Adopting another Culture

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Into the Canyon – Seven Years in Navajo Country was the best memoir I’ve read in years. Because author Lucy Moore and her husband discovered the Southwest during the same year I did, the book captured my interest immediately. Moore begins the story by describing their relocation. After graduation and marriage, she and her husband Bob loaded up their Ford Bronco and drove from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Chinle, Arizona. Fresh from law school, Bob would work for the new legal services program on the Navajo reservation. He was to be a lawyer practicing in Chinle, Arizona, the first ever for the Navajo people. Lucy had to carve out a role for herself, which she did with gusto, courage and a wonderful sense of humor.

As the book progresses, Lucy describes the huge gaps between the Anglo perspective and Navajo ways. This is the thread that created the most interest for me, and it also makes the account extremely rewarding. Bridging the differences and acculturating offered constant challenges It was fascinating to see how Lucy met them. Though she left Navajo country to rejoin the “outside world,” her seven years with the Navajos is very much still in her heart.

I’ve lived and loved a Southwestern life for half a century and have a keen interest in the Native Americans of New Mexico and Arizona. Lucy Moore’s memoir enlightened and delighted. Her experience was total immersion. The closest I’ve come to that might have been my several years of teaching ninth graders at Santa Fe Indian School. (The fictionalized version of that experience is my latest novel All the Wrong Places.)

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Join Elaine every other Monday for reflections on adoption and life. Your comments are invited. Currently accepting guest blog posts: If you have an adoption story you’d like to share, please submit your idea and contact information to deardiaryreadings@me.com

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The Pendulum Swings – Adoption comes Full Circle

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Hollywood Adoption: Photo found on yahoo.com

When I was adopted at the end of WWII, it was top secret. A stigma, at least in my adoptive parents’ circle, was attached to not being able to give birth to your own children. Adoption was considered a last resort. It was invisible. In large measure because of celebrity adoptions, nowadays adoption has gone public. It is seen as a viable way of forming a family. In sharp contrast to the era during which I was adopted, people who adopt children are more likely to be admired than spurned.

Celebrity adoptions have helped transform attitudes toward adoption. Magazines and newspapers feature photographs of movie stars holding adopted children. Often these little ones were adopted internationally.  Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, for example, have several children of their own and three from other countries (Cambodia, Ethiopia and Vietnam). Madonna’s tots are from Malawi. Sandra Bullock and Charlize Theron are recent Hollywood adoptive moms.

There are 145 million orphans in the world today, boys and girls who will have to grow up without the love and guidance of parents. Any situation which allows even one of these children to gain a family is a victory, a triumph, a cause for celebration. Celebrity adoptions call attention to the option, when a couple or single parent cannot or chooses not to have children in a traditional way, of “the adoption solution.”

In The Goodbye Baby: Adoptee Diaries, I relate that my birth father Giovanni was born in Italy and tell how it cut off I felt from my Italian-American heritage. Years after being adopted, I traveled to San Martino Sulla Marricino, Italy with my birthfather. I saw the house where he was born. I met aunts, uncles and cousins who welcomed me—the American cousin—with open arms. I was filled with joy at meeting people who were “blood relatives,” people with the same DNA. I felt very much at home and at the time wanted to live in that little Italian village forever.

How much was I hurt by not being in touch with my roots all along?

Join Elaine on alternate Mondays for reflections on adoption and sneak previews of her newest novel, The Hand of Ganesa.

Until I became a teenager, the answer is not very much. When, at about age 15 or 16, I pondered  the question of “nature versus nurture,” I was troubled by the lack of knowledge about my heritage. I felt disenfranchised (though at the time I would not have called it that). Despitethe fact that my new adoptive parents were loving and gave me every advantage, I felt deprived.  I had been cheated of “the back story.” I strongly urge adoptive parents to provide that “back story”: how he or she came to be adopted and as much as possible about the child’s original parents. Obviously, all of this should be presented truthfully but positively. It requires great care and sensitivity on the part of the parents.

