I Could Have Been A Kingpin

I hadn’t had a chance to amass much of a criminal record before I was adopted. Being only weeks old, I was still too green to score a gat on the street, it limited my scope of mayhem.  Good thing adoption got to me before the criminal element did, or I could be running a cocaine fueled, weapons dealing, legitimate government overthrowing, human trafficking racket.

Adoption saved me from all that, and I’m grateful. Instead of worrying about stuff like the price of hand held rocket launchers and social engineering, I can worry about my mortgage and if I need a new pair of shoes. It’s brilliant, I’m comfortable and complacent, instead of planning my next move, I’m writing a blog post that will be read by a bunch of comfortable, complacent, mortgage holders.

Adoption works. It wins the hearts and minds of adoptees, it turns us into members of society with something to lose. It’s successful nation building on a micro-scale. It makes us part of the thing that took our identities in the first place. They even give us a month to celebrate our status.

Having a month devoted to your social status is a real good way to determine that they did something really shitty to you at some point, and they still haven’t made up for it. So welcome to Adoption History Month , er National Adoption Month.

If It Saves Just One Child

If it saves just one child, it will all be worth it. Nope, I’m not talking about adoption. I’m talking about an adoption ban.  Because this…

3-year-old Russian boy killed by American adoptive mother in Texas

After being brutally beaten by his American adoptive mother, who gave him psychotropic medication for an extended period of time, a 3-year-old Russian boy named Maksim has died in Texas, Russian diplomats have said.

This is not the first one. It probably won’t be the last. It’s not just Russian kids.

It’s time for a moratorium on all international adoptions. If American born children were being murdered by adopters from outside the U.S., you can bet your ass everything would stop.

This speaks to the real value that American society places on children, especially foreign born children, and adoptees in general. We aren’t worth much.

I talk a lot about adoptee rights, I don’t don’t talk a lot about basic human rights. Maybe I should.

If I can save just one child…

Sometimes It’s Worth It

This morning I got up even earlier than usual, got bundled up, and went outside to watch the stars fall. It was so worth it.

 

In the past most of my meteor shower watching experience have been less than stellar, I’d sit out there for hours and maybe see just one or two. This morning I saw more than I could count, and each one filled me with a kind of childlike glee that I haven’t experience for a while.

 

The simple things in my life have gotten covered up in the complicated things, the things we try to do to make things simple, the things that lead us to forget why we are doing them in the first place. Even when you try to do things one-step-at-a-time, with pure intentions, the right way, you can lose track of the original intention. That’s just the way it is, life is complicated.

 

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded that some things are simple. My planet moves through space, it encounters a cloud of dust, the tail end leftovers of a comet, and just for being here, just for showing up, you get to see something amazing. Not complicated, amazing, they are different.

 

The problem is, if you show up for anything beyond a meteor shower, things get complicated. Everybody thinks they can do whatever it is better, they think they can improve upon the experience.  This is a prime example of the capacity of the human mind in relation to the universe. It just doesn’t measure up.

 

I’ll get on with my complicated day now, trying to keep in mind, once in a while, they are still simple things, amazing things, that aren’t complicated at all.

So like, WTF?

Admittedly, I’ve been kinda out of the adoption reform loop for a while. I had some serious life and death stuff come up that just wouldn’t wait. But, seriously people, WTF? Why do I not have access to my OBC already?

Somehow this country has managed to re-elect a democratic president in nasty economic times, move forward with health care reform, and legalize weed in a couple of states, and your telling me, I still can’t get my birth certificate. Jim Fucking DeMint is quitting, and a guy that hosts a fake news program is the top pick to replace him, and folks still don’t trust me with a piece of paper? Seriously? You want me to believe that I’ll be able to buy health insurance through a state exchange and marry a girl before I can have my birth certificate? We have a major problem here.

Attitudes seem to be changing about a whole lot of things. Except adoption. Now why is that? All the adoptees I know are nice people, we aren’t threatening. We aren’t asking for anything that will effect other people, we just want to be treated like everybody else. Why the heck are we one of the last groups that it’s OK to discriminate against?

Think about it.

Why? I dare anyone to come up with one single reason that doesn’t amount to some bullshit. All the arguments have been made and answered. I’m sick to shit of being treated like a second class citizen here.

