Empty Cereal Box

Views From Inside an Adoptee

June 29, 2006

Future and Past

We're slowly painting the rooms of our house. White. So everything looks large and filled with light and clean. I have one foot here and the other in Oregon, where my soul is pulling me. But first we have to sell our house. People like it. There is an intangible sense of rightness here, with all the plants and the simple, coziness of our bungalow. The cool breezes blow through all the rooms and there are many birds and flowers. The street is quiet and easy. I love it here. I just hung up several windchimes. The cuckoo clock in the bedroom reminds me of my childhood. It was made in Germany and it hung in our den with the fireplace and ticked faithfully on winter nights as we sipped hot cider with cinnamon sticks.

We want to move to Oregon. We have an estate sale and yard sales going to clean out as many material possessions as we can unload. I want to travel light now. No unnecessary burdens to weigh us down for what's coming--both in our lives and in the coming years on Earth where no doubt we will all be in crisis mode.

During my reunion, my birth uncle gave me a copy of the family genealogy book. I treasure it because it's all I have of my biological past. I discovered that my maternal side came originally from the Lake Lucerne area of Switzerland, where our heritage goes back to at least the 16th century. Amazing I can know this but not what it feels like to hug my mom or grandma or look into their eyes because they both died long before I found my family.

Dark Toblerone, from Switzerland, is my favorite chocolate bar in the whole world! Mmmmm. Yummmmmmy.

Something strange that my dreams, some distand memory in some part of me has always had images of forests and lakes, so similar to this Bird's Eye View of Switzerland that it's uncanny. (If you visit the Swissworld site, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "Arial views of different parts of Switzerland. On the link you can click on any link and it will open in Real Player and you will fly over that area of Switzerland like a bird--I think it's really cool.) I think it has a lot to do with my craving to be where there are multitudes of trees and lakes and streams.

It's Time to Heal What Has Been Neglected

Just to give you some idea, here are some shots of Antiqua, Guatemala, where K, my older daughter, is doing her Master's thesis. The streets (below) are made of paving stone; there is an active volcano (above center) that looms over the city; Mayan (indigena) people buy their produce and other things at el mercado (right) at the town center.

Earlier this morning we did a chat. She'll be in Guatemala until July 29. She is staying in San Marcos by Lake Atitlan ("Place of Water") until Saturday, when she will return to Antigua. Her heart is changing every day as she sees how the indigena (the Mayans) scrape together a living to keep their land planted. They live a simple, kindly life, but there is no running water, no emergency services, no recycling, etc.--a lot of things we take for granted here in the states. Yet these people are total heart and real and close to the Earth, however poor they may be, with a high infant mortality rate and diseases that go untreated except for the yerbas (herbs) provided by the local medicine woman.

K loves it there. The people are gracious and humble and they know so much more than Americans about what's important in life. She wants to return again and again. She plans to write her thesis not only on healing indigena herbs, but also on sustainability and environmental conservation. She wants somehow to serve these people after she gets her Masters/PhD. I love her passion.

She typed a list of herbs she's been given down there for menstrual pain: yarrow, oregano, fenugreek, chamomile, mirto, toronjil, hilipielque, ajenjo, pericon, and salvia santa. She has been granted a special license to bring plant material and seeds back to the states to research and add to her repertoire for her study of medical anthropology, indiginous herbs, ethnobotany.

But I get that her real study isn't about science. It's about humanity. She inspired me so much I'm wondering what I'm doing with my life here in America. Maybe I need to stay here and fight for human rights and the Earth; or maybe I need to assist her in some way. It's all too nebulous right now.

For a terrific site for Guatemala slide shows in Quicktime presentations, visit Netshaman to give you an idea of this incredible Mayan country and its people.

June 24, 2006

Connecting the Dots

Okay, this post is kind of political, I admit it. But isn't everything political? And I admit that sometimes I get a little full of myself, like I know what's going on, but I don't know how else to convey what's churning around inside me.

Lately the needle has gone into the red zone on my anxiety meter. There's the constant background anxiety and grief that I've always known as an adoptee. But that background anxiety has, for the past six years, been intensified by the increasing sense of a noose tightening around our collective necks as we are quietly herded into an invisible, yet fatal boxcar (if you never had a a good history class on World War II, boxcars were used to transport the Jews to concentration camps during Hitler's Nazi campaign).

The sinister strategy is felt by everyone I talk to. Even those in denial are more skittish these days. No one can be certain who's behind this plan, but we do know that it's being implemented by a handful of brutish and secretive manipulators worldwide who pull all the strings and arrange all the pieces with hubris hidden behind benevolent smiles. It's the same feeling I've always known, that the people who adopted me were fake parents who I went along with because I couldn't know who was behind the arrangement that took my real parents from me.

All my life people have told me that my adoptive parents were my real parents because they provided for me and gave me the love I needed. Really? I've been astounded to discover the scores of adoptee bloggers who would disagree with these rightous people. It's awesome to find so many adoptees and first moms who use blogging as a tool to explore our permanent anxiety about how we were plundered and manipulated by the same mindset that is destroying our planet.

I finally understand why I never bonded or respected my adoptive parents. Because they were inseparably devoted to the same destructive materialism that annihilates everything that is good, and whole, and true in this world. They would no more have understood what I'm writing here than if I had arrived from another dimension, which sometimes I think I may as well have.

Likewise, deep and profound stirrings have begun in some of the more desperate nations who feel the soul-destroying plunder and manipulation of globalization. But the majority of Americans remain fat, lazy, and stupid consumers. I know in my bones that there will be no revolution in America because Americans have been coddled and conditioned with infinite consumption choices for over a half century and lulled by patriarchal authority. This consumption and trust in "authority" over intuition has absolutely dehumanized and degraded the integrity of life on Earth. My observation is that such ecological slaughter has produced a nation of vacuous assholes. Vacuous. The word make me think of a vacuum cleaner that sucks up everything it touches. Everyone has been faking it for so long they can't tell the difference between denial and reality. And despite the nation's refusal to see the fakery, this vacuity is coming to a rapid and painful end.

