Empty Cereal Box

Views From Inside an Adoptee

April 30, 2006

A Word

Gratuitous part of today's post: Here in Mordor, even amidst the growing brutality of Sauron's empire, it's comforting to know that a few personal joys still exist. There's something honest, healthy, and sane about physical labor. I've been hauling bucket after bucket of soil from the piles in our garden back beneath the street in front of our house. We'd dug a sizeable antechamber beneath the street trying to locate the lateral to hook up to the sewer. Now that we're finally hooked up and have poured sand over the length of ABS pipe, R fills endless buckets and hands them down to me where I stand in the trench and throw them into the dark, yawning underground cavern, then I get down on my knees and shove the soil beneath the street as cars and trucks speed by over my head. It's a muffled, earthy spot, and a bit claustrophobic; my bones ache from the heavy work, but I know it's a good ache after sitting in front of a computer screen for so long.

Actual part of today's post: The Subject I Mean to Discuss in Earnest. The Thing That's Long Overdue for Change. I'm thinking long these days, into the opening that grows closer and larger the older I get. The Opening into the Elsewhere. I can't reconcile yet what I know in the depth of my cells, that all judgment, fear, and restriction is within my own being, a nausea of the brain, a chaotic mess of fragments gleaned from who knows where, some with lives of their own, maybe from past lives, as in the case of my guilt, fears, and rage against my abduction...er, I mean my adoption, the event that defined who I am (not).

I think words can have too powerful of a grip over all of us. I'm thinking specifically here of the word Death. I mean Death is a frightful word to see on a white background, a single masculine syllable, beginning and ending as it does with such harsh consonants, a word that is itself an end stop. The word's color is black as the Reaper's cowl. Death is, after all, just a word. A word with an ancient cavalcade of baggage strapped to it. A word that lurks in the subconscious of all of us who have been mass co-opted and schooled into a pre-fab agenda laid out by power mongers probably beginning as early as Egypt's later dynasties, calcified by the Roman Catholic Church, and legislated most efficiently by its protestant successors. The word and its concepts eat away at all of us as soon as we have sufficient brain development to grapple with the lurid stories and nightmares that include ghosts, goblins, cemeteries, zombies, and all manner of funereal fantasies, whatever it takes to burn the imagery into our brains for the rest of our lives.

Costume shops and candy corporations make killings at Halloween when we go out of our way to laugh at Death. Hollywood has made fortunes with imagery dripping with superstition and fear, images we all recognize so well that few need explanations. And through all of this, the church has amassed centuries of clout and control.

Well, my best guess is this has all been a sham to control us, to keep us docile. My other best guess is that we need to retire the word Death with all of its terrifying imagery and threats, that if we don't obey, we will suffer terribly. We need to put all of this mess to rest. RIP Death. I'm not sure what word, if any, we could substitute. I know that words are shorthand abstractions that substitute for agenda. What if there were no agenda when it comes to the event when we take our last breath? Whatever word we used, it would be free of all the dreadfulness, terror, and powerful control that the word Death carries with it.

Tomorrow I want to explore these ideas more.

April 29, 2006

Political Interlude

This USA Statement of Interest is a must read (in .pdf format) if you are remotely interested in and value the freedom of the Internet. It was filed yesterday, April 28, 2006.
Government Moves to Intervene in AT&T Surveillance Case
The United States government filed a "Statement of Interest" Friday in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) class-action lawsuit against AT&T, announcing that the government would "assert the military and state secrets privilege" and "intervene to seek dismissal" of the case.
Today I found The Elephant's Ass, a blog that contains shocking graphics of information kept from the American public since the current administration has been in power. If you are squeamish or object to reality, then stay away from Michael's blog. Its content is sickening but all too true. Photos don't lie. I want to commend Michael for his refusal to turn away from what is really going on, and I linked to his page as well as tagged it.

Apologies for the political interlude. But I can't ignore my guts. Tomorrow I will focus on something completely different, a discussion about a particularly loaded term that I propose is the cause of most of human suffering.

April 28, 2006

A Small Gratitude

I took a walk again today along the river with Kenya. The sky was gray but all the wonderful wild plants were in bloom, thousands of species I can't even name. I saw purple thistle, yellow mustard, mugwort, milkweed, radium weed, nettle, and skunkweed. I wished I'd brought my camera to share the color and beauty. Always my soul feels lightened and cleansed when I walk in nature. But my heart always feels heavy and troubled because of world conditions and my own adoptee grief.

I happened to find Yes magazine's wonderful story that illustrates something called "ecopsychology" another version of this story can be found on Alternet.com).Restoring nature, restoring ourselves. Something rings so true about what I find in nature when I take the time to look, listen, and open myself to its whispers. The quiet, unconditional generosity and wisdom of nature never fails to fill me with gratitude and I feel tears come from the overwhelming kindness and gentleness of the beauty and giving I find. Instead of going on about how terrible things are everywhere inside myself and outside, I think I must begin to make a difference by healing in myself and by doing something to help my Mother Earth, who I have betrayed unconsciously by my ignorance and impatience. My heart yearns to know what I can do to heal. I am ashamed at all the time I waste doing silly, meaningless things. There must be a better, saner way to live.

April 27, 2006


This Just In: Read about how bloggers may have pay fees because of hostile takeover!

The bitch that bore Hitler is still in heat.
-Berthold Brecht

If you don't want to deal with me venting my rage this morning, then click out now.

If you're still reading, don't say I didn't warn you.

Look, I'm no psychologist, sociologist, anthropologist or philosopher. Not by any stretch of imagination. But like you I have eyes, ears, and feelings and certain subjects really piss me off. Like bullies.

It's my conjecture that, adopted or not, we are all run by a snakepit of bullies that have always had their way and it's time we exposed them for what they are. I'm not talking about the obvious high-profile government suspects here. No, that's too easy.

What I'm talking about are those countless personal experiences of adoptees like Peter's blog Acts of Resistance that details the torture he underwent by the brutal bulldozer of a woman who adopted him. Or the outrage of caged adoptees that has recently made the headlines.

I'm talking about my own past replete with its share of overlords of control including my own control-freak amother with her bulk of power and her bullhorn voice that terrified me into obedience. She was queen of psycho- torture with all her silent treatments and double speak. But she also got off whaling me with belts and wooden spoons. When I was an infant she used to tie my tiny hands in handkerchiefs which she pinned to the sheet of my crib so I wouldn't suck my thumb. She used to administer those enemas I already went on about. Like a prison guard, she had me on 24/7 surveillance. She would go through all my bedroom drawers and closet when I was at school and toss out clothes she didn't like, clothes I liked, but she disapproved of. I'm not talking slut gear here. I'm talking plain wool sweaters and ordinary cotton dresses, for example.

And at school I encountered bullies who liked nothing better than to strip whatever was left of my self-esteem by taunting me and excluding me and calling me derogatory names. They were, in fact, my teacher's daughter and her friend. My teacher, of course, always sided with her daughter any time I brought up my unhappy experiences. I was, in effect, non-existent except as a kickball. It still hurts to recall. Now I realize that they were themselves victims of bullying at home. They all had their own share of misery and found a weakling, me, to take it out on.

I'm certainly also talking about the thousands of innocent detainees in prisons all over the world, both the few we hear about and the many that have yet to be exposed, whose victims even now undergoing unspeakable suffering at the hands of ignorant psychopathic bullies coddled from the top down. And the $385 million detention camp contract given to Halliburton's subsidiary, Kellog Brown and Root, that is being built here in America as I write these words. And I'm talking about the vast prison system in this nation called America that models itself on various CIA models of dehumanization, torture, and sanctioned murder.

I'm talking about all the women and children who are regularly beaten, terrorized, tortured, and murdered by men (and women) with severe psychological problems who are allowed to live among others free to do as they please because bullies are also smooth-talking psychopaths who tend to get their way.

I'm especially talking about the massive silent network of bullying that goes on every day in institutions of learning called schools where torture is allowed to continue by principals and teachers and parents by an unwritten contract of complacency, apathy, and therefore by pathololgical collusion. Outside the home, school is the training ground where little bullies learn to become big bullies.

If you haven't heard of John Taylor Gatto, let me introduce you. Gatto exposes the myths of modern schooling in his book The Underground History of American Education. excerpts from the book can be found here and here.

Did you think that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the students who caused a blood bath at Columbine high school seven years ago were poster boys of bullying? Well let me gently redirect your thinking. They were in fact reacting to the real, unpublicized bullying that continues to this day at that school and at schools all over America. Check out Columbines Most Wanted and see a big fault (pun intended) begin to gape open for all to see.

Whew. If you made it this far and your blood isn't boiling, please do me a favor and check your wrist for a pulse.

April 25, 2006

Vanilla Hops Bukatski

RIP Vanilla Hops Bukatski: Me in a former life.

Earlier this month I wrote a post entitled Unemployable. But I didn't get into what it means to me to feel completely dysfunctional when it comes to getting hired as a reasonably competant employee. Every adult is expected work, right? To help augment family income so that there's food in the fridge, four walls, a roof, a bed, and (most important of all) a toilet and running water? I'm talking the bare minimum that proves to everyone that you aren't living on the streets.

