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No matter what your point of pain or challenge today, I want you to know that you are not the only one. Somewhere over a silly Mother’s Day breakfast, there is a woman faking a smile who feels just like you do. Somewhere in a very silent house with no one to call, there is a woman who is tending the ache of her loss, just like you. Somewhere standing in a shower there is a woman who is feeling it all and letting the tears come, just like you. -- Notes from a Hopeful WorldImages courtesy of arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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• (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
• (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
That phrase, "they don't talk about being adopted so they don't care about it." Don't use silence to dismiss thoughts someone hasn't shared.
— Amanda (@AmandaTDA) February 12, 2014
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The facilitator handed out small slips of paper. On each, a quote from a young transracial teenaged adoptee. Their voices were being heard one by one, out loud and anonymously. It was moving, powerful. As some parent said, “It was as though these children were in the room.”
Then, the facilitator asked, “How many of you know what adoption loyalty is?” Sadly, only five hands floated upward. Here, parents were hearing for the first time, things their children most likely would never feel comfortable telling them. Out of loyalty and love, these children and I have kept these feelings and thoughts to ourselves. I never wanted to hurt my mother or father with the worries and confusion of being so racially different from them. -- MotherMadeThe tremendous silencing power of adoption loyalty should not be underestimated. It kept me silent for years, and it silences many others still.
Adoptees that speak out about their experience have often been met with a wall of criticism, accusing them of ingratitude against the families that have "saved" them from their abandoned state. -- Tuey MacFor many adoptees, it's not a simple matter to find one's voice. Personally, when I encounter the vocal-minority dismissal I often think, Do you have any idea what I've had to climb over to get to this place? It took courage and time for me to get to the point of speaking and writing things that contradicted the adoption-positive narrative that I knew was expected of me. As I see it, the amazing thing isn't that only some adoptees speak out; the amazing thing is that any of us do at all, given how much pressure many of us experience (from the time we are born) to fulfill someone else's vision of what our lives should be and represent.
Tremendous courage is required for an adoptee to speak openly. -- Deanna Doss Shrodes
I will preface this by saying that I had promised myself I would give myself a long break from writing about adoption, for psychological-becoming-physical health reasons; the past 10 years have taken their toll, and I need to take a step back. -- Daniel Ibn ZaydFew people would accuse longtime activist Daniel Ibn Zayd of being silent on adoptee issues, and in fact his self-imposed respite turned out to be short-lived. But his comment about the psychological and physical toll of adoption activism is noteworthy. It's brutal out here. Daniel is not the first vocal adoptee I've encountered expressing a need to take a step back for reasons of self-care and self-preservation. Some retreat temporarily, as Daniel did; others leave the field forever.
Jessie Wagoner Voiers
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In this life I have already been declared dead. It wasn't so bad. After the first ruptured artery, the doctors thought I was finished. My wife, Chaz, said she sensed that I was still alive and was communicating to her that I wasn't finished yet. She said our hearts were beating in unison, although my heartbeat couldn't be discovered. She told the doctors I was alive, they did what doctors do, and here I am, alive.
Do I believe her? Absolutely. I believe her literally — not symbolically, figuratively or spiritually. I believe she was actually aware of my call and that she sensed my heartbeat. I believe she did it in the real, physical world I have described, the one that I share with my wristwatch. I see no reason why such communication could not take place. I’m not talking about telepathy, psychic phenomenon or a miracle. The only miracle is that she was there when it happened, as she was for many long days and nights. I'm talking about her standing there and knowing something. Haven't many of us experienced that? Come on, haven't you?Yes, I have. And though I understand that we need to be cautious about assuming cause and effect simply because two things coincide, I'm also aware of how little we, as human beings at this point in history, know with absolute certainty about the workings of this world we live in. Despite all the scientific gains of recent centuries, we are still but in the infancy of human knowledge. Are we really the distinct entities that we think we are, or are we connected in ways that we don't yet fully understand? As human knowledge increases in the years to come, it seems entirely possible that we may discover that we are not as separate as we once believed.
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Arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest -- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security
-- Albert Einstein
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Lose something every day. Accept the flusterThe Buddhist path of non-attachment?
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, orIf there was one thing about the childhood me that drove my adoptive mother up the wall, it was my tendency to lose things. My bathing suit for swim team. My retainer. The worst offense: the child-sized antique ring that had been my grandmother's. A pretty sapphire. I took it off while getting ready to help paint a fence with my girl scout troop, and it was never seen again.
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gestureIn graduate school I briefly dated, and was dumped by, one of the other graduate students with whom I shared an office. After the break up, I posted a copy of this poem above my desk, trusting he would see it and feel the sting of my wit. (I should perhaps have titled this blog post "When English Majors Do Passive Aggressive.")
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
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Then our baby Sara died at birth. The trauma of losing Sara with no warning brought me to my knees ... and changed my life forever. During the past decade, I thought I'd taken care of recovering from this loss with therapy and support groups and my work. But when the TWA jet blew up in the sky in July 1996 and people died in a shocking tragedy, I was retraumatized. I couldn't stop watching the news, craving more gory details than necessary and unable to concentrate on much else. I realized it was my old trauma activated by something beyond my control "out there." -- Dee PaddockMeanwhile, as some of us reeled in shock, others were celebrating and saying things like "We won!" It wasn't long before some began to attack those of us who were expressing grief and shock. We were called "loons" and "nuts" and told to seek therapy. We heard the usual dismissals of adoptee pain ("Not all adoptees feel that way," etc., etc.) and were accused of projecting our own issues onto Veronica, who, we were informed, was perfectly happy to be back with Matt and Melanie Capobianco.
Dr. Bruce Perry is a researcher at Baylor College of Medicine who is studying the impact childhood trauma has on the emotional, behavioral, cognitive, social and physical functioning of children. He has studied child survivors of the Waco disaster and has found that traumatized children can be sitting calmly in a group, talking about something benign like the weather, yet still be in a hyper-aroused physiological state. Although they appear outwardly calm, their resting heart rate may be as high as 140 - 160 beats per minute. They may experience the rush of adrenaline and a hyper-vigilant, heart-racing, breath-racing reaction of "fight, flight, freeze" in response to non-threatening situations at almost any time. -- Dee PaddockIf you look through my childhood albums you will find plenty of smiling photographs. I appeared happy, and, in truth, I was so, much of the time. But does that mean that I was entirely okay or that the separation from my original family didn't affect me? No. I also experienced night terrors and other symptoms of trauma that would play out in various ways through out my childhood and into my adult years.
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