Today is my birthday. It is also the anniversary of my primal wound.
For some, the day they were born is celebrated by “It’s a Girl” cards and balloons, champagne bottles are cracked open, the baby’s head is wetted by father’s down the pub. Mum is showered with love, presents for the baby, rattles, dresses, you know the sort of thing. People rally round and leave pot dinners on the hob for Mum to eat when she has time.
And then there is us, the others, the adoptees. Our birth is heralded by a flurry of activity in the social services department, doing paperwork to get signed off, making decisions about our future, that will affect us our whole lives. This activity is shrouded in shame. These babies have a wound inflicted on them, a wound so deep that for years they are totally unaware that it is there. Each experience in life is a reflection of that wound, but, unaware of it’s existence, they are seen as weird, not fitting in, out of place, ungrateful, distant, loners. They hear other children’s families discuss with their children telling them that they have the Redger’s nose, or the Maskell chin. That conversation is not in your memory bank, because who know’s who you take after? You have no idea who’s nose or chin you have, or who you resemble the most. Do you look like your mother or your father, or a combination of both?
The adoptee grows up not knowing who they really are. Trying to fit in with a family that does not have a hole that is shaped for them to fit into. Instead they have to become shape-shifters. A family has been assigned to them, by an outside source. In the UK that was generally social services or the church. As I read more around the subject of adoption I have come to realise that there is a whole industry out there that is in the business of adoption. It doesn’t make easy reading.
But back to today and my birthday and attempting to celebrate 60 years Earthside.
Having a birthday on 5th January, so close to Christmas and New Year celebrations, I rarely felt like doing much and during my early adulthood, nobody had any money left to do anything anyway, as payday was still a long way off. Perfect excuse as an adoptee not to celebrate, or to keep it small. I have in recent years tried to rectify that and make more of an occassion of the day, in an effort to please my daughter and husband, who I have to admit, have seen some pretty awful behaviour from me on January 5th over the years. Maybe I’ll ask them to do a post on it themselves, shall I? “The adoptee’s daughter’s advice to children of adoptee’s. What not to do or say on your parent’s birthday.”
One January 5th I was in the Caribbean, on a quiet corner of the ship on my birthday. Think that was 2015.
2017 I was in Jamaica for the day, on another cruise, this one with my daughter, on our way to NYC for her 21st. In Jamaica we zip-wired across the forest and went down a river in a rubber tyre. I learnt that in Jamaica they don’t have problems, just situations.
2018 I was in Aviemore, Highlands of Scotland.
2019 I was in Prague.
A few photos of recent 5th Januarys.
So I have learnt to celebrate my birthday, maybe not look forward to it as such, but allow myself to be part of the day and make happy memories for those around me, which is always a select few people who love me, generally just my husband. For my 60th I had planned on being in the South China Sea, on a sun lounger in a quiet space on the Diamond Princess, having enjoyed a cruise around the South China Sea, visiting places such as Vietnam, Hong Kong and the Philippines, amongst the places we would have stopped in port and explored.
Instead I am curled up on my sofa, in my PJs allowing myself to feel loved for once.
Today is not a day for situations, but a day for celebrating with Joy.
Thank you for bearing with me. If you would like to read more, then please follw this blog and follow my progress as I come to terms and heal from my wound.