About Cheerio

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In general I am a cheery and energetic person. But I am enshrouded in a cloak of iron. That cloak is the weight of greiving my son, whom I've lost to adoption.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I feel trapped...

The majority of people in my day to day life - they have absolutely NO IDEA whatsoever WHO I really am.

As I am working my way out of the bondage of secrecy, I still find myself trapped.

I take the risk of exposing not a mere fact of my history, no it is exposing an extremely intimate part of the core of my being. When I have an adoption-type conversation with another person, it's as if, well, I opened up, and I have stopped hiding but that still does not make me feel like I can talk about 'it'.

I still feel trapped.

Two more people in my life this week know about the real me, but that conversation is done and over in their mind.

But I'm still hurting on the inside ...
trapped

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance

When I visited CafeMom today, this was the animation of their logo.
I couldn't help but just stare at it. Stare at that little flame flickering silently. It hurt too much to even get angry. How many other women were triggered unexpectedly today when she signed into CafeMom and saw this painful reminder and felt it piercing her heart?
Pregnancy Loss... yup, that's what happened last summer. It sure was a dark and difficult year for me.
Infant Loss ... yup, that's what happened 17 years ago.
October 13, 1994 my beautiful and perfect son was born. I held him for the 3 days that I was in the hospital with minor complications. Then on that third day, I hobbled my way into the nursery to give him a gift. It was a baby blanket I crocheted for him.

By the expression on her face, I caught the agency worker off guard. She was in the nursery too. She was there to take my son away from me. She was all smiles and bubbly and happy. How sweet of her. To be so joyful as she witnesses firsthand a family being torn apart. How loving and kind hearted of her that she offered to capture this Kodak moment for me.

Yes, I have a picture of the last time I saw my son. It was the time I last held him. I was not given any privacy to even say good-bye. I guess that would not have mattered because I had been crying so hard I could not speak anyway. There were no audible words; however, my heart was screaming.

Lovely of this woman to be beaming as I begin collapsing on the inside.

I will never forget that day.

I will NEVER forget that day.

It was the day that the gate to hell was opened and evil attached itself to me as all it's pain and fury poured into my soul. I was sobbing. I was crushed. It felt as if my lungs were in a vice and it literally hurt to breathe. Every breath was painful and difficult. It felt like I was breathing in daggers and and shards of broken glass.

I should have run back into that nursery and snatched my son from her and held him tightly to my chest, where he belonged. I should have held onto him and never let him go. I should have said, "Let's go home" - not "goodbye."

But I didn't. I didn't because "this" was supposed to be better for him. It was 'better' because I would surely ruin his life and shackle him and keep him from reaching his full potential.

My (at the time) boyfriend helped me from the hospital to the car. When I asked why we were doing "this?" he played the role he was supposed to. He regergitated all the lies that we had been fed over the past few months. Basically he 'reminded' me that this was what was best for our son.

If you are pregnant and considering adoption my only word of advice is ... don't.

Listen to the screaming of your heart. Stop smothering it's cries with a pillow. The birth of your child WILL change you whether you parent or not. Embrace that change, don't turn in into a trauma.

Adoption is not "the answer." No, it is only piling on another problem and your life will become encased in thinly veiled layers of bondage. Unless you're violent toward children - your child deserves for you to take him/her home with you, so you can continue nurturing the bond that the two of you started 9 months earlier.

He/She already loves you. Please don't break his/her heart - Don't damage yours.

LOSS
Pregnancy
Loss
Infant
Loss

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy 16th Birthday - 10/13/1994

To my dear son, Today you're 16, and it makes me sad knowing all that I have missed in your life. All the celebrations and I haven't been with you for any of them. Here you are at a milemarker Sweet 16 -and you're, I don't actually know where. In spite of my own sadness, I do wish you a Happy Birthday, I wish for you lots of love from those dear to you. I hope you like the V2 Pocket Rocket guitar amp and the cd of Pictures I sent for your birthday. Today the song that's been on my mind is this song by Zara Phillips and DMC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZbKNJUyGQ0 "...Tell me Do you remember? When you're on the streets, Do you look for me The way I look for you Oh, how I wish that I knew ...Evening comes, Can you hear me call for you In the hope that you will somehow hear me too ...Tell me Do you remember? When you're on the streets, Do you look for me The way I look for you Oh, how I wish that I Do you wish too ... remember, remember, remember remember, remember, remember Do you remember I wish I knew I wish I knew I wish I knew I wish I knew I wish I knew " I just want you to know that, Yes I remember Yes, look for you Yes, I do think of you, and Yes, I do call out to you too & wish you could hear the whisperings of my heart as I long for you I've never forgotten you I've always loved you
Happy Birthday

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Healing Touch of Death

Today is Sunday, September 12, 2010. It has been a rainy day today, just as it was one year ago.