The Goodbye Baby: Adoptee Diaries gives readers a case history of adoption’s effects and dramatizes my journey of recovery.  Through actual diary entries from the 1950s through the 1980s, it proves how awareness can provide the path to a healthy shift in attitude. The diaries give personal history a living voice in a way that remembrance never can.

My Diary is my Best Friend

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After being adopted by a college professor and his wife, I received a diary for Christmas. It was a gift that changed my life. Because my new family avoided discussing or even mentioning “adoption,” I felt that  I could be authentic only in my daily journal writing.

From the first five-year diary with a lock and key, 1950s style, to the blank books I fill today, I record exuberant or dismal thoughts,  poetic or melancholy reflections, and events both quotidian and dramatic. My happiest moments, the dark nights of my soul, commentary on family, the weather, current events —all of it is grist for the mill. Book after book, the diaries run like a turbulent river through my six decades.

Eight years ago I read through journals from my past and wrote a memoir about growing up adopted.

Who would ever read all these written chronicles after I was gone? Unable to answer that question, I appointed Elaine as reader. What my diaries said about me was that I really did not like myself. Throughout school years, I judged nearly everything that happened as not measuring up.

Some examples from 1956:

April 5—I felt sort of depressed and inferior at school today.

April 27—School dance. I had flowers on my headband and a pretty blue formal. The dance was a big disappointment. I had a miserable time.

May 26—Went to cheerleading practice. I’m not very good and I know I won’t be chosen.

In 1960, I wrote that February was a particularly low month. I was arguing with my parents and fighting bitterly with my brother.

In 1961, my situation had gone from bad to worse. An entry dated June 10: “Upsetting evening with the family. Because I failed to give a message to Daddy, my brother almost got lost or something and it was all my fault. Daddy couldn’t find him. Everyone got mad at me. Mother was furious—very enraged. What a horrible night. I hate family life.

Marriage seemed to offer an escape, so by 1966 I had become the wife of Jack, my college sweetheart. However, I took my unhappiness with me. As demonstrated in these entries from 1977, my sense of abandonment had intensified:

January 1—Jack stayed glued to TV football. Nothing the children or I did made a dent. He watched without pause from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. I felt very angry, helpless. And yet, I was too exhausted to pursue a constructive discussion.

January 5—I hate being alone in the house. I feel desperate when there is a blank wall of non-communication. I hate the feeling that I can bleed inwardly, that I can be melted by despair, and Jack doesn’t notice, doesn’t see, doesn’t care.

January 9—Jack and I had another non-conversation, very unproductive. I am filled with anger and despair. I would like to wake up single.

Three years later, I was single but with two young sons. What followed, as reported in more written chronicles, were more failed relationships. My unhappiness lay within; I was afraid the become close to a partner. My original mother’s departure taught me that if you love someone, he or she will leave you.

Fast forward to the 1990s,  some twenty years later. As I re-read my diaries, I realized that I had assured the failure of any prospective romances or partnerships. What the younger me taught the older me is to beware of assumptions. The idea that I could never be good enough tainted even the sweetest successes and accomplishments. In so many ways, I was my own worst enemy.

My negative interpretations so overwhelmed me that at last, I had to look them in the face, recognize them for what they were, and decide that I was not a robot. No one was making me think the self-depreciating thoughts.

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The Goodbye Baby: Adoptee Diaries depicts my journey from victim to heroine of my own life. It is a book that offers hope not only to adult adoptees trying to heal adoption-imposed injuries, but to parents who are dealing with the invisible wounds of their adopted children. It is the kind of book that would have helped me when I was growing up adopted. Since that book didn’t exist, I wrote it myself. 

Adoption is both a curse and a blessing. My memoir chronicles a journey from doubt to acceptance.

