This is a birthday wish for Camden (now Elliott), who is turning six today.

For Camden (now Elliott), this sixth birthday deserves to be a happy day, on which he’s free to enjoy the best wishes of everyone who adores him.

Like all children having a birthday during the Covid-19 pandemic, though, this is probably being celebrated as a quiet, family affair. There are undoubtedly presents, and a birthday cake. Maybe there are balloons and ice cream, too.

We hope he knows the story of his birth, however hard parts of this may be to explain. Even at the age of six, for Camden (now Elliott), there is already an growing awareness that being born is a big deal. Birthdays remind us of those who were with us at our beginning. Children often hold a secret fascination with wanting to know what they were like as babies. They’re learning how who they were contributes to whom they’re becoming.

A Complicated First Chapter for Camden (Now Elliott)

Yet the people gathering to celebrate this birthday for Camden (now Elliott) were not there at the hospital six years ago when this much-loved child was born. They knew nothing about him, on that day when this baby was born.

They were not the birthmother who gave birth to this baby she already loved so. Yet she felt she could not keep the child, reportedly due to her boyfriend’s resistance to raising a baby she’d conceived outside their relationship.

They were not the adoptive family to whom the baby was released from the hospital, either. That family, upon learning that Camden’s birthmom regretted her decision and felt she’d relinquished under the influence of medication and coercive acts by others, returned the baby to their Ohio adoption agency.

The birthmother fought valiantly to overturn the surrender she’d signed– for years. She desperately wanted to raise this baby boy, along with her other five children. The legal case was argued all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court, where the termination was upheld. For Camden (now Elliott), he ultimately lost the right to grow up in his family of origin that day.

And that’s why, for Camden (now Elliott), birthdays may always evoke mixed emotions, as happens for so many adopted persons.

Advice for Adoptees Placed amidst Disputes

For Camden (now Elliott), and for any adoptees placed amidst disputes, please know: you are in no way responsible for all the discord between your birthparent’s, the family who eventually adopted you, and the adoption agency that facilitated it all.

Much as we wish all the people who love you could have come to some form of compromise in your best interests, they didn’t. And they may never forgive each other for this.

Know that they all wanted the best for you, even if they had sharply differing opinions as to what that was. (And they still do, undoubtedly.)

You are the sum total of all of them, of course. And that means the best of all of them lives on in you You’re growing up with the nature that comes from your biological roots, and the nurture that comes from your adoptive influence.

Over the years, the challenge those two sides may face is to find the grace to embrace all of you– that which was born of nature, and that grown through nurture. (But that’s on them, not you.)

Our wish for Camden (now Elliott) is that he grows up happy, well, and strong in the knowledge that he is truly free to be whomever (and whatever) he chooses to be.

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