It's true. I've worked for brief periods throughout my life, but just about every job felt like a rape of my time and whatever was left of my tattered personhood. Besides V.H. Bukatski, I've always related to Maynard G. Krebbs. In case you aren't as old as dirt and don't have a clue what I'm talking about, Maynard G. Krebbs was the loose-limbed, goateed beatnik played by Bob Denver (aka Gilligan from Gilligan's Island) on a 1960s television sitcom called Dobie Gillis. Whenever someone mentioned the "w" word around Maynard, he'd cringe in horror and squeak, "Work. Work!?"

Just to prove I'm not a complete deadbeat, some of my jobs since high school included:
  • sales clerk in a florist shop (lasted two days)
  • cashier in variety store (lasted three weeks)
  • gas station attendant (lasted three months)
  • swamp cooler pad maker (piecemeal work) in August in Tucson Arizona
  • factory resin pourer (making fake stained glass windows)
  • fieldwork picking bell peppers with undocumented labor (where's MY document?)
  • pizza cook at Roundtable Pizza
  • cook at Denny's Restaurant (couldn't flip eggs, so never got promotion)
  • taught middle and high school English at two private schools (made about $5 per hour and no benefits)
  • taught adult education in vocational training program (company bellied up)
  • taught high-risk juveniles at a "mental" facility where faculty got physically attacked regularly
  • did a stint as a phone psychic (don't ask me if I'm psychic)
  • typed briefs and answered phones at a large daily newspaper (editor told me I'd never be a reporter, so I quit)
  • freelanced as a reporter for a weekly (but made about $5 per hour)
It's not that I'm allergic to work like Maynard. No, it's more that I never had a support system in place that encouraged me to feel worthy enough to set an alarm clock, squeeze into (blech!) panty hose, a skirt and blouse, spend an hour in front of the mirror, and commute through seas of traffic moving two miles an hour to sit in a cubicle and type briefs and answer phones for some corporation whose CEO and upper management own mega mansions and 15-car garages so that I can make enough money to pay income taxes that support an illegal war, to pay a bank for bloat-valued real estate that I don't really own, and fund two children's WAY over-priced education in a system that trains them to fall into line, rinse and repeat.

No, I've always felt incompetent, short-sighted, unorganized, non-self-starting, confused, clumsy, and downright stupid when it comes to fitting myself into the workplace. I don't know if that comes from being an adoptee or if that's a leftover from my former life as V.H. Bukatski.

May Day is coming up. I spent some time reading up about the Haymarket Riots and learned that May 1 is celebrated as a holiday all over the world EXCEPT in the country where the historic event took place: in the U.S. Why doesn't that surprise me?

Well, okay. Maybe I AM allergic to work. My take on wage work is that it is dehumanizing, unethical, and degrading on every level. Sure, everyone needs money in a system that places it at the center of everything. And as long as everything on earth is valued in terms of money, nothing is going to change and I'm going to continue to break out in a severe phobic-induced rash every time R shoves the classifieds across the table and says, "I found a couple jobs in here you should take a look at." Funny. Ever since we've been married he's always found reasons for me to quit jobs I've held. But now that it's going to cost close to the equivalent of the national debt to pay for two college educations, I'm feeling, well, very squirmy. I think it's time to find some beer and cigarettes and a nice comfy place on the sidewalk.

April 24, 2006

I Wonder What My Life Would Have Been

Yeah!! Blogger publishing has been down for nearly 24 hours, and is now back working. I'm ecstatic, as are the millions of other bloggers out there. Thank you support for getting us back up!

I'm looking for a name. The one that belonged to my nfather. Last known residence: Buffalo, NY, the city where I was supposedly conceived. I would like to fill in the blank on my paternal side.

On Saturday I called both phone numbers that Heatherrainbow gave me. They belong to the only last names in the Buffalo white pages that are the same as The Man, DM, that I seek, the one who knew both my nmother and nfather, according to my naunt. I need to see if I can trace anyone who might have known anyone who might have known my nfather. One of the numbers belongs to a woman who has offered to help me try to track down DM, who helped my nmother hook up with a doctor in California that knew a couple who wanted to adopt a baby. The woman was so incredibly kind to call me back on her bill and chat with me, hear my abbreviated story, and sympathize with my need to search. I loved hearing her New York accent.

Last night I got a "message" in my head (like the one I wrote about earlier that proved to be true) that said that the reason my nmom couldn't keep me was not just because she had no support, no money, and a five-year-old child to care for (to say nothing of the pressure she must have had from the system as well as the social stigma) because she carried a married man's child while she herself was married. She and my nfather were both married to other people when they had their affair that resulted in me. So, if the "message" is correct, my nfather probably never knew I existed. My nmom had to get the hell out of Buffalo before anyone knew she was pregnant and had a baby.

Both he and the guy I'm searching for are probably already dead. If so, then I'm fucked. But right now I'm going to do what I can to find a name. Just a name. But most people who knew either of my parents in Buffalo have probably all moved away or died. I get the feeling that I'm shouting down into a wormhole. There are no soundwaves in space and a wormhole sucks up all the light and everything else.

Before my natural mother's sister, my natural aunt, died, she gave me some yellowed photos of my relatives, two multi-colored afghans made by my natrual grandmother, who died before I got to meet her, and two old-fashioned cookbooks that she used when she was a young housewife. I treasure these things dearly because now that I see that my sibs and the others have no interest in me, they are all I'm ever going to lay hands on of my ancestry. My natural uncle did give me a copy of the family tree, but of course my name is nowhere on it, so I don't really belong on it any more than I would belong on a family tree of my adoptive parents (they never had one that I knew of anyway).

The recipes in my naunt's cookbooks are not something I'd generally use because they list ingredients I know now are unhealthy, despite the fact that I grew up on home-cooked meals similar them. I can picture her as a young woman in her sunny kitchen whipping up a meal for one of the many parties she used to have. My natural aunt had hundreds of friends. Everyone loved her. She was a bouyant and gracious hostess. And even though she and my natural mother fought horribly, when my natural mother got too sick with cancer to take care of my two younger half sibs L and R (the ones from her third marriage--her second was short and without kids), my natural aunt adopted them (she never had children herself). I think this is one of the few cases where adoption was a good thing. And my half sibs both said they wouldn't have had a home at all if our aunt hadn't become their mom. I wish my natural mother had done something like that after giving birth to me. But I guess I'll never really know why she did what she did; why she chose to give me away. Unless I can find this man, everything is speculation.

On another note, I constructed and planted an herb garden in my backyard today. It felt so good to dig my hands into the warm, rich, post-rain soil and add compost and amendments to make the bed lovely and soft as I planted thyme, oregano, terragon, Italian parsely, basil, chives, English lavender, and madder, along with the rue and comfrey that had already been growing. I lined it with some lovely rocks that came from the trench we dug to lay the sewer line.

April 23, 2006

Ride a White Horse

Here Is Just There Without the "T"

April 21, 2006

Shadowboxing in the Dark

I think I've always felt clumsy and awkward in this world, a stranger out of place. Many times I've come this close to suicide because I couldn't find a single reason to live another day on this short stay. I know many human beings go through this darkness, adopted or not. It has a lot to do with depression, but also with an existential sense of unreality, that somehow our lives don't belong to us. That they belong to someone else, only we can't see the face of the controller.

Always, always there's this desperate need to feel I have some control of what seems to be my own life when things get spiraling like tornadoes both inside and outside my head. If only I could be my own pilot. All my life, no photos to compare...It's taken me this many years to begin to see that the only thing I can "control" is myself. For me, though, the jury's still out on whether I have free will or not. Religion tells me I do. But I don't get along with religion. I prefer Life itself. Forget the middleman. Maybe Life's patterns decide certain things, so they seem destined, but I still have choices within those patterns. I don't know. But when it gets really dark in my head, it's difficult to remember that I can choose to remember that nothing lasts, that things pass, even these ideas about killing myself. And I hear some voice in my head telling me how selfish and cowardly it would be to do that. So I muddle through somehow, and yeah, I'm still here. I was born a cripple, walking around with this huge hole in my center, like a cannonball left this huge invisibility where relatability should be.

I was obsessed with the Romantic poets in college--Swinburne, Byron, Keats, and Shelley. The funereal splendor, the beautiful corpse, the wild, dark natural settings, the rebellion and the ruins, the graveyards, and the coffins. I went through a decade of black and pale, the gothic lifestyle, with all the music and cultural icons to go with it, the fin de siecle decadence of the 1990s. I crept around in graveyards, dragging my two kids with me as I did gravestone rubbings and lying on top of graves, arm over my forehead like some Greta Garbo on heroin. But looking back on it all now, I see that it was just a romantic fling with an abstraction. Sad, really. Death is actually very mundane and can be slow and ugly. But I don't think I wasted those years of aesthetic exploration. I realized that you can't truly be alive unless you embrace death.I think those years released certain pent-up frustrations. A sort of rebellion against the American fear of death, my repulsion for polyester death. A fury against the fact that there are no systems of emotional support in this wretched thing called "civilization," support when we need it most, is utterly absent, especially for those like us adoptees who've always felt alone anyway. The only support we can have is what we can afford to buy in the form of clinical therapy. How utterly cold and impersonal. "Oh, I see our forty-five minutes are up. See you next week," and all that rubbish.

But I've come out the other side now and am trying to make friends with death on a more personal, minimalist level.

