Letting Go of Letters

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“Things are in the saddle and ride mankind.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
January, a great month for new beginnings. Inspired by Marie Kondo, queen of the Declutter World, I once again vow to sweep through the entire house and prune the excess, reduce the redundancies, eliminate the irrelevant. It’s not the first time I’ve embarked a declutter campaign, but this time, I am being non-negotiable. My constant mantra: OHIO (Only Handle it Once). Years of selling stuff at neighbors’ yard sales, donating to charities, giving things away: I still felt hopelessly cluttered. The “things” grew back, multiplied, maybe even reproduced at night while I was sleeping.
Correspondence collections are close to my heart, harder to part with than books, photos, or just about anything else. Because it would be tough, I decided to start there. I recently tackled a column of banker boxes that resided in a closet, unopened, for several decades. I’d do my heirs a favor by going through, keeping a precious few letters, and taking the bulk of them to the recycle bin.
As an adult adoptee, I’ve always believed that the best way to know where to go, one must see where one has been.
“The past is not dead. It is not even past.” —William Faulkner
Not surprisingly, most archived letters were from my parents, both biological and adoptive. Giovanni Cecchini, the birthfather I got to see three times after I was adopted, was a Navy photographer during WWII. When he and his new wife Margaret moved to Amelia Island, Florida, he became a well-known photographer in the town of Fernandina Beach. He gardened and photographed for many years before his death in 1998. I travel yearly to Amelia Island to visit Margaret. On 12/29/91, Giovanni wrote “Another letter from me — lucky you (I guess).”
My birthmother Velma and I had a long correspondence, and I came across her epistle of 2/13/94. She wrote “Dearest Daughter, I had to peek at my Valentine on Friday (I sent one to her every February) but put it away until Monday…Your four parents are very proud of how you grew up to be beautiful with many talents.”
My adoptive dad’s WWII letters provided the material for my book From Calcutta with Love-The WWII Letters of Richard and Reva Beard (published in 2002 by Texas Tech University Press, due to be re-issued by Pajarito Press in 2020). He also wrote to me every Sunday until his death in 1997. His letters were filled with reports of his life with my adoptive mom Reva, observations about everything from world events to the weather. On February 18, 1990, he wrote “Dearest Elaine: This week has featured several wonderful springlike days, but today and to some extent yesterday were more like typical February weather. It has been dull, overcast, and just cold enough to be raw and uncomfortable outside — I know, I tried walking around the lake and even the Canadian geese looked discomfited.”
I am reading through the boxes of letters, keeping a precious few but relegating most of the epistles to the recycling bin. Typed and penned words from the past made time fall away. I was reminded of a time when letter-writing was the way to keep in touch. Those missives kept us close despite the miles in between. Now, with Email, Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp and other channels of communication, letters are nearly obsolete. With their passing, we will have lost something irreplaceable. On the other hand, think of that person who’d love to hear from you, not instantly. Perhaps it’s not too late to revive the custom of letter-writing.
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Join Elaine once or twice a month on Mondays for reflections on life as seen through adoption-colored glasses. Do you enjoy writing letters? Comments are welcome!

The Goodbye Baby gives an insider view of growing up adopted.

Poetry Live: May it soon Return

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The pending new year is filled with promise. With the development of a Corona virus to end the pandemic, we will, hopefully, be able to join live audiences. Zoom will still be around, of course, but there will be other options. I can imagine a time when we will sit with others, in person, to share music, movies, dance and theater performances. I am ready to adopt and embrace that time. Lately, I’ve been remembering Coleman MolanaBarks, the famous translator of Jelaluddin Rumi. In the past, Barks regularly came to Santa Fe. His show, “Rumi Concert—A Feast of Poetry, Humor, Music, Dance & Story,” offered a mesmerizing combination of poetry recitation by poet/professor Coleman Barks, music by David Darling and Glen Velez and dancing by Zuleikha, international Storydancer. And it led me to offer you, dear Reader, my favorite Rumi poem.
The following masterpiece fits my topic because the adoptee’s journey is about being at home in ones own skin.
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The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes 
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house 
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out 
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice. 
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes 
because each has been sent
 as a guide from beyond.– Jelaluddin Rumi,

********************************************************************** Although he wrote seven centuries ago, the Persian poet, theologian, and Sufi mystic Rumi provided insights that serve us well today. The “guests” are emotions and thoughts to which one awakens each morning. Rumi advises welcoming them all rather than disdaining some as unwelcome pests and others as “right” and correct. It is true that we enjoy those guests that empower, buoy us up, and make us feel successful, capable, happy. But as I’ve traveled the adoptee’s road to discovering who I really am, I’ve found that we need to accept all the feelings and learn to live with them.
The emotions that appear in our personal guest houses can, after all, serve as guides from beyond.

