Have we arrived? Not even a bit. But we’re getting there…


We were honored to partner with Nathan and Becky as they fundraised for Joshua’s adoption. They shared, “The matching grant we received from Lifesong was an integral part of our fundraising. Without it, we would not have been able to travel to China with all of our bills/expenses paid in full.”

If you’re adopting, we would love to help. Through matching grants, interest-free loans, fundraising support, and a free crowdfunding platform, we help families overcome financial barriers of adoption. Because money should never be the reason a child doesn’t have a family.

If you’re home study approved and waiting for placement, you can apply for Lifesong’s FREE adoption financial assistance today!

Apply for Adoption Financial Assistance.