Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Invitation - by Oriah

I was reading through some of my favorite poems today and found this old favorite. It speaks to me today, so I thought I would share it with all of you.

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Looking for submissions - A book being written for adoptees

If you went to check out Kevin Hofmann's blog post I wrote about yesterday, you already know about this project.  I thought I would help Kevin spread the word, it sounds like a great book idea.
THE ADOPTION PROJECT:  I am working on a special project that will combine the shared experiences of adult adoptees, First mothers, and Adoptive parents, in a powerful way to send an empowering and inspirational message to today’s adoptees.  If you are interested in sharing from your own experience please contact me for the particulars @ 
Some more info about the project that Kevin shared with me:
Each page of the book will include a member of the triad.  It would include your bio, where you are from etc.  Then the next portion of the page would be your message to adoptees speaking from your experience.  Something you wish you knew growing up about adoption(adoptees), the frustrations about adoption, etc.(adoptees, parents)  A love letter to your adoptee,  the real story and feelings behind relinquishing a child,  a love letter to your child(first mom and dads).
We want this to be inspiring but at the same time real.  We want it to be positive but also we want to share the reality of adoption. 
If you are interested in learning more about this project or being a part of it, please email Kevin for more info at:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Smashing Fun House Mirrors

I often find myself identifying with the words of other first moms.  It used to be such a surprise to me that someone else felt the way I did about or because of adoption loss.  I am no longer surprised when I read the words of my heart and soul expressed by another mother.

I am often surprised though when I read the words of an adoptee and find myself identifying with something they have written regarding adoptions effects on them.  Kevin Hofmann's latest post "Smashing Fun House Mirrors" had me surprised again.  Kevin is speaking about his experience as a panel member at a camp for teen adoptees.

As another panel member was speaking, Kevin found his mind wandering ~
 I was still part of the conversation but preoccupied with other thoughts.
 About 10-12 beautiful adoptees sat in front of me ranging from ages 13-17,  and mostly female.  The thought that keep bouncing around in my head made me sad and very reflective.  I wondered if the kids knew just how beautiful and special they all were.  Churning over and over in my head was the thought of myself at their age.  That split from my first mother played itself out over and over and over in friendships and relationships in ways that I was blinded to at their age but in ways that are so clear to me today.  The fracture of the very first relationship I ever had tilted every other relationship since then.

After I gave birth to my firstborn son and walked out of that hospital alone, I felt as though I was a different person.  A broken and fractured person who would never be whole again.  The split from my son played itself out over and over again later in my own life as a parenting mother.  I was blinded to it when my children were young, but now that I have "come out of the fog" of my adoption loss, I see it.  I see many places where the fracture of the very first maternal relationship I ever had tilted my relationships with not only my raised children, but with most of the people in my life.
The subtle whispering that crept through my thoughts convinced me of a picture of myself far different than was actually there.  It was as if I stood in front of a fun house mirror everyday and the image that reflected back to me was distorted.  It was this image that I took with me everyday that told me I wasn’t good enough; I wasn’t worthy.  This image and subliminal understanding affected how I interacted with people.  It created an invisible line that I rarely would cross.  My relationships and friendships were superficial and kept at a safe distance.  This protected me from the rejection that I feared and came accustomed to expect.  If I only waded in to relationships, I couldn’t be drowned by the rejection that was sure to follow.  So I stood back, and watched as others formed deeper relationships and wondered why I couldn’t do the same.  I wondered why my emotional roots only went down so far and others had deep strong giant oak-like roots that drew people in and hugged them.  
From the very moment I gave birth, when my son was no longer "of me", I felt exactly as Kevin wrote above.  Kevin is speaking from the break with his mother, but his words also speak for me from the break with my firstborn child.

I did not realize how much the loss of Christopher effected my life until we were reunited.  The day I read the emails from the search angel and Christopher changed my life.  For the first time in almost 30 years my heart was flooded with love.  It was as though my heart opened wide and was finally able to fully accept love from others and also fully give my love to others.  I was finally able to acknowledge the deep and never ending love I felt for the child I gave up, the child that society told me I should have been able to forget.  I felt as though my heart was too big to stay contained within my chest.  I realized that I had even been holding myself back from fully loving or being loved by my husband and children.

This post by Kevin really hit me hard.  It has taken me several days of pondering to even attempt to write about.  Not only because of the parallels that it held for me in my life as a first mom, but also because of the raw emotions it brought to me regarding the children we gave up.

It is so hard to know that what I chose as the "best thing" for my son could have caused such deep problems instead.  It cuts me to the quick when I learn of an adoptee who has the deep wound of feeling unworthy because their mother gave them up for adoption.  For I am "one of them" ~ the mothers who caused those wounds.

As I continued to read, I became inspired by Kevin's words.  By his realization of the teens' altered self-images and the fact that he wanted to share with them the truth of their images.

