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Happy 24th Birthday, Mom

This one's for you.

Happy 24th Birthday, Mom

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday dear mom, Happy Birthday to you.

Usually we sing this beloved song to someone celebrating a birthday and while my birthday is coming up on November 30th, I'll be singing that song to somebody else... my birthmom.

I was adopted from a small town in Russia, when I was a baby and really have no memory of the first year of my life, I mean who does? After I was adopted, I grew up in an incredibly loving home and wouldn't change a thing about the family I was adopted into, the activities I participated in, the schools I attended or the friends I made. I've lived a very happy life yet have always felt like something was missing and that a part of my puzzle wasn't there.

Ever since I was young I've always known I was adopted and really didn't think much of it for the first 10 years of my life. It was a normal part of my life and just became how I introduced myself to people... Hi, I'm Irina and I was adopted from Russia when I was a baby. For the past few years, though, I've often thought of my birthmother and about the life I could have lived if I had stayed in Russia.

I know my quality of life would be significantly less if I had stayed in Russia and I definitely wouldn't have had the opportunities I've been blessed with having. As wonderful as my life is right now, I can't help but think about my birth family, particularly my birthmother. I was recently diagnosed with depression even though I think I had it for years and it had gone undiagnosed. I think that part of the reason I suffer from depression is because the first chapter of my life is a mystery.

I have my birthmother's name and other various details about her, but I don't have a picture to put to the name and therefore that makes it very difficult for me. I want to know who I look like, and whose nose I inherited. I crave to know where I get my optimistic attitude and my love for writing. There are so many unknowns and I just wish I had answers. I've made lists of the questions I would ask my birthmother if I had the opportunity to meet her; do you think of me on my birthday, to what her favorite color is, and everything in between.

She's the only one who knows the details of her pregnancy. I want to know how she feels about me, and if she loves me. I know they say that adoption is a choice made out of love but it sometimes doesn't feel that way. A lot of the time being adopted feels like rejection from the one person who is supposed to love you above anybody else... your mother. I like to think that my mother made the choice out of love but it pains me because I know I have an older sibling. The questions race through my head and I often wonder why my birthmother chose to keep her first child and not me.

I like to think that she had nothing but good intentions but sometimes it feels like she just didn't want me, which I'm almost positive isn't true. She remained pregnant with me for 9 months; if that isn't love I don't know what is. She also made the incredibly selfless choice to give me a better life and a better chance at life. I have feelings of anger at times but above all else I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude towards the woman who chose to give me life.

So when it comes down to it, I might be a little sad on my birthday. To be honest, my birthday is the one day out of the year that my birthmother might be thinking about me, even though I think about her each and every day. If I seem a little down on my birthday, I'm sorry. I'm so grateful to be alive, especially after this rocky year, but I also am desperate to know the woman who gave me up for adoption.

So mom, this one's for you. As I blow out the candles this year I think of you and the selfless choice you made 24 years ago. As I make my wish I've made for the past 10 or so years I think of how I long to meet you... to thank you... and to love you.

You are my hero, and will forever have a special place in my heart.

Until we meet again,

Your birthdaughter

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Irina Lessne
See all posts by Irina Lessne