Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Adoption Thoughts: The Birthday Dilema

I have two sons that joined our family through adoption. Both have the same biological parents, both experienced much the same in the way of history before they joined our family. And they are as different as two kids can be.

One son expressed immense grief and loss right from the beginning of his adoption, baring his soul in gut wrenching sobs of the pain and reality that was his difficult life. From almost day one in our family he expressed a desire to know more about his first mother and to understand where she was and if she was ok. He talked about adoption, his feelings and processed it all. When something was bothering him, he asked. When he wanted to go meet his first family, he let us know. In other words, he thinks about adoption, we talk about his adoption and I know exactly what is going on in his head, at least most of the time on this topic. And as a result, it does not affect his behavior.

The other son denies adoption even is a passing thought in his head. He "NEVER" wants to meet his first family, "NEVER" wants to communicate with them and "NEVER" voluntarily talks about adoption with us. Now, if I wasn't an adoptive parent that knew better, I might assume that means he never thinks about it either.

We have just come through a period of time that I refer to as our annual "Birthday Hell". "Birthday Hell" is the period of time after the beginning of March when we celebrate Caden's birthday until the middle of April when we celebrate Eric's birthday. "Birthday Hell", for the uninitiated, looks like a tornado of rebellion, disrespect, mood swings, aggressive behavior, emotional outbursts and general insanity wrapped up in the body of my child. In other words, it's NOT FUN.

On the actual Birthday DAY, year after year we face the same dilema. Things aren't good enough. We are paying too much attention to his birthday. We aren't paying enough attention to his birthday. The gifts are wrong, or too right, or not enough or too much. To give you an example, last year on his birthday we went to DISNEYLAND. D-I-S-N-E-Y-L-A-N-D. You can't get a much better birthday than THAT and still, misery reigned.

This year was no different. Fits and Pouts. Fits and Pouts. And no, he isn't just a spoilt brat, despite what he acts like. This is different. Profoundly different than a kid having a fit because they don't get what they want.

Now of course, I KNOW that birthdays can be tough on adoptees. If you are an adoptive parent and do NOT know this, time to crawl out from under the rock and do some reading. But this son? If you asked him if he was thinking about adoption or his first/birth family his adamant response would be a "NO! They are in the PAST mom and I don't even THINK about that".

Now some parents might believe their child when they say that and drop the subject, but I know my kiddo. And so, over the next week or two he and I had a couple of conversations about his life. His first family, their strengths, their weaknesses and whether or not I thought they were thinking of him. His Story. Questions, thoughts and discussions. And once again, peace reigned.
My son doth protest too much. Adoption? Yeah, even he thinks about it too.

And Birthday Hell passed just in time for Birthday Celebration, held a bit late this year because of all the DRAMA of the past month, but still held in his honor. My son loved every single moment of his special day.
His Rite of Passage Party we hold for the boys that turn 13 in our family. The party that brings the most important men in his life into our home for a time of support, encouragement and love. An Uncle, a God-Father, a Pastor, a Friend, a Dad and a Grand-Father. And my son enjoyed his birthday. Finally.

1 comment:

birthmothertalks said...

Until recently, I am ashamed to admit that I only thought of my birthday pain. I never even thought for a second that my daughter could feel sad around her birthday. I just thought of poor me. I wish I had all the answers on how to make it go away, but I guess it's just part of them. I am sure your a great Mom and you help them as much as you can.