It's not that I never experienced death in my life. I think I was born dead. I mean, when they tore me from my nmother, it was a spiritual death. Dogs and cats I loved died. Gradually my adopted family--grandfather, grandmother, father, and mother--all left too. Each one a repetition of the first abandonment. And when the best friend I ever had died of a brain aneurism at seventeen, I never came to terms with it. I still miss her like it was yesterday. Funny how time is like an accordion. It expands, then folds back in on itself. Funny how we never feel older than those twenty-something years inside. Maybe that's the perpetual age of the soul. I don't know.

One of the many books I'm currently reading is A Year to Live by Stephen Levine. Amazon reviews are mixed. Levine only brushes against death. He doesn't have all the answers, nor is his approach all that practical on a day-to-day level. But I found a few liberating ideas in the book when it comes to the thing that overshadows us all, despite all of our clever means to push away its inevitability. We call it gruesome, grim, and depressing. But Levine uses the cliche to live as if we only have a year to open up some new possibilities to "take care of business" and find healing before we leave. For example, he suggests that we "keep a journal of our most distinct memories as well as the states of mind they engender, their emotions, and their attitudes. " He says this "can become a very skillful tool for liberating old holdings into a new realm of self-discovery. " He writes,
When I began to realize that the only way to become more loving was to explore that which caused me to be unloving, I did not relish the task. Noting which states of mind obstruct my openness, I began focusing on even the slightest arising of these states so they might be met at their inception well before they could eclipse the heart.
I see the anger, the bitterness, the hurt, the pain that lurks deep in that spot that began the day I was born. They turn up in many of my posts. I see that these things are keeping me from living a fullness that is my birthright. I don't know if they'll ever go away, but at least I'm trying to open myself up to them so that they don't have the intense power over me that they've always had. I don't know if I'll be successful, but if ever I've had a bridge to take me toward another side of myself, this blog is it. My heart goes out to all bloggers who've been hurt by adoption. We're all struggling for some sort of real healing, shadowboxing in the dark.

April 20, 2006

Lists of Five

Heatherrainbow found a couple names in Buffalo that might lead me to information about my first father. Thank you Heatherrainbow! The last name matches that of the man who gave my natural mother the phone number of a doctor in California who would connect her to a couple who wanted to adopt a child. I wrote the story already. My natural aunt gave me his name and even showed me an old photgraph of him. He was apparently my father's friend, and also my mother's. If this man is still alive, and if the name belongs to him, that means he might remember my father. Right now it's all a huge black memory hole. My mother is just a huge gray memory hole. I'm scared that if I phone either it won't be him, or he won't be in any shape to help me fill in the hole. But I guess I'll try this weekend.

My left brain likes lists. They're a part of my life. Grocery lists, errand lists, to do lists, lists of lists. One of my favorite blogs began a list thing just for fun about various aspects of her life. Others caught on. I enjoyed the idea and decided to write lists of my own life. I chose five as a random number. Anyone who wants to join in, leave a comment where I can find your blog and read your lists. I know this is supposed to be about tagging, but I don't have time this morning to do that.

Five jobs I've had:
Gas station attendent
Pizza chef
Restaurant cook
News clerk
Freelance writer

Five movies I could watch over and over:
Fight Club
The Way Home
My Favorite Mister
The Wonder Boys
Igby Goes Down

Five places I've lived:
Los Angeles
Santa Cruz
Santa Barbara

Five places I've visited:

Five favorite foods:
Chocolate Cherry Soy Ice Cream
Green tea
Apple crisp
Sour dough bread

Five blogs I visit regularly:
Rhonda's Ruminations
Used Kitty Litter
The Thin Pink Line
Acts of Resistance
It Is Always in the Undercurrents

Five places I'd rather be:
San Francisco
Portland, Oregon
Vancouver, Canada
Upstate New York
Nova Scotia

Okay, now I've got to turn off my computer and run. Got to see a friend and fight traffic to haul some brush to a recycling place.

Okay. I wrote that post this morning. It's now about seven hours later. I went on a ten-mile bikeride with my friend Paulette. We stopped in at a healthfood store and ate deli salads (me tofu with raspberry vineagarette and Paulette with Chinese Chicken salad with sesame dressing). Then we went to a thrift store. She bought some display items to use when we go sell a bunch of stuff at the local flea market in June. I only found an old cast iron meat grinder with one of the wheel thingies missing for a dollar. It probably won't work, but whatdaya want for a dollar? It's like an antique and it's good for when I can no longer afford to use electricity for some appliance, when natural gas is like a thousand dollars a month. It looks like the one in the photo, except it doesn't have the round grinder things. Paulette kept falling over on her bike because she'd never ridden it before and nothing was adjusted. But we had fun and the spring day after so much rain was georgous.

Well, I don't think anyone is going to do lists of their own. Few are visiting my blog and fewer are commenting this week. Oh well. I'm still having fun as well as getting a lot of crap out of my system. I love reading the stuff on other adoptee/nmother blogs, so I guess I'll just take it easy, kick back, and keep writing whenever I get the urge, which is just about every day.

April 19, 2006

Love Dolls

Celine arrived at 1:30 PM today. Quality much better than anticipated. Everything just as stated on your web site, and two months early! Amazing. Has your company gone public? If so, I'd love to buy stock! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

In April 2002 we brought home a three month old baby boy, Andrew Robert. It's hard to put into words the intense gratitude we have for his birthmother; for her decision to place him into our family. Our dream is to share our love with another child and for Andrew to have a sibling to love and grow up with. Boy? Girl? It doesn't matter! The room that will be the nursery is already a very NEUTRAL shade of sunny yellow.
The above two quotes were taken from two sites that seemingly have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. Caps in the first quote and bold in the second are both as they appear in the originals.

The first site advertises "love dolls" with "articulated skeletons" which allow for "anatomically correct positioning," and a blend of silicone rubbers for that "ultra-flesh like feel." Male? Female? It doesn't matter. The dolls "can withstand over 300 percent elongation and over 300 degrees heat." They are "water resistant, pliant and soft in all the right places", "odorless and flavorless" and have "a wide range of joint movement." They are "safe with no risk of disease and nontoxic," and best of all, "convenient, always ready and available, relaxing and comforting" to provide you with "stress-free companionship, and best of all, they are "affordable."

In the factory, head styles are interchangeable with body styles. You can choose from ten different body styles that include height, weight, measurements, shoe size, dress/pants size, hair style, skin tone, eye color, makeup, nail color, and pubic hair color. All have standard "entries." You have a choice of penis size-- six, seven, eight inches or "customizeable." For additional cost you can specify tanlines or eyes that close. You can even buy a she-male if that's your thing. One has a detachable penis with testicles but without a vagina which allows you to change to a different size penis attachment. Or you can choose a permanently attached penis with testicles but no vagina. Or how about a permanently attached penis no testicles keeping the vagina intact? The price ranges from $6,000 to $7,000, but in a pinch you could order a simple torso for $1,500. This site doesn't have much Internet competition, as far as I can tell.

The second site, of which the second quote is representative, also features "love dolls," but these dolls are alive and meant for quite a different "purpose." But much like Claudia in Interview with the Vampire, they will remain children for the rest of their lives. The site does have quite a bit of online competition, so it offers speed of delivery and affordability. Here's a sampling of efficiency and affordability I found on it:

Fastest match: We placed a couple's profile online on a Saturday afternoon, they were contacted Saturday night, and their healthy baby boy was born 5 days later.
Average match time:6-10 months.
Average time from coming online to holding baby in arms: 9-12 months.
Average cost: $5,000 -- $10,000, which includes the agency's service fee. The least anyone has spent for their total adoption process for a healthy baby girl was a mere $1,000.00 Cost, they say, is based on whether or not two attorneys are needed, (if the birthmother lives in another state), travel costs, ICPC (?) time required in another state (living expenses), and the needs of the birthmother.) The agency's second adoption occurred via Christian Adoption cost just over $10,000.00. For one happy adoptive couple, God graciously provided the funds. The agency claims that God is your sufficiency and the supplier of your every need, as you trust in HIM to provide.

But wait. There are more breathless reasons to buy products from this wonderful company, er, agency:

  • A couple tries unconventional approaches to adoption--and receives a baby in 3 weeks.
  • Prayers and petitions for a closed adoption are offered in an open adoption world--when a third party that has a birthmother a closed adoption contacts them. They adopt her child within a few days.
  • A couple does not leave the hospital with their newly born child--but just a few months later adopt the perfect child for them.
  • A couple is pushed to their emotional limitations--finds their strength in God--and praise Him for the gift of a healthy baby.
  • No inquiries are made concerning an available couple--until that one unique birthmother calls and they adopt her baby.
  • A household with two hurting hearts after years of disappointment--receives a call and within 24 hours is holding a child they successfully adopt.
Testimonials posted on both sites glowed with customer satisfaction, joy and relief. Great. But I think that companies that offer these product illustrate a monstrous will to consume. A drive to use financial capital to fill a BIG EMPTINESS rather than to explore what's behind that BIG EMPTINESS in the first place. And in this sense, what's the difference in the mentality behind the products offered?

April 18, 2006

Power and Abuse

WTF? In California where I live, diesel fuel now costs between $3 and $3.11 per gallon. This weekend we paid $85--that's EIGHTY-FIVE FREAKING AMERICAN DOLLARS--to fill the tank of our 1992 diesel truck. (Okay, okay, I know we should be driving a Honda hybrid. But we do our own construction and repair on our property and it's difficult to haul huge slabs of broken concrete, bags of sand, and ten-foot lengths of ABS pipe in a Honda. I only drive the damn thing when I have to get somewhere I can't reach on my bicycle within a half hour.)

