September 14, 2014

The Living Doll: Dedicated to Veronica

Puppet
© Photographer: Vladvitek | Agency: Dreamstime.com

 
Original article posted on 9/24/13
Reposting today in honor of Veronica Brown's 5th Birthday. 
We love you, sweet Veronica
 
"When I dig up your dry bones from exile, I'll breathe My life into you and you'll live. Then I'll lead you straight back to your land and you'll realize that I am your God." Ezekial 37:12-14

I have struggled with muscle & joint pain a lot, and think that it may be related to the emotional journey I have taken as an adoptee

I was laying in bed this morning, still in shock, that an entire nation watched last night as an innocent four year old girl was taken unnecessarily from her real family. 
 
Any society that legally sanctions an unregulated profit-driven adoption industry over a child's best interest is sick and inhumane. 

Then the thought came to me.  These pains feel like the pains of transformation.

I've grown up a plastic doll, frozen in my adoptive role.  

Expected emotions and expressions ~ a painted on smile.  Oh, the places we go.

Real life was sucked out like a vacuum as I lay crying, pleading.  The cries carried with them the life I had once shared with those who gave me life  ~ flying into the universe in search, to never return.  So I slowly morphed into the doll I became. The one who laughed and talked and danced her little heart out. I was a doll and I was happy.

Until, lurking in the shadows, the cries that had relinquished my "realness" came back. They stayed away during childhood, like they knew. As the doll aged it began to crack and fray; bruised and torn by life in a real world as only a doll. Childhood memories; history and stories; dutifully fulfilling the dreams of the girl who owned her...

Yes, the tears this worn plastic doll had once shed; the screams that proved her real in time past, but she had denied ~ they found their way back, and she "knew". It had been so long that she was taken for surprise. Almost as if she was in another life, not hers. She remembered and she searched.

She eventually found her truth 
But merely a plastic doll, how would she fit in? She couldn't.

Unbearable pain ~ anger, sadness, grief ~ welled up and broke through the hardness, the frozeness, the facade. It felt as if her brittle arms and legs, feet and hands, head and heart would literally snap with the newfound awareness of her real blood coursing through her veins.

This old, hard plastic I am made of (resilient, strong, inflexible, controlled) must adjust to being real ~ for the first time.

I imagine my painted on smile morphing slowly into a look of shock and awe.

What is this? I am "real"? How can that be? I have only survived in this one state ~ my adopted self.  Certificate of authenticity and all.  How does a "living" doll break out of this shell I have been in my whole life?

It is so painful to stretch the joints and flesh that have stayed in one position, frozen in the mold that was used to define me, afraid to even imagine who I really am.  I walk stiffly...half-doll, half-person in the land of the living.  Discovering my own humanity. 

The truth is, we can feel.  We aren't dolls, but we might as well be.

I pray God's protection and grace over you, Veronica. 
That He will help you someday learn to be "real" in the midst of pain. 
Lord, please heal us.   

The Death of Genealogy

Genealogy Tree
© Photographer: Caraman | Agency: Dreamstime.com

 
Thought for the Day


"In 4 Generations, Half of Americans' Ancestry Will be Bogus"
--by [Attorney] Brice M. Claggett

September 11, 2014

Bitter Winds


 
 
My First Mother, Norma Carol, was born on 9/11. 
Today is her birthday. 
 
She gave birth to me as a young, unwed mother in 1968 and was one of the first to inquire of the ALMA Registry (Adoptee's Liberation Movement) looking for her "son". 

She was told by the hospital staff and attorney, after going through a difficult labor and c-section that she had given birth to a boy. 
 
 In truth, she actually had a daughter, who, indeed, did come back, 10 years too late to meet her (again) this side of eternity. 
 
I still haven't been to obtain birth records from the hospital, even though I needed this important information for my own medical care during pregnancy. 
Even with a court-order and doctor's request I am still waiting. 
 
I sit and watch the 9/11 Memorials on the television and cry for the victims of a horrible act of terror, and for my Mother.
 
It has taken several years of slowly unthawing from the nothingness I felt inside after finding my Grandmother and hearing my Mother's story.

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. 
 
