BOOKS and My Father Richard ~Adopting the Past


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 I grew up with two family trees -1. biological 2. adoptive.

My father at age five. Even then he was a bibliophile.

My father at age five. Even then he was a bibliophile.

Years after being adopted, I met my birthparents, and that was helpful if not completely rewarding. I was fortunate to end up with my adoptive parents (family tree #2), and in that vein I’m talking a look at family history from the adoptive side.

My father died on a May morning in Virginia, the state where I grew up and he had lived for 40 years. Richard Leonard Beard was my hero, my role model and — after I moved from Virginia to New Mexico in the 1960s — my favorite pen pal. Before the cruel dementia that ravaged his mind and memory, he was a brilliant and much-loved college professor first at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and then at the University of Virginia (UVa). Of the many gifts my father imparted to me, I cherish most his love of books.

Since that sad, raw Tuesday when Richard gave up his battle for life, I’ve savored memories of this wonderful man. None have been more heartwarming than those provided as I go through his books, which my mother sent me, carton by carton, over a period of three months.

My father was a lover of the written word, a true bibliophile. The oldest of four

Fifties family - I grew up in university towns.

Fifties Family -Growing up in university towns.

children growing out in rural northern Ohio, he was the only one who went to college. The family moved from a farm in Hancock County to Findlay, Ohio, and there for the first time he had access of a library. He started reading voraciously and never stopped. In high school, young Richard was president of 38 clubs, including the book club, the drama team, and the debating club. Ultimately, my father became professor of guidance and counseling, before which he was a high school English teacher. His love of books was conveyed to a multitude of fortunate students, and later, to me.

Times were tough for my biological mother, and-never mind books- she had enough trouble housing and feeding me and my brother. In fact, she couldn’t, and that’s when my new Mom and Dad came into the picture. I can’t recall seeing a book before my “rescue” from grim foster homes and what I considered an orphan’s life.

In the wonderful new home where my brother and I were treated like royalty rather than unwanted burdens, I recall our father reading to us every night. There must have been other bedtime stories, but my most vivid memory is of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Night after night, I would fall asleep to my father’s rich baritones, with visions of the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the Jabberwock. He instilled in me a passion for reading and transformed what had been a bleak, booklets childhood. I grew up rich in words, finding through books fantasy, adventure, edification and a world apart that seemed to make up for the first five years of my life.

During the mid-1950s, In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Richard established an

Ahead of his time, Dr. Beard spearheaded a book TV program in the 50s.

Ahead of his time, Dr. Beard spearheaded a book TV program in the 50s.

educational TV program in conjunction with the University of North Carolina, based on books and reading. He was the host and I was a frequent guest. In the meantime, his personal book collection was growing. In thirty years, it would reach over 5,000 volumes. (To be Continued)

Next Week: “Books and My Father Richard,” Part II. Join Elaine on Mondays for reflections on adoption, adapting, and life.

Haiku Monday


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Note from Elaine: I’m in the final stages of editing a novel (All the Wrong Places) to be published in late 2016 or early 2017. The process has so consumed me, today’s post, one of my favorites, is a repeat.  My goal for this new year is to focus on gratitude for everything. I’ve flipped the script, from anger to appreciation. Understanding at the heart level has come about after years of searching and reinvention. As an adopted person who’s “adopted” many routes to healing, I’ve found that reading poetry is a balm. It is with great delight that I re-publish these haikus by my poet friend Roberta Fine.
Twelve Graces of 2014

Above the Clouds

Above the Clouds

Baldy’s white cap thins
Brown skull showing through the white
Waiting for a storm.
Fresh snow on Sangres
Opal tinted at sunset
Glow fading slowly.
Lady hawk surveys
White fields from catalpa tree
Great head swiveling.
Buried bulbs revive
In frozen lifeless garen
Reaching for the sun.
Clinging to twin trees
Raven pair tear at pine cones
Then leave together.
White threads vein mountainimages
All that’s left of winter snow
Garden pants for rain.
Fledglings line up
To take a turn at feeders
Lone bird pecks at ground.
Ravens’ raucous call
Splitting summer morning peace
Dewdrops shine on leaves.
Head held high, lone rose
Surviving frosty warning.
Someone’s chopping wood.
Tawny gold valley
Flaunting bold farewell to sun’s
Declining power.
Red chrysanthemumsIMG_0004
Capturing sun’s chilly fire
In sundown’s last glance.
Fuzzy moon peering
Down through tree’s bare black branches
Suggests snow tonight.

