How Adoptees Feel About Birthday’s

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This blog post was inspired because I know first hand how hard birthday’s can be for adoptees. There is healing in sharing how we feel so I wanted to seek input from my fellow adoptees and find out how they felt about their birthdays.

I was blown away to see so many of us feel similar ways about this day and the days leading up to the “Birth” day. Many of us are impacted as the days lead up to the month as well.

Some adoptees have no issues with this day.

No matter what experiences are shared here, I’m excited so share the feelings of so many of my fellow adoptees no matter how they feel. Each and every one of you matters, your story matters and your voice matters.

If you would like to add how you feel about your birthday please reply to this thread and I’ll add it to this blog post. Feel free to share with your online communities to help raise awareness on how it feels to be adopted.

Adoptee Voice #1.

  • My birthday month is August. I wish the month could go away. My birthday is the 10th. I don’t ever recall looking forward to my birthday. It feels weird when people wish me happy birthday. I don’t even know what the normal feeling is supposed to be.

Adoptee Voice #2.

  • It’s not your birthday. It’s your cake day., eat cake.

Adoptee Voice #3.

  • August 21st is my birthday so in the back of my mind counting down to the day. Not sure what plans are. I usually try stay positive but by evening the mind tends to take over a bit. I used to think it was the one day she would be thinking of me but found out she never remembered my birth date.

Adoptee Voice #4.

  • My birthday is December 21. So I get the holiday blues wIthiBONUS birthday blues. My mom passed just over a year ago, my dad has had a super rough time (wrecked the tractor last fall, other medical problems, depression) and I’m already dreading this holiday season.

    I’m actually thinking about taking a road trip. I could use the solitude and the break and it just might be the perfect time and place for the crying jag I never seem to let myself have.

    Last year I turned 50 and my aunt (my mom’s only sibling) surprised me at work with a big cake. It was nice of her, but it was also sort of surreal.

Adoptee Voice #5

  • It’s the time of the year I can’t “not think” of my birth parents. (BF is deceased) My birth mother lives less than 15 miles from me and a mile away from where I was raised. She pretends I don’t exist. If there is one day a year she thinks about me, that should be it, right? I do write her letters and send them, even though I never get anything back.

Adoptee Voice #6

  • I have an August birthday (the 28th). I HATE my birthday… As a child, it was never a happy occasion. Adoptive father was a violent drunk, and his drinking never took a vacation, no matter the day.. holidays, birthdays, weddings…. Adoptive monster was an enabler, and fed into his violence and never protect myself or adoptive brother. Birthdays were “family” parties until I was 10. Every year less and less people came, and I finally realized it was due to him. I always wondered what I did wrong.. But why in the world would you subject yourself to that disaster if you didn’t have to? And since I wasn’t blood to them, they just stopped coming. The final straw was at 16. Adoptive monster talked up a Sweet 16 party for years. Told me we would rent a hall, get a DJ, I could invite anyone I wanted… When it came down to it, it didn’t happen. It was downgraded to a house party in my garage. The day of ,I spent HOURS getting ready. Sat outside waiting and waiting. Hours after start time, I heard the adoptive monsters arguing. Adoptive father admitted the night before he called the entire guest list and told them it was cancelled…. NO JOKE. This is the deranged behavior I lived with my entire childhood. That was the last birthday I spent with them. Shortly after this, I fled in the middle of the night and was emancipated.

Adoptee Voice #7

  • My birthday is Nov 1 and I always got depressed and angry as it got closer. I’m 53. A few years ago I decided to start making it about others. I’d invite a couple of good friends to go out to a really nice dinner just to celebrate the friendships I have.
    I have a loving husband and family who wanted to bless me so I quit being a stick in the mud & let them and chose to enjoy what I have now instead of what I don’t have. Gratitude and choosing to bless others changed how I anticipate my birthday now.

    This was before I met my sister this past spring, and learned a lot about my birth parents who have passed. I am now looking forward to this year’s birthday.
    It’s all in perspective – I am here, alive, and have many things to be thankful about.

Adoptee Voice #8

  • Birthdays are hard for me. I have spent more than one birthday listening to John Lennon’s song “Mother” on repeat…

Adoptee Voice #9

  • I know some adoptees hated this, but I loved it. It made me feel special. My Adoptive Mom celebrated my adoption Birthday by taking me out and often giving me a special gift.