What this vacuity has produced is an insatiable sense of lack (and it's interesting how the adoption machine has bulldozed over truth and honesty for about as long as consumption has been a religion, mainly since petroleum has produced a glut of resource guzzling) . Americans have been conditioned to earn not just enough money to live a good, simple life, but to heap that life with bling so that all will be envious of their glut. Why have a multi-million dollar home and a six-car garage filled with Hummers and Mercedes, with acres of vineyards and trips to France every year if that sunny nursery upstairs remains empty? Anything can be ordered and paid for. Got to have the appearance of family, that appearance of completion and happiness, the period at the end of a marital sentence, and at all costs. Even if it means ordering a baby from China or Bosnia.

These affluents' lives certainly look juicy, but something inside these people has atrophied. Women's barren eggs leave their ovaries in puffs of dust. Men's sperm are bent or sparse. Why is that? What's the correlation? Could it be that they've lost the juciest part of life: their connection to it? Their bond is with affluence and appearance rather than with the truth inside their hearts.

What I was alluding to in the first paragraph is that there are those with power and money who do things and own things simply because they can, without a thought about consequences or accountability, and there is the machine that serves them with terrifying efficiency. And finally there are the rest of us (and our planet) who bear the agony of the outcome with a crushing and permanent anxiety. My writing about it may or may not convince anyone or change anything, but I can't not write about it.

(The crisis graphic? I post it as joke, mostly. Who can possibly help anyone because this entire planet is in a crisis.)

Joy wrote in a comment something that caught my breath it is so obvious and true. All my life I pushed down my consciousness of this because I was too afraid to speak the words aloud:

I think it happens to a certain extent in every adoption, their is anywhere from a sublte to overt second rejection. I don't think people know what they are getting into with adoption. People so grossly underestimate the power of the physical bond to carry you through the rough parts of parenting. With adoption it is simply not there. And you can only fake it most of the time.

She also suggested a book, Unattended Sorrow by Stephen Levine, which looks intriguing to me. From the flap:

It is like a low-grade fever; it troubles our sleep and drains away our days; it scatters intuition and creates and underlying anxiety; it sours the eye and ear and leaves a distate in the mouth; it's the vague uncertainty that permeates every thought before every action it's the heart working as hard as it can
Levine wrote the book about 911 survivors. That passage could just as well be written about adoptees and first moms who were coerced into relinquishing them, all of them survivors. So I've come to realize that adoption is a metaphor for so-called "life" in America. It is all about suppression and slavery, deception and denial, class-ism and prejudice. It is a bitter, lifelong anxiety and a refined and socially accepted type of death in a nation filled with people who have no idea who they are or what they're doing.

Time to go listen to my CD of Eckhart Tolle's Power of Now again. But even that doesn't take away the sense of something looming, something gnawing around the edges of my cereal box.

[For further insight on this topic, visit The Whole Human Being .]

Cultural Assumptions

Adoptees who challenge the system confront the weapons of shame and secrecy used by the Culture of Obedient Lies in its doomed battle against the Culture of Angry Truth. --Bob Alberti

Back in the 1990s, when I was still doing my search, I subscribed to a long-lived and large adoptees-only listserv called adoptees@ucsd.edu. The adoptee who ran the list, Jeff Hartung, graduated and the list ended, but I managed to print out some of the discussions and kept them in a folder. Now that I found the Chosen Babies list and have the ability to blog, I feel as if the hole left by the list's demise has been filled. Nevertheless, I often return to re-read some of the posts I saved. From time to time I will post some of them here.

The following list post was from an adoptee named Bob Alberti, a univeristy professor in Minneapolis. It was part of a thread called "Adoption Battles."

"A lot of us [on the list] have been debating responsibility, fault, parenting skills, and what's-best-for-the-child. There are no easy answers when chewing over these issues.

1. The dilemma created by adoption--whether private or state--is the imposition of human decisionmaking in the creation of a parent-child system.

2. If you mentally excise adoption-related issues from these discussion, the resulting structures still have serious problems.

3. Western (or American) cultural assumptions concerning children are at the root of many of these problems; cultural assumptions regarding class, including poverty, homelessness, drugs, despair are next.

In America, we are willing to look the other way when children are born into bad situations. Children grow up in poverty and hoplessness all around us, all the time. As a society, we turn our backs. Their fate is "the luck of the draw" or "the will of God" or "the poor will always be with us" or "the responsiblity of their parents."

Enter adoption. A child is removed from one home and placed with adoptive parents. This almost always involves an increase in socioeconomic class for the child, from poor "disadvantaged" parents to middle-class "normal" parents. The adoption is contested. The child remains in limbo for years, and eventually is returned to the birth parent (s).

The problems:

1. The hand of Fate is replaced with the hand of Society. Now we have someone to blame for the circumstances in which the child is placed. All of our bottled-up frustration over children raised in poverty and want comes surging forth. Rather than working as a culture to eliminate poverty and imporve the welfare of all children, we focus our ire on individual cases where blame can be assigned.

2. The needs of the child are not adequately addressed by the courts. In fact, the needs of the a- and b-parents come first, followed by the needs of the Court System itself to proceed through every step of the legal sequence without disturbance. The child's needs come last. [my thought: every child left behind].

3. Part of this results from the fact that the children have no voice: children need lawyers and advocates solely for THEMSELVES within this system.

4. Part of the problem is the result that children are treated as inanimate prosessions to be owned rather than as individuals, a result of a long history of treating children--and until recently, adult women--as possessions.

5. And part of the problem is that the Court System itself is moribund, conservative, and slow to respond to change.

The "quality of parenting" is brought into question here where it remains taboo elsewhere in society. One need not look very far to find people raising children who ought not to be raising goldfish. From the nightmare horror stories of "mother's boyfriend shakes baby to death" (this happened last week here in Minneapolis) to the simple occasion of your neighbors who are treating their children in a way that makes your stomach turn, people don't raise their children the way one or the other of us believe children should be raised.