HAIKU-short poems that use words to capture a feeling or image of nature, beauty, or a particular sensory moment.. They are usually written as three lines: the first contains 5 syllables, the second line 7 syllables, the third line 5 syllables.
Poet Roberta Fine lives and writes in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Finding inspiration from

Roberta Fine adopted Haiku as her medium of expression

How to Achieve a Happiness Breakthrough


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There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world. -Robert Louis Stevensonimages

Throughout three years of blogging I’ve touted the benefits of working through post-adoption hangups. OK, so adoptees have deep-seated challenges to deal with, issues that will never completely vanish but need to be tamed, subdued and controlled. Enough already! Having grown weary of these “issues,” I’ve set a new goal for 2016: ADOPTING HAPPINESS.

I’ve been greatly helped in this quest by Claire Cook’s new book, Shine On~How to contentGrow Awesome Instead of Old. This volume appeared in my life at the perfect time. As I embark upon this NEW YEAR, I’m armed with inspiration and optimism, thanks to Shine On. Unlike so many “self-help” books I’ve read and long forgotten, this charming volume will stay with me. Far more than a book, it offers a concept—a refreshing new “flip the script” approach. Claire Cook took me on her journey, sharing ups and downs, challenges I related to. The brevity of the chapters, the delightful surprises (recipes, lists to be made, beauty tips), good advice, and a friendly, confidential tone all made the reading sheer delight. Shine On was like a visit with a dear friend who had only my best interests at heart!

Google “happiness” articles and you’ll find a tsunami of lists, formulas, and “foolproof” methods for achieving happiness. These suggestions invariably include such advice as practicing gratitude, expressing emotions, and giving up on perfection. Fine, sensible ideas, and do-able. Claire Cook’s book is unique in that it helps the reader craft a personal list of top five happiness breakthrough resolutions.

Here are my five:
Write every day (this is important, as I’ve just started a new novel).
Have some fun.
Refresh wardrobe – not with buying new stuff but using the old with more flair. Eliminate the duds.
Take time daily to read. This relates to #2 on the list, as one of my most fun activities is escaping into a good book.
Return to playing bridge. I grew up with this card game but have grown rusty. Established a foursome; we plan to play weekly.

YOUR TURN: What are your top five?

________    ________    _________    __________    _______

Read Claire Cook’s book to learn specifics about the list of five. But until you do, just go for it, make your own manifesto.

As Sarah Ban Breathnach puts it in Simple Abundance, “Be courageous. Ask yourself: what is it I need to make me happy? The deeply personal answers to this vital question will be different for each of us. Trust the loving wisdom of your heart.”

Join Elaine for reflections on Adoption and Life

Join Elaine every other Monday ~ for reflections on Adoption and Life

Adopting Hope in the Face of Mortality


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Note from Elaine: Today’s guest blogger, Peggy van Hulsteyn is one of my most successful writer friends.  For the last 15 years, she has been battling  Parkinson’s Disease, and yet
she continues to write charming books and contribute inspiring pieces to the Michael J. Fox Foundation website. I hope you, Dear Reader, will find her essay as uplifting as I do.


-Peggy van Hulsteyn

The first time my Mortality called, I refused to answer. When the old Crone rang me up again, I told her to buzz off; she had the wrong number.

The third time she called she did away with the niceties.  Her message was brutally clear: “You have Parkinson’s disease.”

Who was this obnoxious Nosey Parker? Had she just escaped from the home for the bewildered? Could it be Yvonne, my former agent, taunting me while she imbibed the tawny Port wine favored by the Royal Braganza family of Portugal?