One year ago was the day God did not grant my husband the miracle that he prayd for, and our Little Flower Bud was gone with an irrevocable finality. After several hours in the ER, he drove us home.

Up the driveway we drove and before he shut off the engine, he turns to me.
While holding my hand, he looks me in the eye and says, “I love you and I know how hard all of this has been for you and I don’t expect you to try again, if you don’t want to.” An enormous weight lifted off my shoulders just to know this from him.

I am a very lucky woman, having such a wonderful husband who I know loves and cares for me. In the days, weeks, and months to follow my love for this man has deepened to a new level that I cannot find the words for. His showed a tenderness that I didn’t know could even exist. And while he usually oblivious to my emotional state, he would just know when I needed a hug. He would comfort me by just sitting with me in silence. He did not push me to ‘move on’ or ‘keep busy’ and he simply accepted my way of mourning. I have always treasured him, but this year I realize how rare and precious of a gem he truly is. This year I fell in love with him all over again.

Over the past year Cheerio has gone though one of those seasons of life that changes a person.
At no time did I question God, nor did it shake my faith in Him, in His love, or if He is Who and what He claims to be.

It did; however, cause me to question why His followers, who claim to show “the love and compassion of Christ,” can be such cowards and disappear during a person’s darkest hours.

It caused me to question friends and friendships. There are some people I’ve know for over 10 years who were among the "missing." I was disappointed and hurt to realize they’re apparently only surface friends and I grieved saying goodbye to the friendship that apparently died somewhere along the way.

While questioning friendships, I let go of some of the ones from the past. I also formed new friendships and there were some friends who were only on the fringes before who became very dear and special to me.

Sometimes it was a facebook message or chat “thinking of you’, or maybe it was a phone call to see how I was doing, and there were those who sent cards or flowers. Each of these events was like poking holes in the darkness that had covered my soul and allowed tiny rays of sunlight to shine in.

Each person who was brave enough to show even the smallest amount of concern has been fused forever to a special place on my heart.

One of the changes I’m not really happy about.
I’ve noticed that I just am not interested in sugar coating things anymore. I just don’t want to waste my time with ‘drama. I have lost my patience with it.

People need to grow up, stop being so self-centered, and take ownership and responsibility of their own actions.

Among all the angst, emotional and relationship turmoil, anger, and hurt, something unseen has happened as well. Death has brought about some healing. It was a gradual thing, the healing didn’t happen right away. In the weeks after our loss, I exhausted myself with physical work outdoors – moving dirt, shoveling tons of stone, moving rocks, and terracing the landscape.

My mind was numb, while my heart and days seemed empty.
The tears flowed for days and weeks, and months, and a smile was a rare thing indeed. I worked the soil until the ground was frozen. I then retreated to our mountain, walking through the woods in silence. I would sit on a log or a rock, or in a tree. I was in no hurry to be anywhere or go anyplace or do anything. I had no ear buds or ipod as any clanging noise was unwelcome. It was an unusual winter with the last few snowstorms we had.
With my aversion to the cold, I surprised myself with how frequently I was drawn into the woods and would take long slow walks in spite of the bitter cold and the falling snow.

Those times were my respite. I did not push myself to think, evaluate, or analyze. I think the snow and cold quieted and slowed things down.

Initially, I was worried that losing our Little Flower Bud would intensify my already searing pain regarding infants. But in the past few months I’ve noticed that the crippling reaction to infants has changed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not about to volunteer in the nursery or offer to hold someone’s newborn. But I don’t find myself crumbling inside when in the same room with an infant.

A year ago I couldn’t say that.
A year ago I was still edgy just to walk through the baby section of any store, but I’ve noticed that this too has changed. I have been able to walk through without the deafening sound of my heartbeat pounding loudly in my ears. My gut isn’t twisted into a jumble of knots when pregnancy is mentioned or discussed.