Clara and Dottie go to India

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Returning to Fiction

Returning to Fiction

Today, going from the nonfiction world (writing about adoption) to fiction (still writing about adoption), I’m presenting scenes from my longtime novel-in-progress, Clara and the Hand of Ganesha. For months, the book gathered metaphorical dust. A new year, a fresh start, or rather a re-start. The central themes of adoption and the search for authenticity are propelling the book forward. This is just a preview and may not be exactly what ends up in my novel.

Here’s a brief summary: The two central characters are both adult adoptees. Clara Jordan, part Native American, loves her adoptive parents, but feels driven to find out about her origins. Arundati Ragan, known to her friends as “Dottie,” lost her adoptive parents in the Mumbai massacre of 2008. She now longs to go to India to search for her birthparents. Like Clara, she is challenged by the mystery surrounding her origins. When the two adoptees’ paths cross, they become friends and decide to travel together to India.

Scene One:

Arundhati Benet was pushed open the library’s heavy doors. Dot Benet, as she was

Searching for clues

Searching for clues

known to her friends, shouldered in a briefcase heavy with articles from magazines, books, handwritten notes. She also lugged a carrying case with a new MacBook Thin and charging device. She headed toward the nearest carrel. Dottie Benet was not her original name. Born Arundhati Rangan, she was one of two adult adoptees in the library that day..

Scene Two:

“May I help you find anything?” The reference librarian’s question pierced through Clara’s reverie.

The University of Virginia Library’s deep silence so engulfed her, she thought rather than voiced her first response. Well yes, my roots, my origins, where I’m from. I doubt that you could help me with that.

The middle-aged gray haired, bespeckled woman stood impatiently, hovering over Clara’s table, awaiting an answer.

Finally Clara answered, “I’m doing some genealogy research. Just browsing…actually, looking for ideas.”

“There are some websites I can direct you to.” When Clara didn’t answer, the librarian continued. “If you’ll tell me more about your search, maybe there are materials right here in the library that you could begin with.”

This woman looked trustworthy. Why not tell all? She was getting nowhere on her own, and the longer she waited, the less likely that she’d discover the truth.

Clara, who usually didn’t confide in anyone – much less total strangers – decided to open up.

Author’s Note: Stay tuned for monthly installments. If you’ve read ALL THE WRONG PLACES (available from Pocol Press or Amazon), you’ll notice that my protagonist is named “Clara,” just like the heroine of my last novel. Not an accident! This new work-in-progress is a sequel.

Join Elaine on alternate Mondays for reflections on adoption and sneak previews of her newest novel, The Hand of Ganesa.

Join Elaine on alternate Mondays.

Poetry Monday-Gerard Manley Hopkins

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Winter Solstice, December 21st, is fast approaching.In saying goodbye to Autumn, I’d like to pay tribute to Victorian Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, who captures both the beauty and the sadness of Fall. The narrator is speaking to Margaret, a fictional child, trying to explain to her why falling leaves make her grieve. The child will grow into an adult who will realize why she is sad at this time of year. In childhood, she remains innocent.

Autumn, the year’s demise, has its riches

 

Spring and Fall
to a young child

by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1884-1889)

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Despite its sombre tone, I find “Spring and Fall” beautifully uplifting. Hopkins’ brilliant invention of words such as “unleaving,” “wanwood,” and “leafmeal” is refreshing. His final line “It is Margaret you mourn for.” conveys the reality, not available to Margaret until she is older, that death is a part of life. The poem seems not as much an elegy as a call to enjoy the present. It is an invitation to cherish the ever-vanishing now, to feel the pain of mortality but to revel in its opposite, being alive.

Speaking of “being alive,” I’m finally better after a September hiking accident.This is the first day of feeling normal. I’ve adopted a new appreciation for good health, never anything to take for granted. My feline companion Mr. Chapman http://tinyurl.com/ybo4hqwl did his job well.

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Join Elaine every other Monday for reflections on adoption and life. Feedback and comments are invited. If you’d like to share a post related to the adoptee experience, on being an adoptive parent, a birthparent or seeking to adopt, let me know. Guests are welcome!