Adoptee Voice #10

  • The older I got the more I dreaded it. I only want to hear it from my son who I know loves me. And my boyfriend who I know loves me also. Everyone else I still wonder what they really think of me. No matter their loyalty or not….I still question it. It took me awhile to believe my boyfriend really loved me.

Adoptee Voice #11

  • Birthday, the day of happiness from all… Ugh it’s just a dreaded day of wanting to be alone.

Adoptee Voice #12

  • My birthday is in May and I just think of it as the day I was given to the universe rather than the day I lost my whole family.

Adoptee Voice #13

  • I have hated every single birthday I can remember. Everyone always thought I should love them and celebrate them! It never felt like my day or my birthday. Long story short at the age of 38 I found my birth mother 1 week ago. The day I had always celebrated my birthday was not the day I was born! I have no idea how I will feel for the next one….Feb always thought, March actual!
    Life literally changed overnight and upside down. I thought being adopted was hard, at this stage being reunited is even harder. My birth mother seems lovely and kinda “gets me” more than my adoptive mother. Huge journey/roller coaster ride about to begin.

Adoptee Voice #14

  • Growing up my birthdays were a mixed deal. The birthday party or events my parents had lined up were always fun things I really liked. But there is just something about the day I was born and always feeling like my biological mom did not even love me enough to keep me. Once I got into what my parents had planed it was always a fun day. But the lead up was bad for years. After I became an late teen and adult the day got worse. For years I would just ignore it, spending the whole day doing yard work, even mowing a relatives or a neighbors yard just things to keep my super busy and my mind off my birthday. The last few years have been better. I have dealt with my life much more working through it instead of burying it. I am beginning to feel I deserve to be happy or at least not sad on my day. Like others have sad feelings I have put in the work to earn my day. Wanting to show my biological mom this stubborn, loud, fussy baby turned out just fine!!!!

Adoptee Voice #15

  • It didn’t really seem much different than any other non-adoptees birthday, until I found out last year that by birth mother and I share the same birthday. I must have been the worst birthday present ever.

Adoptee Voice #16

  • For me I used substances for 26 years, so I didn’t have to process the pain of the realities of adoption. Birthdays were always a dreaded day filled with pain, loss, unconscionable grief and having to celebrate it was possible but only with alcohol in my life. 8/13/12 I decided I wanted to live a sober lifestyle and all the REALITIES of adoption came flooded in. I truly wasn’t prepared for it all. When you run for so many years how can you prepare. In the last 5 years I’ve worked towards handling these emotions in a healthy way. I am not gonna lie, there were birthdays I just couldn’t even get out of bed and it goes the same for the weeks leading up to that day. It was a dreaded day for many years, but recently I’ve given myself permission (because no one else in the world has) to be sad on that day, cry and share my feelings in my blog. I’ve learned it’s perfectly normal to be sad on the day I was separated from my birth mother. I wanted to erase the entire day and erase myself in the process! Thank God it wasn’t possible but I would have done it 100x over if it was. Today after almost 5 years of recovery and sobriety, my sessions of the pain of my birthday is still there, but each year I process and share my feelings and others validate them (THIS IS CRITICAL FOR US!) things get easier. This year, I will wake up on my birthday (Aug 13) and prob play a song that reminds me of my birth mother (My Way- By Frank Sinatra) and cry awhile. Why? Because it’s okay to cry awhile. Once I get that out of the way I might write about what I’m feeling and share it with those who understand, and get on with the day. I plan to go hiking with my kids and go see a waterfall and enjoy the rest of the day. You see, it’s critical we are able to process the pain because leaving it inside only KILLS us inside! Adoptees grow up, and they don’t stay babies forever. I wish someone would have told me it was okay to be sad on this day. If you are an adoptee who struggles with your birthday please know you aren’t alone!

Adoptee Voice #17

  • Birthdays for me, are somewhat hollow. There is an entire person who has never been acknowledged, celebrating his birthday, but as a different person. There is sadness and pain in any holiday for me. I still enjoy it. Just is different for me.

