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Adoption and Child Separation at the Border

On June 1, 2018 Rebekah Henson published an important thread on Twitter critiquing the hashtags #FamiliesBelongTogether and #Ke...

Monday, September 30, 2013

Life Recipe

I'm alive because I breath
I live because I breathe
I feel my heartbeats in my chest
They told my mother I was stillborn and everyone else I was a disease
But I know I'm neither
I wasn't stillborn and I'm not a disease

I'm no longer that innocent child
Yet I might still be naive
Everyone says you should listen to your heart or let your heart guide you
But what if you have tried to listen and tried to follow what your heart said ?
Maybe all the answers you get just makes you more confused
What if you don't know what you want
Don't know how you want to live your life
Or don't have a clue about exactly how your future should be

All I know is this I just want someone to love me and accept me as I am with all my flaws
I'd like an equally imperfect guy to love
Someone who shares my values and political views
But I still need to figure out the formula for my perfect life and future
I still haven't identified all the ingredients in the recipe for my dream life

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Whose Interests Do We Serve?


“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage- to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness.”   Alex Haley 

"Whose needs are being met by whom?" 

An adoptee's purpose is not to fulfill the needs and desires of adults who want to be parents, or is it? 

Adoption brokers have convinced society that adoption is a win-win.  They "create families" for anyone with enough cash, by convincing (or worse) vulnerable parents into heroically relinquishing their babies to "more deserving" parents.  Children are "saved", birth certificates "amended", and new "parents" have their dream child.  The deal is done. "As if" the child was their own.

This unregulated billion-dollar industry of transferring humans through "sealed" and "amended" birth certificates, however, sheds light on the fact that our current adoption system is actually more in the best interest of adults than children. 

Roundtable on Adoption for In These Times Magazine

Yesterday, I participated in a roundtable discussion about adoption, for In These Times social justice magazine, alongside Megan from the National Council for Adoption and birthmother Claudia from Musings of the Lame. (I'll post a link to the transcript online when it's posted.)

Obviously, we represented various sides of the "debates" on adoption--I was the adoptee voice, Claudia, who has written extensively about the adoption industry, represented a birthmother voice, and Megan represented a more "pro-adoption" voice.

With Claudia regularly describing, on her blog, the adoption industry primarily as a business exploiting adoptive parents because they need their money, and with Megan on the other side with NCA which describes the Veronica Brown case as a "victory for adoption" on its home page, I wondered,

Would we argue? Spar words over the phone?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Veronica



They tell us this has nothing to do with us.
They say we are not you.
But we know better.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lost Relationships

“You were tossed away like a pair of beautiful, brand new shoes that did not quite fit.”  ~Donna K. Childree

Sometimes when unexpected, painful, life altering events happen there are just not enough words to express it, emotions run too deep, and there is nothing that can be done or said unfortunately.  It just is.  When you are an adoptee you can often multiply reactions by ten. 

So here goes.  I apologize if I repeat my poems in posts but they have always been the best way for me to allow the depth of emotions being adopted has brought to my life "out".  The triggers that can send us spiraling into a darkness only "we" know can often change everything about where we think we belong in life.  Or more importantly, don't belong.

So what do you do when you are a rejected adoptee who is also rejected by those who claimed to love you forever and stand by you for life?  What do you do when your heart is broken, life as you knew it has been shattered into a million pieces and is unrecognisable and everything you thought you would have forever is gone?  Well, for many adoptees you turn to those who "get it", you keep close those who understand, and you write.  You breathe, you cry, and you sing sad songs, and you write.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Equality

Her cries are real, and his too. There is anguish in the eyes of a small four-year-old.

Baby Veronica is now in the arms of her adopted parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco. Yet, whose arms are now empty?

A man. A father. Dusten Brown weeps for his daughter as she does for him. Here is where our system has failed. A man who desperately wants to be a father was denied the right. He was overlooked in the process. 

As a feminist, I should make clear that I believe in the true definition of feminism … “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.” But this assumes that men have rights. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Reflections

September 12, 2003.  The world was still reeling from the news that John Ritter had died the day before, when it was reported that Johnny Cash had died.

