I’m thrilled to announce that my play “Ungrateful Daughter: One Black Girls story of being adopted into a white family…that aren’t celebrities” will have its NYC Premiere at the 2012 NYC International Fringe Festival in August!! I got in!!! YEEEEEEE! NYC here I come!
I will be posting fundraising, production updates, and the specific show dates as soon as I get all that information!
HUGE HUGE thank you again to ALL of my donors, both individual, organizational and foundations! Huge thank you to the adoptee community who has has my back from the beginning. I could NEVER have gotten this far without your support. Lets DO this!!
in the shadow of this empty birth certificate
I live as (un) blank slate of memory
longing is a pain knowing can cure,
desire for your hand to cover mine
sweet sweet jane doe
something about ghosts living between us
people want to disregard,
silence the voices in their heads
as if they never were
Anyone who’s ever split apart
this grief can make you forget what they told you
try hard to remember the words
feel them on your tongue
like the name your mother says she picked for you
Anyone who’s ever had a dream
I will not cast out my name
even for you, who wish me away
who embroil me in your secrets
entice me to fall into your denial of my body
Anyone who’s ever played a part
this cannot be cured by unknowing
the empty space above your head in family photos
the void position next to you on the family wall
my face in the back of your mind, our fathers obituary
Anyone who’s ever been lonely
I carve my name over and over into my arm
tattooed and cut, mark red and blue
like the cord that ties us together
the death that rips our flesh
Anyone who’s ever split apart
sweet sweet jane doe
I’m thrilled that I’m featured in the January 2012 issue of River, Blood Corn: A Literary Journal!
I’ve been thinking so much about the incredible resilience of adoptees and fostered people. We move through our lives with so many things that are ‘lost’ or ‘missing’ or ‘absent’. I put those words in parentheticals because the words themselves don’t actually articulate well what it means to have these complete ‘unknowns’ drawn on pieces of our lives. Its not like I feel this ‘loss’ or ‘absence’ in a way that makes me sit around and bitch about it, I feel this loss in a deep, way that expresses itself as longing for something, or sometimes as loneliness, or sometimes as fear, sadness, grief. It is always there, like the impact of skin color or the death of a parent. Sometimes it overwhelms me and other times it is the barest register when someone asks, “where were you born?”. I am thinking about resilience because I think about how heavy this load can become sometimes. This article speaks to a way of reconciliation for my spirit, a way I hold on to accepting, healing and being with these longings.
I just watched these and wanted to share. I’ll post more soon.
Its been a painful and powerful trip home. Every time I come home I’m more and more overwhelmed with the isolation of my family and their community from the realities of people of color not only in their own backyard, Indigenous people, Mexicans and Islander peoples but people of color across the world. I continue to try my hardest keep myself separate from my parents friends who are evangelical Christians and who live in their white privilege, and live inside it in ways that are SO similar to the liberal, educated white folks of the Bay area I cant begin to talk about it. Its so time for me to begin to start speaking some truths around that again that I cant believe how long I feel I’ve been silent. I’m just now able to talk about how the past work I did doing adoption education has had an major impact on my relationships with white people. I thought I had worked through a lot of my anger, its been renewed with a vengeance and vigor I had forgotten. All I can say here is, AFAAD is my response, a response that is solely about the children who grow up in transracial adoptive families.
At the same time I’m channeling positive responses to the pain I feel when I am reminded of how deeply racist our world is, I’m more and more impacted by how much I love my family, my parents, my cousins and aunts and uncles, and how much they love me. It was actually evident to me this year that they really missed me being here since the snowstorm prevented me from being here for Christmas, and they like it when I come around. It was so nice to just be my immediate family and miss all the Christmas hullabaloo that forces me to have to be around a bunch of people I don’t give a shit about and who don’t give a shit about me, and who in every other instance would never be interested in knowing who I am. and for the most part, still aren’t. This may be a change in the way I spend my holidays. I’m just sayin.
Its such a contradiction to live inside such love and such pain at the same time.
I spent a few days in Seattle, networking for AFAAD and Third Root a little, but mostly just catching up with the new friends who I’ve made who are meaningful to me and hiding in a coffee shop for hours on University Ave working on my chapters.
One significant thing that happened is that I spend some time in the amazing Seattle Public School archives looking at high school yearbooks from the 1960’s. I was looking for my birth fathers photo, based on a name my birth mother gave me.
