Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Smudges happen

April 6, 2017

Source: Smudges happen

Being a good receiver or How we ungifted Christmas

December 17, 2016

Last week, Addie came home with the usual end of the week paperwork from her school.  It comes home in a big folder and I have included an agenda with big boxes that leave plenty of space for expla…

Source: Being a good receiver or How we ungifted Christmas

This Was Never About Bernie Sanders

July 6, 2016

“I need to write, but I don’t know what to write.” I told my girlfriend, Carrie. “I really don’t know what to tell people. I’m angry. I’m hurt and I’…

Source: This Was Never About Bernie Sanders

No Guarantees

January 14, 2016

Alan Rickman pictured himself as an old man, living in peace, surrounded by family. Who doesn’t?

Source: No Guarantees

Mall Walk and Roll

July 30, 2015

Mall Walk and Roll.

A Note From Someone Who Cares

June 25, 2014

Something for all adoptive parents to store (you never know when you will need to read this!)

Christine Kavahei Brewer

Dear Adoptive Parents,

The time that you thought might never arrive has come! You are officially a parent. A mom. A dad. A family. But it’s not everything you expected is it? The crying and screaming in the middle of the night, the feeling of  not belonging in your own home? Those are all real feelings! They are normal. But you are special. Because of you…your beautiful child will have the opportunity to:

1. Have a family that loves and cares about them. Something that some children on this Earth will never be lucky enough to have. But YOU chose them. YOU chose to open up your hearts to someone you didn’t know.

But guess what? I am willing to bet you loved that child before they were ever placed in your arms. That you had plans and dreams for that child to one day do great things. To make…

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Remembering Trauma

January 10, 2011

It wasn’t until the 10 PM news that certain April 10 that it hit me. The opening shot was the stairwell at work. A familiar sight: the stairway that I walked two to twelve times daily — except for those little paper markers so out of place. On TV the policeman being interviewed on the stairs chuckled as he said it was the first time he’d been glad to be short – all the bullets hit the wall above his head. Then my tears finally started. I had experienced an at-work shooting. The sight of all those little paper markers identifying bullet casings finally made it real.

It wasn’t real when I heard the first shots; I rationalized that it must be the backfire from a passing car engine. It wasn’t real when I heard loud voices down the hall in a language I didn’t recognize – two men yelling in extreme agitation. It wasn’t real when I heard the spray of bullets in the stairwell. Incredibly, it wasn’t real as I sat huddled in the residential building behind the office, waiting to be interviewed by the police.

Shock was the protection that guarded the psyche and let me go through the motions without the emotion. Woodenly, at the end of the police interview that day, I hugged other workers, all glad to be alive, and then drove home. I waited for the 10 PM news, to see how the story would be treated by the local press.

Was it like that today for people who shopped at the Oracle Road Safeway in Tucson? Did they watch woodenly as bright blood upset the tranquility of a perfect sunny Saturday morning? Did the sound of sirens and the sight of rescue helicopters taking away the injured bring them to reality? Or did they hold it in, in shock, until they saw it on the news?

In counseling, we say that any new trauma brings back the memory of all old traumas. It explains the mystery of why, as I worked with young women through the years who placed their babies for adoption, more often than not their mothers were the ones who wept. The grandmothers’ tears were built on the foundation of their losses; their daughters were just beginning to rack up their count. Tonight I think of all those not-as-young women, and wonder at the years’ stack of their losses. And their tears.


February 13, 2010

I’ve been a little blue today and I think it is because Valentine’s Day is just a day away. I remember an earlier Valentine’s Day when I was a college freshman. I borrowed my boyfriend’s car to go to a florist’s to buy him a dozen red roses; it was 1962 and girls didn’t do such outrageous things in those days. Then I picked him up outside his dorm for him to take me back to my dorm. As we sat in the car to say goodbye, he got serious and told me that he’d been thinking that we should break up! Startled, I said, “I feel like a fool. Here’s why I borrowed the car today.” I reached behind the seat and pulled out the roses. “I bought YOU flowers for Valentine’s Day. You might as well take them. Here!”

We didn’t break up. Not then. Painful as the breakup was when it did come ten years later, I wouldn’t trade anything for the years we had together. We shared a lot of diverse experiences I would never have had otherwise, and I grew up a lot. I had my two girls with him — the one who died the year that we divorced –I never put that sequence together until now! — and the one who today is my best friend, my daughter Heather.

Look! I just took a sad memory and turned it into a bittersweet one!

Review: Spirit Babies.

January 19, 2010

I was at a conference when I noticed a woman standing in front of a display in the exhibitors’ room. Suzanne Arms read her name tag. “Are you THE Suzanne Arms?” I blurted out. A photographer and author, Suzanne Arms’ best-known book is Immaculate Deception, published in the mid 1970s, which chronicled inhumane treatment of hospital births and heralded the home birthing movement. In 1983, Suzanne Arms wrote about birth mothers in To Love and Let Go; ten years later she followed up with some of the same women and wrote: Adoption: A Handful of Hope (published in 1995) reporting how the effect of adoption on the lives of these women. These were the first books I found that honestly dealt with the emotions of birth mothers and offered the practice of open adoption, which was just beginning to be discussed in the adoption literature. Over the years I bought and gave away many copies of those two books on adoption.

