Monday, October 17, 2011

How do we Mend the Hoop?

By Trace A. DeMeyer (Winyan Ohmanisa Waste La Ke)

Years ago I was embarrassed to say I was adopted. I did not feel lucky. I did not have a clue that my adoption hurt me so badly, its tentacles reached into every aspect of my life, even as an adult. My hoop, my connection to my ancestors, was broken by my adoption.
I ached to know my own mother, the woman who created me.
One expert wrote, “Loss of the most sacred bond in life, that of a mother and child, is one of the most severe traumas and this loss will require long-term, if not lifelong, therapy.”
Really?  No one helped me with this. I had therapy twice. The counselling I received in my 20s or 30s concerned my dysfunctional childhood and yet all my issues stemmed from my adoption wound and loss. They missed it or didn't inquire or connect the dots. Why is that?
For close to 20 years, on my own I searched and simply wanted to find answers and the truth. I made calls before I showed up anywhere; I did not disrupt anyone’s life.  If I was invited to meet relatives, I went. This year alone, two cousins have filled giant gaps in my ancestry. Prayers are answered, even the unspoken ones.
I can see how adoption loss can last a lifetime. For some friends, they're stalled with sealed adoption records, not knowing which tribe, and suffer greatly with grief and depression.
For them, I wrote my book as a journalist and adoptee and now I write a blog for other American Indian adoptees, raised by non-Indians.
For those who attempt to open their own adoption, or simply want to understand, I explain many stages, steps I had taken: some good, some hard. 
Sharing stories is how we heal, how we mend the hoop.
Even now there is persistent rampant poverty in Indian Country. Even now it isn’t easy being Indian, on and off the reserves. But it is definitely better to know who you are, which tribe, and not live in a mystery. Someone needs to build a bridge for these adoptees. Open records will accomplish this.
It's hard to admit but adoptees with Indian blood find out soon enough their reservations are closed to strangers. Without proof, without documents, you’re suspect.
We don’t always get our proof since state laws prevent it.  Just one Minnesota tribe, White Earth, decided to call out to its lost children/adoptees; this made news in 2007.  Just a few adoptees showed up. Why? Adoption records are still sealed in Minnesota.
America’s Indian Adoption Project was not publicized or well known, just like a few more secrets I found out. Congress heard Indian leaders complain in 1974, “In Minnesota, 90 percent of the adopted Indian children are placed in non-Indian homes.”
I was born in Minnesota.
For any adoptee going back to their tribe, this requires a special kind of courage. Adoptees know this. Rhonda, a Bay Mills Tribal member, an adoptee friend of mine, was told early on – be happy, be white.  Ask yourself, how would you react?
When did Indian Country become such a bad place to be from? When did this happen? How did this happen?
My mission is to find these answers and build new bridges... it is time to mend the hoop for all adoptees.

The Hoop symbolizes the never ending circle of life which starts with birth, then goes to maturity, then to old age and death with the completion of the hoop in rebirth here or in the spiritual world. The individual who has his life in order stands in the center of the hoop to see, to understand, and to be guided by the various paths of life around him. The best compliment one can pay an individual is to say that he stands in the center of the hoop of life or that he lives on the correct path of life. http://www.grandfathersspirit.com/Hoop-of-Life-Buffalo-Skull.html
Visit my blog: http://www.splitfeathers.blogspot.com/

3 comments:

  1. Thanks Trace,so good to see you writing more on the particular place of your people in the adoption story.Sometimes it's so hard......