Looking at the world through adoption-colored glasses.

Running to my Roots, Part Two

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As an adult adoptee looking back, one of my regrets was not growing up with my Italian heritage. In my recent memoir The Goodbye Baby: A Diary about Adoption, I lamented this “deprivation.” However, I DID meet my Italian-American birthfather. I was able to travel with him to Abruzzo, where he was born. It was to be the last time I saw him, as he passed away shortly after our return. This is the second part of my essay about our trip to Italy…

My relatives in Abruzzo welcomed me, their American cousin

My relatives in Abruzzo welcomed me, their American cousin

I ran every morning of our two-week stay in San Martino Sulla Marrucina. The miles melted away. Propelled by fascinating sights, smells, sounds and sensations, I was hardly aware of moving. I glided by the town’s gothic style cathedral, the tobacco shop, the nursery school, multistoried buildings with flower-laden balconies, graceful patios, tiny cats peeking from doorways, sheep, chickens, olive trees and grapevines. The town’s dogs barked and lunged as I ran by. Lucky for me, they were chained or fenced in. By the third day, I thought I’d run every cobblestone street and traversed every steep, narrow alleyway.
But I was wrong. One of my rewarding outings came about as a result of a funeral. A village dignitary had died, and I was invited by my cousins to join a procession to the “camposanto.” Thus on this morning, I walked rather than ran. The entire population of San Martino had joined in the solemn on-foot parade to the final laying-to-rest of the deceased. After interment, my cousin Carlo pointed out many tombs that contained his (and my own) late kinsfolk. All the while, I made mental notes of possible new running sites. I discovered a narrow path, just beyond the village proper, that descended to a lovely valley and forest.
After the funeral and from then on, this path was my favorite running destination. I went from my aunt’s house to the “camposanto” to pay respects to anyone who might have been related, however distantly, to me. That accomplished, I explored the paths beyond. In the marvelous way that running has of leading us to we don’t know where, I powered my way up small roads through cultivated fields and olive groves. During several forays, I rambled through dense forests, each time discovering something new.
One day, I spotted a garden plot of red chile peppers that looked just like those of my native New Mexico. Another time, I spotted a prickly ball along the road, a small animal something like a round porcupine. Was it dead or just hibernating? When I returned, cousin Carlo told me, “These animals are very useful. They kill garden pests and are also good to eat.” When they feel threatened, he added, they curl themselves up into balls.
A week before the end of my Italian sojourn, the weather turned colder. Until now, it had been summer. The sky became moody and the moist air promised rain and the coming winter. On one of my final runs in Italy, I took along a bag and collected fallen autumn leaves to press and take back to America.
On my next-to-last day in San Martino, I ran through town, passing my favorite little lady and her three cats, the post office,the tobacco shop. Just as I was heading back to my aunt’s house, Carlo and his wife Bianca drove up beside me, stopped their car and invited me to go shopping with them. When we reached the town of Guardiagrelee, it became obvious that their mission was to buy presents for me — handmade lace, a brass oil lamp, pottery, a cookbook written in English and Italian.
The day of my departure, I took a predawn farewell run, and then it was time to return to Rome and the United States. My wish to meet with the dad I’d never known had been granted, at least partially. So much time had passed, “water under the bridge” my father called it, that we might never become closely bonded father and daughter. However, sharing San Martino with my father was precious beyond words. Miles of running through his village enriched my memory bank forever.

Discovering my brth father's homeland expanded my horizons!

Discovering my birth father’s homeland expanded my horizons!