It was Bette Midler singing "Baby of Mine" and the tears flowed again ~
 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 share. 
I miss her.

I post this link in her memory.

September 1, 2014

The Shadow Self




The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

Originally posted on October 22, 2007

I went to church yesterday and came home with 3 different "revelations" of God's love.  

They all pertain to adoption issues, because my entire life is affected by them.
I even danced with my own shadow.

The first happened during praise/worship ~ the regular worship leader was not there because her Mother had just passed away this week after a long battle with leukemia. She had lived for many, many years longer than the doctors predicted and she had a wonderful quality of life with her children/grandchildren for years through God's sustaining power.

Half-way through praise & worship I saw Aimee come in and immediately she walked up to the front row (it was dark in our church during song time) and approached the senior pastors. They saw her coming and put their arms out in big all-consuming hugs and kisses over her, just holding her and letting her cry. It was very touching, as I saw the love of this couple envelope this young praise leader and bring comfort and unconditional love over her while she was grieving. I began to cry....and then it hit me.

Adoptees lose their mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and cousins (their very identity and place in their God-given family). 
They lose everything their lives revolved around and identified with ~ the only place, the only love they ever knew, felt, smelled, and was enveloped by, in complete warmth. 

But adoptees are probably NEVER, NOT ONCE, given a hug of comfort for this devastating loss we all carry inside our entire lives. We are not validated or accepted for who we truly are ~ we are only given acceptance as the ones we are engineered by adoption to be ~ our adopted selves. 
Our adoptive identities, lives, families. 

We go through life completely numb/shut-off to the PAIN of losing our very selves as connected to our mothers and family line, our first and most significant love, truth and self.

I so yearned to be able to run into the arms of real people as I stood there in church crying over the loss of my own Mother and all she represents. 
To receive the same immediate acknowledgement of my pain, validation, and comfort. 

Aimee wasn't afraid to run to the front of the church, the light, and receive unconditional love ~ she knew grieving was necessary and accepted because of losing her beloved Mother. It was expected and completely understood.

Adoptees emotionally sit at the back, in the dark, scared to feel, because they receive a sentence of life-long shame and unacknowledgement ~ if they DARE look deeper into their own feelings and tap, even lightly, into the pain.

  No one in society is comfortable with this pain ~ because ADOPTION is the big cure-all, the blessing, the win-win, the building of a family
~ FROM THE DESTRUCTION OF ANOTHER ~ THE DESTRUCTION OF IDENTITY ~ an amended birth certificate, parents who did not birth, names erased and re-invented ~ and pasts erased ~ at least legally. 
All at a huge price.

NOTHING can erase the spiritual reality, the emotional reality and connections within a human being to their lineage, their core, their pain.

Aimee, I cried for your loss today. And on the backrow, I cried for mine as well. I lost my Mother, too ~ twice ~ and I know how it feels. 
Bless you, my friend.

August 24, 2014

Is God My Adoptive Father?

Baby and father
© Photographer: Billysiew | Agency: Dreamstime.com


Many Christians assert that we are "adopted" by God as His children.
 
They don't realize that comparing the original language and translation of the scriptures to our westernized concept of "adoption" can actually alienate an adoptee's heart from fully trusting in their Creator God. 

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of slavery again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of "sonship" (some translations say "adoption") , whereby we cry, Abba (Daddy), Father. The Spirit of God Himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."
Romans 8:14-16
 
Let us take the Greek word sometimes translated "adoption" apart.
It is huiothesia.
 
The first half is huios, the common noun for an adult son.
The latter half is thesia, a setting of a person or a thing in its place. 
(John 1:12; John 1:13;  Gal 4:1-5;  Romans 8:1-39)   
 
 This speaks of our inheritance as son's and daughter's of God's grace and mercy through salvation.
 
...so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

I once heard a Pastor by the name of Dick Bernal (from San Francisco) preach a sermon about this very subject. He wisely pointed out that the original Greek language that was translated "adopted" in these scriptures could more accurately be translated as "reunited". It describes the beautiful picture of a "reunion" between God and His Creation ("sperma", "offspring"), or children.