These may seem trivial to someone else. But for me, those 14 years after I lost my son to adoption were long and difficult when anything infant related came up, but I can now breathe a sigh of relief that it’s over.

But most importantly, when I think of my son, I feel free in this area.
I no longer feel nervous or fret over the thought of him asking about siblings. I no longer have to worry about it being a burden on him as if he is ‘the reason’ we didn’t have other children. It won’t hurt me or him anymore.

Death comes in a dark cloak to carry someone away. It leaves a trail of tears, sorrow, grief, and mourning. But from it’s passing, I have felt on the inside, a healing that was long overdue.

Healing Touch of Death

Saturday, August 28, 2010

dreams and 'The Dream'

The other morning I dreamt about my son. He will be 16 in October and I have not dreamed about him often – maybe 5 or 6 times all together. Most of the dreams I was not able to get near him, he was always at a distance, if I even saw him at all. There was the very first dream many years a go that I went to a weekend retreat which just happened to be at his aparents' house. I was frozen when I realized who the hosts were. But I did not see my son in that dream. Then there was the dream that once again, I was at his aparents' house. In that dream, I could see him outside in their yard, under a tree, but there was no way to get close to him or talk to him because his amom took me to other rooms away from him and out of sight. There was the dream I had maybe 3 or fewer years ago. I was at some sight seeing location, and I was up behind the building, looking down over a wall and could see the back of the building. When I peered over the wall, there was my son, down on ground level with the building. In this dream he looked up and saw me. I didn’t know if he recognized me or not, but I ducked behind the wall fearful of what he would think if he had. The dream after that I was at his aparents' house again. I was in the lower level – the staircase came down the center of the room. Just beyond the last step were two bedrooms. As I sat there, I looked at a clock and realized that it was after 3pm and schools have dismissed for the day. Sure enough my son and his brother came home from school and both of them ran down the stairs and straight into their bedrooms. As quickly as he was there he was out of sight again. In each of those dreams my hubby was with me. My hubby of 14 & 1/2 years now, is my son’s original father. After each of those dreams I woke up with my heart racing, and was wrapped in a deep sadness that clung to me. It was a sadness that I just could not shake off. But the dream I had recently was very different. For starters when I awoke from the dream, I felt good. I did not have a cloud of forboding and gloom. I was not fearful or afraid. In fact I hit the snooze button several times hoping I could go back to sleep and continue the dream. In this dream, my son was in our home. Not just a random house or random living room, but he was actually HERE in the living room of my current house. The sense from the dream was that it was his first time here and he was looking at stuff around the room. I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable or feel as though he was being watched like a hawk, so I sat down with a sewing project – measuring material. I heard some noise behind me and turned to see what was going on. My hubby doesn’t go to the gym anymore – he has his own set of weights and bench he uses regularly these days. He keeps it all in our living room.
When I turned around what I saw was my son, Nathan (his name given at birth) doing curls with his father’s dumbbells. It was amusing to listen to him making those funny grunting sounds guys often do when they’re lifting weights. As I watched him, I observed other things in the room. Nathan would have walked by the smaller picture of himself to get to where the weights were. In my dream my eyes got big as I noticed he was a mere arm’s reach away from the larger 8x10 picture of him. In my dream I wondered about him seeing those pictures of himself displayed in our home. I also thought about him being old enough to drive and about him being here by himself. That was my dream. It is now 'The Dream' for the future as well – for him to be here in our home, comfortable, relaxed and casual. I have not guarantees what our reunion will be like someday, but I pray that in time it would be as this dream.
Dreams & The Dream

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Heavy Eyelids and Sweet Tired Little Eyes