I got lost on the way to the archives, but it was in this great building, the John Stanford Educational Center, where it looks like the Seattle school district offices are located. Ah teachers. How do I love thee? I made it there about a ½ hour before they closed and a lovely young woman, with a rockin vintage shirt and cool ass glasses with a green tint, (I love Seattle!) Althea, came up to take me upstairs to the archives. I love the smell and look of historical archives. Being an academic, I have a healthy respect for history and the preservation of it. and to see the history of the Seattle schools being care for so lovingly and .. I always worry about funding for these things. If you can – after you donate to AFAAD (ha!) – donate some money to them or to your local school district historical archive!
Althea brought me the years 1966-1969. I had estimated that since he was supposedly 20 to 22 when I was conceived, that those were reasonable years to think he had graduated. I put on the white gloves and started though, reading over pages, laughing at hairstyles and clothes, while trying not to listen to my internal voice. In my head I kept saying, what if she lied to me to keep me off track? What if she doesn’t want me to know who he is? What if she just picked some random person? (which is still a possibility).
I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t anywhere! I kept looking over and over the pages, thinking I had missed something. Parrish, Patton, Peterman, Perkins, Peth. Pittman, Powell, Purvis, . . . nothing. Finally, after looking through 2 high school 4 years each, I stopped and started packing up. Althea came up and asked how it was going. I sighed and told her that I hadn’t found anything. She asked me a few questions about who I was looking for. I hesitated, because as an adoptee who has done mad reading on the negative responses to when we are searching for our birth families, we have been warned to be cautious about what we share with people.
I looked deep into her face, took a breath and said, “well, it’s a name that someone, well, it’s a name that my birth mother gave me for my birth father. Perhaps its not the right name. Perhaps it was just one of those leads that I have to live with not working out.” But inside, I wasn’t connecting to how much I was putting on this. I was really hoping to find something. I was disappointed, and it was starting to hurt. Althea’s eyes looked at me and she said, “why don’t we try 1965, just for the heck of it? Just to say you did it?” I shrugged, thinking, sure, why not, whatever.
When she brought back the books, she paused and then told me her story. A story about her own family, and so closely aligned with the narrative of lifelong secrets and lies, shame, truth, longing and have that impacts our adoptive families. I am always overwhelmed and honored when strangers can open themselves to me and share their stories.
I put the white gloves back on and began to thumb through the pages, starting with the seniors. It was a flash. There it was. 1965. on the bottom corner of the page. I felt the tears start coming, I took a deep breath, don’t cry, don’t cry, it may not be him, it may be a wrong lead, don’t cry.
Its him. His face looks light in the photo, but all of the photos at that time look like they are lightened, so I think he is medium or brown skinned. In another photo I found of him posing for the Dance planning committee, he look much darker than his senior photo. It lists some of his interests and his honors. I found it.
I wanted to start dialing a phone right then, but I didn’t have a middle name. Something that would distinguish him from all the other people in Washington state who have the same name who I have come across. We got copies, and I think I made it part way back to the elevator before I started crying and just had to be me and give mad love and a hug to Althea to thank her for the help.
I got back to where I was staying and checked my email and whaaaatt? Got an email from Althea, with his middle name and his birth date. Are you kidding me? Dammit, started crying again but with a big cheese smile.
Look people, if you are in a position of power, if you are an archivist, I want to just reiterate how important your job is and not just on the organizational, administrative tip. You being open to people, being non-judgmental about the people who come to your world – people who need histories, need truths, need the stories of our lives – your not questioning our personal motivations is SO extraordinarily important in an archivist and as someone who has ‘control’ over the archives. So many adoptees experience people being ‘gatekeepers’ and trying to keep us away from the truths of our lives. The narrative of the outside world is that we don’t need to know and that we shouldn’t want to know. and thats just bullshit.
I have no idea what I’m going to do next, knowing me I’ll sit on this for another 6 months to a few years. I still haven’t processed this at all, but I just wanted to share and thank Althea deeply and publicly for her consideration, patience and openness. Gurl, you rock, and you just changed my life.
Even though for many adoptees the first line of this article is a no-brainer, it should add to the response to the general idiot who still tries to argue that Madonna’s (still not offically) adopted ‘son’ “David” is ‘better off with her” even though David’s family is alive. Ack.
Hyderabad: A CNN-IBN Special Investigation has revealed that not all children given in adoption are orphans and families are sometimes duped into surrendering their children.
Take for instance 31-year-old Chaya Maria Schupp, who has come from Germany looking for her birth mother from Mangalore.