Decades of diaries became my memoir, The Goodbye Baby

A Gift to You – The 12 Days of Adoption

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NOTE: Because I’m immersed in writing a new novel, December will be mostly a month of republished blogs. This is one of my favorite posts from the past. A reminder of what I appreciate, a song of gratitude. Adoption is a mixed blessing, but a blessing nonetheless. Here’s wishing you and yours a beautiful holiday season!

With much affection, Elaine

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An Adoptee’s Song:
“The Twelve Gifts of Adoption”

With Christmas and Hannakah seasons upon us, music fills the air. From the radio, Mall Muzak or live musicians, we often hear “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” In your imagination, listen to the melody… then read with an open heart as this ADOPTEE offers a different take on a familiar song…

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A is for adorable, which is what we all are as babies

D is for dependent, which is what we are, as little ones

O is for the orphans we may have felt ourselves to be when our original parents ! relinquished us

P is for the new parents who took us in and cared for us

T is for transition as we try to fit into a new family

I is for intuition as the adopted child wonders why she was given up or he imagines meeting his birthparents

O is for overcoming negative assumptions about “Why was I given up for adoption?”

N is for NOW, which is the time we have to focus on the joy rather than the sadness

L is for listening to our higher selves, which help us transcend

O is for overcoming even a painful, depressing background

V is for the vitality we experience when we realize that we are more than good enough;we are shining stars

E is for the embrace we give ourselves when we are in a place of LOVE

ADOPTION = LOVE

Adopted by the Cat

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Cats make the best nurses. -Author Peggy vanHulsteyn

Cats create purr vibrations within a range of 20-140 Hz, known to be medically therapeutic.

A cat purring on your lap is more healing as the vibrations you are receiving are of our love and contentment. – St. Francis of Assisi

If you put a cat and a bunch of broken bones in the same room, the bones will heal.
-Old Veterinary Adage

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Mr. Charlie Chapman,
Cat Practitioner

I’ve always loved Autumn in Santa Fe, New Mexico-my hometown since 1967. In the past I’ve hiked my way through October, November, and early December, enjoying the crisp air, golden aspen leaves, the first snowfalls. It was a time full of anticipation, as I looked forward to skiing and snowshoeing. Not this year, however. Today marks two months since a serious hiking accident that twisted and sprained the muscles of my torso and resulted in a lumbar vertebra stress fracture-> https://tinyurl.com/yb2ruz3k Since then, I’ve been consumed with recovery.
During this long, lonely recuperation process, a surprising hero has come to the rescue: Charlie Chapman, who’s promoted himself from ordinary house cat to NURSE CHAPMAN. Ever since I came home from the ER, broken in body and spirit, he’s been by my side. He’s watched as I’ve gone from barely being able to walk from room to room in the house, to leaving on short walks around the neighborhood. He’s witnessed my exhaustion at performing the simplest tasks. If I have to flop on the bed to rest, he naps next to me. His purrs often lull me to sleep. He cuddles on the side of me that’s currently suffering most. It’s as if he’s trying to inject cat love into my aching torso. He’s on duty all day, all night, week after week, month after month.

The doctor prescribed rest. Here! Follow my example.

The Neurologist predicted that it would take three months for my injury to heal, and in the meantime I’m trying everything to relieve the relentless pain: physical therapy, water workouts, Reiki, acupuncture, various medications and salves. They help temporarily but don’t seem to speed healing. What IS helping? My cat!
A couple weeks ago, I took “Nurse Chapman” to Cedarwood Animal Clinic for an ongoing gastrointestinal problem. The vet sent a stool specimen to the lab to see if there was an infection. Nothing showed up. Finally, it was concluded that kitty’s diarrhea was due to stress. I realized that by not getting better myself, I was upsetting HIM! At that point, I decided to act as though I were better, to do an extreme attitude adjustment. It was bad enough that I was under the weather. I didn’t want to make my cat ill as well. So far, it seems to be working. Chapman’s problem has cleared up; I can only hope that my vertebra is mending. The lumbar stress fracture one of those things that can and probably will knit back together. Hopefully, both Chapman and I will be well by the end of next month. Then he can go back to his role as adored house cat, not a nurse on duty 23/7, and I can go back to longer walks and HIKING.
That would be the PURR-fect Christmas present for us both!

