An adopted child's birthday is important and should be celebrated with cake, presents and the usual birthday accoutrements. A child who is adopted as an older child may be unfamiliar with birthday celebrations, and if he or she appears bewildered, parents should explain what will happen and what the child should do.
Some adoptive parents celebrate both "adoption day"-the day the child arrived in the home-and the child's birthday as well. Experts have mixed views on celebrating two holidays each year. Therapist and adoptive parent Stephanie Siegel, author of Parenting Your Adopted Child, advises against celebrating both days and instead urges concentrating on the child's birthday.
She says that "adoption is a memorable occasion and should be treated as such. A birthday, however, is the day to be celebrated each year. Do not confuse your children by celebrating their adoption day as well."
A birthday may also be a time when questions about birthparents arise, particularly as the child reaches adolescence and adulthood.
Stephanie E. Siegel, Ph.D., Parenting Your Adopted Child (New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1989).
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©2000 by Christine Adamec and William Pierce, Ph.D. Reprinted from The Encyclopedia of Adoption, 2nd Edition (2nd Edition) with permission of Facts On File, Inc.
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