My Birthday (Part 2)

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I receive cards. I’m grateful to think surviving members of my adoptive mother’s family still treat me as family. They want to believe I was just like ‘one of the family’. But they know I was not. Many families have a black sheep, and I was theirs.

I have lunch with my friends. They bring me presents. Birthdays are the days you celebrate coming into the world. I can’t be miserable. Each woman in the group has a child who died. I never had that. One woman lost her mother to death at an early age, and lost contact with her siblings for many years. We all carry much sorrow. But today the sun shines and the food is good and we care about each other. I’m happy in their company.

They know I am adopted. It was so long ago, they think it is a past event. They don’t know that everyday something is said, or happens to remind me that I don’t really know who I am. I had breast cancer; the doctor asked if there was any history of breast cancer in my family. I say I don’t know my family. The doctor has not been given a script to run for that answer. If I said yes, I would get testing for a particular gene. If not, it is not deemed necessary. If I don’t know my family she could treat me either way, but no knowledge is treated as no history of the disease. I walk out of her rooms distressed that I have no family history. The breast cancer is just a nuisance I’ll let her deal with.


I was born at Rose Park to a mother named Rosa. My adoption was pre-arranged by the local doctor.