Someone wrote somewhere on the Web that if it pisses you off that you're now paying $3 per gallon during the Iraq fiasco, how are you gonna feel when it costs $5 per gallon when the U.S. begins its invasion on Iran? This is total bullshit. When will people start getting it? When will they figure out it's not worth it to spend their ENTIRE PAYCHECKS commuting to work and back? We have to start weaning ourselves from this phoney charade created by the Reality Corporation and move toward Life.

There. Okay, got that off my chest {crawls down from soapbox}. But the whole smelly lot of it reminds me of a post I read on Peter's blog, Acts of Resistance about the psychology of those in power positions. I'm talking about my own personal experiences starting with my amother, my teachers and principals, religious and government officials, and most people who speak or write with "authority" on any subject. To me those who maintain this charade are all rotten and outdated. Here's an exerpt from Peter's blog:

"Having read other peoples accounts of child abuse I am now aware that abusers often do maintain two personalities. But then isn't that the case with almost anyone in power?"

Maybe it's my innate personality, or maybe it's a reaction to my early years living as an adoptee with a certain amother, or maybe it's a combination of both, but I think the core of my rage comes from being controlled, lied to, and manipulated by those who had power over me, by those who as a child I had to trust were looking out for my best interest. I don't know if all childen are abused, but because they have no voice, they are totally vulnerable to those who can abuse them.

On the one hand I had everything I could want on a physical level. As an only child, my needs were more than met. I was given a home with two parents, good food, a room of my own, pets, music lessons, private schooling, travel, camping trips, and all the things that comprise the "ideal" life in the eyes of those who provide it.

It's just that I never bonded with these people who adopted me (both dead now). While my aparents never fought, there was also never any physical affection in my family. And everything was a big secret: my father's silent raging bigotry against blacks, his affairs on business trips, my mother's infertility, my adoption. None of this ever got discussed.

I see now that their silence and secrecy was what bolstered a type of abuse. When I did something that my amother disapproved of, I got the silent treatment. Now how does that make a child already abandoned feel? If I did something really inappropriate in her eyes, I got whipped and sent to my room. And along with these mild forms of abuse came my amother's double-speak, when she'd say something and mean the opposite in a cynical tone. I still have the most difficult time believing people's sincerity, and it hurts relationships of all kinds.

But the worst was the enemas. Oh shit. Every day I had to "produce" or I got cathartics and soap and water enemas administered in the bathtub by my amother, this huge hulking figure looming over me with an enema bag, its hose and nozzle, like nurse Ratched, only worse because this was the person who was supposed to make me feel safe. Maybe my amother thought these enemas were hygenic, but as a child, I thought there was something horribly wrong with me and I had to be punished. That regular rape-by-nozzle and the cramping and being told not to let it out...

Now I'm not saying that this is criminal abuse. And I'm not saying that non-adoptees don't also experience abuse. What I'm saying is that there was an inherent betrayal at work here, maybe unconscious, but nevertheless insidious and caustic, and it left all kinds of kinks inside me that I still haven't ironed out yet (hence the blog). What is it with the power/fear dichotomy?

It's like rape. The victim may not see it for the crime that it is, or may blame it on him/herself. Rape by a gasoline nozzle or an enema nozzle, it's still rape in my book.

I won't pretend that my abusers were anywhere near as heinous as Peter's. But abuse is abuse, and it must be written about rather than hidden in the secret closet crammed with all the other issues of adoption. I'm trying to work out why, after my amother landed in a nursing home, I refused all contact with her for six years and she died utterly alone. That's not the way it should be.

April 17, 2006

The Stories I Tell Myself

Hello. My name is Marie, and I'm an adoptee. I'm officially a member of blogville's AA: Adoptees Anonymous. Here everyone caught in the adoption machine can connect to talk truthfully about their lives and experiences and grope for some kind of existential sanity.

Yesterday I was about to toss my teabag, when I glimpsed at the slip of paper attached to the end of the string with words that said, "You must first believe in yourself before others will believe in you." I tore the tag off the string and added it to a jar of them next to the stove. I'm not sure why I kept that one, exactly. Guess I thought it just sounded nice. Like a blind person finding a pair of glasses and pocketing them just because it reminds them of what it could be like.

I'm always on the lookout for something that I could belong to (so far, except for the aforementioned AA, the list has nothing on it), or at least could help to explain my behavior, my outlook on life, or all the other things that I chatter about relating to being adopted that cause people to either back away and flee or to roll their eyes in exasperation and quickly change the subject. Sometimes I tell myself that everyone experiences what I do. Last week I found a new categorization to play with in my head. I've seen the term "Indigo Children" tossed around the New Age bandwidths. Wikipedia says that

Indigo children" is a New Age term used to refer to a set of children having certain special psychological and spiritual attributes. The indigo child concept was first publicised by the book The Indigo Children, written by the husband and wife team of Lee Carroll and Jan Tober. Carroll insists that the concept was obtained via conversations with a spiritual entity known as "Kryon". The adjective "indigo" is used because it is claimed these children appear with an indigo-hued aura.
Now, apparently, there's a consensus among Those Who Know About These Things (TWKATT) that there can be Indigo Adults, too. That's wonderful, I tell myself. Now I can belong to a special group of people outside the label of being a special chosen baby. Now I can be a special chosen adult. One of the members of TWKATT says that you can recognize if you are an Indigo Adult if you have all or most of these 27 characteristics, that you:

-Are intelligent, though may not have had top grades.
-Are very creative and enjoy making things.
-Always need to know WHY, especially why they are being asked to do something.
-Had disgust and perhaps loathing for much of the required and repetitious work in school.
-Were rebellious in school in that they refused to do homework and rejected authority of teachers, OR seriously wanted to rebel, but didn't DARE, usually due to parental pressure.
-May have experienced early existential depression and feelings of helplessness. These may have ranged from sadness to utter despair. Suicidal feelings while still in high school or younger are not uncommon in the Indigo Adult.
-Have difficulty in service-oriented jobs. Indigos resist authority and caste system of employment.
-Prefer leadership positions or working alone to team positions.
-Have deep empathy for others, yet an intolerance of stupidity.
-May be extremely emotionally sensitive including crying at the drop of a hat (no shielding) Or may be the opposite and show no expression of emotion (full shielding).
-May have trouble with RAGE.
-Have trouble with systems they consider broken or ineffective, ie. political, educational, medical, and legal.
-Alienation from or anger with politics - feeling your voice won't count and/or that the outcome really doesn't mattter.
-Frustration with or rejection of the traditional American dream - 9-5 career, marriage, 2.5 children, house with white picket fence, etc.
-Anger at rights being taken away, fear and/or fury at "Big Brother watching you."
-Have a burning desire to do something to change and improve the world. May be stymied what to do.
-May have trouble identifying their path.
-Have psychic or spiritual interest appear fairly young - in or before teen years.
-Had few if any Indigo role models. Having had some doesn't mean you're not an indigo, though.
-Have strong intuition.
-Random behavior pattern or mind style - (symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder). May have trouble focusing on assigned tasks, may jump around in conversations.
-Have had psychic experiences, such as premonitions, seeing angels or ghosts, out of body experiences, hearing voices.
-May be electrically sensitive such as watches not working and street lights going out as you move under them, electrical equipment malfunctioning and lights blowing out.
-May have awareness of other dimensions and parallel realities.
-Sexually are very expressive and inventive OR may reject sexuality in boredom or with intention of achieving higher spiritual connection. May explore alternative types of sexuality.
-Seek meaning to their life and understanding about the world. May seek this through religion or spirituality, spiritual groups and books, self-help groups and books.
-When they find balance they may become very strong, healthy, happy individuals.

We are encouraged to note that anyone could have a few of these traits, but Indigo Adults have most or all of these 27 characteristics.

Gee. I must say I was pleasantly surprised to find that I do in fact belong to this ephemeral group of human beings walking the planet right now. I fit the profile (well, the final characteristic does seem a little problematic).

{Sound of cracking whip}: Back, Marie! Back into your corner, and wipe off the drool.
Duh. Who on the freaking planet wouldn't say they fit this profile? Hmmm. Well, maybe not. Oh yeah, I get it. I meant to say, What adoptee wouldn't say they fit this profile?

April 16, 2006

Panic Mode

I'm in permanent panic attack mode, so terrified that something could go wrong, a deep uneasy sense that has something to do with abandonment and loss again. It devours me every time someone I care about leaves the house, goes on a trip, changes lifestyles. I used to come home from school and if I didn't see my amother immediately, I'd panic and run around the house nearly blind with terror crying until I found her. But as an adult, I push it down and keep it to myself because running around crying and hyperventillating would be "childish." Because I would never dream of hampering anyone's life plans. And anyway, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't understand if I said what I go through. It's a sick feeling that tightenes the whole center of my being, as if I'm about to turn inside out.

When those in my family aren't home and I hear a siren, the same things happen. I fear the worst. And nothing anyone says or does can take it away, not comforting, not reason, nothing. Until I see or hear from the missing person agin. It's like I go into suspended animation, barely able to breathe. It's not a nice way to live, but it's all I know.

