As I recently celebrated my birthday, I was reflecting on the many wonderful birthdays that I’ve had throughout my life. I’ve always loved my birthday and it has always been a special and kind of magical day that I have felt a deep connection to. A connection almost beyond explanation. Many adoptees really struggle with their birthday and find it to be a very difficult day because for a lot of them, it was also the day they were separated from their mother. Each year that day brings for them as much sadness as it does celebration. This made me ponder what it was that made me enjoy my birthday so.
Birthdays were so fun growing up and I usually had more than one cake and party every year. One at home, one at school, one at the babysitter’s house, and so on. I would get special gifts from my parents, family, neighbors, friends and a lot of birthday cards in the mail. No wonder I felt so special and loved!
“So yes, even I, who loved all of the birthday attention and celebrations, still had many conflicting feelings on that day.”
My birthday was also a day where I would think about my birth family, especially my birth mom. I thought surely if ever she were to remember me and think about me, it had to be on my birthday. I certainly hoped that was true and that she would never forget the day I came into the world. I hoped that the day was not a sad one for her but just a day where she felt love and optimism for the future when we could know each other. I also worried that maybe my birth date was wrong and maybe she wasn’t thinking about me that day but instead on a different day. It would be as if we were passing by like ships in the night.
Every birthday that passed marked one more year that I was closer to being 18 and knowing that as soon as I was able, I would set out to search for my family. Every birthday that passed also marked one more year that I still didn’t know their names, or where they were, or what they were like, or why I wasn’t with them. So yes, even I, who loved all of the birthday attention and celebrations, still had many conflicting feelings on that day.
Thankfully I eventually would find my family and learn that my birth date was indeed correct! Thank goodness!! I know so many adoptees whose birthdays were purposefully or accidentally changed on their paperwork and amended birth certificates. I would have been devastated to have found out that mine was wrong because I felt a deep connection to the day and the numbers that make up my date of birth. For a long time I have wondered why I feel so connected in that way and I finally realized why. For so many years of my life, it was the one thing, the only thing, I knew about myself.