“My mother was good but she was a single mother and there was no father,” said Chaya.
Chaya spent the first seven years of her life with her Indian mother before a German family adopted her. Chaya’s is still to find her mother.
“In my case there are no records. I cannot believe it,” says Chaya.
I, too – am an egomanic and, apparently, a major procrastinator. I’ve been hit up to do this interview meme by my gurl Susan over at ReadingWritingLiving. If you are interested in having me hit you with 5 questions – let me know and I will write 5 questions for you!
1. I have not seen you in the classroom, but I bet you are an awesome teacher. What kinds of things do you like to do with your students; what engages them in your classroom?
I have to say, I freakin love teaching and I’m actually kind of bitter about classes or workshops I take now with horrible teachers. Mostly because I’m convinced my success/ failure in school at all levels (kindergarten through my PhD work) has been incredibly impacted by my instructors. I am convinced that one of the major things that makes a great teacher is the ability to understand yourself as also in a constant state of learning. I am an ‘expert’ to an extent on many issues, but there are many more things to which i have no experience or knowledge. It is my belief that instructors who shut themselves off from learning from their students, actually close doors that can lead to their students making powerful, critical connections.
hell.. I can talk about this forever.
2. I know that you are AKA “Ungrateful Daughter.” But you strike me as being a very joyful person. What are you grateful for in your life?
ha! Another long ass answer. I am grateful for the love and support from my family. When I say “family”, I mean not only my immediate family, but my partner, my best girl friends, my creative family, my writing family, my TRA familia – all them. Because when I say ‘ love and support’, I dont just mean it in that cheesy Hallmark way. I mean these people surround me with this incredible amount of love that I KNOW is what keeps me going when I feel like all i want to do is hide in my room for weeks. I am loved. I can do anything because my family believes in me. I can fly . . . want a ride?
3. If you could listen to only three songs for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Since Im a huge music lover and I support live local music, attend a ridiculous amount of performances – thats a hard ass question. How about 3 albums? (1)Zap Mama’s “Ancestry in Progress”, (2) Etta James “At Last” and (3) Miles Davis – anything. (but damn.. what about Mos Def and Ledesi? this is too hard!!)
4. If your adoptive family could know one thing about you that they do not know, what would it be?
Wow. I think they know alot about me already! Maybe that I love them (they know that tho!) ok.. maybe that even thought race is at the heart of some of our challenges as a family, addressing it head on and acknowledging it does nothing to change the fact that we ARE a family with a common history, shared memories and a deep love for one another.
5. If your birth family could know one thing about you that they do not know, what would it be?
That I dont want anything from them except stories, photographs and a history that I can pass to my own children. I hope they will be willing to open themselves to me as a presence in their lives. It doesnt need to be a constantly visible, constantly ‘there’ presence, but our shared history and blood ties us together. We have to figure out ways to have all of our needs as individuals met when it comes to this complicated situation. In other words, it aint all about you.
I just got off the phone with someone who was working with an organization called Probusqueda in Central America. I was really excited to hear about the work being done here, particularly for my Latino/a brothers and sistas who are now in a place where they may need to travel back to a country they have never been to, this organization looks to be one resource for them. Has anyone had any experience with this group?
You all know I’ve been working on the development of AFAAD, and really, Ive been modelling the organziation on the work I see done by IKAA and others who have support services for adults beginning their searches across borders. I mean really, if I am adopted from Africa – how do I go back? What do I do? Where do I begin? As a domestic adoptee, I’m pretty versed in the process, but for my international folks, I’m just learning as we speak. And Im determined to make sure these services are in place. Especially when Madonna’s kid, David freaks out and wants to see his family. heh.
Do you all know of any organizations that are specific to adult adoptees whether international or domestic that are geared for our counterparts with birth parents who are in Central or South America? or even Adult adoptee orgs for Latino/ Chicano adults in the U.S.?
Im back in WA for a visit with moms and dad for a few days.
Aunt Jemima says hi. (if you dont understand that.. come see my show)
She’s still hangin out in the kitchen and was watchin me today, not so subtlety as I was vacuuming the kitchen, cleaning off the picnic tables and chairs getting ready for the 30 people my parents are having over for their annual 4th of July party. next year for sure im going to bring a huge posse of my friends. I can freak out all my parents church friends and my mom’s side of the family by having a huge multicultural mess of folks over. They wont be able to make one racist joke from confusion.