It was also the day that my adoptive father died.  I cannot believe that it's been a full decade since he's been gone.  During that decade, my children have both reached double digits in age.  I've gone through three cars, moved into a house with my boyfriend and the kids, reunited with my natural parents, gotten engaged and survived losing both my adoptive and natural grandfathers.  So much change and yet, if I think about it, I can put myself right back in the moment that I found out my father died.  Traumatic...horrifying...and yes, as much as it will make me seem uncaring, brought me a strong sense of relief.

His death meant that I never had to confront him about the abuse.  Never had to hear him talk to my natural mother, playing the loving father role that he was so good at in public.  Never had to see him at family functions, keeping an eagle eye on my daughter when she ventured too close to him.

And yet, September 12 comes around and I get sad and angry and the grief washes over me in huge waves.  For all his many faults and abusive actions, he was the only father I had growing up.  It just confuses me and I have no idea how to reconcile my anger towards him with the overwhelming sadness and  grief.

I grieve for the father he should have been and for the lost little girl who kept hoping that he'd change.

Each year gets better though.  I know that blogging has helped.  As have the connections I've made with other adoptees and natural mothers online.  I've finally come to realize that I am allowed to feel all the emotions, sometimes all at once.  I can grieve and also be so angry about the childhood I lost and should have had.  I can be relieved that he's dead and sad that he died alone.




Sunday, September 15, 2013

Round Table: Adoptees As Mothers - Part 2

The prompt: In what way, if any, has your experience as an adoptee affected the way you parent? Does your adoptedness impact your children and/or your relationship with them? When you consider the choices you have made or might make in the future regarding reproduction, does adoptedness play a role?


Stephanie Kripa Cooper-Lewter I definitely think adoptedness plays a role in how I parent ... I see it everyday. Here is a link to the book Parenting As Adoptees -- some beautiful perspectives. My daughter and I wrote a chapter entitled "Beautiful." I think there is a definite need for continued conversation and writing on this from our varied perspectives.

http://parentingasadoptees.com/

Mila I can say without a doubt that my parenting is profoundly influenced by my experiences growing up as an adoptee, both in overt and covert ways, and both in positive and negative ways. I fear projecting too much of my experiences of rejection onto my children while simultaneously fearing that my children will feel rejected by me, particularly emotionally.

My experiences of race as a transracial adoptee also inform my parenting since our children are biracial. I grew up in a family that was oblivious to racism and one that still generally denies that I have been affected by growing up as an Asian in predominantly White communities. My husband and I are making sure to raise our children with an awareness of their race and how the world will respond to them. We are also trying to instill confidence and a sense of pride regarding their Korean heritage. Of course, this presents complications as a transracial, transnational adoptee because I obviously did not grow up with any exposure or knowledge to Korean culture or people. But I am determined to empower our children all the more because I was not.

Regarding my fear of my children feeling rejected by me -- I think this fear has the potential to lead to some borderline unhealthy parenting behaviors if I do not keep them in check. You know how they talk about young children experiencing separation anxiety as a part of normal development during early childhood? Well, I experience separation anxiety as a parent, due to my experiences as an adoptee. I fear that being separated from my children will result in them feeling rejected by me. This emotional aspect of my parenting is very difficult to overcome. It is a profound anxiety. However, the good side to this is that I am very sensitive to their emotions and both my husband and I focus on teaching them how to understand and express their emotions in a healthy, productive, confident way. Because I was taught that my emotions were bad, that I could not feel complex emotions about being adopted or otherwise, I have a deep conviction about equipping our children with the abilities to embrace and appreciate their emotions.

Also, our son is SOOOO much like I am. He's basically my emotional mini-me. As an adoptee, this has been a profound experience -- seeing myself in our son, and it compels me to parent him in the ways that I did not receive. Most parents can relate to this idea. But I think as an adoptee, it can be so much more complicated and surprising and confusing and wonderful simply because we never experienced that biological connection growing up. You revel in it as much as you grieve over what you realize you lost. Parenting as an adoptee has thus far been an incredibly emotionally enlightening experience and one that is constantly influenced by my adoption journey. Also as a reunited adoptee, my parenting of our children regarding their Korean family and origins is very complicated and requires much thought, particularly because my adoptive family is not accepting of my Korean family or origins. I have to learn to reconcile these differences, so that we can raise our children with the wisdom to know how to understand and reconcile the dissonance that exists.