Unfortunately, short of overt, public abuse of their children we tend to allow these people to raise their children as they desire. In fact, it is unacceptable to intervene: "do-gooders" who call Family Social Services on abusive situations are viewed thereafter with suspicion. The phrase "Don't tell ME how to raise MY child" is the ultimate expression of self-rightous indignation.

But once the Hand of Society has touched a child, it becomes acceptable to question parenting skills, and in fact becomes the responsibility of Society to assure a healthy upbringing for the child. We switch from a prohibition on criticism to mandatory criticism.Why? Possibly because now we have someon to blame and FORMAL QUALIFICATIONS FOR PARENTING for fear of infringing on the "right to parent" of all persons. We have a literal "dilemma" (from "di-lemma" which means "two assumptions") we assume that parenting rights cannot be questioned, but simultaneiously insist that children must be protected.

The needs of the child are used as a mask for socioeconomic discrimination. If a single father attempts to reclaim a relinquished birthchild adopted by a couple, the father's "ability to parent" is brought into question. What is actually being discussed is the acceptable social structure for a family. Picture the relative "rights" of the following persons to parent: a lesbian couple; a gay single father; a mixed-race couple; a couple living in a trailer home; a couple living in a ghetto; a couple of one race adopting a child of another.

Each of these challenges our cultural assumptions of what a valid family looks like. Yet on a case-by-case basis we admit that any of these structures could provide acceptable parenting: only in a generalized case do we question their validity.

We claim to be looking out for the "best interests of the child" when in fact we are frequently exercising our bigotry. As a culture, we need to accept a wider variety of "acceptable" family structures, and focus more clearly on the individual qualifications for parenting rather than on prejudiced assumptions.

But look at many of these situations and one thing is clear: the adoption may EXASCERBATE a problem, adoption may be a catalyst which inflames the problems, but the problems themselves exist, and are experienced every day outside of the arena of adoption.

It may help, when reviewing these issues, to keep the elements comprising the total problem discreet. ADOPTION IS NOT THE CAUSE OF SOCIETY'S PROBLEMS: ADOPTION EXPOSES SOCIETY'S PROBLEMS.

The Right to Parent, the Quality of Life of Children, Children in Poverty, Children of Nontraditional Families, the Needs of the Child, the Problems of the Court System, Children as Chattel, and on and on. None of these issues is truly an issue of Adoption: all of these issues are problems outside of Adoption as well as within it. And as distressing as cases like Baby Richard are to us, we need to realize that situations like his are being battled out in Family Court every day all over the nation; they just don't get the same press.

These are not "adoption problems," these are "cultural problems." We can only begin to repair them by reconginzing the inherent cultureal flaws underlying our basic assumptions and rigourously questioning our fundamental belief systems.

As we work to repair the individual problems plaguing our culture, whether the rights of Adoptees or the needs of Children, we need to keep in mind the "big picture" of the problems, where attempts to fix one thing simply aggrevate another."

June 18, 2006


What I have to write today is harsh, but I need to write it. I place this as a disclaimer at the top so you can click out before reading if you choose.

Reading some recent posts written by Mom Seeking Peace, I discovered a corner of my mind that has been asleep in the dark, something I'd never considered before about my own feelings and about the crime that is adoption. She's been drawing comment about a profound question posed on Screams in the Dark:
If adoption is such a wonderful thing, which of your children would YOU like to give away to strangers ?
From an adoptee's point of view, I can say that that I would unquestionably rather have been raised by my natural mother and family than by strangers. Having a "nice" or "normal" home" isn't everything the machine pounds on young new mothers (mostly poor) about their babies. My "nice" adoptee home wasn't overtly abusive, but it was missing something crucial: the irreplaceable connection to my roots and my self. My center died, and that death will NEVER NEVER NEVER come back to life. It is a hollow nothing-ness that pervades every aspect of my life, that defines me to myself. Imagine losing your legs and arms. That would be life-wrenchingly agonizing. But so long as your blood family kept you as a person intact within its boundaries, you still have a solid core because you know where you came from. Natural moms also lose that irreplaceable connection to their baby. Something dies within them, too. It's a death for both mother and child.

Under the authority of the adoption machine, mother and child become objects used by the well-to-do to fill a void that will never be filled. The zero is multipled by three--1 barren woman (x) 1 new mother (x) 1 baby = 0. What affluent barren people don't ever seem to get is that you can't fill a void with a void. Yet adoption agencies are profiting nicely from the void they create with these manipulated objects--a vulnerable mother and a helpless baby.

Despite the "for the good of the child" pressure couched in guilt that bleeds all over the adoption agency sites, no adopted child is guaranteed a "nice, normal" home. (Peter is probably the poster boy for that truth.) There is just as much potential for abuse and neglect from an adopted family as from a natural family, so that "do what's best for the child" is a scam and blatant extortion. No authority can ever know the outcome of any child's experience.

How is it that a new mother is put in a position to override her powerful maternal feelings in favor of doing "what's best for the child"? I can answer that in three words : guilt and shame. She is immersed in those two emotions from all sides rather than getting the understanding and support that she needs. She is objectified with shame by being called a slut and by guilt by being told she'd make a bad mother. How many young women are strong enough to "just say no" to that? Society's guilt, shame, and denial are heaped on her and she becomes one of its numerous scapegoats.

The truth is that the adoption machine and the well off who use it must objectify vulnerable human beings so that they don't have to face the crime that they are committing. Isn't it the same mentality that allows for the torture of innocent people? Last week in the news the Whitehouse spokesman said that our military casualties are "just a number." Really? How about the times we go shopping and at the check out there's an exchange of goods for money when neither the cashier nor the customer exchange as much as a glance? Or the clearcutting of ancient forests and the damming of mighty rivers for profit? Such objectification is everywhere and it allows people not to see what's really going on, provides a thick shield against emotion, and causes a numbing down and a dumbing down so that the truth doesn't have to be wrestled.

By law corporations must make a profit for their shareholders, increasingly by any means possible. Baby trafficking has to do with getting babies by any means possible. Any similarities here? Could the problem have to do with mind-warping denial?