I just sat down after doing the vacuuming, and after spending about an hour helping my mom shovel up the dog ‘dumps’ as she calls them from the front yard where 4 dogs have made their comfort zone across the 2 acres. Last time I came home I was actually shoveling horse manure on the 1st day helping moms fertilize the yard.
Its nice to be home.
On a side note for ‘the search update’ – I finally got my non-ID papers from Olympia that I ordered last December or whenever that was. All I know is that it was an 8 month wait and that during those 8 months the other search techniques I was using came through instead. I haven’t done anything with making contact again for a while. It really was a good thing to do. So now I have the non-ID papers from both the county I was adopted in and the state. It was a good batch of information and actually filled in some of the questions I still had even after talking to G*****. If you remember, we did about 3 intense phone calls, and then I had to take a few steps back. She mentioned taking a blood test, but after getting this last batch of papers, I don’t see the point. I’m not in denial about who she is to me. Doing a blood test aint gonna change the fact that – I have her middle name. She never told me that in the times we talked and she knew my middle name is Marie. How do I feel about having her middle name? Its kinda cool, but is also kind of freakin me out. Like I dont belong to me anymore. I dont know how to explain that, maybe in a few days.
If you remember she was really resistent to letting the family know that i have ‘resurfaced’. What she has done however (after a looong while) is hook me up with my half-sister. yay! I got pictures of her and we have emailed each other back and forth for a bit. She’s 18 yrs old. We have the same smile.
but more importantly – I’m ready now I think, after it being about 5 months from the first contact with G**** to go ahead and start making contact with her again, see where she is in her head space and to start looking for the birth father. It’s been a really strange thing to need so much time and space to re-center myself. But hell.. Im not gonna act like I wasn’t thrown off kilter emotionally.
Had to take a few days off from the intensity of this. Ended up driving to my best friends house in So. Cali. It was nice and warm, and relaxing. I didn’t make it to the beach to talk to Yemanya, but I did do some major thinking on the road between here and there. Thank goddess for the 6 hours each way.
I think the biggest thing I figured out was that – while I pretty much knew I was ready for this whole thing, considering its been about 10 years on and off that I have been searching, and only in this past year made a strong effort – that while I was prepared for the situation – I truly wasn’t prepared for how much emotional impact it would have on me. So I'm giving myself a bit more permission to be a little more emotional and let myself cry at any given moment if I need to.
Before I left – I spoke to ***** (birth mother) again. It was another long hour conversation, and by the end of it – I found myself wanting to get off the phone. She is very talkative, and actually called herself a "drama queen". I left that one alone because after the FIRST phone call – it was something I mentioned to one person I was talking to, exact words even.
She has this weird resolve that I am finding difficult. She is very accepting of her decisions, understanding they are part of her life – which is a great thing, and not what I’m finding hard. I’m just not sure I can give her the 'props' she keeps suggesting she is good for because she is the one who made the relinquishment decision, and she keeps saying it was a good decision, her prayers were answered, I was raised by a white family (she keeps saying this too) and given everything that she wasn’t given.
I’m not convinced I can let her take responsibility for me turning out the way that I did. It was my mom and dad who raised me, taught me, punished me, cried with me, made me laugh, taught me how to love and respect myself, taught me that I am precious. It wasn’t her. So I am not convinced she gets to claim that. It really was like – a crap shoot. She gave me up – but there was no guarantee that I would be blessed the way that I was.
RE: *****(birth pops). The rape issue is also something I’ve had a bit more time to think about. I'm not going to act like I was shocked or that I never thought about it, because I think (like most adoptees) I've gone through almost every scenario thinkin about the circumstances of my birth. Yet, like i mentioned before it doesn’t make the next part of this search easy. Its going to be a diffucult thing to find someone who doesnt have a clue you exsist.
One interesting note: She talked about being perceptive when she was very young. this kind of tripped me out because I’ve been perceptive and spiritually guided since I was very young. There are many other things that are trippin me out too, as I look over the years of my creative writing. I have a story about a woman I’ve been writing for about 3 years now. Her mother has a 3 day affair with a stranger whom she never sees again. The daughter goes to look for him after she has a dream about him dancing in the sugar cane fields. She finds him and follows him around for many days, just watching him to see if she feels anything for him. She turns into a werewolf one night and shows up on his door to keep him company while he writes his music. I haven’t gotten to the part where she appears to him in human form.