I also feel VERY protective of my children emotionally because of how unprotected I felt emotionally as a child. I also feel protective of their uniqueness. Our son is clearly a very different kind of boy. As an adopted person who grew up feeling so much shame and rejection for being so different within my family and within the communities in which we lived, I want to teach our children not to feel ashamed of the ways that they are different. Rather I want them to feel empowered and proud of the ways in which they are different. This obviously requires me to overcome my own shame and discomfort regarding my sense of self.

Rosita Initially, my parenting could be considered a product of my parents’ experiences (both successes and mistakes), but I think that applies to just about any parenting. As our society evolves so do we as parents.

I learned from my adoptive parents, but what they couldn’t teach me was my racial identity. I learned to be resilient as a transracial adoptee in a rural Tennessee town, but that experience also prompted me to protect my own children from the ignorance and narrow-mindedness I faced as a child.

When my husband and I started planning to have a family, I made it very clear that I wanted our children to live in an ethnically diverse community. This was the voice of a naive mother. I quickly discovered that I could never fully protect them.

My guiding force, my adoptive mother, died just nine months after my first child was born. So, I do feel rather lost. While she was not fully equipped to help me with my race, she could certainly have been able to comfort my children as she did me. I mourn that fact alone as I often see my daughter wish for her grandmother, a woman who would call just about every day. Women need women and the perspectives of the past.

My racial identity (http://mothermade.blogspot.com/.../slow-to-see-myself.html) is still evolving, but my children have become the catalyst to my discovery. They question their biological, cultural history and their racial relevance, things I feel inadequate addressing. Their awakening is coinciding with my own. I have sought Korean surrogates, culture camps (http://mothermade.blogspot.com/2013/07/our-independence.html) and a network of Korean adoptees to help me find my way and theirs.

I also find myself unable to navigate the mixed race element. I have one child who is obviously Korean but who wishes he were white and unnoticeable. On the flip side, I have a child who looks like her white father. I was thankful for this because I believed she would be spared the ridicule. But she sometimes feels outside the race conversations I have with my son (http://mothermade.blogspot.com/.../the-misguided-guide.html). She wishes she could look more like me and be noticed as an Asian American.

Bottom Line? My parenting challenges are the same as most parents, but my transracial adoptedness has posed the biggest parenting obstacles, and often I am reminded of how little I know. But I guess we all have our moments of feeling this way, adopted or not. (http://mothermade.blogspot.com/2013/05/what-we-pass-on.html)

All I can do is love them as I was loved, hold them tight, listen intently to their voices, respect their reservations and seek the answers we all want to know.

Peach Having my son awakened my heart to recognize and cherish the mother/child bond I lost as an adoptee. He is the only biological relative I have had the privilege of living every day family life with, and I feel so blessed. To love this deeply taps into the primal fear of loss (especially after having to leave him in the NICU every night for four months), and I have to work constantly to let go of it, and enjoy every precious moment.

Lynne What Peach said resonates because my son is the only biological relative I've ever lived with. He is 19 now and I'm so proud of the man he has become. He is loving, caring and open. The talks we have warm my heart because he is not afraid to bring to me subjects that most would think of as off-limits, which is something my a-mom and I never had.

I have parented my daughter (age 8) in a way that values who she came out of the womb to be -- not who I want her to be. This is the opposite of how I was parented. It was expected that I would be like my a-mom and I don't want my daughter to feel that pressure to be like me, unless she chooses to. Some of the ways she is like me is that she is creative, and is pokey in the morning and is sensitive. Luck of the genetic pool!

