Two women greet the warmth of the sunlight as morning approaches.

One woman goes to wake her son with a gentle birthday kiss and an everlasting embrace.

The other woman rests her hand on her stomach, reminiscing about the connection she once shared with her own son.

One woman disperses multicolored balloons throughout her home in celebration.

The other woman places a single balloon with the other, now deflated ones, from years prior.

One woman hands her child a delicately wrapped box secured in white paper stamped with monster trucks.

The other woman lays the same blank card marked with a golden H and B on the front into her faded black box.

One woman serenades her son with the song he has heard every year on his birthday.

The other woman hums the same tune as she stares longingly out her kitchen window.

One woman bakes a cake with chocolate frosting, her son’s favorite.

The other woman also bakes a cake, but with vanilla frosting.

Little does she know her son prefers chocolate.

The hardest part about my birthday, besides the inescapable truth that adulthood is in fact a reality, is wondering how my birth mother copes with the day. A number of questions immediately present themselves: Does she even remember my birthday? Does she celebrate it somehow? Does she wonder how much I change with every passing year?

This poem is an ode to her. While I will never fully comprehend the emotion behind placing a child for adoption, I can attempt to empathize with her during important occasions, including my birthday. I can place myself in her position in order to engulf myself in every emotion she may feel.

This poem is not written to sadden or upset those who read it. It is merely an exploration into the complex mindset of a mother and her connection with her child. As an adoptee, I feel no negative emotion regarding my birthday. I feel no different than any biological child would on his/her own birthday. The “hard” part is knowing my birth mother does not have the opportunity to celebrate with me. It is knowing that she may have wanted to for years upon years but was never given the ability to do so. This poem also is a dedication, not only to my birth mother, but to all birth mothers that have to relive this potentially difficult day every year. Most importantly, however, this is a thank you.

Thank you to my birth mother for bestowing the gift of life upon me, for granting me the opportunity to celebrate my birthday every single year. Thank you to my adoptive mother for continuing to celebrate it, for placing the same amount of importance on it, even though I am no longer a child. It is because of these two women that I see my birthday as a celebratory event rather than a disheartening one. And that is something that will remain with me for every single birthday to come.

To the reader: Is your birthday hard as an adoptee? Comment your thoughts down below.

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