Not long ago I read a post on Saving Grace she called "Asshat Cafe." What she wrote about infuriated me. Apparently this sort of thing is an epidemic. N, our younger daughter, gave R money to buy movie tickets and dinner for him and me for Father's Day yesterday. We went to see An Inconvenient Truth, a critical must-see about the state of global warming (watching the polar bear unable to find ice and having to swim hundreds of miles before drowning wrenched my being into a knot) which sad to say, didn't even make it on the top ten box office sellers for the weekend. Movies like Cars and Nacho Libre still hyjack the national consciousness. Don't get me wrong. People have a right to watch whatever movies they please, but advertisers still back what they think people want to see and it all becomes an endless loop of empty entertainment.

Then, we walked across the street to a grill that caters to people who like light, healthy food where we planned to dine. Just when we arrived at the door, a couple who had been sitting at an outside table got up and left their table with a plate heaped with cubed chicken and pasta along with an entire fresh green salad. We watched them walk quickly away with guilty glances over their shoulders. Other people passing on the street slowed as they saw the table and commented, some jokingly, some incredulously. Still spinning from what I just saw on the movie screen, I felt as if I'd just witnessed a rape. The table person collected the plates and said, "Oh, they were arguing." Oh. Kay...So, since when did an argument keep you from asking for a take home container?

When R and I sat over our salads he nodded to me to turn around and look at a table behind me. Another guy had ordered a huge plate of something he had covered with a napkin and then abandoned it. Is the food there that bad, I had to wonder. Or is it a new sickness that's infecting the population? Order a heap of food, then leave it for someone to toss. Food is a commodity, a resource like trees, water, animals, the Earth itself--our right to exploit and if we choose to toss it, we can.

I sort of feel like a plate of tossed food myself. Someone ordered me, than realized they didn't really want me after all, but since they had me, they raised me through intolerable guilt, and visited that guilt on me. The thought of owning someone else's child wasn't the fairy tale it is claimed to be.

June 16, 2006

Intimations of Awe

Regarding Winds of Homecoming, my newly launched blog, I realized that I needed more than one blog so I could keep my subject matter sorted out. Adoption issues are part of the old pattern. Self-integration and healing is part of the new, both for me and for the entire world. I'm still far from where I need to be, still dwelling on the past and the scars and the rage aren't going to change the world. Never have, never will. But because I get glimpses every so often of breathtaking possibility, I have to follow it where it leads. I get the image of turning away from that which is killing us to build a new world from the roots up. This image is growing inside me every day. "Hope" doesn't begin to describe it. Language drips with "hope." Hope contains doubt. I can't use that word anymore. I don't know how else to explain it.

Read Rhonda's blog about her awesome efforts to save animals. Sometimes she's successful, sometimes she's not, but she's definitely one of my heroines for it. My heart aches from attic to basement whenever I read how any innocent creature--animal or plant--is so callously disregarded as if it has no sentience. I want to "save" all the creatures from humanity, like swooping down and carrying them off to safety on another planet. But Rebecca Solnit writes something very wise in her book Hope in the Dark:

"A game of checkers ends. The weather never does. That's why you can't save anything. Saving is the wrong word, one invoked over and over again, for almost every cause. Jesus saves and so do banks: they set things aside from the flux of earthly change. We never did save the whales, though we might have prevented them from becoming extinct. We will have to continue to prevent that as long as they continue not to be extinct, unless we become extinct first. That might indeed save the whales, until the sun supernovas or the species evolves into something other than whales. Saving suggests a laying up where neither moth nor rust dost corrupt; it imagines an extraction from the dangerous, unstable, ever-changing process called life on earth. But life is never so tidy and final. Only death is. Environmentalists like to say that defeats are permanent, victories temporary. Extinction, like death, is forever, but protection needs to be maintained. But now, in a world where restoration ecology is becoming increasingly important, it turns out that even defeats aren't always permanent. Across the United States, dams have been removed, wetlands and rivers restored, once-vanished native species reintroduced, endangered species regenerated."
Maybe we who have been so deeply scarred by the adoption industry could borrow this as a sort of metaphor for our own sort of self "re-introduction," no matter how scary and uneven.

Botanical (herbal) posts will now appear on Winds of Homecoming, along with creations and visions that have nothing to do with old patterns. For example, I've been bookmarking sites that have to do with "gift economies" and "cultural creatives." These are terms I never heard before this year, but they hold dynamic promise for those of us who are deeply scarred from rampant callous rigidity, fear, violence, wars, secrecy, manufactured lack, institutions (yes, that includes the institution of adoption), repression, reliance on "authority" and "professionals," private ownership, guilt, rage, blame, and so forth. Yesterday I read Peter's latest entry on how his vicious a-parents locked him in his room and subjected him to sensory deprivation when he was only nine. The psychopathology of so-called "civilization" is unbearable. What more can I say?

I chose the name of my new blog for two reasons. First because I love Rilke and second because all my life I've wanted to go home. If you're an adoptee you know exactly what I mean. I know I'll never "go home" to the people who I'm related to, but now seek to find my home within myself on a transcendent level. I realize that everyone on Earth actually seeks to "go home." By that I mean to find their way out of the labyrinth of misery generated and perpetuated by civilization. I won't get into that here.

I added a music feature to both blogs because certain music makes my heart soar as I seek re-integration with the Earth as my other mother. I mean, what other choices do I have? I'm particularly drawn to Ulrich Schnauss, a DJ who creates what's called "progressive" trance, a type of electronic music that I find mesmerizing and incredible. Take a listen to get some idea. His Far Away Trains Passing By album is stunningly beautiful. You can click on the Pandora link and create your own DJ station!

June 15, 2006

Winds of Homecoming

My adoption-related blog buddies haven't been around lately. I noticed some of their blogs have been inactive; one even seems to have been hacked. What's going on? Has anyone else noticed the quietude, or is it just that I haven't written anything noteworthy lately?

I came across this phrase in my writer's notebook today: "the sting of disregard." You know, those times when you feel so deeply about something, or you want to share something, and you do, but you get no indication of a hit? You ache for another little piece of the human neural network puzzle to click together. Those rare times. I'm not thinking ego gratification here, I'm thinking a reach out into the void and discovering, in rare moments, that you aren't quite as alone as you thought.