My being adopted has affected my son. He met his biological grandmother one time on a trip when he was a freshman in high school. He just recently learned his ethnic background on my side, which of course, affects him. He appears to take all these things in stride, but it is an unusual scenario as compared to his friends. Anything I learn about my own family background, affects him and his future children -- whether it be new medical history, a breakthrough on the family tree, or new family members.

Christina If anything, being adopted by the people I was has taught me what kind of mother I DON'T want to be. I'm much more lenient with my kids, and yet, am able to discipline them effectively without them fearing me. I've learned that unconditional love is possible and that it's okay to make mistakes as long as your kids know that you are trying to be the best mother you can.

Deanna Shrodes I believe we can learn something from every person, and of course our parents, whether bio and adoptive are at the top of the list. I have learned from all of mine everything I want to be AND not be. As a child and as an adult, I have been under the tutelage, carefully observing things I want to incorporate into my parenting, or not. Sometimes people teach us much more of what NOT to do than to do. And I think that's okay. As long as we learn and then do better, because of what we now know by example.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Round Table: Adoptees As Mothers - Part 1

The prompt: In what way, if any, has your experience as an adoptee affected the way you parent? Does your adoptedness impact your children and/or your relationship with them? When you consider the choices you have made or might make in the future regarding reproduction, does adoptedness play a role?


Laura Dennis As an adoptee with two smallish non-adopted kids, my parenting approach differs purposefully and significantly from the home in which I was raised. It’s nothing against my adoptive mom, but I will not expose my kids to strict religious dogma. That’s the first thing.

Next, I parent according to my gut (and with insight from my husband and a trusted MD). Although I think my adoptive mom did raise me according to her own instincts, that instinctual method would have worked much, much better had I been her biological child. (Duh.)

Since I have non-adopted kids, I can go with my gut and have it work well most of the time. The only instances in which I have to be careful are when my kids’ basic personality differs from my own or my husband’s, and I must adjust my approach accordingly.

Finally, I will not perpetuate secrets and lies with my kids; I had enough of that growing up in a closed adoption. For example, while neither my husband nor I practice religion, we do celebrate Christmas as a cultural activity common to my background growing up Catholic and my husband’s Eastern Orthodox Christian ethnicity. A man dressed as Santa Claus even visits our house on Christmas Eve to give presents (it’s a Serbian thing, Santa is allowed to be seen by children). However, my kids know that this is a man dressed as Santa. I will not pretend or lie to them for the sake of childhood fun. Their fun resides in enjoying their friends and families, not in my misleading them.

In the same sense, I’ve told my 5-year-old a lot of things about life that most other kids her age don’t know about (at least where we live). She knows about puberty, menstruation, divorce, death and adoption, for example. I’ve tried to use age appropriate language and answered her questions according to her own interest, without going above her head. She knows it’s always best to tell the truth, and she knows she’ll always get the truth from me.

Amanda Two big themes in my parenting that I am sensitive to are feeling unloved and feeling like I do not belong. These were such intense emotions for me as a child and I never want my children to know what it's like to feel that way.

Growing up, I knew I was loved and cherished by my adoptive family and original family. My adoptive parents made sure to make this clear. Still I carried the sense of being unloved or unwanted with me, which was intensified incredibly in middle school when I was being bullied by peers. My adoptive mother must have somehow intuitively known that these would be struggles for me. My adoptive name, Amanda, means "worthy to be loved." She gave me this name so that this truth would follow me throughout my life as an adoptee. My original name, Christen, too was about honoring my belonging with in my original family.

Recently, I was upset that my son wasn't put in the same class as his best friend when the school knew he had a close bond with this other child. I look at my son who was sad about being put in another class but still happy they get to play together and I say "wait a minute, is me being upset about this really about him or about me?"

This really can resonate with any parent -- I know that. We all must investigate our emotional responses to our children's experiences and decide what about our response is about our own childhood vs. about our child. We must do this before we react to whatever issue parenting has confronted us with.

I do know that I cannot shield my son from being in a situation where he is new and needs to find belonging, like his new class and classroom. I cannot prevent him from being rejected or hurt by friends. Ultimately, these are experiences that will give him the skills and tools in the future to handle rejection and loss on his own when I am not there.