The fun house mirror that I constantly struggle with is making house calls to generations behind me and I wanted to stand up and tell one adoptee at a time that the reduced image of themselves was altered.  The image that I see of them stands taller, is more capable, is funnier, kinder, more powerful, and their REAL potential is so bright it was burning my corneas.
I wanted to shout down the whispers that began at that initial separation from their first mother that says they are not good enough.  I wanted to summon all the strength I’ve gained from my own powerful introspection and use it to strangle the exterior coy messages that support those whispers.

“They are better than the image they see,” 
What a wonderful message Kevin.  I wish that all of the teens in your groups, that all adoptees struggling because of the loss of their natural families could know that.

I think this is also a great message for mothers considering adoption ~ if they could see their true image then perhaps it would keep an infant with their image intact. 

If you aren't a reader of Kevin's blog "My Mind On Paper", please go read this entire post, you won't be disappointed.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Mother's Song - taking the crisis out of pregnancy

I found a wonderful new website for mothers considering adoption.  A Mothers Song ~ taking the crisis out of pregnancy is a wonderful resource that I am very glad to have found. How I wish that every mother considering adoption could find this website in order to make a truly informed decision!

I am going to add this to my "Learn" page, but wanted to give it some more attention and help spread the word of this website.  Here is the article that brought me to discover this wonderful resource:

Letter From "Adoptable" Baby to Adoptive Parent

by Julie A. Rist

To Whom it May Concern:
I miss and need my mother. It is no matter to me, the circumstances that led to this day. I am not aware of them. I will not understand them for many years to come – if ever. All I know is that my mother has disappeared. Please show me empathy for this profound loss until and unless I tell you I no longer need it.
Never forget that I spent the first months of my life with my mother getting to know, intimately, her voice, her heartbeat, her taste, her scent, her rhythms, her laughter, and so much more. She has been my Universe since the day I was conceived. Because I am human, I was designed to need and want the familiarity of these things upon emergence from her womb to make me feel safe, to trust, and to feel a part of the Family of Man.
Never forget I have lost these things. I have lost my Universe. I may be your Universe now, but you are not mine now.
Despite your desire for a baby, please understand that, to me, you do not smell right, sound right… feel right. Because of this, understand that I am going to resist you. Understand that I will not trust you, because I lost my nascent sense of trust when I lost my mother. I will have to learn a different kind of trust, and that will take a great deal of work on your part.
Also understand that I will carry the memory of my loss (though hidden from my conscious memory) forever. My bones know it, my heart knows it, my soul knows it. Whether you are honest with me or not, I will always know it, so it would be wise not set up a scenario for my feelings of your betrayal.
I was born with a given set of characteristics and personality. They will not reflect those of your own family. I compel you to honor and respect them. Do not try to mold me to your own; I will resent it forever. If you truly care about my well-being you must perceive, respect, and nurture the person I was born to be. You must also honor and respect my own family - and my relationship to it.
If there is even one feeling or request that you find uncomfortable in this notice, please return me forthwith to my mother. For all her faults, she is still what I want and need most. I would rather live with her in a cold-water flat with just a few rags of clothing than in your 4-bedroom house with a fenced yard and nice dog.
Thank you.
writing a dear birthmom letter


Copyright © Julie A. Rist 2007

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Father Thomas Brosnan; Through a Priest's Adopted Eyes

Tonight I found myself lost in reading the words of a Catholic Priest who was adopted as an infant.

Father Tom Brosnan, B.A.,M.Div.,M.F.A. who is an international speaker and writer. Father Brosnan has advocated for adopted persons, who seek the same civil rights as their non-adopted peers --- access to their original birth certificates. Father Brosnan understands the search for origins as “a religious experience, a pilgrimage of self knowledge, a holy endeavor.” In September, 2001, Father Brosnan received the Angels in Adoption Award presented by the Congress of the United States.

Father Brosnan was told he was adopted at 12 years of age, searched for and found his natural parents when he was 32 years old.  He was in reunion with his mother for 10 years before she died, and is in contact with his 6 maternal siblings. He also found and met his father, who denies his parentage of Fr. Brosnan.

I was rather surprised that Fr. Brosnan is an active priest, yet speaks out (beautifully) about the wrongs of closed adoptions and records ~ which the Catholic Church advocates for.  He speaks of the "lies" in adoption also.  I was completely surprised to find myself lost in the writings of a Catholic Priest!

Below are links to transcripts of some of the speeches Fr. Brosnan has given. 

Through A Priest's Adopted Eyes

More Adoption Related Posts By Father Brosnan


Looking For Moms Who Chose Adoption While Parenting Older Children

I follow the blog "wsbirthmom".  The blog is written by a mom who is raising an elementary aged daughter and chose adoption for her son born earlier this year.  She is looking for other mothers of adoption loss who are raising their older children. 

I just thought I would help her spread the word!  

Looking for birthmothers who are parenting older children


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I was reading the words of an adoptee the other day, I read these words and found myself nodding in agreement:
No one believes me that my mother is an ordinary woman. An ordinary person who cares for her children. But that can’t be true, because she gave me up. So she loved me enough to give me up but not enough to keep me – yet she’s “okay” because she kept her other children – but because she kept her other children and didn’t keep me, she’s seen as an abnormal woman.

