Cope With Your Child’s Birthday After Adoption

In the years that follow adoption, your baby’s birthday can take on a whole new meaning. Should you celebrate the day? How will you handle the powerful emotions that come with this annual reminder? Take a look at common birthday questions that birth mothers have – and the answers to them.

Can a Birth Mother Contact the Child on a Birthday?

The answer to this question depends on what type of adoption you have. A closed adoption means that the birth parents won’t interact with the child. In this type of arrangement, the agency won’t provide you with contact or identifying information (such as names) of the adoptive parents. Likewise, the adoptive parents won’t have your information.

But in an open adoption, both the birth and adoptive parents may meet and exchange contact and identifying information. Depending on the child’s needs and the adoptive parents’ preferences, you may have the ability to see the child on their birthday.

Can a Birth Mother Send a Gift?

Again, this depends on the type of adoption you choose. In a closed adoption you won’t have an address to send the gift to. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t shop for and buy a gift. Finding a way to mark this special day is an important step in the ongoing healing process. Instead of sending a gift to the child, buy something meaningful for yourself.

What Should a Birth Mother Do on the Child’s Birthday?

If you can’t – or aren’t allowed to – visit the child on their birthday, what can you do to mark the day? You have several different options. Emotionally engaging, and psychologically soothing, ideas include:

  • Spend time with a loved one. Spending the day with your friends and family provides a sense of support and engagement that can help you to celebrate your child’s birthday, without feeling alone.
  • Spend time alone. Even though some mothers need the social support of friends and families, others prefer to mark this day with time spent alone. Whether you cry, relax, or just take a walk by yourself, alone-time provides a way to refresh and think through, often complicated, feelings.
  • Create a craft. Paint a portrait, make a special necklace, or engage in another crafty activity to keep your hands and mind busy while you celebrate this day in a meaningful way.
  • Make a list. Create a list of your past year’s accomplishments. Use the list to remind yourself of how far you’ve come in one short year.
  • Have a treat. Buy a birthday cake, bake cupcakes, or choose another similar treat.

As the years go by, you can try several of these ideas or create your own. If you have more children in the future, incorporate them into the activities too.

What Should a Birth Mother Do If the Birthday Feelings Are Overwhelming?

It’s normal to feel a sense of grief or overwhelmed on your child’s birthday. If your feelings are too much to handle on your own, ask for help.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s one, two, eight, or more years after going through the adoption process – a birthday can bring up powerful emotions that are hard to handle. If you don’t already see a counselor or therapist regularly, now is the time to start. A mental health professional can provide you with the tools you need right now and in the future.

If you’re not sure how to find the type of help you need to make it through this trying time, an adoption counselor can connect you with a therapist to see on a regular basis.

Are you pregnant? Are you considering adoption? Contact Arizona Adoption Help for more information.