Saturday after a hard day's work of gathering and loading up trucks of firewood, I finally agreed to let him see if he could catch two kittens from the feral cats on his property. I was hungry and I was tired. I agreed because I didn't think he'd be able to lure them into a carrier in a reasonable amount of time. I completely underestimated his skill, because in no time he had both kittens in a carrier and we were loading them into the cab of my truck. As I drove home, I was surprised that they were quiet - not a single meow. Allthewhile, I was thinking, "O great. Now what?" I've been to his place a bunch of times before. The last time or two that I've been there, I enjoyed watching the new batch(es) of kittens. There was an assortment of little furr balls, including two yellow kittens. He described one of the yellow ones as "very friendly." He pointed to the little Cutie I'd been watching, and mentioned it is also very friendly and they are probably litter mates. The little Cutie didn't bolt at first sight of me. I could get closer to it than the other cats; although, it would dash away at just the last moment. I'm sure this little Cutie's had my attention because the color pattern reminded me so very much of our Monster Paws. I felt mezmorized when it would look me in eye and hold that gaze. Since these were outdoor -(not really wild - but not tame either) cats, I didn't want to mix with our indoor Pussy Willow, at least not until the kittens are checked out by a vet. It was already quite apparent they had fleas! So, when I got home, I pulled my convertible out of the garage, and turned it into a temporary home for the kittens. They were both still quiet, but neither one came out of the carrier. They would allow me to reach in to pet them, nevertheless they would not come out so I left the carrier doors open and left them in the garage for the night. That was Saturday night. Sunday morning, they were both of of their carriers and hiding near a shelf. I should have left them alone so they wouldn't look for another hiding place. Alas, hindsight is always 20/20. Near the shelf they were fairly easy to see and get to. But their new hiding place became the lawn mower in the corner. By Sunday night, the little yellow cat came out.

"Very Friendly" ha! that doesn't begin to describe it! This kitten was purring and kneading his little feet like there'd be no tomorrow. He would rub my arms and wanted sooo badly to be petted. It seemed he could not get enough petting. In fact, he wasn't even interested in eating! It is now Wednesday and little Cutie still won't come out from under the lawn mower while I'm there. It is akward every time I pet Cutie. Morning and afternoons I go in and get on hands and knees. I lean my face to the floor and peer under the lawn mower & sure enough there is a kitten under there - Still. What a weird thing to reach under the lawn mower to pet a kitten. She's not afraid when she's in her own space, she rubs against my hand, walks all around my hand and rubs along my arm. She'll even lay across my arm or in my open hand. But she is just not intersted yet in coming out from under that lawn mower! This morning I noticed that one of the whiskers of the yellow kitten was short, like it was cut. Then as he sat in my lap, I noticed several of them look shortened. I wonder, is he soo uber full of love that he's shaved his own whiskers off by rubbing agains the lawn mower blades too hard? What a funny cute little cat. I've been calling him Tommy, because that is what my Grandmother named a stuffed yellow cat I got for her when she was sick. It may not be an creative name, but I'm pretty sure it's a boyo. The other one, I'm not sure yet. It's hard to tell with the lawn mower in the way. Tommy Tom Tom got all comfy cozy this morning when as I sat in the garage to read. He rubbed all over my arms, along my feet, crawl up in my lap. Very friendly - Very cute. After awhile I realized that he was still, and I hoped he didn't fall asleep. I would have hated waking him up, but it was definately time for me to get ready for work. So I shuffled a little and he leans his head waaaaaaay back and looked up at me. His eyes were barely open and it was the sweetest thing as he just stared at me through those sleepy eyes, sort of watching me as he was falling back to sleep. I was aware of the emotions that it evoked inside of me. I felt like this little kitten was just so precious and sweet and beautiful. Like I wanted to protect him and take care of him, and cuddle him and make him feel loved. And I wondered to myself, if that is what it would have been like had if I not lost our wee one last year? If she had joined us, is that how I would have felt looking down at her in the crook of my arm while she was falling asleep? What color would her eyes have been as she would have looked up at me through those tired and sleepy eyes while falling contently and peacefully to sleep.

sweet tired little eyes

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Candy Wrappers and Miracles at the Sign Making Party

There is this tradition with the ARD that I need to share about. It is the traiditional “Sign Making Party” [SMP] the night before the actual demonstration.

I like this tradition, a LOT. In fact, if anyone is considering joining for a Demonstration in the future, you must, must MUST participate in the SMP. Why? What’s goes on that someone absolutely MUST be there? Well, let’s start with the obvious, since that’s a part I often overlook. We make signs, yup, signs; as in the ones to be carried during our demonstration the next day.

We all pile into one room with poster board, paint, markers, glitter, sticks, staple gun, and duct tape. At some point pizza is brought in to refresh the starving and weary. We also review the route and listen to instructions for the demonstration.

I don’t know whose idea it was, but this year there was a mini talk on what to say or not say, suggestions for breaking the ice, etc. I found this to be very helpful, because I tend to clam up around strangers and since I’m a newbie, I’m worried that I might say the wrong thing(s). A point was made during this ‘workshop’ that I’ll come back around to in another post. So, Hats OFF to the person who made this suggestion! Loved it!

