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.