Running to my Roots-Part One

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In Italy, I traveled through miles of my birth family’s history…

As an adult adoptee looking back, one of my regrets was not growing up with my Italian heritage. In my memoir The Goodbye Baby: Adoptee Diaries, I lamented this “deprivation.” However, I DID at last meet my Italian-American birthfather just a few years before he passed away. I was able to travel with him to Abruzzo, where he was born.
When organizing my office last week, I came across this account, written in 2007 but never before published. As you, my readers, will see, I was heavily into running at the time. In retrospect, I realize how special that father-daughter journey it was, what a privilege that I got this glimpse of my heritage. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed re-living the experience…

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Growing up adopted, relived through diary entires

I was an adopted child, five years old when my new parents took over. I met my biological father many years later. Together we visited the town in Italy where he was born, and there I spent an unforgettable week getting to know cousins and doing a lot of running. Giovanni Cecchini began life in the tiny village of San Martino Sulla Maruccina. It’s on the east side of the Italian boot, 17 miles from the Adriatic Sea. Even though I had been adopted by a loving mom and dad and my young life improved dramatically, I longed for many years to find out more about my heritage. Shortly before Giovanni’s death, that wish came true.
Giovanni left the old country at age two. He’d returned to his home village every year since World War II. I spent most of my life without knowing him. Our reunion did not bring the communication I’d hoped for. My father, in ill health, was taciturn and grouchy. Despite this disappointment, I was able to get in touch with my roots. And I discovered the joys of running in Italy.
Being with long-lost Italian cousins, hiking through the fields, hills and olive groves that had belonged to my ancestors, enjoying the scenic beauty of San Martino, with snowcapped mountains to the west and the sea to the east were magical. Best of all, however, was running in my newly-discovered native homeland.
Nikes on my feet, I explored the streets and pathways of tiny San Martino (population 800) as well as nearby countryside. No doubt I was an odd sight. I like to think of myself as the first American to have jogged through the village for the sake of simply running. If the citizens of San Martino were running, it would be to catch a stray sheep, goat or child.
For one thing, the villagers are elderly. The young leave for Pescara or Chieti or Guardiagrele to attend school or take jobs. Furthermore, why would people need to run? The San Martino way of life incorporates vigorous outdoor activities: harvesting olives, gathering firewood, tending animals, plowing fields. My spoken Italian was not versatile enough to know what the natives thought of my running through their streets every day.
But run for the sport of it I did, and for the sheer beauty of the landscape. Running was not only a way to enjoy the incredibly beautiful countryside but also to work off the delicious pasta consumed during three-hour lunches.
San Martino-ans are not into lycra and singlets, so early each morning I donned pedal pushers and an oversized t-shirt borrowed from my teenage sons. I decided it was better to look like a nerd than a shameless exhibitionist. Shortly after the roosters’ last crowing, I left my Aunt Guisipina’s house and jogged up a narrow cobblestone road to the main street of San Martino. Sweeping their porches, small elderly ladies in black stared at me, first in disbelief, then with amusement. After a day or so, they began greeting me with a friendly “Buon Giorno.”

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Looking at the world through adoption-colored glasses.

November is National Adoption Month, so I’m publishing another adoption-themed post from the past. The trip to Italy was life-changing, life affirming, and inspirational. Join me, Elaine Pinkerton, on alternate Mondays for adoptee perspectives.

Feedback is invited. Click at the top right to leave your comments.

Adoptee Reunions: Be Prepared for EVERYTHING

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Note from Elaine: Guest blogger Pat Goehe passed away last month. She was loved and appreciated by a host of friends in Santa Fe, New Mexico and around the country. To honor her memory, we are republishing one of her contributions to The Goodbye Baby website. For Pat, meeting her daughter for the first time after 32 years was a life-changing experience.

Birthmother/daughter reunion - Pat knew the day would come and it did!
Birthmother/daughter reunion – Pat knew the day would come and it did!

In Pat’s words…

As I think about the reunion with my daughter after she found me, the thing that benefited me the most, was knowing that in fact she had been adopted by a wonderful couple.   Those who have read my original blog posts may remember I indicated  something had happened in one of my classes which made me wonder if my daughter had a negative experience similar to one of the students in that class.   So it was such a relief to meet her adopted parents and see that they were so wonderful.

I was pleasantly surprised at the time of the original reunion that she was involved in the arts, and that she had moved to California the very same year that I went there on a years’ sabbatical leave from my college.  Her field was music and also management and an agent for film composers.  I was dabbling in the film industry as well.   Another surprise was to discover we both were in love with the song from a Disney movie …. “somewhere out there….”    In fact, while celebrating one of my birthdays shortly after the reunion  at a favorite place, one of the singing waiters came and said there was another request for me.  He went on to say my daughter had called and requested it.  She knew I would be there that evening.

The old “nature or nurture” question was back in my mind.  At our very first meeting she ordered the same salad dressing I always do.  At one point where I excused myself to go to the restroom, she commented “So that’s where I get my pea sized bladder from!”.  And as originally talked about, when she called me for the first time, I couldn’t get over how much she seemed like me.  So much more than the daughter I had raised.  She’s also a “worry wart” like me, usually overbooked in the “to do” lists, and there’s no question that we are both sensitive, emotional people.