When I thought about it in retrospect, the mix-up was obvious. When you have a name like Peggy van Hulsteyn, people are always confusing you with the multitude of other females of the same name.

I responded: “There’s been a mistake. I know nothing about a disease called Parkinson’s. Leave me alone or I’ll report you to the local authorities!” (I had no idea what that meant, but it sounded menacing.)

So, did she politely beg off? Are you kidding? Instead, she put me on speed dial.
But I couldn’t ignore the scary seeds she had planted in my mind. Surreptitiously,  I visited three neurologists, assuming that they would tell me to ignore this hoax.

The most disconcerting thing is that the old biddy turned out to be right. I did indeed have PD! Was she one of Santa Fe’s many clairvoyants? Is it possible I had misjudged this situation?

After months of her nagging, I had an epiphany.  Ms Mortality was not the enemy, but actually a friend! Her diagnosis of Parkinson’s was a wake-up call telling me it was later than I thought. She spoke the Truth and was an unexpected cheer leader, not a naysayer. Her mantra of  “Don’t postpone joy” resonated down to my core.

I was the worst type of convert once I joined  her “Time is Short” band wagon. I am continually challenging my fellow baby boomers to plunge head first into the carpe diem pool.

I am happy to report that I am taking my own advice. I had always wanted to
have a Nancy Drew party, but felt I was too old. When I got PD, I thought “Who cares?”  So last week my favorite chums donned their best frocks and we all played girl detective while enjoying a delicious ‘50s style dinner from The Nancy Drew Cookbook. It was my best party ever.
More from the “Time is Short” list:

Don't leap into the future; treat the present as a present.

Don’t leap into the future; treat the present as a present.

Don’t wait for Christmas to give presents.
I bestow gifts all year round, but during the holidays I am pro-active and
work for the cure. There are many excellent PD research groups.  I have an affinity for the Michael J Fox Foundation, as Michael is short and funny, and so am I.
Be discreet about accepting invitations.  Use the word NO frequently.  Spend your time doing what you love.
I savor writing, quality time with my witty husband, having quiet lunches with dear friends. Easy traveling. Books.
Remember that little things mean a lot.
A couple of decades ago, my husband and I rescued two tiny kittens who had been dumped by the side of the road the day after Xmas.  I hadn’t planned to keep them.  But I did, and wrote three of my favorite books about them! Never has there been so much love and devotion in such small packages; for 18 years they were devoted friends who purred us through the ups and downs.
Maintain  your creativity.
On those days when it is hard to get out of bed, DON’T!!  Instead, picture  yourself as Colette who did most of her writing in bed. Whether you’re penning Gigi or writing Xmas cards, turn the experience on its head. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself,  think of your day in bed as a step toward more originality.
Carpe Diem – Seize the Day!
Don’t dwell on the past and how wonderful you were – you are still spectacular!  Don’t leap into the future; treat the present as a present. It’s a call to cultivate your garden, gather your roses and your friends, hug your cat, turn off the TV and turn on Vivaldi, write a poem, learn French, read Auntie Mame, and embrace its message to “live, live, live.”


Peggy van Hulsteyn, the author of ten books,  has written for  Yoga Journal (American and Chinese version), The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today and six international editions of Cosmopolitan. Her most recent book, THE KITTEN INVASION, is a romp that reviewers call “wonderfully witty  and original.”
.  For more information,www.

Adoption Wrapped in a Pretty Bow


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Note from Elaine: I have two books coming out in 2016!: the “remodeled” Santa Fe on Foot and a suspense novel, All the Wrong Places. Because of current writing demands, therefore, my blogging has temporarily taken a back seat. Hope you enjoy this republished but timely message. Wishing all adoptees an especially fulfilling holiday!

For Adoptees, the holidays can be tough. Not only for young adopted children, but  also for adult adoptees. During Christmas and Hannukah season, we are supposed to be happy, filled with joy, relishing family reunions. Tis “the season to be jolly,” fa-la-la-la-la-ing” as we frantically strive to find the perfect gift for every last person on the list.

