Today is my family's "Guateversary." It's a made-up holiday commemorating the day we brought our son Kai, now 4, home from Guatemala. He was 9 months old at the time.
In the adoption world, it is common for the family to celebrate their adoption day. Other families we know call it "Gotcha Day" or celebrate it like their kid's second birthday. Being a word person, I had fun making up the word "Guateversary," a morphing of the word "Guatemala" with "anniversary."
We try not to focus solely on the adoption aspect, rather say the occasion is a celebration of the day the entire family came home from Guatemala.
Over the years, we have celebrated our Guateversary in a variety of ways. The first year, we went with family and friends to Conejito's (we really wish there was a Guatemalan restaurant in Milwaukee). Another year we had a bowling party at Koz's Mini Bowl, and this year, we are having family over for home-cooked Guatemalan and Nicaraguan food.
This is the first year Kai understands, somewhat, about his adoption and the fact he is Guatemalan. Earlier this year, we showed him the video footage we shot during our two visits to Guatemala, but Kai was only semi-interested. There simply weren't enough construction vehicles or "T Rexes" for him to get all revved up.
Most of the time, holidays for the adoptive family are bittersweet because they are a reminder of what was lost as well as what is gained. I know from adoptive families with older children that there will, most likely, come a time when Kai struggles with his adoption, and that he may not want to celebrate the Guateversary. I try to prepare for this.
This year, however, he'll be whacking the frijoles out of a piñata, spraying his brother with Silly String and gorging himself on gallo pinto -- all in the spirit of family.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.