Where's His Birthday Story?
Submitted by MarkyMark
Every February 19th for the past 33 years, my mother tells me the story of when I was born: It was in the middle of the night; I came just on time; I had a lot of hair. It's not the most exciting or unusual birth story, but it's one filled with love and it's the core of who I am and where I came from—my story of origin.
I don't have a birth story for my son Andy. That's because Andy is adopted.
Every kid should feel loved, but as an adoptive parent, I feel that Andy needs it more. I kiss Andy and tell him I want to hug him so hard that he gets absorbed through my chest and into my heart.
Every child should understand they're part of a larger loving family. But Andy needs it more. I have Andy spend as much time as possible with his extended family: grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins. All kids should learn that the world is kind. But Andy needs it more. So I introduce Andy to as many people as possible: friends, coworkers, neighbors, the friendly cable guy.
In a few years from now, on an April 17th, Andy might ask me, "Daddy, do you think my birth mom is thinking about me today?" I'll tell him, "Yes, she is for sure. She loves you and is definitely thinking about you today."
Then maybe a couple birthdays after that, Andy will ask me, "Daddy, did my birth mother not want me?" And I'll answer, "She did want you, Andy, but she couldn't take care of you and wanted you to have a better life."
And then more birthdays will pass and when my little boy is a young man, he'll ask me, "Dad, all these years you've told me that she's thinking of me, and that she wanted someone to care for me because she couldn't, and that she loves me... But you don't really know those things do you?" And he'll be right, I know next to nothing about Andy's birth mother or her circumstances. By then, my Andy will be old enough to realize how hallowed his story of origin—how many unknowns there really are—and it's going to hurt him. A lot. He'll feel lost. But my hope is that all that reinforcement over the years—the smiles from kind people, the hugs from extended family, and the fervent love from me and my wife— will help guide him through the rough times. Maybe all that love around him will support the fragile shell that all adoptees share.