Here I’ve gone and wandered off again. For those of you who know me, I’m sure you are not surprised. If you want to read about my further adventures in Adopteeland you can check me out here.
Yeah, yeah, I know, thew place is lousy with adoptive parents. Relax, Claudia is over there too. Please direct all complaints to the comments section where they will be ignored.
I’ll still be here. Let’s face it, there are just somethings that I can’t really say anywhere else.
Somebody told me that I didn’t look like an adoptee the other day.
What the heck is an adoptee supposed to look like?
I have a feeling I know.
I think I don’t look like an adoptee because I’m much too tall. We are supposed to be big eyed waifs looking up to the world for help. Like this…
Well we are not supposed to be so furry, but you get it.
You will notice that the kitten isn’t very tall and could easily be trod upon.
Once you look like it might be a problem to squash, you no longer look like an adoptee.
I’m thinking about that one.
Increasing hostilities between the cat and squirrel continue unabated. The cat has taken up a defensible position among the shrubbery ever closer to to the squirrel’s maple tree stronghold. The squirrel has declared it will continue to munch maple tree helicopters until the supply is exhausted, and has layed out future plans for nesting.
Resolution to this situation seems far away.
When the dog was asked to comment on the standoff, he would only say that both combatants looked pretty tasty.
Other than that, not a whole lot happening. I’m told that it’s Memorial Day weekend. And it must be, gas went up ten cents this morning. That’s a sure sign.
I’m not even sure that I knew that Memorial Day existed when I was a kid. My a-folks were in retail so at least one of them was working that day. My a-family has remained untouched by any military deaths since the civil war that I ever knew of, and they weren’t big picnicers. So it was just another day for us.
It wasn’t until I married thatthe concept of decorating graves was even known to me. I grew up far from any extended adoptive family, and other than losing my adoptive maternal grandfather in my early teens, I never attended a furneral. My husband’s family had a much closer connection to family and community in both life and death.
My mother-in-law, as well as other extended in laws, visit and decorate graves. The first time I went with them I was amazed at how they could walk through the cemeteries and have some connection to the people buried there. Family, friends, business associates, or someone who had died in an interesting manner, were all recalled and discussed. these stories stretched back to well before even the oldest among them could possibly remember. Some of the stories had to have been from those whose stories were being told.
Visiting these graves was not a sad excursion. It wasn’t an extension of mourning, it was simply recollection. Stories of childhood, spouses, off hand comments they had made, both cutting and complimentary, anything that recalled that person. Some graves were stopped at, some only noted as we passed by.
That feeling of connection was alien to me. It was something that I had never been exposed to. It wasn’t just a family connection that I had missed, it was the connection to people in general. My a-family wasn’t social which had to have a lot to do with this, but there was more. Nobody in my a-family ever seemed to have a desire to have any connection like this. They just didn’t seem to need it. They were satisfied with only their own company.
I still have no graves to visit. In the last few years, both of my adoptive gandmothers have passed on, as well as my natural mother. I could find the graves of my a-grandmothers, though I have never visited them. The grave of my mother is still a mystery to me. It really doesn’t matter because I won’t visit any of them. I don’t feel any connection.
I think maybe a sense of family and community has to be learned early in life. Once we are grown, it’s too late.
A conversation with a friend brought up an interesting image. She remarked, as an adopted little angel, I must require a halo welded to my sweet head. I replied that I thought that I could pull it off if I could wrap it with the trinkets of my ingratitude.
I could just see myself as the towheaded angel that I once was, clad in a white robe, resplendent with my golden halo, wrapped in jingling sparkly charms representing all of my sins. It reminded me of the charm bracelet that I had as a child that represented all my virtues.
My charm bracelet was sterling silver, and so were the charms, that was pretty impressive in those days. It was my first piece of real jewelry. I had a charm with a musical note because I was taking piano lessons. A charm with a four leaf clover because I was lucky. There was a charm with a little girl carrying books because I went to school.
My adoptive mother bought me the charm bracelet at the local jewelry store. This was a place of wonder, full of grown up things that you had to be very careful around. They had glass shelves full of fancy glass vases and candy dishes in beautiful colors I’d never seen before. Lite from the bottom, I thought they were the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. They had long cases filled with gold and silver and gems that looked like contents of the treasure chests in my books. There was a display of gold paged Bibles with illustrations in glowing colors that seemed to have had to have come from heaven.
We didn’t buy much in the jewelery store, my adoptive mom liked practical things. But one day mom decided that I needed a charm bracelet. We walked into the jewelry store, past the lite up shelves that rattled ever so slightly with our footsteps, threatening to send the precious objects to the floor. I felt butterflies in my stomach and was relived to get to the back of the store without incident.
A woman that seemed so old that she might break if touched showed us a tray of silver bracelets. There were so many to choose from, delicate ones with thin links, more substantial ones with heavy links, and one made up of delicate links fused together, I chose that one. Then there were the charms, hundreds of them, made to represent everything I could think of, and some I couldn’t figure out. My mother told me that we would pick out a few charms today and I could have new ones when I earned them. I got the musical note and the four leaf clover that day. The old lady took the bracelet to the back, attached the charms and wrapped it up on a satin lined box. I wasn’t as nervous passing the rattling glass shelves with my little box on the way out.
I was only to wear the bracelet on special occasions and to church. Mom and I put it safely in my jewelry box that played Fur Elise and had the ballerina that spun in front of a mirror when opened.
I earned more charms, a little Scottie dog when I got a puppy, a rose zircon was a birthday gift. My bracelet would jingle on my wrist now. I wore it to my cousin’s wedding, and out to dinner at The Green Circle, a very fancy restaurant where they served Shirley Temples. I always wore it to church.
