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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Time to Mourn

First, let me say Happy New Year to everyone.
Let me share a bit about the past month... while I have been mourning and tending my spirit.
Mourning ignited with the loss of Edie, the only mother I knew for 50+ years, when a cruel disease, dementia, erased her memory and caused her death on December 9 in Oregon. 
Until her diagnosis in 2007 and her move to Oregon in 2010, I had a very close and loving relationship with my mom. We spent months together each year, goofing off in Wisconsin, or if I was in Massachusetts, we spoke daily on the phone. Over the years, we grew inseparable. Our love was real.
Also last year two cherished aunts in my adoptive family died, and I had not properly grieved them and I needed to... and with mom gone, I had to... suddenly, grief erupted like a volcano and swallowed me up.
During my grieving, I felt it was important to be “real” about the people and events that shaped my life. I lived far too many fantasies as a child-young adult and never will go back into that “fog” mode. I choose to be as clear and real as humanly possible. 
The mind will naturally want to block what is painful so I made time to look at old photos, an important part of a grieving process. I looked at them with heart and eyes wide open. 
I could see in the photos how my parents adopted a stranger's child yet pretended it wasn't relevant to them they’d adopted me. They decided not to talk about it. (At least they didn’t in front of me.)
I see my a-parents unaware of how my emotional edges grew raw and ragged. I see my spirit go cold and numb in the photos. They ignore the child staring back at them and simply pretend everything is fine and normal. After many years, it does get to the point when we do become family. Your adoptive parents are the only parents you’ve known and the only truth you have known.
But this taught me a lesson. Adoption was forced, when parents force us to adapt and accept them as parents or you go insane. 
I admit I had a very difficult childhood which can kill you or make you strong. There was alcoholism and abuse at home. I will never completely understand what happened. I comprehend some parts as the child and others parts as an adult. 
Never could I tell them of my decision to open my adoption or when I did it. They would have seen it as my rejecting them. Still I had to do something about it and I did. Adoptees learn quickly what is possible and what is impossible with each parent and each situation. At home I was expected to adjust and adapt without any discussion or therapy. That’s the juggle for adoptees.
We know THAT needs to change. Adoptees confirm this on blogs and in books and in support groups.
No great surprise, the adoption industry didn't educate my parents before my adoption that I would have emotional difficulties being their adopted daughter.  That apparently wasn't discussed.
Sadly, there is too much the adoption industry will not disclose to adoptive parents. 
In 2012, ignorance is no longer an excuse.
Today's adoptive parents can turn to the internet and numerous books on how to deal with our emotional hurt, grief and adoption trauma. They can understand adoption better today because of adoptees. Parents can educate themselves and advocate for the child they adopt or foster. Some of these parents deal in truths and get their child into therapy. There isn't a cure for the primal wound (post-traumatic stress disorder, or severe narcissistic injury) but there are new treatments discussed every day on the internet.
I was not able to speak to Edie about my reunion with my natural father and my siblings. She had no interest in this or my search or how I felt. That was not a part of our relationship.  
Edie's death also made me realize I had not mourned my other mother Helen who I never met. I do admit it's a delayed reaction - because when you lose someone so important to you , other losses and grief can surface and erupt out of nowhere. I'll cry in spurts. I'll cry for myself. I'll cry because I miss their voices and the many stories of our life.

With my parents (adoptive and natural) all gone, it felt to me like my own history was disappearing.  
I know it's very important to mourn our relatives, and then let them go.  It would be selfish of us to try and keep their spirits here. The dead visit us in dreams. We can still speak to them.
Grief simply pours out of our soul because it needs release. I made the time to mourn. 


  1. Trace, this is such a powerful and honest story. I honor your strength and power-you are a fearless warrior. I support your determination to heal. I know this time has been very challenging. You have taken hardship, pain, and devastation and walked into the fire with eyes wide open. You are coming out on the other side. I send you love and blessings. I am in awe of your relentless commitment to the adoption community. You have assisted so many with your support and knowledge. May you experience love, kindness, and compassion as you work your way through the fire.

  2. I cried reading this. We never know, in our daily lives and routine of things how fortunate we really are. Such loss suffered in the soul when one does not know where they come from. This does need to change, thanks to people like you I have no doubt it will.

  3. Thank you both for the kind words. I truly appreciate it.


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As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.


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Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab

Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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