The law of falling bodies, my notebook also reminds me, is thirty-two feet per second. The Earth spins just over 1000 miles per hour (1670 km/hr). The Earth is also moving around the Sun at about 67,000 miles per hour. We are also moving with the Sun around the center of our galaxy and moving with our galaxy as it drifts through intergalactic space. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I want to make myself so small I could disappear because it feels as if we're all falling and spinning so fast into the darkness, into something we cannot possibly understand.

I've felt despondant these past few days about many things, and I need to write about them here. I will eventually. But what better way to turn despondancy around than to start a new blog? I'm so weary of negativity and hand-wringing that I decided to dive into a new vision. I will continue with Empty Cereal Box because I'll always be adopted and will need to address the pain involved.

But sometimes I just need a break from all the suffering. I realize that you see what you look for, so my new blog, Winds of Homecoming, will represent a new direction for my heart and soul, where I can address things that are just at the corner of my eye, that haven't yet manifested in the material world, but that my intuition says is so necessary that they will naturally come into place because of need and of so many human beings yearning for them. It's a magical thing.

I added an interactive music station and a music favorites to my sidebar that lends a dimension to that part of me that seems to be moving in a direction away from the old ways of doing things. I can't explain it any better than that. Stop in, if you have a bit of time, and take a listen.

June 14, 2006

Medicinal "Weeds" and Other Healing Things

All right. It's time to begin to write about things dear to my heart and soul. One of them is botanicals. Today I want to write a little about them and what they are coming to mean to me. Also something about the healing power of nature and the universe itself, the most perfect classroom I could ever want to have.

Euphorbia peplus (commonly known as radium weed) has been found "to cause sun spots, Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) to disappear, and drop off!"

I can testify to this. I had a small scabby spot on the back of my left hand that wouldn't heal. It didn't hurt, but it bothered me that it had been there for over a year. I never had it biopsied, but it wasn't "normal." I'd stumbled across a site that talked about radium weed. After more searching, I discovered that it is well-known by aboriginal people, who have used it for millennia to heal what we call skin cancer.

I thought, how on earth can I get hold of some of that? I did a little research online and discovered that it had been growing in my front yard all along. I used to pull it up and throw it away because it was, after all, "just" a "weed." I left the computer and assessed my live botanical supply, and there it was, as patient as ever growing among my plants and flowers. I pulled one of the plants and broke the stem. A thick, milky substance oozed out. I dabbed it onto the spot and repeated the procedure for a week or two, several times a day. A large blister-like swelling began to form where the spot had been. After awhile, I noticed the edges looked inflamed, as if infection had set in. Alarmed, I began to apply hydrogen peroxide (my medicine cabinet in a bottle). There was the expected bubbling and foaming effect. I repeated this for the next few days. The blister subsided. After several weeks, new skin began to form and the hole that had been there disappeared. Gradually my normal skin color replaced the new pink skin, and now I can barely see that anything was ever there.

The point is that with the advent of synthetic pharmaceuticals, we have lost touch with a huge herbal pharmacopaeia that includes wildcrafted plants and weeds that we know nothing about. Weeds that are strong enough to push up through concrete must have life energy that my intuition says we could learn a great deal from. I'm incredibly grateful to be slowly tuning in to the plant world through visionary "knowing". That is, I find that the more I work with plants, the more they "talk" to me with a wordless language, teaching me how to use them if I will only listen.

Just for another example, here is a plant that K (who has been cataloguing plants for a year now) calls "hotlips." Apparently it has an effect on regulating the menstrual cycle. I took this shot at Crystal Springs, the rhododendron garden in Portland.
Here is yarrow growing from a stump and some crampbark in K's yard in Portland. (Crampbark works for menstral cramps!)

And above is a photo of St. Johnswort in K's yard. This is good for depression and also called Hypericum, which made into an ointment is excellent for nerve damage and bruises.

In addition to listening to plants teach me about their healing properties, I must also talk about the healing properties of walking in nature. Especially in forests where there is an abundance of oxygen. Before we left San Francisco last month and drove north, I had a nagging cough. R took me to the Sunset district where a wonderful community of Asian culture flourishes. There we found a storefront that sold Chinese herbs. There were bags, piled upon boxes, piled upon crates, and shelves and shelves of jars and boxes, and packages printed in Chinese characters. I told the woman behind the counter my symptoms and she handed me two boxes. One was a syrup of Chinese herbs and the other was a small bottle of pills of Chinese herbs. She told me how often to take them and to drink more water, that I was dehydrated (as usual). The photo is blurry, but you can get an idea. The large red box is the herbal syrup. Together they cost something like $13. No charge for the "consultation."

On the road north I took the medicines for a day or two. By the end of the day, after we hiked all afternoon in Prairie Creek my cough had disappeared. I felt great. Unlike the days when my coughs would hang on for weeks. The herbs, exercise, and abundance of oxygen all healed me, I'm firmly convinced.

Just to share some more photos of our trip north, these were taken on our drive home. You've probably seen a million photos of the Big Sur shoreline, but here's one more. I took dozens of them, but this one is representative. It's just as beautiful as it's always been, ever since I first saw it a long time ago. There's something exhilarating about the drive along the edge of the continent, the rocky cliffs and the wild freshness where the sea meets the sky.

Below is a photo of a guy we met at a place called Willow Creek. "Willow Creek Steve" I call him. He lives off the land and has a magical healing sense about him. Some people might label him as a "crazy" guy because of how he looks and lives. I know better. He knows all about the area along that stretch of Highway 1 and makes his living selling jade, which he finds in secret coves. He has the patient and lovely knowing of a Buddah.

Here is a shot of some of the jade he had in his bag. He gave me a piece which would ordinarily have sold to tourists for $25 just because our souls understood one another. (Nothing romantic at all, just a "knowing.") The jade is polished by the sea. He spends three hours per stone with a hand drill making a hole for a leather string to fit through so you can wear the piece. Each piece is unique and beautiful and green. Such poetry!