So when my son comes to me and is sad that he isn't with his old classmates, and later on in life is sad that a crush doesn't like him back or that he doesn't mesh well with a teacher's personality, what is my response? At the end of the day I can say to my son, "I do know how terrible those emotions can be. What can I do to make sure that you always know that you are an amazing and wonderful person?"

Rebecca Hawkes The very shape of my family was likely influenced by my adoptive experience. I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, but I noticed after the fact that I had created a family with one biological and one adopted child, mirroring the family I grew up in. I share the biological connection with one daughter and the adoptee connection with the other, though of course I have to be careful about projecting too much of my own experience onto either of them! One thing I'm aware of in terms of my own parenting style is that I tend to prioritize connection over correction, and I'm pretty sure this is rooted in my adoptedness. Disconnection is unbearable to me. Also, I am suspicious about the extent to which any parent can truly shape his or her child, given the strong similarities I've observed between myself and the biological relatives I didn't meet until adulthood. As a result, I tend to be more focused on supporting rather than influencing. I HOPE that I am providing the right nurturance for my children to develop into generally happy, well-adjusted, productive adults, but I assume that the basic template of the self (personality, interests, etc.) has already been set.

Von Big impact -- parting is such a big deal.

Deanna Shrodes Regarding choices I made in reproduction...

Planning my children was important to me. Not just in a general sense as with many people, but in a detailed way. I grew up having little knowledge of the circumstances of my conception or birth. All I knew was, my birth parents apparently weren't in love because my father abandoned my mother upon hearing of the pregnancy, and then she didn't keep me.

The details haunted me. So much so, that I never wanted my children to wonder about anything. So I probably went overboard about controlling things.

I made my husband go to 7-Eleven in the middle of the night if necessary. LOL And for most of our marriage before we took permanent steps where birth control was concerned, we used two forms of it, (double protection) just so I could always feel that I really was in control. (There goes that adoptee control freak tendency again...)

When I had kids, I wanted them to know they were planned.
That their father and I loved each other and desperately wanted them.

If birth control failed, I would have welcomed a child. I'm just saying, my dream was to plan all of my children since nobody except God ever planned on me and that distracted me for a large portion of my life.

I always knew I wasn't planned by humans.

It bothered me that from my first father's vantage point, I was someone to not acknowledge, and in my first mother's eyes I was someone to make arrangements for. At least that's what I always thought, growing up.

I carefully planned all four of my pregnancies (We have three children that lived and one that was lost in a miscarriage.) I can tell each of my kids exactly when and where they were conceived. (Yes, they sometimes cringe when their dad or I bring it up! Ha!)

Once my kids arrived, I proceeded to parent them just like I had also carefully planned. I know as moms we have a lot of preconceived ideas about how things will be and a lot of our ideas may change as the reality of mothering hits. But my main ideals, I ended up living out. My kids are 23, 22 and 16. They've all turned out amazing despite my shortcomings. Here are some things that were really important to me in light of my own adoptee experience...

No secrets - we're an extremely open, transparent family. There's nothing my kids can't ask me and nothing I won't tell them.

I was raised in what I would describe as an authoritarian home. You know, the "Because I said so" and "Don't ask why" and even the old, "Children should be seen and not heard" a few times.

My adoptive parents were very strict disciplinarians, with me in particular. I was a compliant child for the most part. Something I have retained from my upbringing is that I believe children need boundaries, discipline and consistency. I'm not their pal, I'm their parent. They have lots of friends, only one mom. Stepping aside from that role just to get them to like me at times when I've made an unpopular decision would spell disaster. So actually leading in my home? Yes...it's important.

But I've been a huge believer in listening. Active listening and hearing them out. All the way.

Not saying, "Because I said so," or "Don't ask why." It's perfectly fine to ask why and to discuss anything and everything.

We never had "THE TALK" in our house. We had and still have a series of talks...everyday.

As far as being "seen and not heard...." Their voice is always important whether they are 2 or 22.

And more than anything, love is so important. Spoken love and affection. I tell them I love them everyday and show them appropriate physical affection daily.