She gave me up and kept two others, so there is something wrong with her. She didn’t love me enough, she loved me selflessly, she loves me but just not as much as her other children, she was foolish for not being able to take care of me, etc etc.
 It took me a few days of reading and re-reading this post to figure out what exactly had me going back to it.

It's no wonder that the average Joe has these beliefs about mothers who have given a child up for adoption.  I myself believed these things for many years.  I didn't think I was "good enough" when parenting my raised children because after all, I had given my firstborn child away.  There was something wrong with me because I was stupid enough to get pregnant so young in the first place, then to top it off I gave him up for adoption ~ making my "mistake" even worse.  How could anyone look at me as an "ordinary woman" when I had failed my firstborn son so badly??  How could I ever be considered to be a good mom to my raised children when I had failed my firstborn so badly??  I doomed him to be an illegitimate child, to life as an adoptee.  I told myself that I chose adoption out of love for him ~ but if I really loved him, wouldn't I have done everything possible to raise him?  I didn't even know if he really did get that "better life", if he really did have great parents who were better than I could have been.  How could I have put such blind trust in complete strangers? Is there anything less "ordinary" than that for a mother? 

I still found myself going back to Mei-Ling's post with an unsettled feeling.  I went back to read the post yet again, and saw it this time:
Granted, when I see the statement “a mother kept one child but gave up the other[s]“, it does make me wonder. All the intellect in the world doesn’t matter when semantics come into play. And oh lord, does it ever make me hurt for the day the relinquished child will discover their mother kept siblings. Because I know how it feels, and it can be excruciatingly painful to witness that, to have to live with the knowledge that you were given up but your siblings weren’t, so you’re automatically deemed as less worthy. I know how it feels to be an outcast, to be fed crumbs and know you only get those crumbs out of pity.
Case in point: If my mother woke up tomorrow and got in a traffic accident on her way to work and ended up in a hospital overnight with a severe brain injury, how would I know?
Quite simple: I wouldn’t. Because I was relinquished and I’m not part of the “real” family over there in the way my kept and raised siblings have been.
Because a mother who has given up a child and who ultimately kept her other children, is not worthy. Our brains give us all the legitimate, politically correct terms the whole wide world has to offer, but at the heart of it all, the raw truth is that it translates to:
Your mother didn’t care enough.
That was it.  The fear I had about reunion.  The fear that my son would one day find out I had gone on and raised three children after I gave him up.  I was so very fearful that he would be angry about that.  So fearful that he would hate me for that. I was terrified that Christopher would think that I didn't care enough. 

This one single post of Mei-Ling's touched on so many things for me.  So many of the beliefs I had for so many years after giving my son up, beliefs that changed dramatically after we were reunited. 
And so this gives free rein to the stereotypes, the misconceptions. This gives others the mindset that they can say whatever they want, no matter how true or false or exaggerated it may be. Because all they see is:
Mother gave up her child and kept the other children.
And they think:
Who does that?!
No one cares to know, either.
Because the truth, intellect doesn’t matter. No amount of intellectual explanation matters. The law says she didn’t have enough money. The law says she didn’t have any support. The law says “You need to realize not all parents can care for their kids.” The law says “We shouldn’t have to give a damn about parents who end up in situations where they can’t care for their kids.” The law says “That’s your explanation, we found good parents for you, so what’s your problem? Your mother couldn’t care for you. Not our fault.”
Christopher did get great parents, he did have a great childhood ~ so what's my problem? 
And then, coincidentally, the law says “Other people wish to become parents. Other people want a child to love.” That’s the explanation.
Adoption narrative: The law says “We shouldn’t have to give a damn about parents who end up in situations where they can’t care for their kids.” -> And then, coincidentally, the law says “Other people wish to become parents.”
I hope and pray that through this blog a mother facing an unexpected pregnancy may find the information to make a TRULY and FULLY informed decision for or against adoption.  I hope and pray that these mothers will find the resources to learn about how adoption will really effect herself and the precious child she is carrying, that she can be directed to the support she needs to keep her family intact.  It is not only the natural parents who are deceived by the adoption industry, it is also the adoptive parents who are not told the truths of adoption.  I hope that people can come to realize that the adoption industry and our laws regarding domestic infant adoption in the U.S. are not about a mother, about the family, needing to be cherished and preserved.  DIA has become about the attorneys and agencies ensuring their multi-billion dollar incomes through the women and men who want to add a child to their family through adoption. 

After seeing what I have seen on the blogosphere, and the amount of discussion pertaining to the intellectual and semantic conflicts in adoption, the question is no longer: If my mother loved me, why did she give me up?
I know my mother loved me. I looked her in the eye and I knew she loved me, without any outside influence.
The question is now:
My mother loved me. So why wasn’t she supported to keep me?

I hope and pray that Christopher does truly know how much
I always have and always will love him.