Birthdays Don’t Have to Hurt

I'm Michelle!

I've learned that there is power when we share our story: scars, flaws, and all. It's within the imperfections where we find freedom. My blog is dedicated to this belief! 

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As an adoptee empowerment life coach, one issue that I guide adult adoptees through is the meaning they give their birthday.

I’ve heard adoptees say, “I dread my birthday!” Or, “My birthday is coming up and I don’t know what to do. I want to hide until it’s over.” I understand. There was a time when all I wanted to do was ignore my birthday. Just let it be over, I’d say to myself. Make it go away.

You see, on their birthdays, adoptees are often reminded of the loss that happened on the day they were born. The feeling of loss is so strong that it can be difficult to know how to get through it. So, they avoid celebrating—or even mentioning—their birthday.

In the adoptee’s mind, their birthday becomes their annual day of mourning.

It was mine for a long time until I discovered that I had the power to choose how I want to feel about and experience my birthday. I began to transform my relationship with my birthday—and the meaning I had assigned it—by asking myself two questions: What has been my focus on past birthdays? What do I desire to be my focus from this birthday forward?

The answers to these questions, for me, were:

Past focus: loss

Present & Future focus: love

I’ve shared my belief that “where focus goes, energy flows,” and this belief really cannot be overstated. If we, as adoptees, focus on loss then the energy of loss will follow us. If we can, instead, begin to focus on love—the energy of love will find us…on our birthday and on every day.

Set the intent for love and for a love-filled birthday. You will receive a loving response.

Adoptees have experienced loss. I understand the loss, intimately.

However, we don’t have to stay stuck in the loss because when we do, we miss out on life. And, life is a gift!

On my birthday, now, I take long walks and speak the gifts of my life out loud. Those gifts include my family, my pets, my friends, my heartbeat, my breath, my incredible adoption community, the women and families I coach, the sound of laughter, the freedom of forgiveness, and the power of focus.

With each step, a lightness washes over me. There is no more aching on my birthday. I no longer mourn. I allow myself to feel the connection with my birth mum in a way that is life-affirming and promising. I thank her for the gift of life and for all I’ve learned as I’ve lived within the skin of adoption.

I celebrate the lessons. I light a candle in honor of the journey. I place my hands over my heart and I feel. I feel it all because all of it is me.

Love yourself enough to focus on what it is that you desire in your life.

Let go of anything that does not serve your highest purpose.

Give yourself permission to explore your birthday in new and transformative ways. Your special day doesn’t have to hurt.

And, I don’t want to end this message without letting you know that I’m so glad you were born….

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Hi, I'm Michelle.
Your BFF + New Empowerment Coach.

I don't hold anything back anymore. I've learned that there is power when we share our story: scars, flaws, and all. It's within the imperfections where we find freedom. My life's work is dedicated to this belief! 

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Read My #1 Blog Post

When Adoptees Push, Please Pull. This blog post has received huge response. It helps to explain the real reason why adoptees can sometimes "push," what the pushing really means, and how to best respond in those moments. 


Coco & Olive: The Color of Love

Coco & Olive: The Color of Love is the recipient of the 2019 Royal Dragonfly Award for excellence in children's literature. With playful canine characters and a rainbow of colors, the book explores adoption and family diversity. We believe it's never too early to talk about adoption and inclusion. (photo: @leahfrisosky)

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Michelle Madrid-Branch

Empowering adoptees through compassionate adoption-focused life coaching. 


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