I just talked to my older daughter K on the phone. On June 6 she is flying to Guatemala. She will stay there until July 27 working at Ix Chel Farms with medicinal plants and learning traditional Mayan natural healing. She's in the process of getting her master's degree in ethnobotany, or medical anthropology. She wants to study indigenous plant medicine for women's health, particularly menstral dysfunction and pregnancy. She will finish her degree in about two years, where the program will also award her Ph.D. I'm so proud of her because she's done most of the hard work and financing on her own. My guts are twisting and I just think I'm gonna barf.

April 15, 2006

Illness and Indulgence

These past couple of days I've been building my site and having a Web orgy. I'm having way too much fun right now. I took the photo on yesterday's blog in the rain beneath a tree whose tiny white flowers floated down into a puddle. It reminded me of the stars in Rilke's poem.

My blog is like my own bedroom with a bay window where the whole world can look inside. It's intimate yet totally public. How is it I can say things on this blog that I wouldn't tell my best friend? Maybe I don't tell her because I don't think she has the time to take off from doing her graphic design work to listen.

It's quiet here, and quietness is comforting compared to the riot of noise and insanity that's going on in analog time, or even on forums. Here I can slow down and think and write out my thoughts. It's like a mini-writer's retreat that I can access 24/7. I have my journals and my Moleskine notebook all right, but they don't get read by anyone except me. Here I can write for others' eyes, but I'm in control of how things go. Whatever I put up on my blog is my decision. Where else in the world can I do that? I like having control of a little corner of the world that's all mine for a change, even if its only digital. I've never, ever felt in control of anything. But the insecurity of losing control is at the center of my life at every moment. I'll talk about that more later.

As an adoptee, I'm in extended mourning and forever searching. Mostly now that my reunion was such a disappointment, my search is to either find a way to come to terms with the indelible wound from being separated from my mother at birth or to live with the questions. The wound never goes away. It's an invisible, eternal secret. I don't look or act much different than anyone else. I function like an average person. I went to college, got married, had two daughters, and held sporadic jobs.

Like the polythemous moth (see Emerge-ncy) my career to become an English professor (yeah, right) never took off. Mainly because I spent my formative adult years in and out of hospitals with a debilitating illness. The medical establishment labeled it "JRA," or "juvenile rheumatoid arthrits", which I first acquired at the ripe old age of seventeen. To this day I think I gave it to myself because as a Catholic, I believed I could take on another's pain. I asked God to give me some of my amother's arthritis so that she wouldn't have to suffer so much. Be careful what you ask for. Within a year I got high fevers, excruciatingly swollen, red, painful joints, and an overall achiness that only felt better after I took Tylenol and codeine. I began to fall in love with the stuff, until the nausea made me so sick I spent one day walking in wretched circles to distract myself. The rigidly trained physicians told me I'd probably spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

After ten years of suffering I decided I'd had enough. I slapped my forehead and wondered why I hadn't thought of it before. I left JRA the same way I'd entered it. I asked for it to be taken away. Thanks to homeopathic medicine within two years I could actually hold my year-old baby in my arms to nurse her without fear of dropping her because my wrists hurt so badly. At any rate, the JRA coupled with a crippling lack of self confidence pretty much destroyed my career dream to get my doctorate and teach college-level English. Luckily, my superhero husband spent hours holding me while I shivered and sweated, took me to hot springs, turned me into a vegetarian and did whatever to see me through. So far he's still content to support my "polyphemous" life. I still have the frozen joints and some pain, but nothing compared to what it was. To make up for lost time, I dove into the goth scene in the 1990s big time. I produced Elegia: A Journey into the Gothic a (now folded) literary gothic zine that got a good review in the Hex Files and was listed in The Vampire Book and made a lot of connections on the Dark Side. I still fancy absinthe, although I've never drunk it (there's a supplier link on my sidebar, tee hee.)

The longest I've worked anywhere was for four and a half years...six months shy of being "vested" in the company. It was for a local daily newspaper typing briefs, company profiles, and calendar items for the business section. Oh whoopee. They did let me write stories, but since I wasn't a staff writer, I had little leverage.

I also worked a couple of years as a freelancer for a weekly, but after I counted my hours for travel and interviewing, for gasoline and writing the story, I figured I got about $5 an hour. Not enough to pay the bills.

So, now I'm a housewife and an online junkie. I'm teaching myself CSS and Photoshop, which probably won't be marketable by the time I master them because the digital world changes so fast, but one side of my brain loves it. The other side yearns to disappear into a natural setting because that's the only other place I feel calm and easy.

My weight fluctuates with the ebb and flow of my emotional weather. I love to take long walks with my lab mix dog, Kenya, who teaches me how to live with patience and attentiveness. That's a picture of her above, romping in the estuary.

Unfortunately I also like Toblerone chocolate and the most divine food on Earth, Chocolate Cherry Chip Soy Ice Cream from Trader Joe's. If I sit here and eat my soy ice cream and chocolate instead of walking and going to the gym, the rolls of adaposity magically accumulate overnight. Duh. So then I make myself stop buying those treats. I figure if they aren't around, then I eat fruit and stuff I'm supposed to eat and walk for an hour in the hills or at the beach with Kenya. I lose a little, then begin to lapse back into my chocolate addiction. Don't talk to me about diets. I've water fasted for two weeks, tried the Atkins, 40-30-30, and Fat Flush diets. It looks like I'm stuck where my genome-o-meter is set. I'm not fat, but sure could lose those last twenty pounds.

April 14, 2006

Ah, not to be cut off

Ah, not to be cut off,
not through the slightest partition
shut out from the law of the stars.
The inner — what is it?
if not intensified sky,
hurled through with birds and deep
with the winds of homecoming.

-- Rainer Maria Rilke

April 13, 2006

Moved Back to Blogger

Yeah, I decided that I like it better here than there. Below was my last post before I jumped ship, but I learned that some things are better left the way they are. Like the bond between natural moms and their babies. I'm going to bring my recent posts and comments over here and then continue on, so keep visiting me here as I struggle to make sense of a senseless life.

I decided that I'd use the last name that was mine at birth, Jarrell, before it was stolen from me on a falsified "legal" document. I gave myself the first name, Marie. I don't know who gave me the other first name that they say is on my OBC (original birth certificate).

------------------------Old Post from April 7-------------------------------

I'm going to keep writing about what it feels like to be adopted so I can learn and grow. A lot of the learning and growing has to do with those who leave comments and insights. The comments you guys leave are like little boxes of sunshine tied up with ribbons of stars. Thank you all for including me.

I'll continue to read as many of the wonderful adoption-related blogs out there that I can find and contribute comments to them. I think those of us adoptees and natural mothers who are expressing ourselves are helping to break the awful stigma and secrecy we've felt for so long. I think this is a valuable online community and I look forward to seeing it grow.

Let's talk.

April 12, 2006


The Greek goddess Psyche is portrayed as a butterfly, which represents the soul. Socrates said, "Know thyself." From that knowledge human beings can build a base, truly think for themselves and grow into their potential, complete human beings they were meant to be.

This ability to grow and transform is the most basic human right and a function of the soul. If we are denied it, then I don't know what it is we remain. I don't think there is a language for this state of existence. Regardless of clever adaptive tricks we devise to survive, all adoptees remain in some state of arrested childhood for our entire lives. The harm, although invisible, is irreparable.

Annie Dillard, in her book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, describes a scene that illustrates what happens when we aren't allowed to become who we are.

One spring when she was a child in school, her teacher had captured a large and unusual caterpillar in a jar and kept it on a windowsill so that the students could observe the stages the giant polyphemous moth would undergo on its transformation into a winged adult.

One morning they saw that overnight the moth had emerged from the confines of the caterpillar casing, but the jar was too small to allow its wings to unfurl properly. They all watched it struggle there in its glass prison to become what it must.

Students trailing her, the teacher carried the jar to a sloping driveway, opened the cover, and lay the jar on its side so that the moth could escape. Unfortunately its wings had stuck against the glass by the shellac-like substance that coats the wings and dries to allow them to harden for flight.

The teacher finally took pity and pulled the moth from the jar. They all watched as it hobbled and crawled down the drive, its wings forever unfurled, stuck grotesqely against its sides, mutant, wrinkled, useless appendages, for as long as the moth might survive.

Dillard says that the monstrous sight affected her for the rest of her life. She said she will forever see that moth crawling, crawling, crawling down the driveway encased by its own wings.

Like the polyphemous moth, the adoptee's task is to emerge from nothing.

April 11, 2006

Rage Against the Machine

No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for awhile you’ll see why.
–Mignon McLaughlin

I don't understand it when people tell me what I'm experiencing or when they discredit my experiences. I remember living in a condominium where bedroom windows overlooked a common walkway. A woman who lived in the unit across from ours used to spank her children quite a bit, and when the weather was hot enough and windows would be open, I could hear the woman whaling away on one of the kids saying, "That doesn't hurt. Stop crying. That doesn't hurt!" I call that invalidation of that child's experience. Invalidation of experience (thoughts, feelings, longings, etc.) is precisely what adoptees live throughout their entire lives.

When someone tells me that I can choose not to be miserable, that I can choose to heal, I hear that woman across the walkway invalidating her child's feelings. I also hear the preacher's voice who tells me what and how to think. "You didn't see that. You didn't feel that," etc. "Follow God's plan and all will be well." I've always wondered how they know what "God's plan" is, and why they are indignant when I refuse to follow it.

One commenter has left a post here that accuses me of being a bigot because I compared an instruction to change out of my "misery" to Christians who insist that gay people can change (isn't that another way of saying that I can get over it?) Does that make me a bigot? How so? I'm writing out my feelings here and this same commenter told me to practice what I preach. So, I'd like to know just what it is that I'm preaching.