What advice can I give to adoptees or the birth parents seeking a reunion?  Be prepared for anything.   If you have a scenario developed where it’s a glorious reunion, it may not be.  If you have other children and you hope all will become one big happy family, that too may not be.  It hasn’t been in my case. If you are haunted by needing to know, then by all means search.  I hope you have a happy outcome.   To me, the not knowing was the most difficult of all.   I was prepared for whatever I would find, good or bad.  She found me,  and it has been good.  Perfect?  Is anything ever that?

Editor’s Note: Pat Goehe was a lifetime teacher who worked in all facets of communication and related arts. She taught students at the secondary and university level. Perhaps the most meaningful communication of her life, however, occurred when her daughter Linda, after decades of separation, contacted her. Pat was a frequent contributor to The Goodbye Baby website and the author of Annemarie and Boomer wait for Grandma and Annemarie Learns to Whistle. In keeping with National Adoption Month, we pay tribute this wonderful birthmother and to all birthmothers. Pat, you are missed!

Pat relaxes in Santa Fe's Rose Garden Park
Pat relaxes in Santa Fe’s Rose Garden Park

Why I Write about Adoption – Part Two

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Note: Welcome to the second installment of a two-part post by author/ adoptive mother Jessica O’Dwyer. For part one go to https://tinyurl.com/y3uff7xz

A novel was begging to be written, but I couldn’t find my way in…

Then one summer, we hired a driver who took us to Nebaj and Rabinal, in the highlands of Guatemala, the epicenter of the country’s armed conflict. It turned out our driver had been a little boy during those hard times. He took us to graveyards and memorials, churches and village squares. We met other survivors of the conflict and visited Rabinal’s museum honoring the victims. Everything came together in my mind. The beginning and end of the novel, the entire narrative arc.The story in Mother Mother is told from two points of view: Julie, a white adoptive mother in California, and Rosalba, the Ixil Maya mother in Guatemala whose baby Julie adopts. Both mothers grapple with power and race, deception and love as they navigate their life circumstances, and life choices.

I love my children and our lives together. Adoption is how my family was formed, and my family is the best thing in my life. But after nearly two decades as an adoptive mother, I know our lives together started at chapter two. My children’s first chapter was written before we came together, when they were formed in their mothers’ wombs and later separated from them. As a writer and adoptive mother, I honor that first chapter by acknowledging and exploring it.

After the publication of my second book, people ask if I’m planning a trilogy. Possibly. To me, adoption is the most fascinating subject on earth.

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Jessica O’Dwyer, an adoptive mother, lives in California with her husband, son, and daughter. Her essays have been published in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Adoptive Families and Marin Independent Journal.

Why I Write about Adoption – Part One

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Guest Post by Jessica O’Dwyer

I’m the adoptive mother to two teens born in Guatemala, ages 18 and 15, and have written two books with adoption as theme. My memoir, Mamalita, was published in 2010. My novel, Mother Mother, was published last month. It was during my book tour for Mamalita—remember public readings, in bookstores?!— that I first learned people harbor strong feelings about adoption—pro and con. I also learned that trying to change anyone’s opinion on the subject was futile. Better simply to write my truth and hope the reader understands.
Seventeen years ago, I quit my job as a publicist at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and moved to a rented apartment in Antigua, Guatemala to live with my then-toddler daughter whom my husband and I were trying to adopt. We had been enmeshed in the process for more than a year, ever since we saw our daughter’s photo and had fallen in love.
I wasn’t the only would-be mother living in Guatemala who was sorting out a stalled adoption. We were a group of eight, with nothing in common except our desire to become mothers and the belief that our bureaucratic nightmares should not be allowed to happen to anyone else. That year, more than 3,000 Americans adopted children from Guatemala. Each of those families had a story, no two the same.
After returning home with my daughter six months later, international adoption became headline news, none of it good. The private adoption system in Guatemala was singled out as particularly corrupt. Front-page stories described payments to birth mothers, coercion to become pregnant, and the trawling of countrysides by “finders” to trick young women into relinquishing their babies. Adoptive parents like me were depicted as privileged Americans who swooped in to snatch kidnapped infants. Even UNICEF pronounced it was better for a child to grow up in an orphanage in his country of origin than to be adopted by foreign parents. The news got so bad it was impossible not to feel under attack.
But that was only part of the story. The story I experienced was that of parents who loved their children, pushing back against a system that seemed designed to manipulate emotions at every turn.
When I lived in Antigua, the other mothers used to say, “Somebody needs to write a book about this.” My entire life I’d been searching for the one story I had to tell. Even as I was living the experience, I knew our adoption saga was it. The result was Mamalita.
A few years later, I realized there was more to say about family, marriage, and adoption; and about the violent history of Guatemala’s 36-year civil war and its aftermath. Adoption is so broad and so deep, and most novels that incorporate it as a theme, to me, merely skim over the surface. My goal was to give a more complete, nuanced, and layered picture.
The inspiration for my novel, Mother Mother, came from living with adoption 24/7 in my own family, as well as from my growing obsession with Guatemala’s political history and how it led to the widespread adoption of babies to other countries. During our annual summer trips to Guatemala, we visited with our kids’ birth mothers and I recognized the complexity of their stories. A novel was begging to be written, but I couldn’t find my way in. (To Be Continued)