Spoke to the birth mother last night for about 50 minutes. I'm still reeling a bit, but what I’m getting from the situation is that I was given away because I am black. Its ironic that I was adopted under the assumption that I was Asian/not black and I’m wondering if her decision to put R***/Not BF as the BF on the certificate was deliberate to keep me from knowing that. I’m not sure why the first thing I have to put up here is some negative shit – but I'm dealing with that and looking within to attempt to figure it out.
My mom and dad are excited, and it seems that this is supposed to be exciting news. and I cant figure out why every part of me is just skeptical and cautious and nervous. It may be a defense mechanism, to try to protect myself. I haven’t told anyone else yet except for two people really close to me. again – possible protection.
I got an email from her that sounded urgent and so for some reason I chose to call her instead of R****
I called about 8pm and spoke with her. The first few seconds were awkward in that neither of us knew what to say and so we ended up just crying for the first 3 minutes. She is 56, was pregnant with me when she was 19, had me when she was 20. So that makes sense in terms of my age. I'll be 36 in March. She remembered my birth being in 1969, but … it could be so.
Now every piece of my feminist/gender sharp mind is ringing right now as I'm about to write this down. And I want to be clear, that I do NOT in any way want to diminish her experience, or claim that she is not telling me the truth about the circumstances of my conception. However, like I mentioned at the opening of this entry, I'm feelin skeptical and since this is my blog….
G**** told me that R**** is not the father. She said when she saw my picture, she knew who the father was. The father was a black man, P*****, who lived in the same black area in Seattle that she grew up in. She said he was tall, handsome and possibly had 2 or 3 kids already. She said he was around 19, and was at some point married to a black woman in Seattle. She also tells me that R**** used to sell dope, he sold P**** some bad drugs, P**** and his boys came looking for R**** and P**** raped her.
So now, before I get into the surrealness of having to deal with being a product of rape (and HOW to deal with that is quite a question), I want to mention that from our conversations, its clear to me that G**** has issues of her own with black folks, and is clearly a product of her growing up with a white mother. He mother was French, German, English and Irish.. although I'm not sure how that came about – and her father was Filipino and Spanish. From what I understand from this conversation, she lived with her mother and not her father. But I’m getting some clarification on that. Her father was one of the first Filipinos to come over to Hawaii in the early 20th century. I have a history people. :) ok.. so that made me a little excited.
back to the circumstances of P****/R****. She mentioned that she had never been with anyone except for R****. She didn’t specify if the rape had anything to do with the divorce, only that R****was so fucked up on drugs that she felt she couldn’t take care of me without him. She said that when she found out she was pregnant, she didn’t tell her mother, flew to NY to stay with some friends and ended up back in WA once she couldn’t get state aide. She stayed with her mother during the pregnancy, and she says she didn’t got out of the house or call her friends. So clearly I was a secret to some. But, I ask you – if she was married to R****, why then did it have to be a secret if she didn’t have any doubts about me being his child?
Which brings us back to a comment she made, after she mentioned that she stayed in the house during the pregnancy, I said, yes – I understand that because it was 1970 and the attitudes about unwed mothers is messed up. but she added "well, it was also the racial situation that made it worse". I didn’t catch it right away, but I should have said, why would the racial situation make it worse? But clearly, what I am inferring from this situation, is that she knew that I wasn’t R****'s kid.
so.. what to do with that in terms of the 'truth' of the story. It just brings me back to the speculation part. What if, for example, I am a product of an affair, a short lived affair that broke up the marriage, and her Catholic training, and her white mother were 'ashamed' of the situation…. and you get the idea. But I repeat – if a rape is what happened, then I am sad and angered for her trauma.
On that note – what if I am a product of violence? It makes it much more difficult I think to walk up to a brotha and say, 'hey – I’m your kid'.
oh and Let me just say it out loud.. I KNEW I was freakin black!!! lol…
Oh yeah… did I mention she freakin requested that I be placed with white people? What is THAT about? I was like.. so YOU did this to me? lol….
I called my mom and dad and let them know what is going on. right about now, I’m NOTHING but thankful and sending up MUCH love to the Creator for her hand in my life. My parents are … I have no words except – I love them, and I am blessed, blessed, blessed.
more soon. my head feels like its gonna explode. lol.
Peace all -
well. Today certainly has been interesting. about 3:45pm i got a phone call from a search angel in WA state. She indicated to me that there is a possibility that she found and contacted my birth parents. I had originally asked them not to contact anyone, so I was a bit dissapointed that this happened without my permission. I just hope they she learns from this interaction and holds back a little bit for the next people she helps. But ultimately I am thankful.