Adoptee Voice #18

  • We didn’t make a big deal out of birthdays or holidays while growing up. So, it’s still just that…not a big deal. A few people wish me happy birthday, but other than that it’s just another day.

Adoptee Voice #19

  • I always thought that the day I was born was the ultimate irony. I came into this world on Mother’s Day. I could never wrap my head around how that must have felt for my birth mother. My feelings towards my birthday fluctuate with the feelings I have for my biological parents. When I was younger, I had deep anger & spent my birthday wondering if they were thinking of me, hoping they were & hoping that it hurt like hell. My anger morphed into depression and my birthday has since caused me a deep sense of sadness & it is the time when I feel the greatest sense of abandonment.

Adoptee Voice #20

  • As a kid, I never thought twice about it. In the last 20 years it weighs on me, heavily. I’m now 42. My adopted father left as soon as the adoption was finalized leaving my mom and I. She passed away 4 years ago and I always think she loved me when no one else did. The date before the actual birthday is the toughest. Now that I have my own family I can remember every nuance of that day leading to their birth. Every year seems to be harder than the previous.

Adoptee Voice #21

  • I would never think twice about my birthday until I turned 16. I don’t know whether It’s because it’s an important milestone in our culture, or whether it’s because I was finally mature enough to understand the implications of adoption. From then on, a pattern began to develop. Each birthday would start off happy..until it didn’t. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing but out of nowhere I suddenly become overwhelmed with thoughts of my birth mother. Is she thinking about me? Does she get as sad as I do on this day? Has she been longing for me as much as I have been? Etc. Unfortunately, this feeling of loss has only continued to grow with each birthday.

Adoptee Voice #21

  • It’s my birthday, that’s all there is to it. I don’t have huge blowout gatherings or what have you, but I’ll do something to enjoy it. I feel blessed that people contact me in whatever manner they do to wish me well on that day!

Adoptee Voice #22

  • I remind people who love me it is an anniversary loss day, my body is grieving. I noticed a pattern likely in my childhood, usually crying on my birthday at the end of the day and not knowing why, had a full panic attach at age 19, and generally feeling sad for about 4-6 weeks around my birthday despite the happy celebrations. I love getting older but the loss does not seem to lessen with time, now almost 50, even after a happy reunion.

Adoptee Voice #23

  • It’s supposed to be such a happy day and every one wants you to be happy. But for me there’s always been something, something that spoils it. Something underlying that prevented me. It was only when I grew old enough to relate that it was the day “she” gave me away and chose never to see me again. To severe that 9 month bond and drastically change the course of my life without my consent.

Adoptee Voice #24

  • Like always, going through the motions, pretending to be happy because that is what everyone expects. Now, I am older, I choose to spend it alone with as little fuss as possible. This was a hard lesson for my natural siblings to learn on my first birthday post-reunion, they staged a birthday bash which I did not attend. It was always a painful period leading up to the actual day but it feels worse now, post-reunion. I was 5 years too late to meet my Mother and now, it just feels like the anniversary of when I lost her.

Adoptee Voice #25

  • My birthday doesn’t really bother me. I get really irritable around it, but on the day it’s always the best day. I try to make that day as happy as I can.

Adoptee Voice #26

  • I wonder if my ” mother ” thinks about me on my birthday.

Adoptee Voice #27

  • I can go into a full blown PTSD episode just because it’s that anniversary.

Adoptee Voice #28

  • It is simply the worst day of the year. Nothing fits.

Adoptee Voice #29

  • A yearly reminder that I was brought into this world to be given away, nothing more.

Adoptee Voice #30

  • I hate my birthday.

Adoptee Voice #31

  • It’s the saddest day of the year for me.

 

As you can see many adoptees share similar feelings regarding our birthdays. If you are an adoptee reading, please know you aren’t alone.

You matter and your feelings matter.

To all the adoptees who were brave in sharing their voices, THANK YOU for helping the world understand how it feels to be adopted. Keep sharing, keep using your voice!

If you are a non-adoptee reading this, thank you for making it this far. Your courage in having the willingness to want to learn how we feel is amazing alone. Please share this post in our online communities to help us raise awareness of how it feels to be adopted.

If you are an adoptee and would like to add how you feel about your birthday, please reply to this post and I’ll add it for you.

Blessings to all & thanks for reading.

Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee

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