So, I’m going to pout on my up-to-my-knees-in-bullshit boots and get back into it. I’m starting right here, right now.

It seems to me most arguments against adoption reform come down to, it’s always been this way. Secrecy makes adoption work because it’s always been this way. We have to protect those who relinquish, because it’s always been this way. We have to continue to prop up the “as if born to” myth for adoptive parents, because it’s always been this way. Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.

It hasn’t always been this way. Sealed birth certificates came into being, for the most part, in the mid 20th century. They’ve never really protected anyone. And even if it had always been this way, it’s a crap argument. You’ve got to be able to show it’s working, that can’t be done. There is absolutely no reason it should remain this way. We have to convince people of that. We need to let them know it doesn’t work.

It’s time to start bitching again over here.

 

 

Choice and Want

Sometimes I really want to write something great here. I have it all worked out, then it just doesn’t come out right. I just don’t have the strength to make it clear, to knock down the objections, close the holes that could put me in danger of being misunderstood, distill my thoughts into something someone would want to read, much less debate intelligently. I’m not 100%.

Today I was inspired by Amanda and Claudia, I wanted to write about choice, and want. But I just can’t. I can’t get my thoughts organized, I can’t get them down here, I can’t lead you to the place their thoughts took me. I don’t have the words right now, I can’t choose the ones I need.

I haven’t written down a decent thing for a year and a half. I’ve had a thought here and there, I haven’t chosen to write them down.  The prospect of doing it has been too daunting, I’ve settled for just existing. I’ve even felt good about that. Just existing. Maybe that’s the point, why thinking about choices, and the ability to make them struck me.

Hell, I don’t know. Just see this a link post and go read them. I’ll be over here, breathing.

God Fucks Up Again, Film at 11

I’m an internet news junkie, so I’ve been reading a lot about God lately. He seems to making the news at least a couple of times a week letting us know exactly what he intended. Most of the time it has something to do with women’s bodies. From what I can tell, God has a hard time talking to girls, so he does the spiritual and/or physical equivalent of beating them up to lead them to what is best for them.

Just today an Indiana Representative, running for the Senate said that pregnancies resulting from rape were something God intended to happen. It’s not hard to imagine this guy’s train of thought would lead to the the statement, “they can just give it up for adoption and allow a deserving couple the right to raise a child.”

This is very dangerous thinking, and not just in te obvious God-thinks-rape-is-OK way, which is as bad as it gets. It’s dangerous in the God-lets-very-bad-things-happen-to-some-people-so-other-people-can-have-what-they-want way. While rape is one of the most heinous examples, this kind of thinking extends to everything. If you believe if one good thing comes out of a bad situation, it must be OK, it can lead to allowing all kinds of bad things to happen. Things like human trafficking, war, and limiting the rights of certain groups start to look like something ordained because, in some horribly obvious, or roundabout way, something good comes out of it.

Bad things aren’t OK, alright? If something bad happens to someone and they later say they are stronger for what happened, doesn’t make it alright. I have no doubt those stronger people would still not wish the bad thing had happened to them, or anyone else. Bad things must be recognized for what they are, not the good thing that may have resulted from the situation. This is especially true when the perceived good result benefits someone else. Just saying, “Oh well, at least, blah, blah, blah,” is dismissive, and often cruel.

I’ll shut up now.

The Adoptee Rights Demonstration

Something very special is going to happen soon. Adoptees, and those who support them, are going to gather in Chicago at the National Conference of State Legislators and fight for every one of us.  Not only will there be a demonstration, but they be on the convention floor, speaking to the people who can give every adoptee access to their identity, making our case, and, in a real way, changing the lives of US adoptees.

All of this is a huge effort, I know, I was part of it last year. It’s very much a labor of love and commitment to the cause, by organizers and attendees. They all deserve your admiration and support. Go here and learn more. Adoptee Rights Coalition.

Sometimes I Feel Like an Athiest

A FaceBook friend of mine posted the clip below. It’s from a public access TV show in Austin called Atheist Experience. This episode is hosted by Tracie Harris and Jen Peeples,both are calm, well-spoken,  and offer sound arguments for their position. The caller seems to be willfully ignorant. It wasn’t so much the subject of the exchange that struck me, but the tone, it all sounded much too familiar.

