Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!!!!

Yep, today's my birthday -- something I'm trying to ignore since I'm getting so old (midlife crisis, anyone? I'm thinking of going back to coloring my hair . . . )! Still, any birthday that starts with your kids singing you "Happy Birthday" is a good one!

So is this pure narcissism, or is there some adoption connection to this post? Actually, yes!

Think about what you, who's not adopted, know about your birth. You know the day, maybe the time (9:05 a.m.), the town you were born in, the hospital where you were born, the family story about your birth (rush to the hospital? dad passing out in the waiting room or passing out cigars? 72 hours of the most painful labor any woman has endured?). You know your birth weight. You have a newborn picture of you in the hospital bassinet with "Baby Girl ____________" or "Baby Boy ____________ " above you. You know your mom held you. You know your mom loved you the minute she saw you, because she told you so. You know you look like your dad. You have your birth certificate with your parents' names, and all the vital stats about your birth.

How wonderful to have that information! What a comforting foundation! It is so naturally a part of my life I rarely think about it at all. But what would it be like not to have that information? That's hard to imagine. Would it mean nothing to me, to have that piece of my history missing? Would it feel like an empty space in me?

Now think about what your adopted child knows about his or her birth. . . .


Heather said...

Happy birthday!

Wendy said...

Happy Birthday!!! Enjoy yourself and take some special mom as a person time!

I so understand this post. The time of my birth has always been a big deal--our family made a big deal of it growing up--because that is my "exact" b-day (we even accounted for time zones when we moved and my husband even knows the time!), and it really has been different since we have had M.
We are fortunate and not in that we have very early pics and weight/height of her and the date given to her could be determined fairly accurately; however, it is not the same. There is not that story--how long was the labor, was it painful, was it at the hospital, was it in the day or night, etc. etc. I know M would love to know her story.
That being said, my husband who is not adopted, has nothing. His mother says she "doesn't remember" about the day and his birth certificate says nothing but his mother's and father's names and addresses (small town, long ago). He has his bio parents info and knows who he looks like, but when they are not around for you (and abandon you in the form of divorce with no visitation--when they could have had it) it is a loss as well. I wouldn't compare it to M's as there is so much known, but I think there are many people who were not adopted that are not as excited about their b-days as we, their missing story plays a role in that too.
imo--it just shows how important these stories are to ones sense of self and family; I wish I could give M her story--we will look until we can.

Mei-Ling said...

I know this has little relation to this post, but I just wanted to mention that I've realized how lucky I am that I have that information.

Being adopted from Taiwan and not the mainland has its distinct differences - I know the hospital, the time of birth, my parents names, the physician who saved my life, etc.

I'm both sad and happy that I have that information, and now that I know just how many transracial adoptees don't have that, I appreciate it very much.

Lisa said...

Malinda - Happy Birthday to you! And many more happy days are ahead! Mei-Ling - Thank you for your insight, I link to your blog regularly. I really hope that one day a miracle happens and many of us can somehow be able to find the birthmoms of our girls.

Mi Hilo Rojo said...

Happy Birthday Malinda!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hugs from Fort Worth


Anonymous said...

I don't know much about the story of my birth, though I do know the time and place. I haven't actually lived in the place I was born (near Chicago) since I was 3 years old. It has occurred to me that my desire to visit my children's hometowns was much stronger than my desire (none) to see the place where I was born. I have been to Chicago since (mostly in transit to someplace else), but don't feel a need to see where I was born or know more of the story. (Of course, there is a big difference between being able to know and not wanting to and not being able to know.) So, while I agree that it is sad for our kids to not know those things, I also think that those things are more important to some people than to others. My younger daughter has expressed way more interest in her baby years than her older sister, who has rarely questioned it.

Anyway, a belated happy birthday to you, Malinda!

(who still can't seem to log into Google/Blogger)