I John says that we are BORN of God ('sperma').
If we are BORN of God, we do not NEED to be adopted by Him ~ we are "reunited" with Him in salvation, our Creator, Our Savior, Our Perfect Father.
 
As an adult adoptee, I take GREAT comfort in the fact that I don't need to be adopted by God in the same sense I was "adopted" in the natural. 


God is not my adoptive Father.  He is simply my Father.    
 
He cries with me in my grief of losing my first family.  He understands my pain. 
Joseph (who was sold), when reunited with his family, allowed God to heal him, and "what the enemy meant for evil, God turned for good."

In fact, the Bible says that our Savior came to "ransom" or "redeem" us, which means He "bought us back" from the enemy. Ransom is only necessary when a person has been kidnapped. To be "bought back" implies that we were originally God's creation, His offspring, and He paid a dear price (His own life), a "ransom" to get us back to Him, our Home, our identity, our intended place.

He bore the pain of my broken heart.

  Out of emptiness he came, like a tender shoot from rock-hard ground.

He was despised and forsaken,
    a man of suffering and grief.
    He was despised, forsaken, and we took no notice of him.
 Yet it was our suffering he carried,
    our pain and distress.

He endured the breaking that made us whole.
    The injuries he suffered became our healing.
We all have wandered off, like sheep without a Shepard,
    scattered by our aimless striving and endless pursuits;
He took upon Himself the sins of us all.   
Isaiah 53:1-12
 
 He even offers me another "birth" experience.
 
“Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. 
 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked.

 “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the
Spirit gives birth to spirit.  

When I believed on Him as my Savior, I was in a very real sense, born again.  This time, born of perfect Love.  In perfect truth. 

Even when I struggle with trust issues or fall out of fellowship with Him, I am His child.  His heart wants to be near mine. 

 The Prodigal Son in scripture was not the 'adopted' son of his father, he was the ("sperma"), full-blooded son of his Father, who waited with open arms for him to find his way back home.
 
I resonate with this beautiful analogy so much, because I can
 "BE" who I was created to be

I am fully born, loved, and reunited with Him, who I originated from.
 
No "amending" of my personhood is necessary. 
I don't have to hide.  No secrets.    
 
That is Heaven to this adoptee.

The first time I heard the song, "Born Again" by Third Day, I cried. 
It felt like the song of this adoptee.  An adoptee who had hidden my entire life, because I felt I had to deny my true identity and feelings. 
God knew my name all along.  Even before I did. 

He wasn't the author of my relinquishment or amended birth certificate. 
He was my Shepard.  My healer.  My Savior.  My Father. 
I didn't need to hide from Him or distrust Him any longer.

See this post I wrote about how God helped me open my heart to the tremendous grief I had buried, so He could begin healing me ~
"Losing Mother".   
I also wanted to share an amazing new blog written by a Pastor/Adoptee friend, Deanna Shrodes ~ Adoptee Restoration.

August 12, 2014

 
 
 
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, 139–143 (Shakespeare)

 
When he was onscreen, we shared in his vulnerability, his humanness...and rejoiced in the uncanny way he found humor in everything, with everyone he met.     
 
Thank you, Mr. Williams, for having the courage to share your gift with the world.   
While your own soul was left wanting.    

The adopted ones hide behind our roles, too...all to well.
 
Surrounded by fellow actors, even "family", simply not capable of looking into our eyes and understanding us at a cellular level.
We have no one to mirror us back to ourselves, confirming our realness or worth
We learn to "attach", sometimes becoming "loyal" to a fault. 

But life on a set can be tiring, not knowing our true selves.

 
 
We carry inside us the very meaning of "alone".
We need someone to understand... 
 
and love us not for who we can be for others, but for who we really are.

Unless someone cares enough to sit with us even out of character...as we acknowledge and grieve the disenfranchised loss we are asked to deny in order to act out our "amended" identity...we may never be whole. 

Our entire life a role...everyone else may love. 
But can't satisfy our soul.  
 
So we hide, even from ourselves...we play many characters. 
We may even smile the whole time.
 
Maybe that's why your loss is affecting us all.    
 