Rebecca Hawkes Some additional thoughts: My b-mom has commented a few times that my household reminds her of the one my b-dad grew up in. What she means by this is that my house tends to be the one where kids congregate. We seem to have a fairly steady flow of extra kids in and out of the house and we easily accommodate whomever happens to be there. I'm guessing this is probably rooted in some similarity of personality that I share with my paternal grandmother, though I can't say for sure because I've only met her once. I don't disagree with Deanna's statement that kids need boundaries and consistency, but I believe that will look different in different families partly as a result of the parent's personality and style. My home is unlike the one I grew up in largely because I am able to tolerate a higher level of chaos than my adoptive mother could. For her own sanity, my a-mom needed the home to be neat and for our lives to be very organized and structured; there's nothing wrong with that, but it was more about her own needs than mine. I couldn't parent in the way that my adoptive mother did even if I wanted to; our personalities are simply too dissimilar. It saddens me that my parenting style is a source of tension between my a-mother and myself. I wish she could be more accepting and view it as different than hers but not necessarily "wrong."

Mila Rebecca, I can relate very much to the differences in personalities between yourself and your a-mom. Due to the fact that my a-mom and I are exact opposites, we were destined to parent differently. And the added layer of adoption only amplifies and aggravates these differences between my mom and me.

Lynn Grubb I really resonate with what Rebecca Hawkes says -- I too have one adopted and one biological child and had an a-mom who couldn't handle (still can't) the level of chaos in my house. We too have kids spending the night or climbing and hanging out in our tree, but that I can credit to my a-mom who had an open door policy as well. My mom was big on cleaning and I am relaxed. One of my favorite moments when I met my birth mother was looking into her car and seeing that her bmw had all sorts of junk in it, including a hairy dog blanket in the backseat. It all made sense then! 
















































































































































































































































































































































































































Friday, September 13, 2013

The Experiment [in the name of The Great White Almighty]


I.


i vanished.

and.
i am vanishing.

as a secret
that remains untold,
that lies down with the dead,

as though it had never lived.

that it could be recruited
for the Great Experiment
to quench the thirst

of the Great White Hope.

who cannot feel complete

without taking on a good deed
to love and to hold and to cherish
to mold and to form and to push

into their image
into their arms
into their calculated world of privilege

where everything and everyone is

Perfect.
Pristine.
For the Viewing--

Look at
my Little Black Doll.

Gawk at
my Golden China Doll.

Covet
these Beautiful Ethnic Children
behind the thin glass walls

With their mothers and fathers
brothers and sisters
grandfathers and grandmothers

weeping at their feet.

the Great White Light
will not see you

the Great White Trumpet
will not hear you

the Great White Wisdom

will take you.
away.
from it all.

Because you do not need what the Great White All
can not give.

Because you want what the Great White Almighty has.

It is Divine.
It is. My.
Mandate.

And it has the papers to prove it--
balled up in its fist.

You can not compete
with
the Law of Green and White.

By which all abide.




II.


And now that it is too late
to retrieve
that whom was thrown away.

You are trapped.
Away.

And although it is never too late to.
submit to.
the Law of Green and White

will not.
get you out.
Not this time

it will not save you.
Not in this life.

For, do you not know, dear,

you have already been saved.

from the Person
the People
the Language
the Land
the Family
the Love

you might have been

nothing
no one

without us.




III.


So be sure to fulfill your obligation
And utter with profusion
the gratitude

of being granted the mercy
of being permitted the opportunity
to be strapped down to the tails of its coat:

you are welcome,
my darling,

as long as you
silence the wailing lump

trying to escape from your precious little throat

where your insignificant
whining
impotent

voice resides

no one will listen to

you were just an
experiment,

just another subject,

statistic,

dot. on. a. line.
of the Great White Graph,

that the Great White World will choose to

dismiss,

will choose to
forget,

will lock in a box,

All for.

All in.

the only name that exists,

all hail, America,

all of you,
all of us,

everyone,

all in the sacred name.
of:

The Great White Love.