As described in my memoir, The Goodbye Baby: Adoptee Diaries, I was five when my birth mom relinquished me. For all of November—National Adoption Awareness Month—I’ve focussed on my own adoption. It’s been an awakening, and not always a happy one. Though striving mightily to make this a good holiday for my own grown children and their families, I suffer from an all too familiar ache of incompleteness. We adult adoptees can become “orphans” all over again.

I’ve lost all my parents, both biological and adoptive. My birth parents: They could not have raised me and my brother, and yet I would have liked to have known them earlier in life. When I finally met them, it was too late for us to really form a relationship. Those wonderful people, the mom and dad who raised me: I feel an even keener sense of emptiness at their deaths.

To better explain why the holidays present this adoptee with a sense of deprivation, allow me to quote from The Goodbye Baby:



Whenever I think I have finally been healed from the wounds of adoption, life serves up a reminder that I am not. It is the opposite of “looking through rose-colored glasses.” When one looks through the glasses of being adopted, everyday events are reminders of loss, betrayal, or abandonment. Through reading all my diaries, I became very aware of the unremitting prevalence of “adoption bruises.”

Elaine’s tribute to her Adoptive Parents

There are metaphors I find helpful in understanding the wounds of my adoption, including disease and death at sea. When troubled by having grown up as an adopted child, I let insecurity and self-doubt take root. Reason eludes me. I have given that negative emotional state a name—Edgar. Like burning flames, Edgar is fueled by his own energy. Like fire, he feeds on everything, which he transforms into negative thoughts about my past, present, future. Edgar is a demonic artist who paints the world in stark tones of black and gray. Like a disease, Edgar undermines my physical well-being.  Edgar lurks, waiting to arise when I am feeling healthy and balanced. When my spirit starts to wane, he is poised for the kill.

Edgar is always keeping score. His message to me: To be considered worthy of living, I have to prove myself “good” every day. If I do not, I might, metaphorically speaking, be sent to an orphanage. Never mind that I lived in foster care for only the first few years of my life. No matter that I should be well over the feelings of abandonment from that difficult beginning.

Fire burns everything in its path. Self-destructive memories add to Edgar’s growing stockpile of ammunition. Edgar thrives on drama and misfortune, not just mine, but the world’s… Disappointment appears and then malaise sets in, a pervasive feeling of things being awry. My stomach feels queasy, my shoulders ache, and my limbs are leaden. Uh oh. Here’s Edgar, I think to myself.”

If only Christmas were a holiday one could celebrate quietly and thoughtfully, I would be happier. That is not going to happen, so I’ve taken responsibility for making this season rich and fulfilling.

Loss, want, privation and melancholy are NOT what I want to give myself for Christmas.

I am taking the holidays as a time to deepen and renew friendships. Every day I will focus on self-care, spending time in nature, drinking more water and beginning each day with a morning stretch and hug. As a friend recommended, I will stretch my arms and legs, sit up and notice that I am breathing. For three or four breaths, I will simply pay attention, breathing in and breathing out. I will give myself a hug, saying “Good morning, Elaine, thanks for taking a minute to just be. Let today be about learning to love—myself and others”

Acknowledging my adoption as a gift

Embracing my adoption is a way of nurturing myself. This year, the holidays will be different. After putting “Edgar” into an escape-proof cage, I will wrap my adoption insights in a beautiful gift box. Knowing and accepting my adopted self is the greatest gift. When I do this, I have more to give family and friends.


Some questions for my readers:

Why do you personally think Adopted children find it more difficult to enjoy the Holidays?

Do you remember struggling with your own Adoption when Christmas/Thanksgiving rolled around?

Do you ever remember your parents trying to help you deal with this?

What do the Holidays mean to you?

How do you reflect on your adoption during the Holidays?

My Radio Interview on KSFR

In my hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico, we are fortunate to have a community supported public radio station, KSFR (101.1 FM). It is true, as the announcement goes, that KSFR offers “a world of diversity.” My day begins and ends with listening to this ever-entertaining and informative resource.

