Last week, I had a beautiful birthday. I will admit that it was mostly due to Joe and his beautiful community. It is always weird to be the one entering a completely new world. Joe, in his letter about my birthday, mentioned the importance of that date for us. It is the moment that this story really began.
For me, birthdays have always been troubling. It is not because I am growing a year older. I am oddly at peace with my age, and I probably should be after it has been made public through this project everywhere. For an adoptee, a birthday is a memory of loss. It is the one day a year that you remember completely and without question that you once belonged to someone else.
Every time I'm on Facebook I notice who is having a birthday. Social media is mainly distracting, but that little convenience, being reminded about a friend's birthday, somehow balances out the distractions. It feels great to say Happy Birthday to someone every day of the year.
I believe all lives deserve a shout out, at least once a year, if not 365, by a large number of people, who simply say, it is great you exist.
Tatiana turns 42 on Wednesday, November 26. In 1972, that date was on a Sunday. I imagine myself that weekend in 1972, aware that the birth mother was preparing to have a child, perhaps she had gone into labor the day before. I had asked to be there, but perhaps the home where Tatiana was born was not so keen on the idea of the birth dad's being present, or perhaps it was decided by our parents it was not the best. I know I never saw Tatiana at birth. I wonder what that would have been like.
A couple of weeks back, I accidentally kicked my son’s twenty-five pound weight. It still hurt a couple of weeks later, so I went to a doctor. At the doctor’s office, I was given the medical form to fill out. I realized that this was the first time in forty-one years that I actually could fill out this form. I had all of the information. I briefly wondered if I should call Joe.
This is what it means to be adopted.
We are writing to invite you to become part of a journey with us: a journey to explore the story of two people finding each other across 40 years of time, to look at the issues of adoptees and their families, and to make sense of what it means to construct family in the twenty-first century.
Our names are Tatiana Beller and Joe Lambert. We are both writers and media professionals. We are both steeped in the issues of story, of life, of culture. We were both born in Texas. We both have boys, 19 years old, one Sebastian, one Massimo Sebastian, born 2 weeks apart.
Joe is Tatiana's birth father. Tatiana is Joe's biological child. Father? Daughter? The names give us trouble. We are strangers who know each other in a very peculiar, a very profound, way.