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November is National Adoption Month: Elaine Pinkerton’s The Goodbye Baby website will be featuring guest posts from adoptive parents. Please comment and, if inspired, submit your blog ideas for future publication. Send them via the site.

Jessica O’Dwyer, an adoptive mother, lives in California with her husband, son, and daughter. Her essays have been published in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Adoptive Families and Marin Independent Journal.

Celebrating National Adoption Month

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November is National Adoption Month — a time set aside to celebrate families that have grown through adoption. The goal is to raise awareness of the more than 125,000 children waiting in foster care in the United States. As an adoptee who writes both nonfiction and fiction centering on the “adoption theme,” I’ve often encountered fascinating stories and individuals through the online adoption network.The adoption triad comprises Adoptive parents, Birthparents, and Adoptees. I’ve enjoyed meeting people from every part of the triad.

Author Jessica O’Dwyer is one of those individuals. After reading her beautifully written books Mamalita and Mother Mother, I “met” (through her website) Jessica O’Dwyer.  Jessica is an adoptive parent; I’m an adoptee; we’re both authors. It’s no surprise that we’ve become online friends. In fact, we were recently interviewed by Santa Fe’s public radio station, KSFR (101.1). Here’s the podcast.

 

My first adoption book was a nonfiction collection, diary entries about growing up as an adopted daughter and feeling that I had to pretend to be the “real” daughter. It documents my life from the 1950s through the 1980s and concludes with a acceptance and reconciliation with the past.

My second adoption-themed book, All the Wrong Places is a suspense novel. Adoptee Clara Jordan moves from the east coast to Red Mesa, New Mexico, and begins a teaching year at the American Indian Academy. Shortly after the start of a new semester, headmaster Joseph Speckled Rock is found dead on Clara’s classroom floor. Both teacher and students are shocked.

Clara deals with her students’ grief and her own frustration by daily running in the rough hills surrounding the academy. Carnell Dorame, a talented student and Clara’s favorite, uses the Internet to trace the identity of her birthmother. The school’s computer teacher Henry DiMarco invites Clara out for a date and they end up falling in love. Henry, however, is not what he seems. His real business is smuggling pottery, an enterprise that is tied in with the death of Speckled Rock.

When Clara begins to suspect Henry’s dual nature, he decides that she is in the way and breaks up with her. She runs to a remote arroyo and underground cave studying petroglyphs that might lead to her birthmother’s identity. Not to give away the ending, I’ll just say that the question—Will adoptee Clara Jordan be able learn about her family tree or will she die trying? — is answered by the book’s conclusion.

The Hand of Ganesh – Publication Date 2021

Third in adoption theme is The Hand of Ganesh, an adventure story. Clara Jordan and her friend Arundhati (“Dottie”) Benet travel to India in search of Dottie’s birth family. The novel is finished and being edited.

Throughout the month of November, I’ll be publishing guest posts that reflect different parts of the adoption triad. Stay tuned!

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Join Elaine Pinkerton on alternate Mondays for reflections on adoption and life.

Comments are welcome!