ANYHOW – so it seems that the possible R****/BF called her and spoke with her and possible G****/BM emailed her from Hawaii – and signed it with her Hawaiian name! interesting! anyhow. Im spinning a little bit and will probably be doing some phone calling 2nite.
wish me luck. :)
A friend of mine sent me a syllabus of a professor who is teaching a course on Adoption Narratives at NYU. Its pretty cool, and I checked out a couple of the books from the library today. One of the books is "The Language of Blood" by Jane Jeong Trenka. Its a memoir, and starts off with a letter from her birth mother, and transitions into a 'scene' written in a stage play format. I read the first 10 opening lines and burst into tears. I dont know how to describe what it feels like to live with race in front of my face, wrapped on my skin, stuck in my veins, surrounding me with its force on a daily basis that never, ever goes away. What it is like to live with the guilt of race. When I say that, I mean very much, what it is like to live with someone else always denying you as a raced body, and whenever it comes up for you, whether its the fact that your father calls you his 'little china doll', or your mother still says 'colored' in freakin 2006, and or your brother wants to ship in a bride to marry because he cant seem to find an american wife, or if your mother has a wood aunt jemima on her wall – any of these things and hundreds of thousands more – if whenever it comes up for you, your family sees it just as 'your problem' because THEY are not racist because THEY adopted you, and they cant racist because they raised you 'just like' one of their other daughters or sons, and so they know that love transcends all. So if you feel the pressure of race, it has nothing to do with THEM, because they only see you as their daughter or son. They dont even see you as black or brown or asian or anything… what about this invisibility is just as damaging as someone slapping me in the face and calling me 'nigger'? Im workin on that. Im writing an 'academic' essay about the two faces of intellegibility – the visible and invisible.
How can I explain that Im just to tired to have one more round when I go home at Christmas about the things that you SHOULD know by now because you've know me for 35 years. Im so tired and Im so full of pain.
A search angel in WA has purchased the Wa state divorce indexes that I would have had to go to Seattle to search through. She found a list of matches that we are finding out if ages and dates match.
There is another search angel in WA (or CA?) who is running a search of all the G**** and R**** combinations we found in WA, and looking for their addresses.
Im so nervous. I feel like its too soon!!!
Got a phone call this morning from a search angel in washington state. She and two other angels are working hard on getting through the divorce indexes. I dont have to make a special trip to Seattle. This is so crazy, because when i was home for Christmas, I had the opportunity to go to Seattle, and I took the time to stay with my family and to get to know my cousins a little bit more. I'm thankful that I did that, becuase my little cousin Lina Maria is adopted by my cousins from Columbia and I have this strange need to let her know she can talk to me anytime she wants.
back to the point. its very wierd to have 2 total strangers willing to offer up help and support for something so personal. But im thankful and recognize it as Jah moving in my life. He and the Mother watch out for me so clearly, my whole life it is revealed in crazy ways. Will this next thing send me into another tailspin? what happens when I know "who i am"?
will it change me? yes and no. Its wierd to be perched on this precipice, knowing that the moment is about to come. Ive read the books, but the next parts of this are going to happen so fast. Ive been ready. I hope I handle it well, and i hope that I can take whatever answer is given me.
Right now much of my attention has turned to finding out information about a woman who I think may have been one foster mother and the woman who was the case worker on my adoption. I have a search angel in WA who has been so helpful and encouraging. She is currently doing a 'city directory' search for both names, so I may be able to find out where they live or phone numbers so I can contact them with questions. I have a phone number list I got from zabasearch on the foster mother. It has about 36 names. But who cares. I can call them and just narrow it down. I'll do the same for the Case worker.
I'm gonna do some calling today. I'll let you all know how it goes.
Just when you think that everything is at a standstill. Asyou know from my last entry… I was feelin pretty crappy! and like this search is going nowhere.
but today, i drove down to southern california to spend some time with my family, and my Amom and dad who came down from washington state. My Amom brought me a letter that she found in their safe from the foster mother who took care of me for a while after i was born. There is an address, a full name and a date on the envelope. So – i'm planning on lookin up the foster mother and having an interview with her to see if she remembers anything about me or my situation.
From the lists that I am on, sometimes there is information that the foster care mother/father remembers from the circumstances of adoptions. If she had me for any long period of time, then she probably got alot of the same information, if not more than my parents. BUt who knows if she remembers. It was 35 years ago! BUT – the other thing to think about is that the foster care mother was in TACOMA – where my parents lived. Supposedly i was born in Renton, lived in foster care in Kent and then adopted in Tacoma – but this letter – means something different, unless the foster care mother moved from 1970 to 1971.