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Join Elaine on alternate Mondays for reflections on the world as seen through adoption colored glasses.

 

Poetry Monday

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For the last month, I’ve adopted “Life in the Slow Lane.” While recovering from a recent hiking injury (https://tinyurl.com/yb2ruz3k), I’m finding more time to read, study and reflect. As a graduate of St. John’s College Graduate Institute here in Santa Fe, New Mexico (https://www.sjc.edu/about/campuses/santa-fe), I’m often drawn into the college’s ongoing community seminars. The one I’m taking now is on the 
English poet John Keats. The seminar led me back to a poem that I’ve loved for a very long time. Today, I’d like to share it with you.

To Autumn
John Keats

(1795-1821)

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, 5
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; 10
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; 15
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; 20
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 25
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; 30
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

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While not exactly a blessing in disguise, the disastrous fall of September has bourne gifts, and re-reading the Romantic Poets is one of them. You might say I’m adopting a sabbatical from life as I knew it.

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, 5
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; 10
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; 15
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; 20
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 25
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; 30
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

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While not exactly a blessing in disguise, the disastrous fall of September has bourn gifts, and re-reading the Romantic Poets is one of them. You might say I’m adopting an Autumn Sabbatical.

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Join Elaine every other Monday for reflections on adoption and life. Your comments are invited. November is National Adoption Month, and submissions are being taken for guest blogs on all aspects of adoption. Send queries to deardiaryreadings@me.com

Decades of diaries became my memoir, The Goodbye Baby-Adoptee Diaries

I Should have Stayed Home

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Readers who’ve been following The Goodbye Baby blog know that I’ve adopted hiking as an essential part of life. But for now, it’s all I can do to walk a mile. I’ve been a prisoner of my house, slowly recovering from the worst hiking injury in 50 years of roaming around in the mountains. Here’s THE SHORT VERSION…

Nambe Lake was our destination on that fateful September 22nd

The first day of Autumn, as I was hiking uphill to Nambe Lake (11,374 feet), I
Tripped
Slipped
Flipped
Dipped

and ending up feeling much like Kafka’s unfortunate narrator Gregor Samsa who awoke one morning to find himself transformed…into a gigantic insect. -(Metamorphis)

THE LONG VERSION…
During the jolting, I must have closed my eyes. No one witnessed my fall. As I try to piece things together, this, it seems to me, is what happened: While climbing along the creek bank , I slipped on something (I’ll never know whether it was a root or boulder), twisted myself into a downhill orientation, contorted, and ended face-up, IN THE CREEK. On rocks and logs, thankfully cushioned by my backpack and it’s water-filled Camelbak.

Last year’s Nambe Lake experience, after taking “the easy way.”

There were abundant reasons NOT to be taking this particular hike. The next day, my son and I were scheduled to hike the 13,000 foot Santa Fe Baldy. I could have, should have rested up for the next day’s long, challenging adventure. But oh no, I did not want to miss out on the viewing the splendors of my favorite Alpine lake.

There were five of us that day. Unwisely, I didn’t ascertain that we would be taking the dry land route to Nambe Lake (as opposed to the slippery riverbank route).
A less challenging way, a route which I’ve often hiked, parallels the Nambe River and becomes a bit tricky only at the very end. Once we were at the meadow with one trail going up the “safe” way and the other going to the riverbank, a vote was not taken. The lead hikers took off for the riverbank way and we all followed. (Why did I ignore the mental alarm bells?)