_____________

To view other previous posts written by Mila at Lost Daughters, click here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

True Life's Complexity

Some small reflections on the adopted life, the journey so far -
She appeared as a character in a book about a pact with the Devil and also in another by a local author Barbara,, although it was never completely clear which character or part of a character she became. The perspective from inside is not that of the oblique view of an outsider, seeing and recording only certain aspects which interest or intrigue. Both books were wordy, full of dialogue like a newsroom script or the recording of a family history. Barbara, taking tiny fragments of self to weave into fantasy people with real lives, existing in her imagination and then in print. Her books suddenly, after her death acquiring a cache, monetary value and feed for academics and pseudo-academics. How can so many words be spun out on something so simple, so spare and uncomplicated? It was as if the sharks gathered to feed off the corpse, the body of work she had meticulously turned out in that too short life, which so fitted her stories and was another of her tales, if only she’d been there to write it.
In any case this life lived was far more interesting than any book, any composite characters where the eyes were picked out of real lives or fictional lives stolen and reheated. People kept asking if she’s watched this television program or that one, as it had made them cry or was so moving, touching or dramatic. Her thought was always the same and sometimes the reply, that her time was so taken up with living her own life and coming to terms with it that there was no time or no appeal in watching others wrestle with the information, the strangeness, the webs and intrigues and the opportunities which present themselves to be taken up on not depending on choice and courage. Hers was a complex web, a tapestry of strands of many gauges, making a long and fulfilled life. One that was by no means over, but presented itself in thought as a completed work so far, with a series of beginnings, middles and resolutions.
How easy is a work of fiction where the dates need not be true, the venues real or the characters living. True life is far more complex and difficult to deal with as writers of biography will testify. There are messy bits, parts that don’t add up, answers unknown and questions that arise with no possibility of reply. How many of us know all the answers, how many lament that they didn’t ask more questions or press the point with a now dead relative, contact or informant? Who passes this way again or has time to reflect and redo, make amends or mend the cracks? Life suddenly becomes too short to not speak out, hold information and feelings close to the chest and leave them unsaid and unshared. The gift of death, the death of a loved one was the learning that this is so. Too many years of opportunities untaken and unexplored for lack of courage and vanity, ended by death on a remote rock that might as well have been on the moon. To truly believe in an afterlife or reincarnation would be such a comfort, provide another chance, enable beauty to last forever.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bitter Winds: In Memory


My First Mother, Norma Carol, was born on September 11th.

She gave birth to me as a young, unwed mother in 1968 when society frowned upon single mothers, and was one of the first to register with the ALMA Registry (Adoptee's Liberation Movement) looking for her "son".  She wasn't allowed to hold me, and had been told by the hospital staff and attorney after going through a difficult labor and c-section that she had given birth to a baby boy. 

Sadly, she died in 1980 from breast cancer, thinking she had a son who she told her family would some day "come back".   In truth, she actually had a daughter, who, indeed, did come back, 10 years too late to meet her (again) on this side of eternity. 

I still haven't been to obtain my own birth records from the hospital, even though I gave birth (at the same hospital) to a premature baby and need(ed) this important information for my own medical care during pregnancy.  Even with a court-order I am still waiting after several requests.

With my Mother's birthday on 9/11,  I have finally been able to grieve her passing and loss of my dream to know her.  I watch the Memorials and cry for those innocent victims at the Twin Towers.  And also for my Mother and the pain she endured during the Baby Scoop Era. 

It took years of slowly unthawing from the numbness I felt inside, the day I found my Grandmother and heard my own Mother's story.  She loved animals, the color purple, and advocating for women.  She even wrote a column for the Bartlesville newspaper in honor of Alice Paul. 

On my own birthday a few years ago I was driving alone listening to the radio, when a beautiful lullaby I had never heard came over the waves, immediately catching my attention.  It was Bette Midler singing "Baby of Mine" and the tears flowed again ~ but this time they were tears of acceptance. I could finally embrace the Love I knew my Mother had for me all along, and the strong connection we will always share. 

She is my Mother.  I miss her so much. 

I post this link to "Bitter Winds" in her memory.