August 10, 2014

My "Redneck" Heritage



(originally posted July 2008)

We just got back from our first overnight trip in four years, and the FIRST one with my son! And I'm happy to say that it turned out great. Drew loved staying in the hotel ~ swimming and finding all kinds of new playgrounds to stop at!  It was awesome!

It was also his first trip out-of-state, and it couldn't have been a more appropriate place ~ TEXAS! 

Growing up, most of my cousins (my age) lived in Texas and alot of my good childhood memories are making annual trips to family reunions in TX to see them. I was especially close to Gerald, who was born just a few months before me, and who my parents just happened to be visiting when they "got the call" that I was "available". Ha ha. They jumped in the car and rushed back home to get me. What a story.

Unfortunately, when I was a pre-teen, on one of the memory-laden times spent with my wild, red-neck TX cousins, something happened that put a huge damper on our relationship. It is so sad that this had to happen, and even sadder that I didn't have the self-esteem and support to overcome it ~ without it essentially severing our "friendship" for the next several years. You see, we were visiting my cousins and having a great time ~ they lived in rural TX and enjoyed horses and hiking and going to the lake (Gerald taught me to water-ski)~ all the things I really didn't get to do in my family growing up ~ so I really did love visiting! BUT on this particular day, after coming in from a hike in the woods behind their house, I was getting dressed in the bedroom (which happened to be connected to a "shared" bathroom). Growing up in a house-full of boundariless women (truly), I forgot to close the door to the shared bathroom and was standing there pretty darn good and nude (blushing ~ lol), when Gerald happened to go into the bathroom from the hallway and ~ boom ~ SAW ME as he was closing the door! Oh my God! Being only 11 or 12 years old at the time, and probably the SHYEST, most insecure little girl there was, you might as well have...I don't know ~ it was just the most horrible moment imaginable! lol

And then, to make things worse, Gerald had the gall to TEASE me about it when I finally got brave enough to come out. Well, that was the last straw, and after essentially SLAMMING him with everything in me ~ yes, I was pretty strong, so it probably HURT ~ I withdrew myself from the situation, and POUTED for the next ~ oh, let's see ~ probably 5 years! Every time we would visit, from then on, I was a smartass, rebellious little twit who refused to even talk to him. And so, our friendship was pretty much destroyed. ALL because of THAT?!?! Yes. (I realize my stubbornness now).

I tell this story, to emphasize how DIFFERENT I always felt around even my extended family. I always put up a big & tough exterior act and would not let any of my cousins really close enough to befriend me. How sad. Because inside I was hurting and lonely. I so wanted to feel like a true part of them, but because I KNEW I was different (ADOPTED), I protected my heart from that differentness and just put on a show of people-pleasing, tough "OK"-ness ~ a mask.

The picture of me and my cousins (above) CRACKS ME UP, because it is like a snapshot of REALNESS (kind of like a freudian-slip in print)of how I really felt INSIDE as a child. If only adoptees could be given PERMISSION to talk, grieve, and DEAL with being adopted, instead of having to live in silent pain their entire lives. Instead, we are AFRAID to broach the subject, because we are CONDITIONED to accept the notion that we are SPECIAL & CHOSEN. We know we are special alright ~ but we hate it.

Well, I got to attend Gerald's wedding this past weekend, and it was joyous! I can finally embrace my entire family, knowing WHO I REALLY AM and going through the forbidden road of identity, grief, and darkness ~ to finally come out more whole.

I ENJOYED being with my cousins ~ all my extended (adoptive) family ~ and sharing them with my son and husband. They are a huge part of my childhood and identity, and I love them. And I'm so glad I can share that heritage with my son. We have a double-heritage (one that I, sadly, LOST, but which very much DEFINES me) that I can only embrace fully because I was courageous enough to SEARCH and FIND and WALK THROUGH the valley of emotions surrounding my relinquishment, adoption, history, effects of societal influence & beliefs, saddness, reunion, joy...and the list goes on and on. My son deserves to know ALL his roots and family. And so do I.

My only regret is not "mattress surfing" or "two-steppin'" after the wedding with my GREAT red-neck family ~ I still watched! It was a blast.