An Adoptee Talks About Her Birthday


It’s MY Birthday (And I’ll Cry if I WANT to)

In 1963, Leslie Gore sang, “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I want to”. Right now, I am invoking my right to pull a Leslie Gore, and to cry if I want to. You see, I am looking down the barrel of my most dreaded time of the year. Monday will be my birthday.

Birthdays Should Be Magical

But, birthdays are magical, and a time to celebrate the day you came into this world! It’s funny, When I am in the hospital, and Brahm’s Lullaby plays over the speakers, I become excited and I smile. I know that with the playing of that song, the world has forever changed; that somewhere in the hospital with a child taking his or her first breath, a woman is hearing the most beautiful sound that has ever graced her ears in that very moment with her baby’s cry. A human is here, so full of potential; a story with blank pages that the optimist inside of me believes will soon be filled with love, happiness, success, laughter, and numerous fun- filled adventures.

Let’s Get Down to Reality

Ok. So maybe that’s the case for some people, but let’s get down to reality here. Somewhere in the umpteenth time a hospital hears that lullaby in a day, there is bound to be at least one child who was not born into “Hallmark movie of the Week” circumstances. There is bound to be at least one child who will have to struggle with knowing he or she was not wanted, and who will live a lifetime of pain and rejection.

Birthdays Are Painful for Foster Kids & Adoptees

The truth is, birthdays are VERY painful for foster children/adoptees. It is the one day of the year that we can be fairly certain that at least one of the people who brought us into this world might give pause to her day, and give us the gift of at least a fleeting thought. It is the anniversary of the day, that we know that we got to be with the person who was supposed to love us unconditionally, who was supposed to never give up on us. But she did. She gave up on us, and we forever carry the burden of the pain of being rejected by the one person who was supposed to be there forever and love us without abandon and unconditionally. We forever carry the guilt of knowing that we were not meant to be- that we were somebody’s mistake, and the guilt that comes with knowing that your very existence ruined someone else’s life.

I know this is dark. I know this is upsetting for some. I promise, I will get back to my humorous, happy self and I will continue to push through my pain and try to be a blessing to others. But for right now, I need to face my feelings, shed my tears, and handle this pain. This is how we heal. But for now. It’s MY birthday, and I’ll cry if I WANT to. I am quite sure “you would cry too if it happened to you”.

Now It’s Your Turn:

  • What have you done in your foster-adoptive family to help your child through these emotions on their birthday? Traditions?
  • Adoptees, what can foster-adoptive parents do to help young ones through these times?


Written by
Betsy was born, adopted, and raised in central Illinois, and has lived there her entire life. She is married to a very fantastic, understanding man named Lucas, and is a mother to her dream children: Eli (10), and Cailyn (7). Her household includes two dogs, Cleo the papillon, and Jelly the pug, a bearded dragon named "The Doctor", a frog named Lazarus (who came back from the dead), and a fish. When she isn't managing her "family zoo", Betsy volunteers with her church, and with Boy Scouts, and is an adoption advocate.

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