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Note to readers: My website was born a year ago this month, and this post was my first. I’m recovering from dental surgery—a bit under the weather— so rather than a Blog-less Monday, I decided to re-publish. Please forgive the redundancy!

A popular definition:

“Adoption offers a solution for children who, for whatever reason, cannot grow up with their biological parents. Adoption can be the answer for infertile parents.”

I was adopted at age five.

For me, being adopted was being rescued from a bad situation.

Me (Elaine) with my birth mother, Velma.

Born to an ill-matched couple during the final years of WWII, you might say I was a “Goodbye Baby.” My birth mother, abandoned by her sailor husband, was not capable of mothering two young children. She did what adult children have done in every era when there is no place else to go: she went back to live with her parents. From staying with her husband’s family in Massachusetts, she fled to her home state of Iowa. Her idea was to earn her teaching credentials and somehow make her own way in the world.

There was no day care back then. As much as my birth mother could not abide Giovanni Cecchini’s family, neither could she stand living with her austere German family. She enrolled in college and my brother and I were shuffled about, staying first with abusive “cousins” and then in foster care. When my future adoptive parents came along, my life changed for the better. Instead of being a burden, I was now a chosen daughter. I was born again!

The dreary past, however, stayed within me. In the years after WWII, there was much to get beyond. My adoptive parents mistakenly believed that if they didn’t talk about the abuse I’d suffered and the instability of my birth mother.

I would stop wondering about the past. The opposite happened. In lieu of facts, I invented. Why was I adopted and not one of the “real” children”? How could I find answers?

Enter my diaries: Personal journals, four decades of small books filled with written accounts of every day of my life from 1950-1980. I started reading about the past to learn how being adopted had become such an emotional burden, how it had become a dark shadow tainting my formative years. The journey took me to unexpected enlightenment.

Now my attitude toward adoption is far broader and more inclusive. I’m able to adopt a new attitude, to adopt the deer that come to my back yard every day to feed on apples fallen from my prolific backyard tree. Above all, I have literally “adopted” Elaine. I came to the same conclusion as Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

Adopted or not, isn’t life’s journey about becoming oneself?