Finally, below is a shot of the wonderful elephant seals basking on the beach at Piedra Blanca. I took a lot of shots, but this one gives you an idea of the numbers we saw, and this is just a tiny fraction. They are amazing mammals and the pups are adorable!

Tomorrow I want to talk about my friend Kendra and other things. I'll return to my passion for botanical healing off and on. I don't know about you, but lately I've been experiencing a momentous yet subtle shift in human consciousness. I will be writing about that too over the coming days and weeks.

June 12, 2006


Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth- Lillian Hellman

MomSeekingPeace posted this radio show that I plan to listen to:

NatRadio-The Adoption Show Second and fourth Sunday of each month, 8:30pm-9:30pm
Michelle Edmunds and David Bishop from Canadian Adoptees for Truth and Openness (CATO) discuss the harm caused by the adoption process.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere"-Martin Luther King

Pop quiz: If you are looking for a house to buy in your town and you want it to look like a model from Architectural Digest, where do you begin your search?

Answer: Not in that part of town were people are too poor to remodel and upgrade their property because they're too busy working five jobs just to keep food on their family's table.

Scenario: Our house is a sixty-year-old bungalow built for oilworkers during the oil boom in proximity to the oil fields here. R was a food stamp baby, and I, as an adoptee, have an incredibly deficient sense of self-confidence (you can read about my unemployability in an earlier post). This is the first house we have ever "owned" (the bank actually owns it since we pay mortgage every month). We felt lucky to have a roof over our head, a place to sleep, a toilet, and a shower for the past six years that we've lived here. Who can afford (or spend the time) to remodel? The joke is that the price of our house tripled in the six years we've "owned" it and now reality bites.

Enter: A prospective buyer who claimed that our house was a "major fixer-upper."

WTF? Hello. All the houses in our part of town are "major fixer-uppers." If that asshat wanted a perfect house, s/he strayed too far into the damn wrong part of town.

My point? The incredible stupidity of arrogance is a major factor in the process of dehuminization and destruction of the planet. This buyer is, to me, a fine specimen of such stupidity. This is (again to me) just another piece of the same pie that perpetuates and sanctifies adoption. It all boils down to the golden rule: He who owns the gold makes the rules. I feel violated once again. EEEEWW. I need to cleanse my palate.

My homeless activist friend Kendra who I dearly love just turned me on to this wonderful site:

Cultural Creatives

Grief stricken and lonely and guiltridden and unemployable and broken-hearted as I have always been, I so long for an oasis of momentary escape. This site provides me with one. I know there are more.

June 10, 2006

Paradise vs. the Crap on Our Driveway

Talked to K on Skype tonight. She hasn't been able to find wi-fi in Antigua yet, so she has to use storefront computer labs and pay by the hour (really cheap) to post on her blog, email, and Skype. When she can find wi-fi, she says she'll upload some pictures onto her blog. In the meantime, here is a shot I found that illustrates the atmosphere on a street in Antigua. K says it's a rainforest paradise all around the city, which is surrounded by volcanos.

Our moving sale went reasonably well. Meaning our crap sold as well as we could expect, but we still have a driveway full of crap that I can't imagine other people could possibly want. We're going in for a second day of selling crap tomorrow. At least it was fun to talk to a lot of people and neighbors we never had a chance to meet. We wound up giving a lot of stuff away or charging a quarter here and there for things that cost a hundrend times that. But that's what it's all about. We also had an open house and a few people had a walk through. Next week I'm going to give in and let our agent put a lock box on the front door so I can leave the house during the day. As it is I'm trapped waiting for phone calls and knocks on the door. Yikes. I never knew what it was like to try to sell a house before. I have a lot of other things I want to write about and bloggers to visit, but these things will have to wait until next week. Excuse me, but I have to go find my bed and fall into it....zzzz-z-z-z z z z

June 09, 2006

What the Bleep?

Dang. Blogger has been down a long time. Long enough for me to re-think my post "On the Road to Find Out." You know, tweak a little here and there to clarify and update. And change the title.

Quick How do you feel now? How about now? And now? Do you even know?

I hate it when people ask me, "How are you?" And I say "Fine." And they say, "That's nice." ....WTF? What does fine mean? What does nice mean? Geez. George Carlin stuck pins into those vacuous words in one of his routines, and he's so right on. Well, let's see. My Fuzzy Feel o' meter shows I'm feeling anxious and restless. Could it be that my K is in Antiqua, Guatamala right now? You can check out her blog if you want to know what she's up to. We'll probably do Skype tonight.

The other reason must be that there aren't very many buyers out there to make offers on our house. This week the "offered by" sign went up on our fence. Our first and only offer fell through. A Realtor ™ made the offer, but since she "doesn't turn the pages very fast" (read: not too bright) she left out some important steps to qualifying for a loan, namely, she hadn't even put her condo on the market to produce the equity she would need. Um, aren't Realtors™ supposed to know stuff like that? I'm a tad worried about those who get certified as Realtors™ these days.

We had open house for agents yesterday, but only four showed up. Not a good sign. There are like 100 houses on the market for every buyer. Interest rates going up? Down? WTF? I was begging R two years ago to get things in order to sell before the poo hit the fan on the housing market. But he said "No. I'm Not Ready Yet ™." I asked him to define his term. Like any inquisitive person I wanted to know more. Like what's the definition of Terrorist ™? Or what does On Sale™ mean? Like everything else, his answer was kind of fuzzy and it trailed off into the ether. I couldn't get him to explain, so I shrugged and sighed and swallowed my anxiety.

I'm supposed to be going through stuff to put out for the moving sale we're having this weekend and cleaning the rooms. With this down market, I can't help but feel despair that we'll ever sell this little bungalow we call "Wulfhaus" (because it's occupied by a domesticated black "wolf," our dog Kenya).

Last weekend we hauled a truckload of castoff posessions to the fairgrounds fleamarket. We sold about half the stuff, but it was a slow day since everyone escaped to the beach in the hot weather. I got so sunburned that my left arm has big red scorchmarks on it, as if I held it over the stove or satan himself grabbed me by the arm with big long bony fingers. The sun is getting horrendously dangerous to be under.