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  2. I just read what u wrote and am feeling stunned, wanted to meet someone like you who would understand and validate these feelings! I too was adopted, sister and I together - she's 15 months older. Parents were young, Mom 17 - Dad 18. Mom 19 had me (2 girls). Long story short, sister was cute and blond with blue eyes... self, brown eyes and darker hair (not as cute), she tried to kill me by starving me- also shook and yelled violently how much she hated me. I was barely alive according to hospital records, (9 months old when CPS - hospital for 3 months, couldn't even lift head or make fist according to hospital reports) My sis and I taken away, I met up with her in foster home - went through that hell until adopted when I was almost 4. No therapy either, and by the word used to describe the foster homes, use ur imagination and whatever u think of... some of that was going on -- duck tape on mouth in dark basement much of the time, barely fed us. Been trying to fit in and act normal, feel normal, and just get over some of these 'anxieties' - but at times feel like ...so alone. Nobody really understands me and I have to try to act as 'normal' as possible for fear they'll think I'm crazy. But I feel like I go through the motions of being normal - but not really living. I don't trust therapists - anybody for that matter. Tons of failed relationships, always allowed self to be taken advantage of like a human door mat... angry with self -- and it's really difficult to just be a good Mom and still keep up with the demands of life. I love to read what you say, feel you - and shocked to find someone whose words make me feel like as though I could have wrote the same, but not as greatly articulated. Part of the problem with my Mom's abuse is she shook me and my eye muscles are a 'messed up' and brain processing is slow. My sister found biological parents - looked our birth-dates in hospital records of births with girls with same last name, it was nice to get to know some of the elder family members before they passed. I always wanted to know what 'I was', hoped to be something awesome like Indian or ..? I always LOVED Native American Traditions.. their Spirituality caught my heart always. Well, found out that there are a lot of different Ancestral roots from around the world, mostly Bohemian Gypsies that escaped hitlers wrath. I've learned now after a lifetime of obsessing 'who I was', that I am just like everyone else, and weather or not I have Native blood or not - I'm from the same Mother Earth as all other beings so then ..we're all just a species and none better than the other. One thing that I would warn every person who may want to find their biological families - be prepared for handling people with mental disorders... have a ..mental disorder 'condom'.. not kidding - if only u or anyone could imagine what ppl who r sociopaths and almost get away with murder act ...it's horrible and the purpose isn't to find someone to love u - if that's the goal, if validation and a real relationship is the only incentive... May as well stay enjoying life. Helps to watch a few videos on sociopaths, take a few psychology classes and stay on a Spiritual path... 'Red Road', if I got that right it's the way of 'sustainability'. Thanks for reading and posting, I was just looking for information on 'mending the hoop'. I feel that's our Mission at this time - well, always is and was but now seems to be time when all 'variables' are falling into place... we're a Team, U helped me - ask if u want help - I'm always close by... Kerri Ann Frisk

    ReplyDelete
  3. I seriously am feeling like I've met a Soul sister - kind of stunned! I too was adopted, sister and I together - she's 15 months older. Parents were young, Mom 17 - Dad 18. Mom 19 had me (2 girls). Long story short, sister was cute and blond with blue eyes... self, brown eyes and darker hair (not as cute), she tried to kill me by starving me- also shook and yelled violently how much she hated me. I was barely alive according to hospital records, (9 months old when CPS - hospital for 3 months, couldn't even lift head or make fist according to hospital reports) My sis and I taken away, I met up with her in foster home - went through that hell until adopted when I was almost 4. No therapy either, and by the word used to describe the foster homes, use ur imagination and whatever u think of... some of that was going on -- duck tape on mouth in dark basement much of the time, barely fed us. Been trying to fit in and act normal, feel normal, and just get over some of these 'anxieties' - but at times feel like ...so alone. Nobody really understands me and I have to try to act as 'normal' as possible for fear they'll think I'm crazy. But I feel like I go through the motions of being normal - but not really living. I don't trust therapists - anybody for that matter. Tons of failed relationships, always allowed self to be taken advantage of like a human door mat... angry with self -- and it's really difficult to just be a good Mom and still keep up with the demands of life. I love to read what you say, feel you - and shocked to find someone whose words make me feel like as though I could have wrote the same, but not as greatly articulated. Part of the problem with my Mom's abuse is she shook me and my eye muscles are a 'messed up' and brain processing is slow. My sister found biological parents - looked our birth-dates in hospital records of births with girls with same last name, it was nice to get to know some of the elder family members before they passed. I always wanted to know what 'I was', hoped to be something awesome like Indian or ..? I always LOVED Native American Traditions.. their Spirituality caught my heart always. Well, found out that there are a lot of different Ancestral roots from around the world, mostly Bohemian Gypsies that escaped '''hitlers''' murderous wrath. I've learned now after lifetime of obsessing 'who I was', that I am just like everyone else, and weather or not I have Native blood or not - I'm from the same Mother Earth as all other beings so then ..we're all just a species and none better than the other. One thing that I would warn every person who may want to find their biological families - be prepared for handling people with mental disorders... have a ..mental disorder 'condom'.. not kidding - if only u or anyone could imagine what people who r sociopaths and almost get away with murder act ...it's horrible and the purpose isn't to find someone to love u - if that's the goal, if validation and a real relationship is the only incentive... May as well stay enjoying life. Helps to watch a few videos on sociopaths, take a few psychology classes and stay on a Spiritual path... 'Red Road', if I got that right it's the way of 'sustainability' and harmony with all Nature around and within. Thanks for reading and posting - feels great to connect, I really believe that Love is the food for our Souls. Ran into your blog while looking for information on 'mending the hoop'. I feel that's our Mission at this time - well, always is and was but now seems to be time when all 'variables' are falling into place... we're a Team, U helped me - I'm here if u want help - I'm always close by... Kerri Ann Frisk

    ReplyDelete

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