During the Sign Making Party is also an opportunity to help with other tasks for either the demonstration itself, or for the booth at the convention center.

Since I like being a behind the scenes invisible helper, I didn’t mind doing tedious things that don’t get attention or accolades. I just want to help, and if folding t-shirts helps free up another person to do something else – I’ll fold t-shirts. And, why stop at folding t-shirts when you can get thousands of paper cuts from folding miniature candy wrappers? Just kidding, I don’t think I got any paper cuts, but not kidding about the mini candy wrappers. Potential for paper cuts was definitely there!
I don’t think it’s obvious, but in the picture above, there were bags and bags of miniature candy bars (Hershey Chocolate, Mr Goodbar, and my personal favorite the Special Dark).

Our Graphics Genius measured the candy bars and designed awesome re-wrap covers. These incredible little re-wrap covers were in blue, red, green, and yellow.

She also threw herself into the project with printing various slogans such as; “Separate is not Equal,” “Restore our Rights,” “Why is my Birth Certificate Sealed?” and other catchy phrases.

As if designing and printing them was not enough, she had already re-wrapped 600 of these sweet little goodies BEFORE the sing making event! (I did not ask how many she ate in the process.)

It was a beautiful thing to behold that she saw the importance of keeping the colors together in their own separate zip lock bags (I’m sure it is what I would’ve done too). Shocking as it sounds, I was able to actually sit (sort of) in one place (most of the time) to help fold these. Using the glue dots was out of my league apparently. I tried one candy wrapper and ended up with several glue dots on my nails, fingers, and other hand.

While folding the Candy Wrappers, it gave me the opportunity to just observe and listen. It was the time I could look around the room and see unfolding before me the absolute best part of this event. Sure, other things are nice, making signs, eating pizza, educating each other, and taking pictures of Dan the Biker Glitter Man ...


but the most important thing,
I think,
that happens at the SMP is the bonding.

There is a great deal of irony in this, because bonding, trust, and building relationships is something that I’ve heard many adoptees express difficulty with throughout their lives.

Yet, here in one room a miracle is taking place as adoptees feel ‘safe’ to share their stories, their struggles, their victories, their pain – because they know that the person listening “gets it”. Here is that time and place where they don’t have to worry about being told how they should feel – that they should be grateful that they were separated from their original families, that they should be loyal to the parents that raised them, that they should get over their imaginary ideas of feeling abandoned, that they should …

No, this is a place and time that they can truly open up and talk honestly about what being adopted means to them. Some endured abusive homes growing up, some grew up feeling like they did not fit into their family, some grew up with all the love and care a kid could ever hope for, yet they still feel the same deep loss of their original family, as the others feel.

And as I sat there folding Candy Wrappers, I get to witness this miracle happening right before my very eyes.

There may be one or two people who are still foggy with pro-adoption rhetoric, but they are not the majority. Hopefully they’re wise enough to see what is going on around them, and that pro-adoption rhetoric surfaces pain, not healing. Hopefully they’re wise enough to learn from this event and would walk away with a different perspective, a different viewpoint and begin to question their own loyalty to a practice that produces such heinous results of lifelong pain that grips a person down to the unreachable depths and core of their being.

But there are only a few of ‘them’. It’s their loss, really to be on the outside of the circle.

On the inside there is laughter, hugs, some tears, a LOT of understanding, warmth, acceptance, openness, and I dare say … Love.


Candy Wrappers and Miracles at the Sign Making Party

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

THIS JUST IN ....

This Just In … WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE; however, THE ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED BLOG PST pertaining to the LOUISVILLE ADOPTEE RIGHTS DEMONSTRATION is being interrupted
with
this important news flash …
Just arrived inbox of Cheerio’s e-mail …

-> You have received this message as a subscriber of this list. Questions about this advertisement, or questions about advertising with us, should be directed to: Offer-Whiz 60 29th Street #110 San Francisco, California 94110 ****** What a lovely group of baby pimps. This was Cheerio's reply to this marketing company- as this 'ad' shows so clearly what adoption agencies/professionals try so hard to deny. That Adooption is NOT about the needs of a child, but about the desires of adults. "AdoptionServices@offer-whiz-mailings.com" "She's ALL Yours" THAT right there is what is wrong with adoption, they treat human beings like products or something that can be owned! She is a human being, and she has already a momma, a momma that she loves, a momma whose voice she recognizes before she is born into this world of adoption wolves! How can you sleep at night treating little human beings like boxed baby dolls with upc codes on their bottoms, and a price tag on their arm? How Can YOU? How pathetic, shameful, and greedy making money off of baby selling! Thank you for this Ad, I'm going to be sure to blog about you this week.