There was one charm that I wanted more than anything. It was a Bible, that had a little peephole you could look into and see the Lord’s Prayer. It was like magic. Mother told me I could have it if I memorized the Lord’s Prayer.
It wasn’t easy, it took a while, and there was some controversy over if I was to forgive sins or trespasses, but I did it. I memorized the Lord’s Prayer and got that charm.
I was quite the hit at Sunday school that week. Nobody else had ever seen anything like that charm. I refused to remove the bracelet, fearing it’s loss, and made everyone peer into the little Bible while I held up my wrist. My Sunday school teacher was even impressed.
I couldn’t wait to get home from church to tell my mother, who never attended church herself, about how much everyone had liked the charm. I never got home with that bracelet, it must have slipped off my wrist on the way home. I was devastated. Mother and I retraced my steps, but the bracelet wasn’t found. Mother even hired a man with a metal detector to look for it the next week. Nothing was found. The bracelet was lost. All of the representations of my virtues were never to be found again.
I believe my friend was right, they should have welded a halo to my head. It would have been harder to lose. Would those representations of my virtues turned to trinkets of my ingratitude eventually? Who is to know?
..is a hard thing. Some folks will never get the hang of it.
To me grace is something like respect, but in a personal condition,it has to come from not just action, but approach. It has to come from the way that you think about things, and see the world.
To learn grace you must realize in all but the most intimate places, you are a guest. It’s not about deferring to your host, but being just as you are while still respecting that others may not share your outlook.
To learn grace you must never taunt. Taunting is always clumsy, always disjointed, always a demonstration of gracelessness. One cannot display grace by pointing out a perceived lack of grace.
To learn grace you must educate yourself. If you don’t know who or what you are addressing, you are sure to trip. You must not think that you can lead what you don’t understand.
To learn grace you must know not to be high handed. The graceful do not see themselves as above others. Offers of guidance are made from wanting to help, not wanting to dominate.
To learn grace you must not assume. Accept that the rather course explanation of the word assume that you were undoubtedly subjected to at some point in your life does have wisdom. To assume is to make an ass out of you and me.
And finally to learn grace, you must listen. You must listen to both your supporters and detractors. When you cut through the praise and censure, there will be something that you can take away.
I don’t claim grace. But I know it when I see it.
I have too much time on my hands. I actually check my blog stats. They are disheartening. Not because I don’t have enough readers, I have those, but who is reading me.
Over the last few months the posts that get the most hits are those about my Holt Adoption Camp experience. This tells me more folks are googling Holt International, Adoption Camp, or “how do I get me one of those neato orphans?” in disturbing numbers.
That ain’t good.
You know what else isn’t good? If you check Holt International on Twitter, they are following this guy….
That’s right, “How To Create An Avalanche Of Profit”.
He also offers this little gem…
“My nine-year-old just built my website for me”
One wonders where exactly he got this 9 year-old.
Hey all, need some help from some Missouri folks, and anyone else who would like to take a few minutes for the cause.There are a couple of OBC access bills floating around the Missouri Legislature. One is pretty much dead in the water this session, and the other is on the hearing list. The bill on the hearing list is the same old tired hag of a bill that has been around for years. It basically sucks. Can you say contact preference, that is asked for over the phone by a state records worker when an adoptee applies for a copy of the OBC? And the adoptee has to sign a paper saying they will abide by the contact preference? Yeah. I am not crazy about this bill. Here’s how it reads now. With the particularly shitty parts bolded..
SB 53 – This act modifies provisions regarding adoption records. The State Registrar shall develop and, upon a birth parent’s request, distribute both a contact preference and a medical history form to the birth parent. The contact preference form allows a birth parent to list his or her preference for contact by the adoptee. If a contact preference form is filed with the registrar, a medical history form shall also be so filed. Upon receipt of the forms, the State Registrar shall attach such forms to the original birth certificate of the adopted person.
This act allows for an adopted person, the adopted person’s attorney, or the adopted person’s descendants, if the adopted person is deceased, to obtain a copy of the adopted person’s original birth certificate from the State Registrar upon written application and proof of identification. The adopted person shall be 18 years of age or older and born in Missouri. The adopted person shall also agree in writing to abide by the birth parent’s contact preference, if such preference is included with the adopted person’s original birth certificate. The State Registrar shall also provide a medical history form, if such form was completed by the birth parent.
The provisions of the act shall not apply to adoptions instituted or completed prior to August 28, 2009, except that a copy of the medical history form, which has had all identifying information redacted, shall be issued to such adopted person. For adoptions completed prior to August 28, 2009, the state registrar shall release the original birth certificate only if the birth mother is deceased. If the birth mother is not deceased, the state registrar shall, within thirty days of application by the adopted person, contact the birth mother via telephone, personally and confidentially, to obtain the birth mother’s written consent or denial to release the original birth certificate.
BUT, the same people who have been bringing this bill like forever are bringing Paula Benoit to Missouri. She was instrumental in getting Maine’s OBC law passed, and probably doesn’t need any introduction here…
Here’s her blog with the latest update…
She has offered to keep us updated on her activities while in Missouri and would like anyone who can to come down and support her. Since this is mainly a MoCare deal, most everything about this trip has been on an email list, and I’d like to make this information a bit more widely available.
I have set up an email list, but will post anything I get here. I’d also like to hear from you guys. The more voices we have, the better we can do here. And let’s face it, Missouri needs a kick in the ass.
I’m going to see about visiting the following reps and senators (my locals and near bys)with Paula, if there is anyone else you’d especially like me to try to get seen, let me know…
Senator Brad Lager-12th district