When my three raised daughters were little, they too loved the story that began "on the day you were born." Every time I told them the story, a wave of sadness crept over me because I did not tell, could not tell, my first
daughter Rebecca that story. Recurrent guilt that also came up when I celebrated my daughters' birthdays, signed them up for camp, took them to family reunions. I'm not doing this for my first daughter.
I imagined Rebecca was told about "the day we chose you and brought you home." Adoptive parent memoirs ("Our Adoption Journey") always include a section on how they told their child about coming into their family. The child is delighted to hear the story; he snuggles up close, so happy to have been chosen.
As I told my daughters about the day they were born, I would think, "perhaps it didn't matter that I could not tell Rebecca about her birth, being selected might be as satisfying, perhaps more satisfying--certainly narratives from adoptive parents suggested that. The thought didn't comfort me, though. Instead it led to the thought that perhaps I should have placed all my children for adoption, if indeed being adopted is a happier state.
Rebecca and I connected just after her 31st birthday. The following year I came to her home in Illinois and celebrated her birthday with her. She asked me to tell her about the day she was born.
As I told Katie about those magical moments when children come into the world, I could not help but think about the children who will never hear their story: those adopted into closed adoptions and those adopted from abroad who may not ever learn the day or even the year in which they were born. No matter how much frosting is put on the "day we brought you home" cake, there's a hollow space inside.--jane