Sunday, April 27, 2008

the day before my birthday

Tomorrow is my birthday. Every birthday that I can remember has been great. When I was little, my parents would make a posterboard sign to put on the fridge so it’d be the first thing I saw when I came downstairs; a pile of presents would be on the counter, and that evening would be a dinner that I selected, along with cake & ice cream. I cannot remember a single birthday where I was sad, or disappointed, or wished it had turned out a different way.

But for many adoptees, there is always something lingering in the background. For me, it was always the day & night before my birthday, I allowed my brain to wander. I have not shared these thoughts with anyone (outside Doug) until now. On my actual birthday, I push my “adoption” thoughts out, celebrate with my family & friends, and move along to a brand new year. But on April 27 I reflect on the day of my birth.

Do my birthparents know what tomorrow is? Are they thinking about what happened on this day, 34 years ago? Does my birthmother think back to her pregnancy and labor with me? Was my birthfather present at the hospital? When I was born, did she feel relief or sorrow? Did anyone outside the nurses get to hold me? Was there a teary goodbye, or was I shipped off to the nursery and into the arms of the foster family?

Having now had my own biological child, I wonder different things this birthday. Already, just 3 months out, it’s easy to blur my memories of Charlie’s birth and the pregnancy. Can my birthmother even remember me? 34 years later, will I be present in her thoughts tomorrow or will it just be another day?

It’s the one thing that truly bothers me – not medical information, not meeting biological relatives – I don’t care much about that. What bothers me is that I have no knowledge of my first three months of life.

Some of these things I could have answered if I was actively curious. I could try to find out. But I don’t have room or time in my life right now to devote to that. And I have always had the instinctive feeling that my birthparents want it that way. My birthmother was so young, and had a whole life ahead of her to get an education and do something productive. My birthfather, well, had a busy life too. They chose a great thing for me, and I’m so glad they did. But once a year, I wonder if after that choice, I ever occurred to them again.

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