Additionally, I’ve been a writer all my life. For most of my “writing career,” I’ve been my own publicist. A fortuitous synchronicity occurred during the recent KSFR fall fund drive. As usual during these campaigns, I volunteered to serve as a phone volunteer. It so happened that Dr. Melanie Harth, producer of “Living from Happiness” was volunteering during the same time slot. Between answering phones, we struck up a conversation. She invited me to be interviewed on her lively Saturday morning program. The show aired at 7:30 a.m. on November 28th and focused on The Goodbye Baby-Adoptee Diaries. Many of my friends and blog readers heard it, but because of the early hour, many didn’t. For them, I’m sending out the following link. If you missed the interview, enjoy hearing it for the first time. If you tuned before, listen again and send me your comments.  Thank you!

A is for Appreciation

noun: appreciation; plural noun: appreciationsappreciation_can_make_a_day_even_change_a_life_copy-resized-600

the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.
“I smiled in appreciation”
synonyms:    valuing, treasuring, admiration, respect, regard, esteem, high opinion
“her appreciation of literature”
gratitude for something.
“they would be the first to show their appreciation”
synonyms:    gratitude, thanks, gratefulness, thankfulness, recognition, sense of obligation
“he showed his appreciation”
antonyms:    ingratitude
a piece of writing in which the qualities of a person or the person’s work are discussed and assessed.
synonyms:    review, critique, criticism, critical analysis, assessment, evaluation, judgment, rating
“a critical appreciation of the professor’s work”
sensitive understanding of the aesthetic value of something.
“courses in music appreciation”
a full understanding of a situation.
“they have an appreciation of the needs of users”
synonyms:    acknowledgment, recognition, realization, knowledge, awareness, consciousness, understanding, comprehension
“an appreciation of the difficulties involved”

 Adoption recovery has led me to appreciation. Appreciation: It’s often considered a synonym for “gratitude,” but to my mind, it implies a more detailed type of noticing. Gratitude, perhaps, is more of a blanket term and appreciation implies assessment, recognition, perception of worth.
It brings with it Mindfulness.
Recently, I suffered from the flare-up of an old injury from my marathoning days. The injury involved the return of Morton’s neuromas in the bottom of my foot, The condition caused a pain so acute that the foot doctor told me I could not hike until it got better. Two cortisone shots and three weeks later, I still am not allowed to do anything that involves high impact. Walking on the flatlands is allowed but no climbing. This pronouncement came as a blow.

During my period of “deprivation,” however, I also received a gift of time. Not being able to hike created a vacuum that led to working on a long-postponed novel! I appreciate the fact that instead of being a setback, my injury turned out to be a way forward. This recent experience dramatizes the fact that it’s not what happens to us but what we make of what happens.
My newly-in-progress novel The Hand of Ganesha focuses on the quest of an Indian-American woman, an adoptee, who travels to Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, in search for her birthparents. Being adopted gives me the theme about which I’ll be writing for here on out. I am glad events have unfolded as they have: Call it adaptability, call it adoption recovery, call it appreciation.


Join Elaine every other Monday for reflections on adoption and life.

Dante and the “A Words” of Adoption


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Along the journey of our life half way, I found myself again in a dark wood

Between Heaven and Hell, Dante illuminates the Adoption Journey

Between Heaven and Hell, Dante illuminates the Adoption Journey

wherein the straight road no longer lay.
-Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

Recently I took an intensive course on the famous Florentine epic poet and philosopher 
Dante. His Divine Comedy, published in the early 14th century as Commedia, is considered a masterpiece of world literature. Written in Italian, the poem tells—in first person—of Dante’s imaginary journey through the three realms of the dead, lasting from the night before Good Friday to the Wednesday after Easter in the spring of 1300. The Roman poet Virgil guides Dante through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory, and finally to Paradiso.

Four days of total immersion in the world of Dante led to flights of fancy. As expert instructors took us through Dante’s journey—the circles of the Inferno, Purgatory and the levels of Paradiso—I found my mind wandering to the World of Adoption. Astonishingly, there are parallels!

