|Erica & Rebecca. Photo credit: our darling daughter Ashley|
In the early hours of the morning, shortly before waking, I dreamed I opened a trapdoor in a wooden floor and discovered a pulsing, hot ball of pain. I recoiled immediately, as if burned by fire. In my head I heard a voice saying "If you really want to heal, you are going to have to deal with this."
"Not now," I answered. "Not yet."
|winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
Life is inherently out of hand; death, illness, pain, loss, grief, war, disasters natural and man-made, trauma, heartbreak, abuse, cruelty, racism, sexism homophobia and heteronormativity, oppression and injustice in all its forms, including the depletion, exploitation, and hoarding of the earth’s resources. In the face of all that life can throw at you there are times when blatant mental imbalance is the sanest, healthiest most healing response.
We are all embedded in enormous systems, familial, social and planetary, which are also cycling, swinging wildly, falling in and out and passing through imbalance, equilibrium and back again. Living and breathing balance requires and contains imbalance within it.
We will all lose our footing.
No one is impervious. We will all drop the ball.
-- Martha Crawford, What a Shrink ThinksAs I mentioned yesterday, lately I've been a little bit in love with the human race. Illogically and insanely in love. Not in spite of our flaws, but because of them.
|Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
|Credit: graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
|fotographic1980 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
|Photo credit: Maureen of Tidal Gems|
I sit on the pebbly part of the town beach at the end of the shore path, combing my hands through the damp loose stones looking for sea glass. I am looking for blue pieces, of course, but they are too rare and I’m not having any luck. I don’t want to go home empty handed, so I begin to gather the white, the brown, the green. I study the subtleties of each piece. I look at them the way some people must look at diamonds, noticing the unique way the light shines through each one. I am a connoisseur of sea glass. I rub my fingers over the edges, judging. Is it soft enough? Is it ready for plucking, or does it need more time with the sea?
Two children, a boy and a girl, about 10 years old, possibly twins, begin to hover nearby. They pat my dog, then stand, unselfconsciously, as 10-year-olds will do, watching, waiting for me to take the lead. I explain to them that I am looking for sea glass for two friends from Massachusetts who have been especially kind to me lately. I tell them that I want to bring these friends some little bits of Maine. I don’t know if they understand the last part or not, but they don’t question it. They sense that an important mission is at hand. Without a word, they begin to help. The girl, whose name I eventually learn is Krista, works beside me, putting the pieces in my hand one by one as she finds them. The boy, Cain, works a wider territory, wandering off on his own, returning periodically with his finds. We work quietly, with reverence almost, with only an occasional comment about the beauty or uniqueness of a particular piece. It feels almost as though the three of us are participants in some sacred ceremony.
The children do not adhere to my standards for the sea glass, and soon they are also adding small rock, shells, and even pieces of shell. My first impulse is to protest. “No, that’s not what I’m looking for.” But instead I relax. I decide to accept whatever gifts they have to give. I watch as the mixture in my hand grows increasingly messier, and richer. When my cupped hand is full, I tell them it’s time for me to go. I say my goodbyes, thank them for their help, and slip the collection into my jacket pocket. As I walk away, I look back at Krista and Cain. They sit, heads close together, still sifting through the rocks.
|Image: Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
|Credit: K. Dahlquist & R. Bangert|
|imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
My husband and I, grateful for our own circumstances, met a young woman and her baby son 16 years ago. They had a rented room, but not much support in their lives. We were childless. We moved to a bigger house and became a family. The woman was able to get off of public assistance, get some experience and get a job (...and now is a very experienced bookkeeper and office manager). Our young boy, now 16, was able to go to school and get a solid foundation that now supports him in high school. We got the best gift...the joy of a little boy running to us when we got home from work, a Christmas morning with a child, the hope for the future in his eyes. After five years of living together, the woman and the little boy got their own place and continued their growth and development. They have allowed us to remain in their lives. Kind of godparents, kind of grandparents. Four lives changed forever from a chance meeting and a willingness to be open to give. We made a choice - they made a choice - and everyone (including the resources of the government) benefited. Although we gave them a place to live, some financial assistance and some needed support, we GOT way more than we GAVE.Now that's what I'm talking about!
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|Credit: K. Dahlquist & R. Bangert|
[The] babies were, she said, born innocent--blank slates. By virtue of either their single or poor status, their parents, however, were tainted. According to Georgia and the theories of reformers, children raised by these tainted parents would quickly become tainted too. Single mothers, who before their children became marketable would have been forced to raise them, were suddenly considered incompetent to keep them. (Raymond, pg 84)The results of Tann's methods are chilling. Her actions were devastating not only to the parents who lost their children but also to the children she was supposedly helping, a disproportionately high number of whom were abused or died. But Georgia Tann's direct victims were not the only people she affected. Tann paved the road for the juggernaut that was the Baby Scoop Era, and her influence ripples even into current times.
[Gretchen] Sisson, who wrote “Finding a Way to Offer Something More: Reframing Teen Pregnancy Prevention,” in the Journal of Sexuality Research and Social Policy, says that, in most cases, teen mothers do better than do their peers who are not mothers. Sisson’s research shows that among young women who drop out of high school, teen mothers are more likely to complete their GEDs. And in their twenties, they spend more time in the work force than do their peers who are not mothers. -- Avital Norman Nathman, Teen Motherhood: When “Reality TV” Doesn’t Fully Reflect Reality, January 1, 2013And by their 30s? Sisson finds the former teen moms are "a bit ahead of their peers in terms of earning."
We know the stereotypes and prejudices that teen parents have to face — but we also know the truth. We know that teen parents can be capable caregivers and fabulous role models for their children. We know that, with support, they can achieve academically and professionally. We know young families can be successful.Note that key phrase: with support!
David Castillo Dominici http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
|Stuart Miles www.freedigitalphotos.net|
Adoption Network @AdoptionFeed "A Birthmother puts the needs of her child above the wants of her heart" - Skye HardwickWhy does this upset me? It's not because I hate birthmothers or judge them for the choices they have made. It's because the statement includes the automatic assumption that the child's needs are best served by separating the child from the mother, an assumption I consider to be false. Yes, I understand that every situation is different, and there may be situations in which the separation is unavoidable or perhaps even the best of bad options. But it seems to me that mothers considering relinquishment today are given insufficient information about adoptee loss and trauma. Without such information -- without access to the stories of adoptees such as myself -- they cannot make an informed decision about what the child truly needs. Idealizing rhetoric about "brave birthmothers" making the "self-sacrificing" choice to do what is "best" for the child is manipulative. It comes from the industry (initially, at least), and its intention is to persuade mothers that their children are better off without them -- an oversimplification in some cases, and an outright falsity in others.
|Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
Adoption loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful. – The Reverend Keith C. Griffith, MBELately, I've been thinking also that adoption is perhaps the only situation in which something that is a source of trauma for many is routinely celebrated and promoted by others. Think of other kinds of loss that people experience. Can you imagine those people walking around in a world that actively promoted the source of their harm?
|Cheerful! But what's underneath?|
"Don't you ever mention that bitch/slut in my house again!"
"If she gave a damn about you, she wouldn't have signed those papers. She only cared about herself. She didn't want the responsibility and work of being a mother."
"Don't get any ideas about looking for her; she probably doesn't want to be found, and if you did find her you'd probably be disappointed anyway. She could be a crack addict for all you know."
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|Michal Marcol at FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
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We did not lose each other.
Even though my OBC was sealed.
Even though my a-parents moved us 147 miles away from the city where they adopted me.
Even though we didn't know each other's new names. (She married and changed hers. My a-parents changed mine.)
We were still connected.