****

While this baby pimping add 'interrupts' the theme of talking about the Adoptee Rights Demonstration, at the same time, it ties into it perfectly. We need to change the laws in order to treat the adoptee as a human being. They are not a commodity that neither the adopting parents nor the original parents own rights to. It is the adoptee's birth certificate... unless you believe this whole "she's all yours" mentality, then stick to your human trafficking point of view and oppose thier basic right to their original identity.

She's

a human being

not

For Profit!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Louisville here I come!

In Cheerio’s world, things don’t follow a normal predictable pattern. In fact, it’s better to expect the unexpected. I’ve posted twice about the Adoptee Rights Demonstration which was on Sunday, you’d think the normal would be to proceed to events Sunday evening. But NOT in Cheerio’s world! We are going to instead push the clock hands wayyyy back to Friday. Friday afternoon, 7/9/2010 is when I arrived in Louisville.

Waiting outside airport for hotel shuttle

It was nice and warm sitting outside waiting for the hotel shuttle to arrive. I admired what another woman was wearing. I don’t know what to call it, it wasn’t a sweater, or hoodie. It wasn’t a jacket, sweatshirt, poncho, or scarf. It was sort of like a shrug. I so wish I had taken a bunch of pictures of it so I could make one for myself – whatever it was! It was BRIGHT orange, almost like my fingernails. It draped over her shoulders and flowed down almost to the ground. In the back in only covered her neck and trapeziums, but ended about her lower back. It was like a wide scarf, which was sewn along the edges for sleeves. It had a relaxed loose fit, and was made of a lightweight material. I’ve GOT to make one for myself! But then I’d probably be too self conscious to wear it in public. Hers was made of a knit, but I’d use a lighter material, maybe muslin or something else light weight. I actually was admiring hers while thinking it would be PERFECT to wear on the day of the Demonstration to keep the sun off my arms.

My Roomie was driving up from Miami and hadn’t arrived yet. So I checked in and dragged my stuff up to the room to unpack before she got there. I picked the bed closest to the door so I could slip out for my coffee first thing in the mornings.

I used one dresser drawer and hung a few things like my “don’t go anywhere without it – puff vest”, winter hoodie, sweatshirt, and my bright orange wind breaker. (Yeah, everyone packs a winter hoodie when the weather forcast is 99 every single day!) I was done unpacking and had eaten most of the gingersnaps when I got a text message from JimM that he’d arrived. I made my way downstairs to reconnect with friends, and hoped we’d head out for some supper soon. As we were talking grub, my Roomie arrived. I helped them unload their pickup truck and then the three of us went out for dinner. End Friday. Saturday morning I woke up early and slipped downstairs for my morning coffee. I expected to bump into others from the group (which is what happened every morning in Philly). But I guess I was up too early because no one was downstairs, not even outside for a smoke. So I decided I’d have my coffee and have a good swimming workout. WeeHaa. After my swim and my 2nd shower, I went back downstairs for breakfast and there were people from our group everywhere! It was GREAT! Breakfast with the B@stards is a very memorable experience. There’s not a bunch of catty bickering, just a lot of hugs, sharing, listening, and caring. After breakfast folks were planning their days. I asked if I could join the crew headed out for our pre-march walk, to test the path of our demonstration the following day. It was a nice leisurely walk and we even had time to stop and take pictures, like this one.

and this snowy one too...

...doesn't it look like snow sitting in the divits? Well! it did to me!