The picture below show my nascent "square foot" garden, which I'll probably be around to harvest in the fall if our house doesn't sell. As it is, I put the seeds in late because of our travels. The plants should be two or three times the size they are.

Yeah, the housing market is cooling more every day and there aren't that many buyers out there like there were, say, six months ago. This is California where the prices balooned so far out of line that owners/sellers can't find buyers who can get approved for loans with this economy taking a dump.

All I want to do is get a fair price, get rid of everything, pack in the essentials and get on the road to Find Out (a netherworld place, homage to Cat Stevens). To be gypsies once again, taking each day as it comes, riding with the moment.

If I stop to think about all the stuff I have to do I think I'll go nuts, so I just try to work with what's in front of me, one room at a time, one step at a time. Take my books, for example, the ones I've been collecting all of my life. I told myself I'll only allow myself enough books to fit into one case. The rest must be sold or donated. But books aren't exactly good sellers. I donated $1,000-worth of books to the library last year. Looks like I'll be doubling that this year.

The books in the picture above are only a fraction of those I have to go through. I have to make the excruciating choices to fit them into the case on the right. Now how am I supposed to do that? I'm a hardcore bibleophile. Rule of thumb: If I haven't picked up a book in a year, it's dispensable. At least that's how I'm going to fly by the seat of my pants.

I took the Jung Personality Test today and the results showed that my archetype is "Journalist" with an uncanny sense of the motivations of others. Life is an exciting drama for me, it says.

Last month a teabag tag fortune, which I tucked over my kitchen counter said, "An adventure will change your life." Well, I hope it's true. Now it's time to get back to packing and freaking out.
Did you check out the adoption movie data base below yet? (wink*wink)

June 06, 2006

A Partial List of Adoption-Related Films

I've been tossing impersonal stuff out onto the page like crazy these past few days mostly so that I can store it for future reference for myself. Tomorrow I'll return to my personal life and thoughts about it. I have a lot to write about. But for now...

For the longest time I couldn't figure out why I always cry when I see My Own Private Idaho. Now I know why.

Reading Mia's blog just gave me an idea to gather a list of films involving adoption, so here is a partial list. Some have only sketchy details because I used only info I had at hand. If you have any titles or details to add, please leave in comment box. Thanks.

Antoine Fisher -2003- sailor prone to violent outbursts is sent to a naval psychiatrist for help. Refusing at first to open up, the young man eventually breaks down and reveals a horrific childhood. Through the guidance of his doctor, he confronts his painful past and begins a quest to find the family he never knew.Inspired by a true story

All She Ever Wanted-1996 - The Stockmans are the perfect couple...young, successful, and deeply in love...but they have one problem: They want children. Since Rachelsuffers from severe bi-polar disorder that has to be controlled by lithium, she can't risk getting pregnant. But because of her mental health history, they are bad candidates for adoption. Finally Rachel gives up on the system, and does things her own way...she goes off her drugs and gets pregnant. The ensuing nine months get worse and worse for the young woman, as there are legal battles to end her pregnancy in order to force her back on the drug.

Baby Business-1995 Doc- Increasingly, middle-class families in the developed world who are unable to have children seek to adopt in the Third World where middlemen are making money out of misery and turning international adoption into a trafficking operation in babies. In El Salvador, women tell how soldiers snatched their babies from their arms during the civil war, babies who were later adopted abroad. In Central America, stolen children are kept in illegal nurseries and women are paid to act as mothers, giving them up for adoption. Also shown is the situation of the man in Mississippi, the natural father of a baby who was given up for adoption without his consent. Nevertheless, elimination of the middlemen allows humanitarian programs such as the one in Haiti, under which two British Columbian families adopt babies from unfortunate families seeking a secure future for their children.

The Baby Maker-1970 - Tish Gray had a baby and gave it up for adoption. She is contacted by a second childless couple who want her to have the husband's baby because of the wife's inability to have children. She accepts but finds that knowing the parents, and developing a relationship with them for the entire pregnancy complicates the simple arrangement. OK treatment for an early exploration of open adoption/surrogacy.

Baby M-1988 - famous surrogate mother story.

Batman Returns-1992- An abandoned child returns as an adult and searches for his parents.

Black Market Baby-1977 pregnant college student fights a baby selling ring.

Border Line-1991 -Attorney who represents an international adoption agency in Los Angeles accidentally discovers a murder involving the agency. She then gets mixed up in an illegal operation involving Asian mothers who are forced to give up their babies. Working with a private detective and an immigration officer she eventually finds the truth.

Boulevard-1994 -A young woman regularly beaten and tortured by her lover, gives birth and immediately gives the child up for adoption. This sets her on an escape from the lover on the streets of Toronto. Here she meets a hardened hooker who takes her in so she won't be arrested for vagrancy.

Broken Flowers - 2005 - devoutly single man is dumped by his latest girlfriend then receives a anonymous pink letter informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. The situation causes him to examine his relationships with women instead of moving on to the next one, and he embarks on a cross-country search for his old flames who might possess clues to the mystery at hand.

The Child (L'enfant) 1995 -Bruno and Sonia, a young couple living off her benefit and the thefts committed by his gang, have a new source of money: their newborn son. Birth mother discovers boyfriend sold their baby on black market.

A Child Lost Forever-1995 Birthmother searches for her child and discovers the adoptive mother murdered him years earlier. Flashback to her life at a reform school. Based on a true story.

Cradle of Conspiracy-1994 daughter of upper middle class parents, can hardly stand the immense pressure to fullfil her mother's dream of success in sports and high school. In this tense situation she gets emotional support by Kenny, who secretly plans to make her pregnant and sell the baby for adoption. After a true story.

Ca-bau-kan-2002 -A women from Holland returns to Indonesia, the country of her roots. When she was a little child she was given up for adoption and now she is ready to discover the story of her life. She finds out that the truth about both her parents is very revealing, shocking at times, but comes to terms with her past.

Cider House Rules -1999- Not about adoption per se, but shows what it means to be alone in the world without biological family. A compassionate young man, raised in an orphanage and trained to be a doctor there, decides to leave to see the world.