Say what you will, but I think all of us have been so thoroughly indoctrinated that until we write out our own, personal thoughts and feelings we will always remain in denial and remain on the side of those who keep us subserviant, the ones who have set up this whole miserable "civilization" and all its wretched institutions that keep us enslaved. Maybe my words are too strong here, but I'm not attacking anyone. I'm raging against a system that's crippled all of us. I apologize if I offended anyone or if I came off as being defensive. I make mistakes. My purpose is to struggle to find my own truth.

April 10, 2006

The Illusion of Choice

This is my second post today. I've been reading so much about other adoptees and nmoms this past week that it's finally broken through the first layer of my armor, that protective shell I clasp so tightly around me to survive.

Today I began to cry in front of N my younger daughter. (I say "began" because I know it's only the very tip of the healing iceburg.) She was very kind and understanding. She asked me gently if I was feeling sorry for myself. I told her that maybe I was, but I thought it also went much deeper than that, to the soul level, to genuine grief. Grief is important because it's part of the healing process. Many of us adoptees never allowed ourselves to grieve over our adoption because no one ever told us that we could. I had to take a very long walk in the hills in the rain. Right now, only nature, my Big Mom, has the power to soothe.

I explained to N that she will never know what it feels like to be cut off from the root of life at birth because even though I had a c-section, I fought the hospital and its rules to allow her to remain in my bed with me from day one, and I never let her out of my sight until she went to school. She is an integral part of my being.

I can only imagine the horrible, suffocating depression that nmoms go through because of a series of rote euphemisms that society parrots at them, that coerces them to relinquish their babies. I can only imagine the wrenching, life-long grief they must bear. I could never have given up my babies to anyone. My first daughter and I were separated for about a month (which I explained in an earlier post), and I can see a difference between the two of them in their ability to cope with the onslaughts of life. But both are precious and both are from my blood and bone. There's a cellular connection between an nmom and her child that nothing can extinguish, not even adoption.

My thanks to Warriorwoman who offered a link on her blog to a series of six essays written by Stephen Fitzpatrick entitled "Adoption," "Panic Attack-The Adoptee Legacy," "Rape of the Soul," "Divide and Rule," "Choice," "Mothers," and "The Time Has Come." These essays have had an explosive effect on my level of awareness, jacking it up from around three to about ten on a scale of one to ten. These essays are the most powerful and important essays I've ever read on the subject of adoption. Like an onion, layer after layer of deception and lies are peeled away. Every aspect of the crime of adoption is exposed for what it is. I cannot say enough about these essays. Every adoptee and nmom owes it to him/herself to read these essays to boost their level of awareness, to educate themselves and others. The writings held up a large mirror in front of my aching soul and showed me what I've needed to see for a long, long time.

My earlier post touched on the word "choose," as in "I can choose to wallow in my misery or I can choose to heal." Here is an exerpt from one of Stephen's essays, "Choice":

"Choice is not high up on the agenda for mothers and adoptees...Where is the choice for the adoptee? It may sound rediculous to complain that no one asked us whether we wanted to be adopted or not, but the fact remains--no one did. If we had been able to choose, I don't imagine anyone saying yes, take me away. Assumed not to know the difference between two mothers, which any basic book about motherhood will prove to be complete nonsense, it is someone else who decides the adoptee's fate. Choosing to explore our heritage later in life, it is other people who decide that it's not in our best interests to do so, and keep our records sealed. Simultaneously, families unaffected by adoption are buying family tree programs for their laptops, which in the course of a few minutes will tell them the name of their great great great grandfather.

"There are those in society who say that we all have choice, that we are all creating the moment that we live in. They claim that we choose everything in our lives. I cannot prove this statement to be untrue, but I find it hard to believe. I cannot imagine that the people in Iraq choose to be bombed. I cannot imagine that people in Africa choose hunger over nutrition. Yet, there are those who claim this to be so, without realizing, that being one community, one society, one global family, we are interdependent beings, so that a decision made in one corner of the globe can have consequences in distant continents. In other words, we are robbed of our choice when someone witholds food from us when we are starving, and instead of passing the buck to the one without resources, it has to be made abundantly clear that the person who is withholding is committing an act of violence."

This exerpt is just a tiny fraction of the brilliant and truthful insights Stephen, himself an adoptee, has written about the criminal bondage of adoption. Please do yourself a favor and read these essays.

Fine, I'll Do It Myself

I just answered a comment that said, in effect, "just get over it." "It" being my adoption issues. The commenter claims that I can choose to heal or choose to be miserable. I followed the blog link and what I noticed is that the writer is a Christian, the same religion that tells gay people that they can change if they want to. WTF? The comment tells me that its writer (also an adoptee) has a very narrow way of thinking about and seeing the world. It seems to me that we need to create a larger view of the world, not a smaller one.

Adoptees have always been told who we are in a society that has always told its members what to think. We are told to be grateful and nmoms are told that their life will be easier if they give up their own child. Here's what kim.kim, an nmom, wrote on her blog:

"I still am haunted by the social worker who sat on my hospital bed and pushed me and made me feel like I was being weak for wanting to keep her. She kept saying it would get harder and harder and harder if I kept her and easier and easier if I didn't. She made me feel that if I kept her I would ruin my life. Quite the opposite actually."

The way I see it is that we adoptees and nmoms are being proactive by writing blogs and having discussions about what's been stagnating inside of us outside, for so long. Finally getting it out, getting validated (adoptees need tons of validation, sorry but it goes with the territory) that we aren't certifiable. We are justifiably enraged.

I began my blog about two weeks ago, and already I've been learning more about myself and others who understand the feelings than at any time in my life. I don't know what it is I'm looking for yet, since I already came to the end of my search and discovered that there is to be no healing there. I had thought that finding my nfamily would help me heal the bottomless void, but that isn't to be. So I'm trying something else.

"Fine! I'll do it myself!" it says at fidim.com. "It's more than an acronym. It's a way of life. When everyone tells you it can't be done and no one is willing to help there's nothing else to do but go forward on your own, get the job done, and keep all the spoils for yourself." FIDIM. What doesn't kill you defines you. I hope they don't mind if I borrow their acronym. I'm gonna need it.

I was going to ask the question, "Why does adoption even exist?" today, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

April 09, 2006


While I write this I'm running in and out of my house. First I type, then I run out into the front yard and haul buckets of rocky soil from a trench five people are digging as we get ready to lay pipe to hook up to the sewer.

This old bungalow has been hooked onto a cesspool in the back yard for sixty years. It finally stopped leaching. Plus, California has a water contamination problem. I think I can relate to the bungalow somehow. A lifetime of backed-up feelings.

Always a pattern. I need to write this blog; I also need to please others so that I'm not rejected. So I run in and out, trying to please everyone. But I don't mind the hard, physical labor. I like it, in fact. It's really honest, and it doesn't have that suffocating feeling of working in an office with bosses breathing down my neck.

I'm constantly redoing things, changing things, moving things from there to there. Restless. Unsettled. Take blogs. for example. I must have had half a dozen of them within a few years. I begin to think they're awful, so I delete them. Or I move them to another server.Guess I'm afraid of keeping things as they are. I keep fiddling with things as a coping mechanism for being an adoptee. I think it has to do with a need to control. It's must be strategy I've devised to survive.

For instance, I wonder if my post yesterday on my view that adoption is unconstitutional isn't over the top. I've been reading adoptive mothers' blogs today and I see that they're just as much victims of the system as natural mothers and adoptees are. Duh. It's like digging and digging this endless trench, trying to get to the bottom of this pain. How can adoptees and nmoms break up this hardened cesspool of a government system that could care less about us?

One thing I'm learning here is that, besides being too hard on myself, I take myself way too seriously. I'm missing is the ability to be outrageous and hilarious. I wonder if having these or not is genetic. I think they are a sign of genius. Take Rhonda's Ruminations and the bloggers she links to. They are jaw-dropping hilarious with biting wit. I don't know how to express how much I admire these displays of brilliance. I grew up in a household where brilliant humor was rare to non-existent. I'm told that my my nmom had a terrific sense of humor and sense of fun. Wish I'd known her.

I found a hilarous site last night.Warning: Do not be drinking anything if you follow this End of the World link. You'll laugh it out through your nose like I did.

And then to balance that out with horror, I find something that shows how f'd up this capitalist patriarchal system really is. The crap behind the pretty curtain. Patriarchy at its finest. Remember the game show, The Price is Right? Bob Barker was its host. Something so innocuous. The show still has fansites. But you can check out the really dark side of old Bob Barker. Come on Down!

I think trenching is getting down into the origins of things, both inside myself and outside in the cold, messed up system that has set us up to be owned as slaves, and continue to be slaves even after our adoptive and natural parents have died and finding out the truth can no longer hurt anyone and certainly help the adoptee.

April 07, 2006

Adoption is Unconstitutional

Webster's New World College Dictionary's definition of adopt is to choose and bring into a certain relationship; specif., to take into one's own family by legal process and raise as one's own child.

All slavery isn't about labor, drudge, or toil, but all slaves are under the control of another as owner and master. Slavery exists when one human beings takes ownership possession of another. In this sense, adoption is a form of state-sanctioned slavery. If slavery is unconstitutional, then so is adoption. Let's look at the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution:

Amendment XIII Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Adoption in the United States is an industry. Capitalist industry demands growth. In capitalist counties adoption is the ultimate answer for privileged couples who cannot have children of their own.