This is such a hard process. I'm thankful for adoptees who are adopted nowdays that there are different laws.
Oh yeah – my book is coming out in January. My mom and dad are reading the book as we speak. I hope they dont keel over. I'm just kidding. There's just a couple pieces about being adopted in there. The rest are political.
I think a few entries back I discussed the possibility of someone in WA being able to have an inside to getting my records! well… that turned out to be a dead end. I already knew all of the information that she was able to give me. I'm not sure what she thought that she could do for me, but Ive been doing this for over 10 years now, this search process and I know all the WA state law and the fact that I need a CI. I'm a little frustrated, because I thought we had a bit of an understanding when I talked to her that I was really asking her to see what she could do on the down low. I didnt ask her to break any laws or anything, but sometimes having someone on the inside can open doors (and in my case – I was hoping.. files) that you cant get otherwise. I dont know. But apparently this is how it goes. So I think for right now, the search is at another stand still. Until I get my non-ID from Olympia, (next freakin year!) and until I get back to WA to look through those divorce records.. then there's not alot I can do.
My roommate has helped me begin to look at the school districts in the Renton area, but that is such a freakin long shot. I only have first names, no idea about schools, and only an estimated year of graduatation because I have two different ages documented. (sigh). Well, I suppose this is the search process. and this is what i get for not believeing that WA state law has my best interests at heart – trying to keep me from what is mine.
I'm angry and tired of knowing that those files are just SITTING there, I'm getting older and the chance of my finding them still seems so out of reach. I wish i knew a judge who would write me a letter. I'm angry that the rights of the birth mother are all that seem to matter, what about my freakin right to KNOW? I'm tired of looking at people wondering if they belong to me.
This is bullshit
About 3-4 months ago, i was in Southern California at a relative's home visiting and they had another guest who was visiting from Tacoma, WA. (where my records are held) This lovely, wonderful person happens to also work at one of the City Offices! This person generously offered to help me in any way they could to speed up the search process! They have friends who are judges and lawyers and have acess to places I cant go! I have deliberately remained vague about this person becuase i want to be certain to protect them as they may be able to get me my adoption file! Its a funny and dangerous hope, but its a hope nonetheless! so just as a side note – i have a freaking 'in' that may lead somewhere. I'm not gettng too excited becuase they may not be able to do anything at all – but anything is better than nothing.
still planning on making a trip to WA, just havent had time with the dissertation prospectus and everything.
Soooo.. This is the letter I just recieved in the mail after sending off my non-ID request about a month ago. I heard it takes 6-8weeks, but maybe she said 6-8 months and I just didnt hear correctly. … tha hell?
so until then.. do i keep searchin with the limited information I have or do i wait the 8 freakin months?
i repeat.. gimmie my real birth certificate! Why should someone have access to my history and I am completely denied that same access when it belongs to me! This is very frustrating.
There's a new free downloadable resource for anyone searching for 'lost' people.
FREE!!! You can download a copy so you can look at it any time. It's full of search strategies, tips, and 'how-to's' to help you with your search.
I've decided to post a bit of my Non-ID for my search angels and for the brothers/sister/mother who may be looking for me and might happen upon this site. I have also posted information that I collected from my parents and the documents they kept.
1. Born March 9th, 12:01am (could also be March 8th)
2. Born ****** Hosptial
3. Name was Lisa Marie when I was in the Foster Home, but no idea if this name was given to me by birth mother.
4. Adoption finalized in Pierce County.
5. No information about foster care agency
6. No medical history
7. No diffuculty with birth
8. I was the first child born.
9. Birth mother's name – G**** – 20 or 22 at time of birth
10. Birth Father's name – R**** – 24 or 26 at time of birth
11. Caseworkers name Brenda G. Barfield (deceased)
12. Father – one year of college
13. Mother – GED or high school graduate
14. Adoption through DCHS
15. I was in Valley General for 5 days.
It seems that this thread that I am on is becoming a theme for my blog right now.
On one of the adoption lists that I'm on, someone who has no idea how right on they are sent the link I added to the right Exiled Mothers. Its interesting to me because i know that in my situation, the birth father didnt want to sign the relinquishment papers, and it took over a year for my parents to get the final decree because of this. What does this mean when we think about the struggles and lies that state agencies tell birth parents? What did they tell him to get him to sign?