On this conference date, Suzanne had a display of books and materials she was hawking to the convention of child birth educators. She piled books into my willing arms, and I was happy to start reading them later in the day. One that caught my fancy is Spirit Babies; How to Communicate with the Child You’re Meant to Have by Walter Makichen, published in 2005. The author is a self-proclaimed clairvoyant medium who specializes in healing work. Sometimes this involves working with couples who can’t get pregnant. He says he looks at the aura of his clients and identifies a ‘visible oval’ which is the spirit of a child who wants to be born to this couple. He communicates with the spirit babies asking what is keeping them from being born. It may be the fears of one or the other potential parent; he gives the couple breathing exercises to do and encourages them to have discussions with these spirit babies, inviting them into their lives. He illustrates with case histories of couples he’s worked with who later report to him their successful pregnancies.
So I’m reading, fascinated, but at the same time my own inner voice is crying out: “But what about adoption?” and then I saw that he has a chapter on adoption, and another on abortion. He is not judgmental about either of these choices, rather, he reports that how spirit babies feel about the decisions of adoption and abortion have more to do with the prior experiences of the spirit babies.

I consider this a ‘woo-woo’ book, and not everyone will be open to the subject of the spirit world in a way that may be completely foreign to the reader. The author gives a clear explanation of his view of this world, reincarnation and karmic contracts. Whether you’re a believer in this realm or not, it is a very interesting read.

Vicarious Thrills through Social Networking

January 18, 2010

Joining a social network is a little like having a telephone with a ‘party line.’ For those of you too young to know, a party line was a way to serve sparse populations in the expansion years of telephone service. The expense of the infrastructure (all those wires strung on miles of telephone poles in rural areas) were borne by several families sharing the same line. In our case in West Texas in the 1940s and 1950s, there were eight families on one line, all sharing the same number but each having a different ring. This required more than a little common courtesy to allow the other parties their privacy, which was universally NOT adhered to. If you happened to pick up the phone when the line was busy, you heard both sides of a conversation. Ah, the thrill of a conversation heard while muffled by your hand held over the mouthpiece!

Social Networking is a little like that, except that we can, within certain broad parameters, pick and choose who can ‘listen in’ and how much of our ‘posts’ (or conversations) others may see.

It has been my fascination this last week to ‘listen in’ on adoptive families waiting to bring home children they have already adopted who are still in Haiti. Because of the way international adoption is handled, adoptions are processed in the country of origin of the child. Each country handles the process differently, and the receiving country has to approve of the legal action as well. (This is not so different in domestic adoptions, except the process requires input from the sending state and the receiving state,) Haiti has a long process from start to finish during which time the children wait for two or more years before they can come home to a country they’ve never seen and can hardly imagine. Because of the earthquake in Haiti, there’s a good chance that this long wait is about to be shortened for those Haitian children whose adoptions are already ‘in the pipeline.’

Having your children held in another country for years after they are legally yours is a very difficult thing to endure. I’ve watched my online friends hold garage sales, book sales, gift wrapping paper drives and all kinds of ways to raise money for their trips to visit their children during the wait and / or to send clothes, toys, diapers and formula to help other orphans who are waiting for their forever family. Their posts have the effect of bringing their friends (and other party line readers) to vicariously live out the hopes and dreams of adoptive parents everywhere. Basically, this has been an education for many of those friends. I’ll bet the questions common to adoptions everywhere: “Can you love a child not born of your body?” “Can you love a child who looks different from you?” are being answered every time these waiting parents post an update. When they waited those first horrific hours, hoping for a word of safety about their absent family members, we held our breath, too. When they asked for prayers for the safety of their children, we prayed. When they asked us to write our congressmen and women to encourage the State Department to approve emergency visas, we made calls and sent faxes. Now, just days from the children’s arrivals that we hope and pray for, we are banding together en masse to bundle good wishes and gift cards into the hands of the parents who will have to travel somewhere not yet determined to meet their children and bring them home.

Historically, there was another time the nation watched from the sidelines for planes bearing children to be adopted to our shores. At the end of the Vietnam war, as the government in Saigon fell, children and babies were placed on ‘the last plane out of Saigon’ where they would fly across the world to a new life.
Those Vietnam Baby Drop children grew up. One of them has recently edited a book for and by teenaged adoptees. In an upcoming blogpost I’ll review Pieces of Me: Who do I Want to Be? by Robert L. Ballard (EMKPress, 2009). In the meantime, we’re praying for the safe arrival of this precious cargo from Haiti.