Adoption” calls to mind so many words that begin with the letter “A,” some of which are devoutly to be wished for, some of which are to be avoided. As I mused, I realized that those A words correspond to the circles of the Inferno, the stages of Purgatory and the levels of Paradiso.

Let’s start in the INFERNO, at the bottom circle of the Adoption underworld. ACCUSATION is at the uttermost depth of hell. This applied to me. As long as I continued to blame my birthmother for not having it in herself to parent me and my brother, I was filled with ANGER. ALIENATION also belongs in Inferno, as it comes from feeling like a victim, feeling as though being adopted means something is wrong with you. After all, if you were OK, why didn’t your birth parents keep you? Also belonging to adoption hell is ANXIETY, the state of perpetual fear that you as an adoptee can never achieve the life that “normal” people enjoy as their birthright.

Skipping through PURGATORY (for now), let’s consider the A words of PARADISO. First

Decades of diaries became my memoir, The Goodbye Baby

Decades of diaries became my memoir, The Goodbye Baby

is ALLOWING your history to be what it is and realizing that regrets about the past will forever keep you out of Paradiso. An important “A word” of Adoption is ADJUSTING….And finally there is ADAPTING.The latter two qualities lead to stress reduction and happiness.

Dante makes his way from the Inferno, through Purgatory, on to Paradiso. I’ve saved Purgatory (that limbo state between heaven and hell) for last. After all, I am striving, always working on adoption issues. The A words for this in-between state: ADMIRING, which is my attitude toward adoption pilgrims who’ve come to terms with whatever demons they must deal with; ASPIRING for that benign inner peace which I believe must come with self-knowledge and acceptance, and ASCENDING, which will go on for a lifetime. Purgatory, with its emphasis on an upward quest is not such a bad place to be. It involves ADMITTING that my life is a work in progress.

JOIN Elaine Pinkerton ON ALTERNATE MONDAYS FOR REFLECTIONS ON THE ROAD TO ADOPTION RECOVERY. Do you resonate with any “A” words of Adoption? Please comment!

Adoption Reunions: Be prepared for ANYTHING


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Note from Elaine: Guest blogger Pat Goehe is a frequent contributor to The Goodbye Baby website. Meeting her daughter for the first time after 32 years was a life-changing experience. It has been two years since she first wrote about their reunion ( Pat is now moving forward with personal goals, specifically writing projects.

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 Retrospect…

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 is a lifetime teacher who’s worked in all facets of communication and related arts. She teaches 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 is a frequent contributor to The Goodbye Baby website and the author of a children’s book Annemarie and Boomer wait for Grandma, the first in a series. In keeping with National Adoption Month, Pat reflects on her reunion with daughter Linda.

Pat relaxes in Santa Fe's Rose Garden Park

Pat relaxes in Santa Fe’s Rose Garden Park

Once Again, It’s Poetry Monday


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It is possible that I may always be searching for adoption recovery. Does this quest never end? Maybe the yellow brick road leads nowhere? Perhaps, as Dorothy discovers

Escaping is sometimes the best way to become free.

Escaping is sometimes the best way to find oneself.

in The Wizard of Oz, there is no place like home? In the case of the adoptee, it seems necessary to come home to oneself. To do that may require devious methods, even escaping. Today, I’m proposing that escapism is not only allowed but beneficial. Rather than further lamenting my lack of completing the adoption recovery “final exam,” I’m celebrating the end of warm days and the prelude to Winter. Revisiting a past literary love, I summon British poet John Keats.

John Keats, who lived from 1795-1821, created some of the most beautiful poetry of the Romantic Era. His tribute to Fall has been called “the most serenely flawless poem in English.” Read, imagine, and savor…

Autumn is a great time to escape to the world of literature.

Autumn is a great time to lose oneself in the world of poetry.

Ode to Autumn
by John Keats

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;

To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease;

For Summer has o’erbrimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find

Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,

Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers:

And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,

Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—

While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day

And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;

Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn

Among the river-sallows, borne aloft

Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;

And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;

Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft

The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Join Elaine every other Monday for reflections on adoption and life.

Join Elaine every other Monday for reflections on adoption and life.


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