Te clip was like too many discussions many of us have had concerning adoptee rights. First, the caller assumed the host had had a bad experience, that they just hadn’t found the right church, because if they did, they would agree with him. Sound familiar? Ever been accused of having a bad experience with adoption? When Tracie Harris mentions that she actually had some good experiences in church and her atheism was the result of knowledge she had acquired, it was so much like an adoptee rights activist telling someone that they do love their adoptive parents.

Moving on to the “Why do you even have to have this show?” section, I got that one 100% too. How many times have we been asked the same thing. Just like the hosts, when we point out all the wealthy, well-established institutions (many of the same institutions the atheists are pointing out, in this case) who promote adoption, and justify our right to express our own differing position, it doesn’t matter. We still should just shut up and go with conventional wisdom, because they say so.

Then there’s the whole “it’s a miracle that Gabby Giffords is going to live and recover” thing. To my ear this sounds so much like the “if we can just save one child” argument. I agree with the hosts, it’s great Mrs. Giffords is going to be OK, but it’s no miracle, it’s a tragedy. Many people aren’t OK because of that act, they matter too. The caller just can’t see that. Much like many adopters can’t see that they participated in a system that hurts many, that their little miracle doesn’t make that OK.

Anyway, here’s the clip…

So, anybody else feeling like they’ve been there, done that?

 

 

The Widow’s Debutante Ball

I made it through yesterday, through the last year. If on this day last year, you asked me if I be around in a year, I couldn’t have been sure.

Like so  many milestones, I don’t feel a bit different after its passing. Now I don’t feel the all encompassing, debilitating, agony of fresh grieving, I still grieve, and it still hurts. I can go to the store, club meetings, doctors appointments, without feeling like everybody is looking at me, feeling sorry for me, watching to see if I’ll lose it. I’m no longer the woman whose husband just died, I’m just a widow.

I still don’t know what being just a widow means. Since a year has passed, I know I’m supposed to rejoin society, whatever that means  I almost feel like I should have some kind of weird widow’s debutante ball.

At this ball people could gather and wait for the widows to enter. We’d all be veiled and covered in black, once entered we would remove our black garments to reveal colorful and stylish clothing beneath. We would be welcomed back with dances, gifts and good wishes. Everyone of us widows would be gracious and smile. But the smiles wouldn’t be because we were truly happy or ready to rejoin the world. We would smile because we all would have learned to take anything offered. We would know how little we have and to never turn down any act of kindness, they are few and far between. We would smile because, for one night, we would be distracted from the loneliness that is, and probably always will be, our constant companion. After the party we would go home and everything would be the same.

OK, the above is too bleak, too negative, too dark. I have moved on. I’m not alone. I do really smile and laugh. I’m blessed and loved. Loved more than I could ever imagine, and I can return that love.

But part of me will always be at that ball.

 

James Taylor Made Me Cry

True Story Magazine, pulpy, always a photo on the front of a young woman on the front with a blurb about what she had done for love? True Story had a monthly feature called “My Visit from Beyond”. My high school bestie and I used to love to read those out loud to each other, complete with weird sound effects. The sound effects were used to punctuate the lameness of the stories that consisted of lonely lovelorn women seeing shadows of lovers from past lives in doorways and dead aunts telling them where they had hidden their pearls.

Circa 1985, proving that interesting things only happened to people in soft focus in the ’80s.

I have no doubt my skepticism about all things paranormal spring from this experience. Not only did these experience with the ‘other world’ seem mundane, they were obviously wish fulfillment fantasies.

Now I wonder. This morning I turned on the radio, the first song I heard was James Taylor’s Fire and Rain. I’ve never paid much attention to the 1970’s singer/songwriter types, but being of a certain age, there is no way you don’t know that song. Heck, I had never realized it was about someone dying, it was just something that played in the background a lot when I was a kid.

That song had me in tears before the first chorus. The mixture of grief, realization, self disgust, and finally laughter through tears, at my silliness was intense. Seriously how could I, Addie Pray, be breaking down will listening to James Taylor? Then I figured it out, it was ‘my visit from beyond’, David was haunting me, sending me a message.

Nothing would make him laugh more than seeing me break down over a song like that. It’s so not me, and so David to play a paranormal practical joke on me. God, I loved that man.

I really hope it was him trying to make laugh today.