Birthdays and the Adopted Child

As you probably know, we adopted siblings from Russia when they were 5 and 11 in 2004. Their first birthdays with us were a lot of fun. Tania turned 11 shortly after we brought her home. She knew what a birthday was but had never gotten a birthday card, a present or even had people wish her a Happy Birthday before. Her best friend in the orphanage had put a candy on her pillow on her birthday last year, and that was the only gift she had ever had. Alex, 5, did not even know what to do with a wrapped present when he first arrived. He just held it and looked at it like it was a wonderfully colored box. We had to show him how to rip the paper off of it. At that point we had then created a ‘monster’. They both immediately liked birthdays and holidays with these wonderful gifts. Is it a surprise? I hope not, since neither one of them is good about keeping secrets!
We laugh when we think of the time we first took them to a mall. They ran from store to store saying, “Look! Look!” We didn’t know it at the time, but they didn’t know you could buy these things. They just thought you could look at them. Yes, those were the days. Now they just say “Buy! Buy!” and “I want” or “I need”.
Both my kids love birthdays and I think it’s because they can feel special…something they never had much of when living in an orphanage. They even love other people’s birthdays. It is a special time to honor that person and they love giving that attention to them. They both like receiving gifts more than giving, but that is actually pretty normal for most kids, isn’t it?
For our biological sons birthday parties were held until they were 10. Then we’d do the out to dinner thing with one friend or something as they got older. Since Tania had her 1st party at 11, she seems to think she is owed parties. She wants a party at the end of the school year…to celebrate summer. When I asked how many kids she was thinking of asking, she said “About 30.”. I think I actually laughed out loud. Yeah…thirty 15-16 yr olds at our house. NOT! She couldn’t believe I didn’t want to do that. She even suggested that it wouldn’t cost anything because we didn’t need to feed them. Right….30 teens just sitting quietly looking at each other. Hmmmm….I don’t think so. She is so social minded these days. I wish she thought of her studies as much as she does about boys and parties. But that’s another story.
So…on this day….which happens to be my birthday….I will be thankful for a healthy, happy family. We’ll go out to dinner together. I know Tania helped Dennis shop for me, so that should be interesting.
Just remember all the kids in orphanages who never celebrate birthdays or have parties. Let’s see if we can get some into families. Spread the word about Adoption.
Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach
Everything for Adoption


3 responses to this post.

  1. Really? Because almost all the adoptees I know hate their birthdays, it reminds them of all their losses


    • That’s a great point. My two kids don’t seem to think of that issue much. Yet. I am guessing each person is different on this issue. We used to say a prayer at supper when they were younger thanking their mother for giving birth to them that day. They used to like that. They have gotten older and we forgot to do that this year. I wonder how many adoptees really hate their birthday. Hmm….


  2. Hello, that was a very nice post you have there.Keep it up


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