In America, about six babies are lost to adoption every hour. The State of California, for example, reported in 2005 that it separated 10,000 more babies from their natural families in 2004 than it had in the previous year. Adoption is an immensely profitable franchise sung to the tune of over $4 billion a year in profits. The supply chain is institutionalized on an endless conveyor belt of guilt, secrecy, and lies.

We hear outrage about puppy mills, but rarely a mention of baby mills, which are lucrative and state-sanctioned. Intellectual property rights are fiercely guarded and protected by federal law. How about adoptee identity rights? The right to know who you are and keep that knowledge as your own? We all know the golden rule: he who owns the gold makes the rules.

Natural mothers, coerced from their own children, are the breeders, workers, producers. Adoptees are the product, resource, and commodity. The state, or CEO, and its baby brokering agencies, along with adoptive parents are the consumers, beneficiaries and stock holders. Laws are written to support the stock holders. As with other resources like water, trees, and livestock, commodity is inexhaustible and workers expendible. They are there for consumption, convenience, and to feed a pathological myth. Organized religion bolsters this myth by its blessing on adoption, and adoptive parents use religion selectively to justify their theft. The Catholic Church, for instance, has a long history of active baby trade.

Except in rare cases, adoption is unknown in "poorer" countries where families continue their heritage as sacrosanct, with continuous, unbreakable bonds. Doing otherwise would never occur to them. In some cases, adoption certainly is unavoidable. For example, when the child's natural parents die. But in "poorer" cultures, another family member takes on the care of childen who lose parents to death.

The truth is that no one can ever raise a child "as one's own." There is only one set of real parents. Everyone else is a caregiver. A surrogate. Nothing can ever replace the bond that exists between a natural mother and her child. And the myth perpetuated that adoptive parents are the real parents is unspeakably shameful.

Adoptees are expected to be grateful for being "saved" from a life of misery and hardship. The truth is, who set themselves up to be God and say what the fate of the child would have been? Adopters' justifications and cliches about "chosen babies" and "in the interest of the child" form the glue that makes them feel better about their "choice" of creating a fake bond. Sometimes the glue holds, sometimes it doesn't. But once you break something, the crack is forever there. An adopted child is always the elephant in the living room.

Which isn't to say that caregivers cannot be kind, giving, and understanding human beings who do whatever it takes to help the child discover who he or she is without the arrogance that goes with possession of the child as private property. But this type of selfless caregiving is rare in a society of narcissists.

Americans truly think the world is their shopping cart. Their attitude is, "If I paid for it, it belongs to me." If adoptive parents paid $30,000 to some agency to buy someone else's child, they are going to be damn sure no one, especially not the natural parent, lays claim to that child whose true identity has been carefully sealed away and replaced with a new one that pleases the purchasers. If you can buy a new Mercedes, you can buy a new baby. You may have to import this "chosen bauble" on the market, but that is certainly acceptable in affluent social circles. Curious, isn't it, how white affluent couples are the largest segment of the population with greatest infertility problems?

The adoption industry's managers and beneficiaries are in the business to separate families that should have had cultural support to remain intact. The natural parents must deal with the separation as best they can, often with irrepairable emotional damage.

But the the most tragic result of adoption is like an infinite worm coiled in the center of every adoptee. That worm eats away a bigger and bigger hole that nothing can heal. From the day of separation the adoptee is rendered invisible and her feelings inconsequential. Even if the child one day re-unites with the natural mother, the damage was made permanent. The child not only lacks knowledge of her true identity, where she came from, and medical history, but she lives with the constant message that she wasn't good enough because she was rejected at birth.

Caregivers are never enough. Nothing is ever enough. The adoptee is a dungeon of anxiety. Addictive behaviors, depression, need for control, intimacy problems, suicide thoughts, and self-hatred are just a few of the life issues adoptees suffer. With their slave mentality, most adoptees remain docile and terrified of displeasing their owners.

But sometimes things go horribly wrong in the system and adoptees kill their owners or others, even themselves. Who would have guessed? Jimmy was a chosen child. He was special and had the best of everything. How could he have been so ungrateful to do this?

It's time adoption is seen for what it really is rather than as the ultimate solution for infertility that it is promoted to be.

April 06, 2006


At least with a blog I have a little say in how I create my image online, unlike IRL (in real life) where I had very little say as an adoptee. Others defined me with absolute authority, and I didn't even understand that I was being defined.

What I wanted to write about today is what it's like to be Unemployable. That's a loaded adjective. It means different things to different people. I think there must be a spectrum of "employability" out there somewhere, but it's mostly subjective, and mostly applies to how I see myself compared to others. I've always compared myself to others. I look out of the corner of my eye always to see if I'm "doing things right" or if I'm "fitting in" or if what I look like or what I'm doing identifies with those who I want to accept me.

See, that's the thing about being an adoptee. The adoptee default is set to rejection. I don't know how to change that default. If you're an adoptee and you know how, please leave me a comment explaining how you did it. It's like, your situation as a child growing up set that default. The people, the mindwrestles, the situations, the expectations, what was said and what was left unsaid but implicit in the family unit, the residual emotions, the gestures, the rules, the habits, and so on made us who we are, and it takes an extraordinary person to scrape even some of the negativity off.

As an adoptee, I was always looking up to see if I had approval. My true feelings always had to be carefully repressed, or I might hurt my a-parents. If I hurt my a-parents, they might send me back, reject me, or at least judge me and place me in probationary mode. So, I had to be on my best behavior always, even if it was totally the opposite of how I felt.

Now, when it comes to getting a job, I've always seen employers as having all the traits of stand-in parents. I depend on them. They hold power over me. They can control and manipulate my actions and feelings, and thus my self image, by hiring me, refusing to hire me, fitting me into a pre-fab slot, or firing me. "Pre-fab slot" has always been the formula of my life. And it's taken me many years to see how dehumanizing it really is. But since there's no real sense of self within an adoptee to be stripped anyway, this dehumanization process is just another gash on the cipher.

It's not that I've never held a job. I was fired two days into my first job at a florist's shop because my curly (read: messy) hair didn't meet the boss's standards. The second employer I had fired me after three weeks because I'm math dyslexic and failed at cashier-ing. This job was back in the day when cash registers didn't show the amount of change to give, and I came up short every day. I guess they thought I was stealing money. At any rate, I was bad for business.

I tried my hand at insurance sales, even got my license, but I couldn't take the rejection of cold calling. I got my teaching credential, but couldn't pass the math portion of the CBEST (California Board of Education Standardized Test) exam. I scored high on the verbal portion. If you don't make the score on both sections (I was an English teacher who had no intentions of teaching math), you can't teach in public schools in California. I taught English for three years in private schools for pennies until I got pregnant with my second child and quit.

My last job was as a typing clerk with a local newspaper. My editor kindly allowed me to write stories for the business section, but the managing editor told me I'd never make it to be a full-on reporter. I think I left at $11 per hour. Hardly enough to support a family on. I haven't looked for a job since I quit that job. I have this fear of being a homeless alchoholic if it weren't for R, my humanitarian husband.

It might be worth writing more on this subject, integrating my feelings as an adoptee with my feelings as an (un)employee. And, um, that includes the habit of always putting myself down.

Sites & Quotes du Jour

I decided that today I'd take a rest from my own adoption-related crapola and offer some URLs and quotes I stumbled upon and share them with anyone who cares to read them.

1. Speaking of stumbled upon, I linked to StumbleUpon which I discovered on Heartened's blog. It uses thumbs-up/thumbs down ratings "to form collaborative opinions on website quality. When you stumble, you will only see pages which friends and like–minded stumblers have liked," it says on its splashpage.

2. And BTW, why are ya still using Internet Exploiter, when you can have Firefox? (I'm thinking of changing servers because the Blogspot image uploader now changes my gif extensions to jpgs, so I can't animate any more. I even wrote tech support, but no reply.)

3. A fellow adoptee sent me this link from the University of Oregon's Adoption History Project. I checked, and as expected, it's an exceptional source of knowledge on the history of adoption with a timeline, people, documents, books, etc. It's well worth a visit when you have some time to spend immersing yourself in the data.

4. Here's one reason I don't affiliate with any religion. I think religion, particularly conventional, organized religion, perpetuates violence. Religions create a "them" and "us"/"mine" and "yours"/ "saved" and "unsaved" mindset. This quote from an article in the April 4, 2006 edition of the Patriot News from Pennsylvania is an example of the ignorance about the ultimate consequences of adoption, rationalized by one person's religious beliefs :

"Even before Ryan and Kellie Argot of Fairview Twp. were married and found they were infertile, they talked about adoption.
"It turned out that was the only way to grow our family," Kellie Argot said.
She and her husband adopted Samuel, 2, and are in the process of adopting Zophia, 8 months. "I can say for both of my children, their birth parents knew they would not be able to give them the home they deserve," she said.
Geer said yesterday that adoption is a great solution for some
Kellie Argot agreed.
"Adoption is a wonderful thing. It's not a negative thing," she said. "Jesus was adopted. When we're baptized, we're adopted into God's family. How bad is that?"

Who is she kidding?

5. One of my all-time favorite blogs isn't about adoption but about creativity. It's the much-loved Wish Jar Journal. I personally love it because it inspires me with a huge smorgasboard of goodies for the soul.