In DIRECT relationship to the comment Christopher B. wrote on the last post – this quote was on the Exiled Mothers website.
What does the Bible say about adoption?
"THE WICKED SNATCH FATHERLESS CHILDREN FROM THEIR MOTHER'S BREASTS, AND TAKE A POOR MAN'S BABY AS A PLEDGE BEFORE THEY WILL LOAN HIM ANY MONEY OR GRAIN" –Job 24:9–
I have much more to say about this -especially since I'm not a religious person – but i gotta get to work.
Maybe its because I see things for what they are. Maybe I'm thinking too hard. (I doubt it). Maybe its because I'm getting older?
I'm taking a solo performance workshop in SF that is assisting me in writing and turning into a play/ solo performance about some of the diffucult parts of the birth search and my own personal issues that are being revealed as I'm moving through this moment in my life and my gaze back to my childhood.
Because I've been writing about this, and thinking hard about my birth, my adoption, my life in relationship to my family, my parents… etc.. I keep noticing things in a different way that are now being revealed to me as I move through my daily life. I mean, I already have a sharp eye for identifying racism, racist politics etc… but for some reason when i was in class I said something about the "marketing issue" of my 'papers' that were presented to my parents that said my 'racial mix' (see the first Welcome to the Birth Project post) – it seems like its becoming a theme. This paper, that documents my racial background as one thing, when clearly I am something else – was part of the reason I was appealing to my parents. As I mentioned before, in the 1970's transracial Asian adoptions were at a high and i was part of that 'trend'. This marketing ploy to present me to a well-meaning white family will become a funny part of my play – BUT – today I came across this and my visceral reaction was so strong I nearly got sick all over my keyboard. and I think the question for me is becoming WHY did I have such a strong reaction? What about this makes me sick? Why does it bother me? I'm not sure… but I will be doing some more writing and some more mental digging to work it through. As far as my performance is concerned.. im concerned because my teacher/director says that its diffucult to write and perform something when you are inside the middle of it.. and i clearly am inside the middle of this. How will that affect what I am able to create?
"The director of Covenant Care (Christian Adoption agency in GA) asked me to help her network to find an adoptive family. This is what she shared:
We have a situation with a sibling group (2yo and 5yo African American boys) that need a family.
The boys are healthy and normal with recent psychological information available. We have been working with their Mother who has been adamant that she wants these boys placed with a family.
She has struggled being a Mom and has 3 other children, but her
other children have the support of their birth fathers. We have
pictures and other information on them if you would like to discuss this with us…
The contact person for these boys is ******** (my edit) .
A non negotiable for CCS is always a two-parent Christian family, the parents must be full communicant church members, pro-life, and between the ages of 25 and 48 (age limit for Af Am), married 3 years for a first marriage, 5 years for a second or subsequent marriage and be willing to sign our Statement of Faith. We also require a church evaluation to be completed by their pastor. The placement fees for Af. Am adoptions is $3800 and for each additonal child, it would be $1000 (In the adoption of a sibling group or multiple births). This of course does not include the Home Assessment fee which is done separately and depending on the circumstances is between $1250 and $1500."
I mean, how else do I think these things get done? You have a child, you send out an advertisement yes? But isnt that something like brokering humans? But then how else do I think things get done? What would make this process better? How else to parents find children? Children find parents?
Its been a bit of time that I've actually done any work on the birth project. I'm still waiting for my non-ID from Olympia. I moved and have started school again, so as soon as my schedule settles in – I'm setting a trip for late september or early october to go to WA to check out the marriage and divorce archives.
I have to say – with the tsunami and the new orleans chaos – people looking for brown babies is at a high. I'm on a few transracial adoption lists and its interesting to me how during these past two catastrophic, – life changing moments – people still think about adopting children. I think about this several ways. One is – of course, the need/want for a child never ends and many of those ready to adopt – simply want a child. The other is – or actually the "BUT" on this first thought is – are they truely prepared to parent a child with skin color that is different? AND are they ready to challenge thier own lives, thoughts, and ways of BEING to handle this preperation? I'm so over the thought process that argues that race doesnt matter. It may not matter to us in our individual identities, but it matters when the child goes out into the world. and to act like it doesnt exsist – is to practice negligence in our parenting. Your job is to protect your child from pain, and to prepare them for the world. To act like race doesnt exsist – or that the material ramifications of race arent a reality – …. is wrong.