 

The Core of Adoption

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I’ve come a long way since my memoir The Goodbye Baby-Adoptee Diaries was published (2012), but the way I felt then is still valid. Some things don’t change. You wake up in the morning, despite years of “recovery” and re-calibrating those original feelings of abandonment, you’re still adopted. Herewith, the original beginning of my memoir …


Sixty years ago, toward the end of World War Two, a five-year-old girl was left on the doorstep of strangers. Her mother left her there because she couldnʼt feed or house her child and also, suspected the girl, because as a daughter, she wasnʼt quite good enough. The strangers, miraculously, turned out to be wonderful new parents. Theyʼd been looking for a little girl just like her. Along with her younger brother, nearly two years old and part of the deal, the girl went from rags to riches. Though the term meant nothing at the time, she had been adopted.
A happy ending? Well, it seemed so until the girl went to school. Immediately she noticed that the other children all had their real parents. She was pretending that her mother was her “real” mother and trying desperately to be good enough. The worst thing would be going back to the foster homes sheʼd endured with the mother who couldnʼt keep her.
Outwardly, life was so much better now that she should have rejoiced. Her new parents did not really want to talk about why they adopted her. She was afraid to ask when her real mother would be coming back to get her. Possibly she would never come back, and it would be because she wasnʼt a good enough daughter. The little girl grew up carrying that shameful secret in her heart.
When the girl turned ten, she received a diary for Christmas. It had a lock and key and lines for writing anything she wanted. By now, it seemed to the girl that the kind, nurturing parents were new “real parents.” Never mind that she had many questions about her life with the original mother. If that mother gave her away, there must have been a reason.
Deep down, no matter what the new parents told her, she believed it was all her
fault. She was somehow inferior, not smart or pretty enough, just not OK. Since she couldnʼt talk about the shameful secret, she took to writing in her diary.
With the little blank book, she didnʼt have to be someone that she wasnʼt. The diary was her best friend, her confidante, a repository of feelings that she couldnʼt express anywhere else. It was so helpful. Always there, always ready to listen. Never judging or disapproving. A place where she was always welcome. So comforting were the diaries that when the girl became a teenager, a wife and mother, a grandmother, then a widow, she continued filling up book after book. At some point in the distant future, sheʼd burn the diaries, toss them into the ocean or maybe bury them in an arroyo.
But wait! The diaries might contain something valuable — a certain confession, insight, lament or situation. Gathered in a book, selected excerpts could provide a window for others whoʼd been adopted. Now a senior citizen, the girl resolved to harvest her journals, to transcribe passages that cried out to her. All of the mistakes, the bad decisions, the obsessions, the wrong thinking, would be put on the table and examined.
Just as she resolved that her personal history was worth writing, she was blindsided. The deaths of her biological father, her adoptive parents, and then her husband pushed aside the diary project. It was almost too much to bear, and for several years she lived inside her grief.
Only one journey would lead the girl to a healing. She had to go back and actually READ the diaries. As the girl scoured the past, an amazing thing happened. She came to realize that there was nothing so special about her personal drama. It was all part of being human. At last she could forgive herself and even begin to get over “growing up adopted.” She could quit playing a part and start living her life.

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Learn more by tuning in online to KSFR F.M. 101.1 when Elaine will be interviewed by MK Mendoza about the adoptee’s journey. Tuesday, October at 8:30 a.m. (MT). Comments welcome!



Adopting Hope

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Have you ever read something that brought a seismic shift in your thinking? This happened to me last week.
I was taking an urban walkabout in Santa Fe, New Mexico to the nearly deserted Plaza, our town square. I came across a prose poem inspired by the pandemic. It was displayed, blown up large, on a storefront, and it inspired me to think differently about my months of self-imposed isolation. I recalled the dozens of online operas I’ve viewed, thanks to the Metropolitan Opera’s HD free streaming, of my thriving vegetable garden in the back yard, of books I’ve read lately, of the novel I’ just finished writing, of hikes in the mountains and arroyos. Though I miss people, their hugs and smiles and warmth, there are blessings that come with staying put.

Photo by Tom McGuffy

 

PEOPLE STAYED HOME
by Catherine (Kitty) O’Meara

And people stayed home and read books, and listened and rested and exercised and made art and played games and learned new ways of being and stopped and listened deeper.
Some meditated some prayed some met their shadows
and the people began to think differently and the people healed
And in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways, dangerous, mindless and heartless,
even the Earth began to heal.
And when the danger ended and people found each other they grieved for the dead
and they made new choices and dreamed of new images and
created new ways of life
and healed the Earth completely
just as they were healed themselves.

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Join author Elaine Pinkerton on alternate Mondays for reflections on adoption, hiking, and the writing life. Her newly-completed novel The Hand of Ganesh is being edited and scheduled for publication in 2021. What have you found helpful during the Coronavirus era? Please share your stories. Your comments are invited!

Outdoor Time