6. An adoptee's life is like a photo with all relatives' faces ripped away. It's looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing nothing there except what others have defined rather than honest links to self. I ripped this quote from Rhonda's Ruminations because it so elequent:

"Perhaps heritage is something not missed until it’s lost; not coveted until it’s been taken away, isn’t even considered because it doesn’t have to be. It’s like breathing. One doesn’t think about taking a breath and then exert the effort to do so. It just happens, it just is – until it isn’t. And then, suddenly, it becomes the most important thing in the world.

Growing up adopted, claiming a heritage has never been a rote exercise for me. It has always been a surgical, copy and paste exertion. The experience of feeling simultaneously grounded in history and existing in the present has always evaded me, despite all the mental gymnastics I’ve attempted to make it otherwise."

7. And speaking of (non)origins, a five-star site from New South Wales, Australia a Parlimentary Inquiry into Adoption Practices. It explores topics known all too well by adoptees and natural mothers who gave their babies up, including Pathological grief, Personality Damage associated with defenses, Personality damage associated with the isoloation of the birth experience and loss of the baby, Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, etc. Good, hard-hitting stuff.

Tomorrow I'll talk about being unemployable, which I attribute at least in part to being an adoptee who hasn't worked out her shit yet.

April 05, 2006

Can't Find My Way Home

It's soooooooooooooo good to connect and share with others whose lives are crippled slightly or terribly by this barbaric system of slavery that seems virtually impenetrable, like it's surrounded by titanium walls. We all need to get our feelings out into the open. But sooner or later, we gotta take it down. I haven't been over to Bastard Nation for awhile, but I think I'm going to re-aquaint myself with some of the latest issues on the site.

The big issue in my life is the depression (specifically from being adopted) and lack of self-confidence that keep me from functioning like others around me. It comes from the life-long grief of loss, and it's not pathological, despite the fact that therapists either poo poo it or don't see it as a systemic problem. They see it only as an individual problem of a few people who, like their other clients, can't cope. So they prescribe drugs. All drugs do is mask the real problem. True, a huge number of serial killers were adoptees, as we all know, but the rest of us are just trying to bungle through as best we can.

As for lighter stuff, another blogger on the Soul of Adoption Webring found this T-shirt online that reveals my shameless habit.

I just heard this song last week by Enya off the Amarantine album. It made me cry and cry. Call me crazy, but for some reason I imagine my bio-mom sings it to me from beyond death. Here are the lyrics:

If I Could Be Where You Are
Roma Ryan

Where are you this moment?
only in my dreams.
You're missing, but you're always
a heartbeat from me.
I'm lost now without you,
I don't know where you are.
I keep watching, I keep hoping,
but time keeps us apart

Is there a way I can find you,
is there a sign I should know,
is there a road I could follow
to bring you back home?

Winter lies before me
now you're so far away.
In the darkness of my dreaming
the light of you will stay

If I could be close beside you
If I could be where you are
If I could reach out and touch you
and bring you back home
Is there a way I can find you
Is there a sign I should know
Is there a road I could follow
to bring you back home to me

There are so many adoptees out there writing on the web that say it so well. I mean, it's as plain as daylight. Adoption is just plain wrong, I don't care how much sugar-coating anyone slaps on it to appease the very things they deny. The sooner adoptees and "disadvantaged" single bio-moms learn that we were the ca-ching in someone else's pocket, commodities that money bought off, the better for us. We're valued only as other people's solice to cover up shortcomings and hell-crap that Western Civilization has spawned. It all manifests in individual "advantaged" parents who have infertility issues. Read what Son of a Surrogate has to say about this. To this day I don't understand why I hated my aparents so much. They never beat me or kept me in a cage. In fact, they bought me luxuries, gave me a good education, took me camping, and gave me a million other perks that make me sound like a freaking ingrate. I can't seem to get to the bottom of this awful dynamic.

Anyway, like I wrote earlier, I'm unemployable. I'll write why in another post. But one adoptee in the Ring wrote that as "unemployable adoptees" we can still write, work for ourselves and for people who are good for us. I've always felt inferior and incapable of being a "good employee." I've been fired and I've been told things like I don't have what it takes, or I'd never go beyond where I was. The worst part about it is that at the time I believed they were right. I wonder if that had to do with my struggle to be the "good adopted child" so "they" wouldn't send me back. Rejection is at the heart of it all and it rules (and ruins) all sorts of things in an adoptee's life. Where are the studies on all this? Where can I point and say, See, that's a big part of what it means to be an adoptee?

I've read books since I was five years old and began writing my own thoughts in poetry and short stories after my 12th grade high school English teacher encouraged me to do it. I've kept diaries and journals since I was in middle school. I began blogging about three years ago (didn't occur to me to devote an entire blog to the subject of adoption.) The printed word has been my most loyal friend. So I keep writing, even if no one reads what I write. How else can any of us get word outside this cone of silence we've been in? Writing all this out in front of everyone is a peculiar kind of relief.

I'm reading about five books right now and finishing none. I read magazines and manuals and everything else in front of me. I spend way too much time reading on the Internet. I think reading and writing are like pets. They don't judge you. It's like unconditional love, since it's so interactive and personal. They are anchors in every storm for me. Once I was mistakenly thrown into jail without any reading or writing materials. I thought I was going to lose it from the claustrophobia. I mean, I could hardly breathe in there. I even write some very long letters to my (dead) bio-mom in my journal. I think the ink got smeared from my tears, and I'm not sure if the letters helped any, but whenever I feel lost and alone, I can escape into my journal and write another letter to her. At least I have that that no one can take away (except for jail).

So, anyway, I was a daughter given up, my identity sold and locked away in a vault somwhere only privileged officials can fondle. I believe that this loss affects our own biological children to some extent, but of course there are no "studies" on that. Fuck the studies. I know what I know.

I was blessed with two daughters of my own, and seeing and touching two people bonded to me by blood is the highlight of my pathetic life. I got to keep N the younger to hold and nurse and bond with right after my c-section. The hospital was actually humane for once. She is strong, independent, extremely smart, impatient, and almost magical in her capabilities.

But before that, a different hospital took K from me. She was born eight years earlier from an emergency c-section. We didn't get to bond in those early days. I nearly went mad reliving the separation trauma that brought back such overwhelming symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. All because of some hospital's lame, barbaric wielding of institutional control. And for no sound medical reason. My beloved K is like me in many ways. She gets lost and clumsy with life, yet tough when she needs to be. N will ever understand what it means to be given up (which is as it should be), but K probably only has it tucked deep in her subconscious, since I did get her back a month later and did raise her. I can't really talk about my feelings to them like I can write them out here, though. Because they weren't adopted.

K sometimes tells me in her own way how lost she feels, but she doesn't connect it with our birth separation. Here's just oneexample of her sense of unreality in the world. Last week in grad school (in Washington State) her class got into a discussion that set off this male grad student who harassed her with frightful body language right in front of everyone. He accused her of poisoning his drink in Jamaica. He accused her of snubbing him on some imagined walk they took to the library. She's never been to Jamaica and she said she doesn't remember walking with him to the library. After another student called 911 and the cops came into the classroom, cuffed him, and dragged him off, her professors and friends told her she'd better leave town. She hadn't done anything except to defend her classroom argument (she's studying to be a medical anthropologist). She got into her car and left town, afraid for her life. She got a speeding ticket she was so terrified.

We were talking on the phone and she told me to google the guy's name and see for myself what he is. I did. He's written books on black magic (more wielding of power and control). I read some of his bent fiction stories he posted on the Web. They're all about "harlots" and "evil witches." Obviously has an obsession and problem with women.

The guy's unglued. I told her not to go back to the university until she can be certain he's either fled town or locked away under observation. The university slapped his wrist (he'd been on their freaking honor roll, for fuck's sake) and told him that if he comes back on campus he'll be arrested. The department committee had a meeting to decide what to do about the situation. Don't know the outcome of that yet. But what can they do? What if he finds her off campus and stalks her? Sounds like a film script. But I understand the awful feeling of other people being in control of my life and calling all the shots. This is just unmitigated and state sanctioned bullying. Hmmm. Smells like adoption to me.

Oh yes. And to decolonize my own mind and be more sensitive to the language I use from here on in after this post, I post this guideline I found this on Origins Canada:
  • Dehumanizing terms such as "unwed" mothers, "biological" parents, "birthmothers" should be used for search engine purposes only.
  • Because of the harm caused by separating family members, we ask that journalists, the media and all people use honest, accurate terms such as "mother," "single mother," "parent," "grandparent," "son" or "daughter" which do not disrespect or deny true relatedness. If a distinction must be made, please use "natural" in front of the word "mother" or "parent" or "child".
  • "Natural mother" was the term commonly in use until the adoption industry began utilizing and promoting the emotionally manipulative and dehumanizing "birth" and "biological" terminology. The term "natural mother" is reality-based.
  • Words like "birthparents" are not only dishonest, but they are coercive, giving the impression that a pregnant mother-to-be and father-to-be are destined to surrender their son or daughter. The "birth" words give the impression that people can become "ex" family. You can have an ex-boyfriend, but you can never have an ex-child or become an ex-mother.
[I just added the Webring box in the footer below and typed in the word "adoptees." There are a lot of places to explore plus a lot of related stuff. I'll see what it brings being on this new Ring.]