Only when we were clawing our way up the muddy sides of the little river did I realize, with a chill, that I had no business being here. Uneasiness grew into fear, as I saw that we were very scattered and I wasn’t sure I knew the way. I looked above me and saw our lead hiker’s booted feet forging ahead and upward. Next thing I knew, I was lying, my back throbbing with pain, in shallow, rock-filled water, feet heading not up but down. (How had I managed to trip and twist myself into this awkward position?)

Never underestimate the treacherous power of roots!

My hiking friends came quickly in answer to my screams, walked me three painful miles out of the forest, took me to Urgent Care. No broken bones: a good thing. But there was soft tissue battering and bruising. Needless to say, there would be no hike up Santa Fe Baldy with my son, maybe not until next hiking season. Instead, I began days of an acutely sore back and midriff. Out of commission. Down for the count. Miserable.
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THREE WEEKS LATER
I’m going to be OK, thanks to friends doing many acts of kindness, the mailman bringing mail to the door, and treatments including arnica, epsom salts baths, a wonder product called “Boswellia,”physical therapy and acupuncture (www.pinoncommunityacupuncture.com). Walking still wears me out, but I’m able to go for a mile, adding a bit more distance each day. For the next weeks or months, it will be “life in the slow lane.” It could have been worse, and after all, the entire episode has made me aware of how much I have for which to be grateful. Lessons that would not have been learned if I’d stayed home.

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Join author Elaine Pinkerton on alternate Mondays for reflections on adoption and life. Comments invited!

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Adopting a Cause~Fighting Hunger in our Midst

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People need to become more connected to where they live…It’s good to make a difference locally. -Poet, memoirist, and fellow blogger Luanne Castle

Luanne is absolutely right. I’m trying to make a difference locally with an upcoming Santa Fe, New Mexico event. In the works for a year, a concert for charity is happening on Sunday October 8th. Austin-based singer-songwriter John Henry MacDonald is coming to town to raise money for Feeding Santa Fe, an all-volunteer organization that, once a week on Thursdays, gives a bag of groceries to anyone who shows up at the drive-through dock.
Hunger, or, as it’s often called,“food insecurity,” is serious problem. Of course, this is true in many other places, but Santa Fe is where I live and where I can strive to make a difference. Fortunately this is a city with a big heart. Feeding Santa Fe, is one several agencies striving to alleviate hunger. Think of it as a free food pantry. The totally-volunteer organization rallies their workers every Thursday beginning at 6 a.m. Bags of groceries are distributed to those who drive through the loading dock in the rear of the Feeding Santa Fe building. No forms to fill out, no questions asked. I volunteered and was touched, moved and inspired by the great work this organization is doing. And so it was that I decided to create a benefit for Feeding Santa Fe.
John Henry MacDonald is a friend I met on the hiking trail last summer. During treks in the mountains around Santa Fe, I learned a lot about this remarkable man’s journey, his musical and storytelling expertise, and his passion to help people. When he and his wife Louise came to Santa Fe again this summer, we talked more. Another friend, Susan Odiseos, heads up Feeding Santa Fe, and we’d talked about how her organization can raise money for an industrial refrigerator and other needs. I put John and Susan together and the concert idea was born. John Henry, an endlessly creative Renaissance man with a gift for storytelling, has created a show titled “A Guru Named Frank,” and he’ll be presenting it at Holy Faith Episcopal Church. The generosity has already started, with Los Alamos National Bank donating money for printing promo cards and posters. Dozens of Santa Fe’s finest restaurants have given lunch and dinner certificates for the ongoing “Food for Food” raffle.
What does all this have to do with my being an adoptee? Plenty! Before I was adopted at age five, I faced food insecurity. My brother and I were shuffled about in a series of temporary arrangements, and we often lacked enough to eat. After age five, in the home of my adoptive parents, I never went hungry again. In today’s turbulent world, one wonders how to help make things better. Feeding people is a step in the right direction. (To learn more about Feeding Santa Fe, go to http://www.feedingsantafe.org).

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Please comment, especially if there’s something you’re doing in YOUR community to make a positive difference. We’d love to hear about it!

Join Elaine for reflections on Adoption and Life