Tag Archives: Loss and adoption


Man oh man, birthdays…

They should be full of joy. But sometimes, if your child has been adopted, they can be wrought full of buckets of tears and an ache so deep, that you can’t get to the bottom of it.  So you snuggle your child up to you, so close that nothing can fit in between the two of you, and listen, trying to absorb the pain. Then, when your child can control the sobbing, you begin to speak quietly, offering out a few “pebbles.” And then you shut your mouth and listen. Perhaps your child begins to speak or maybe the crying starts all over again until your child falls asleep in your arms, spent.

And then it’s your turn, to wipe the profuse tears that have soaked your clothing and your child’s hair. To say silent prayers for strength and wisdom and to thank God for this incredible miracle that has become your child. To ask for guidance in helping your child come to terms with the great loss and grief over that loss.

Some years are better than others. This was a tough one, but not as difficult has many that have passed.

I share this tidbit of “education” with you, my friends, who are not adoptive parents and those of you who are; a birthday is one of the key triggers for the child who as been adopted. What does that mean? It means that in order to have a birthday a child was born. And if that child was adopted he or she was born to someone else and perhaps, like in our family, another country and of a different culture. Upon being adopted that child lost those connections. Forever. The event of a birthday is a reminder of those profound losses.

In advocating for any child who has been adopted, I share this with you to help you be aware, in hopes that you will have compassion for him or her on their birthday. While you may not get the response you expect when them wishing them a “Happy Birthday!” please take it in stride and smile, wishing them well.


Filed under Adoption Issues, Growing Tweens & Teens, Multicultural Families, The International Mom


During holiday break I found the rhythm of my days and nights synching with Holden’s. It was during one of those late nights, as I worked on a large project in his company, that he asked, “Mom, why did you adopt?”

The question was simple and innocent and I realized he had never asked before. Perhaps he had thought about it, but never verbalized it. Thoughts flew through my head—about how we had told him at the age of five that he would be a big brother for the first time, how over-the-moon he was about Josi’s arrival, and how his copy of her referral picture, although laminated, became worn because he shared it with everyone he came across. Within the milliseconds that those truths registered, I realized we never did talk about why, only that we were adopting.

So I answered Holden, explaining about the baby we lost and how we had grieved. I told him that his dad and I had discussed adopting before we ever married knowing that we were open to embracing parenthood through adoption.  I shared that we built our family by following our hearts and listening to the voices within ourselves. He was quiet, reflective.

“Do you have any other questions, honey?” I asked.

“Not now, Mom. I love you.” 

“I love you too. You know it’s always okay to ask, right?”

He nodded.

I see the need for future conversations about how Holden feels being the biological one and only and about adoption. And because he handled the special needs discussions so well, I expect these will be thoughtful and enlightening.


Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, International Adoption, Multicultural Families, The International Mom