Gotcha Day

There's a special day that only special children get to celebrate, a Gotcha day! As an adopted child, I celebrate the day my parent's adopted me; probably one of the most important days of my life.

Here I am celebrating my very first Gotcha day, 20 years ago, one year after my parents first adopted me. I'm wearing a traditional Chinese outfit that actually came from my home province of Anhui.

Every Gotcha day for 18 years my parents gifted me something from my homeland. They had picked out 18 individual gifts for me when they went over the first time in anticipation of sharing my culture with me. It was so important to them for both, my sister and I, to understand our history.

When I was little, I loved my Gotcha day. It was like a second birthday only I got to celebrate. Now, it's a wonderful reminder of happenstance, the sudden crossing of lives that changed people forever. I would not be where I am today without my family behind me. My Gotcha Day allows me to be thankful for their open hearts and their loving embrace.

This Gotcha day I decided to experiment in the kitchen by cooking up some traditional and not-so-traditional Asian cuisine. With my sister, I made pork dumplings ("jiaozi" in Chinese!), Vietnamese Summer rolls with Shrimp and Vietnamese ham (Cha Lua), and Crab Ragoon dip with wonton chips. While not totally Chinese, these are some of my favorite things to eat! We had such a blast making all of these things but they definitely took a lot of time. I had to start the Cha Lua a day in advance and it took about 3 hours to make all three dishes. In the end though, it was totally worth it. We are not master dumpling makers by any stretch of the imagination, but it was so fun and definitely delicious.

My Gotcha day is a reminder to me to celebrate what I have, the opportunities and experiences I've been given, and the blessings that have been bestowed upon me. My family is so incredibly important to me. It was created by two amazing people with hearts too big not the share and the bond of family that transcends blood. Our family is woven together like a patchwork blanket, it may not look perfect, but it's warm and safe and loving. Family is more than a birth certificate and a blood test, it's a dedication to other people's lives and a desire to be a part of them. I wouldn't trade my family for the world and I love that I'll always have a special day to remember them by.

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