My Second Birthday

I think I wrote about this last year. I don’t have the guts to say anything to my parents about it so it’s going to continue to happen as it has for the past 40 years and I’ll just talk about it here. Every freaking year if I have to.

I absolutely DETEST this is an actual holiday for my parents. I detest being sung “Happy Second Birthday To Youuuuu” every October 11th. I just detest it. It absolutely crushes what little credibility is given to the actual day of my birth.

What to do, what to do…..well, the term Gotcha Day makes me vomit a little in my mouth every time I hear it. I suppose something like We’re So Glad We Adopted You Day might be a better alternative.

It’s not like I don’t see the significance of the day I was adopted and I really don’t have a problem honoring that fact. Even though it is rather contradictory for me to celebrate something that brings me as much loss as it does gain. But the method………come ON!!! And don’t go throwing the “It’s because they love you” line at me. I KNOW they love me. But PLEASE it’s a simple matter of respect. October 11th is NOT my birthday. I am not born again although there are many who would like to see me as such. For the love of God, why is this so complicated?

Mom and Dad,

I have a birthday and I have the day I was adopted. Neither day makes me quiver with joy to be truthful but if you would like to honor the day I was adopted I think that might be a lovely thing to do. Let’s TALK about how how I would like to acknowledge it though. Because it’s just so tiring to pretend.



Filed under Truthful Musings

13 responses to “My Second Birthday

  1. Mia,
    I can’t even imagine how frustrating that is and has been for you. As you say, you were not “born again” on that day, and it is unfair to impose that reading of the events on you. I was going to say that I hope that it is in part generational, but then I remembered how many times I’ve been surprised that it still lives on, this idea/wishful thinking that a person has no history before her afamily, and your family has expressed it in its most naked form.
    Blech. I’m just really sorry.

  2. I am sorry you go through this and even more sorry you don’t feel comfortable telling your parents. My guess is they would want to know but obviously you know them best.

    As an adoptive parent..we do celebrate family day (she is only 3 yrs old though) and I don’t know how she will feel about it in the future but I do plan on asking her. Her birthday is another question too since she was found in Jan and her paperwork reads “the doctor decided her bday was October 21” I hate even reading how impersonal that guess was and wonder how she will feel when she realizes we have no idea when her “real” birthday is. Any advice??

  3. Maybe the day is more for their benefit than yours. Let them have their day. It means a great deal to them. It’s a day that choose to honor and has great meaning.

  4. (((Mia)))

    I feel the EXACT same way about Gotcha Day. How would people feel that if that’s what we started calling wedding anniversaries? I honestly think it’s so dehumanizing and possessive.

    Marsha, with all due respect, I think that if parents want to have their day, they can do it privately, without subjecting their child to something they might not feel entirely comfortable with. . . or at the very least, they could talk to their child about what he or she wants to do, rather than just impose their own wants and desires and then honor and celebrate it in a way that is authentic and meaningful for their child.

    There can be so many mixed emotions for us adoptees on certain days, holidays or other significant dates – no matter how old we are. I believe that by acknowledging and accepting all of those emotions, in their totality, is the best way we can truly honor adoptees – no matter what day of the year it is.

    I’m thinking of you, Mia.

  5. Marsha, I’m not understanding “letting them have their day” and I’m very uncomfortable with the way that “day” is projected outward, as if Mia must accept that her life began (again) on that day, and everything that came before could be obliterated by aparents’ needs and wishful thinking.

    I understand letting aparents enjoy the anniversary of their meeting their child but for the reasons Paula mentions we would not call it “Gotcha Day.” This year we had our first anniversary of the day we were first all together as a new family, and we acknowledged it as that day, didn’t feel the need for a more concise term which would cut off any possibility for feeling differently about it. My guess is that how our daughter feels about that day will change based on her developmental stage and her growing awareness of her losses and, (to be fair to our family), all of our (including hers) gains, and that those feelings too will wax and wane, but that as an adult she’d think “enough already!” if we continued to impose it on her.

  6. Elizabeth

    I absolutely hate the idea of “Gotcha Day” how awful to be reminded of the day you officially lost your real family. Ugh.

  7. A “Gotcha Day” was one thing I was spared growing up . . . thank god. I very much understand your discomfort with it, Mia and I cringe you have to pretend 😦

  8. I’ve never heard it referred to as a “second birthday.”

    I’m sorry your parents do that to you. I imagine it must hurt.

  9. reunionwritings

    It is not a *birth* day, not first or second. It’s not appropriate to compare adoption to birth.

    Just tell them Mia, make up a new tradition to acknowledge the day for them.

    Obviously it means a lot to them and they are trying to show you how important you are to them, see if you can find a middle ground with this.

    Maybe on that day they can donate money to keeping a family together or something….

    It’s important to say something though Mia, why do you not give your feeling a voice? Let them know gently that this tradition has to change, they might be glad you let them in and told them how you really feel…..(yeah right ha ha but still it’s good to honour your true feelings)

  10. Justice

    I think KimKim said what I’d like to say.

    It’s wrong to pretend it’s your day, regardless of how well meaning it is.


  11. mia

    Thanks guys. I really should say something but at this point I feel as though it may just be easier for everyone involved to simply ride it out. I understand their intentions are good regardless of how misguided and self motivated so that helps. A little. I think if I had breached the subject years earlier I could have saved myself a lot of discomfort but I didn’t. Now my mother is near deaf and both she and my dad are beyond clarity of thought. I think any effort on my part to explain the hows and whys of this would be misunderstood and entirely hurtful to all of us. I see no real purpose in that for me or for them because the end result would not be what any of us would be comfortable with. Does that make sense? Thank God for my friends here!

    Laura that’s a tough one. Anyone that knows me can contest to the fact that I am a firm believer in honesty. I understand that the subject of her accurate birth date is an age appropriate truth but I would say always follow the path of truth. Truths, no matter how painful, can be reconciled within. Lies never can. Maybe this part of your daughter’ identity (or lack there of) will grow and become a catalyst for her to do something great. I wish you the best!

    After this past weekend and this particular post I think maybe a post on the term Gotcha Day might just be in order. Soon. It really amazes me just how many people use this term and find absolutely no problem with it. If I spare even one adoptee the pain of silence I have endured it will be worth the effort. Maybe we should all blog about it again. Do you think we will be listened to this time?

  12. Mia,

    I know a couple of people stopped using “Gotcha Day” when I mentioned it in a post — not even posting specifically about it, but just as an aside. So if even a few people change from one blog, and a few from another blog, and a few from another . . . . well, you see how it goes.

    I think part of that is how the message is framed. And trust me, some people will change their language, even if you don’t hear about it firsthand. 🙂

  13. Mary

    My aparents would comment on the day they got me but not the day my adoption was finalized. My amother would have preferred to celebrate the got me date (five days after my birth) if I had gone along with it. Once I got older I actually had to remind her which was my actual birthday and not my gotten date. UGH!

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