The Authority decided that since we were there, we may as well go inside and pick up the group’s badges and check out the booth. I knew that I was not in any of the time slots to man the booth during the convention, and I felt honored to be able tag along with this group of determined, fearless, and persistent folks who are fighting tirelessly for adoptee rights.
After that excursion, a bunch of us had lunch on forth street. The salmon on flatbread was excellent! I’m still not too sure about the fried pickle though. I got back to the hotel in time to change and get ready for the sign making party that night. Will post on that later!
Louisville,
Here
We Come
!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Message on a Stick

The Signs Were Definately Awesome! Group signs Denied Adoptee A Little boy’s sign--- I did not feel comfortable posting the pic of a boy, even without his name. There was a little boy who was about 5 and he wanted to draw his own Demonstration Poster. It was a white 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper taped to a stick. He started drawing stars for the American Flag, and people, and the border on both side had tears. Why tears? His Dad found out less than 5 years ago that he is adopted. So this little boy sees first hand that “adoption makes people sad.” Pedigrees Skeletons, Secrets & Lies Adoptive Parents support Moms Birth Cert Hostage/Discrimination Original Identity Basic Human Right Searching Identity So, now that you’ve looked at a good sample of the posters, do you know what this Demonstration was about? What do things like “Original Identity,” “denied,” and “sealed” mean? What do Birth Certificates have to do with all of this “lies,” “secrets,” and “secrecy”? Let’s start with the Poster that Summarizes the Plight of the Adoptee. Born – a child is born. There is a birth certificate listing the (original) mother of this child & sometimes the (original) father is also listed. Adopted - the child is given up for adoption. The mother either voluntarily surrenders her rights to parent the child, or the rights are terminated by the courts. Sealed- The adoption process can take from months to years to complete or to be “finalized.” At the time the adoption is finalized, the Original Birth Certificate (OBC) is sealed by the state and a new Amended Birth Certificate is issued for the adoptee. This Amended Birth Certificates now lists the Adoptive Parents as the Mother and Father of the child. Denied – when the adoptee becomes an adult, they find their requests to obtain their Original/Unamended Birth Certificates is “denied.” It is important to note that there are currently there are only two states that do not seal the original birth certificate and never have sealed them. Kansas is one of those states. Why?

So, what is the goal of this demonstration? It is bring awareness to the discrimination to the 6 million Americans who cannot get their Birth Certificates like all other US citizens. The Goal is to change the laws so that an adoptee, when he/she becomes an adult, can got o their vital statistics department and fill out the exact same forms as a non-adopted person would to request a copy of their Birth Certificate, pay the same price as a non-adoptedperson, and obtain their Birth Certificate without all the delays, red tape, extra fees, hassles, etc. Equal Acces is what is being asked for – not special treatment or special privileges,

simply equal. Louisville adoptee rights demonstration

Equal

Access

Monday, August 2, 2010

ARDemonstrations 2009 & 2010

It is Monday evening, August 2nd, 2010 and I’ve been home from my trip to Louisville for a few days now. I want to share about that trip before I get dragged too deeply back into the ‘real world’ with work and daily responsibilities. I never did get around to posting about the march in Philadelphia last year. So I with this first post about the event, I’ll try to compare the two events.
Adoptee Rights Day, July 21st 2009 – it was a rainy and drizzly morning as we gathered at People’s Plaza, Independence Park before our march down the streets of Philadelphia. There were people among our numbers which were not at the sign making party the night before, because Philly was local enough for them to drive in just for this demonstration.
There were several people filming and cameras everywhere. This was a huge step out into the plain exposing open for me. I’m an open book online, but in real life I was an in the closet original mom. It was a very overwhelming at times. I was very timid, nervous, and even afraid. All the “what if’s” bombarded my brain -- ”What if my picture ends up in a newspaper and people I work with see it? What if my name is printed? What if my son’s family sees an article about the demonstration – will they use it against me to try to cut off contact?”
I think the most vivid memory I will always have about that morning is when Scott Hancock asked me a few questions while his friend filmed our conversation. Scott asked me why I was there, then asked if I am adopted, to which I replied, “No, I’m a natural mom.” We had a brief conversation about the terminology and use of ‘birth mother’, then he continued his interview. Then came the part that is forever in my mind, he asked “Would you look into the camera, state your name, and tell us why you’re here.”
I froze on the inside. I didn’t want to state my name, I was still hiding (from myself), so I took the cowardly avenue and said, “I go by Cheerio and I believe that adoptees have a right to know their original identity and it is not right to try to keep secrets from them. Once they become adults they should have the same rights as every other American citizen.” While my focus was clear, by not stating my name I was definitely chickening out.
Just before we began the march, there was a point where M distributed folders with information sheets so we could hand them out as we talk to people on the streets. I immediately thought “Talk to People???!!! Is she crazy? I can’t TALK to people!!!” I very timidly slinked up to a different organizer and told her I didn’t want to talk to people and she graciously excused me and gave my folder of papers to someone else.
I was like a frightened sheep as we began the march, and I made sure to be in the middle of the crowd, so no one would notice me. I didn’t want to stand too close to the Itty Bitty Big Mouth as she led the chants along our way. “You’ve Got Yours! We want ours!”
The demonstration was on a Tuesday and there were people everywhere! We marched a few blocks, and those few blocks were life changing to me. As we marched along, there were a few occasions that people in the crowd walking the same way would ask questions. There was one young man in particular I remember talking with as we walked along. That brief chat with a complete stranger gave me courage to converse with other pedestrians as we were marching back and forth in front of the convention center.
I learned two very important things that day.
The first thing I learned was that society in general has no idea about this discrimination. This leads to the other important thing I learned, they are on the Adoptee’s side! They also feel it is wrong and believe too that adult adooptees have a right to their own original birth certificates.
So, that’s my short summary from the Philadelphia - Adoptee Rights Day 2009.
Fast forward to ARD 2010. I didn’t think I’d be able to go to the ARD this year, but was delighted when my husband said he did not mind if I went solo. Talk about a change in just one year. I don’t know if I could have done it on my own last year, and this year I was going solo for a whole week!
So, that little bit of courage from talking to a stranger on the street last year lasted longer than just the next few hours t hat day. It has grown in the course of the year, and now I have grown and am stronger.
Last year when I told people, “I go by Cheerio,” it was because I was still afraid to giving out my ‘real name.’ This year people still called me Cheerio – but it was not because I was afraid, ashamed or hiding. Some people in real life call me Cheerio too. I even made a Cheerio Button that had a picture of my monkey avatar.
The day of the Demonstration had some noticeable differences from last year. The first noticeable difference was the weather - it was not rainy, and the weather forecast was for 99 degrees, again. There was no relief from the heat in site. But the heat did not wear me down!
The other difference was the volume of foot traffic was notably less, much less. Now, I’m not from Louisville, therefore can’t gauge what normal pedestrian traffic is like on a weekday vs a weekend. But there were not a lot of other pedestrians to mingle with. As we marched back and forth in front of the convention center, there were not a lot of people streaming in or out of the building.
I talked with only two folks, one was a young man on a cell phone who said he agreed and supported us. I asked if he wanted to join our protest? I handed him my sign and took his picture. I’m not sure if he actually talked with anyone else in our group or not, but it makes for a good picture.
The other fellow I spoke with, I pulled in The Authority to help answer his question. Basically his question had to do with Father’s Rights. His example was a woman has a baby and does not list a father. Some time down the road the mother wants child support so she goes after the father for child support. This man’s question to us was “shouldn’t that father have a right to have his name on the birth certificate if he’s going to pay child support?” I agreed with him, that he should have that right.
The Authority explained that unfortunately the one who ‘wins’ the battle is often the one with the most money. She continued on by stating that Father’s Rights are systematically trampled with the adoption process. She encouraged him to find a Father’s Rights group to join.
When people talk about pro-life or pro-choice, I’m neither, I’m pro-family. We need to support families and help them. That includes daddies and Father’s Rights too.
The rest of the time I talked with other marcher’s (but that I believe is another blog post).
Last year I was tired for our entire stay in Philadelphia. Some time after returning home we find out why I was so tired.
This year I was my usual self, chock full of energy. Although it was hot hot hot out there, I was just pumped and bursting with energy. I felt like I could run around the entire convention center a few times. I WANTED to march out on the side of the building in the full sun. I challenged a few people to a race, but no one took me up on it.
Thank you Panera Bread for the free iced water!!!
About 2pm our leaders decided to call it a day. I was proud of them to make a decision that was based out of concern for everyone’s welfare. They could have said “we planned to march until 3pm, and we have just one hour to go!” But that wasn’t the case. People were hot, tired, weary, and worn out – and they cared about that.
This is without a doubt a group of very caring, thoughtful, and loving people. I am honored to be able to stand with any one of them, to walk hand in hand or side by side (especially when some folks were very very sweaty). It truly is a beautiful experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for any exotic vacation anywhere else in the world!