Daddy and Papa -2002 doc - explores the growing phenomenon of gay fatherhood and its impact on American culture. Through the stories of four different families, Daddy & Papa delves into some of the particular challenges facing gay men who decide to become dads. From surrogacy and interracial adoption, to the complexities of gay divorce, to the battle for full legal status as parents.

Danielle Steel’s Mixed Blessings-1995-Three newly married couples want to start a family. However, there are a few complications, for Brad & Pilar, it's time, not only are they both very mature, Brad already has grown up daughter and is about to have a baby of her own. For Andy & Diana, it would be difficult for her to conceive, so they explore other options, like surrogacy and adoption. And for Charlie and Beth, it's the fact that he wants to be a father but she is not sure if she wants to.

Danielle Steel’s No Greater Love-1996 -young infant is put up for adoption after her parents went down with the Titanic in 1912. Nearly 50 years later, now a grown woman she looks for her other siblings who she believed survived after the Titanic went down.

The Daughter from Danang - doc- about reunion between Vietnamese born adoptee and her birth family.

Dear Jesse-1997-Can you go home again? What if you're a gay man and home is a state where voters keep electing a homophobe to the US Senate? In 1996, at age 30, native son Tim Kirkman returns to North Carolina to explore the parallels and differences between himself and Jesse Helms: they're from the same town and college, with media interests, from families blessed by adoptions, Baptists by upbringing. Tim puts his camera in front of his family, a boyhood pal, college friends, his pastor, Helms fans, community activists, novelists Lee Smith and Allan Gurganus, a mayor who's gay, and people in the street, including a brief interview with Matthew Shepard. What is it to judge, and what is it to love?

Den Eneste ene-1999- follows two couples in Copenhagen trying to settle down. Søs, who works in a beauty clinic, tries to live happily with her Italian husband. Soon after she tells him that she's pregnant, she discovers that he's having an affair with one of her clients at the beauty clinic. She kicks him out of the apartment just as their new kitchen arrives. Niller, the kitchen installer, is a down-to-earth kind of guy who lives a childless, but otherwise happy life with Lizzie. They're busy preparing for a child adoption, only one event will have a huge impact on both their lives just as the newly adopted girl shows up from Burkina Fasu. At the same time Niller falls head-over-heels in love with Søs.

DMC: My Adoption Journey - doc - famous hip-hop/rap musician who searches for his birth mother.

El Milagro de P. Tinto-1998- Wafer factory-owner P. Tinto and his wife Olivia want a child of their own more than anything else in the world. Years of trying, however, have left them with nothing but a pair of extraterrestrial midgets living in the spare bedroom. When they decide to try adoption, a series of misroutings and chance encounters results in an escaped adult mental patient arriving at their door with adoption papers in hand. P. Tinto and Olivia accept this without question and welcome him in as their son. Can this family arrangement work?

Empire of the Sun-1989 -An aristocratic British youth is separated from his family at the start of World War II after the Japanese Army invades British controlled areas of China. Reduced to living on the street and fighting for food, the youth is eventually interned in a Japanese POW camp for British civilians. Here, admiration quickly develops both for captured American pilots and the Japanese themselves. When the war ends, the boy torn from everything he knew attempts to again find his parents. Directed by Steven Spielberg. While not about adoption, it does cover separation and loss in a child.

Family Plot-1976 -Fake medium Madam Blanche and her taxi driver boyfriend make a living from her phony powers. They are hired by an aging widow, Julia Rainbird to find her nephew who was given away for adoption many years earlier following a family scandal. Meanwhile, an extremely clever couple are behind a series of kidnappings in the San Francisco area. The two couples path's cross and chaos results in Alfred Hitchcock's last film.

A Family Thing-1996 -Bowlegged cracker, Earl Pilcher Jr., runs an equipment rental outfit in Arkansas, lives with his wife and kids and parents, and rarely takes off his gimme cap. His mother dies, leaving a letter explaining he's not her natural son, but the son of a Black woman who died in childbirth; plus, he has a half brother Ray, in Chicago, she wants him to visit. Earl makes the trip, initially receiving a cold welcome from Ray and Ray's son, Virgil. His birth mother's sister, Aunt T., an aged and blind matriarch, takes Earl in tow and insists that the family open up to him.

A Father for Brittany AKA A Change of Heart-1998 -Australia Keith and Kim Lussier are a childless couple who are given custody of a 3-month-old foster child, Brittany. However, tragedy strikes when Kim dies of cancer in the middle of the adoption process, leaving Keith to fight for Brittany's custody alone.

First Person Plural-Deann Borshay Liem was adopted by an American family and was sent from Korea to her new home. Growing up in California, the memory of her birth family was nearly obliterated until recurring dreams lead Borshay Liem to discover the truth: her Korean mother was very much alive. Essay on family, loss, and the reconciling of two identities.

Flirting with Disaster-1995 -Farce about an adoptee searching for his birthmother.

Follow Me, Boys-1966- Disney vehicle about a Scout leader in a small town.

Footballers Wives-2002- Drama series about the women married to members of Earls Park football team. Ian gets offered a place on the first team, while his wife Donna tries to track down the son they gave up for adoption nine years ago.

For Keeps-1988 -Darcy and her long-term boyfriend Stan are in their last months of school and already have found places in good colleges. Recently they started to sleep with each other and Darcy gets pregnant. Neither Darcy's mother, who was left by her husband and had to bring up Darcy alone, nor Stan's Catholic parents are very supportive and urge them to have an abortion or give up for adoption respectively. However Darcy's and Stan's love is so intense, they could imagine to have a baby, but this would mean to give up their college carriers.

Gas Station Jesus-2001 -When a young woman opts to abort a miraculous conception, a Christian Fundamentalist group intervenes. Duped into an adoption scheme, Maggie agrees to carry the baby to term but gradually comes to suspect the entire arrangement. She ends up marooned at a rural service station, where she encounters a wise old radio preacher, Isaiah, and his reluctant prophet of a son, Manny, who end up guiding her on the rest of her journey. It's not an easy journey, however, as Maggie is stalked, chased and forced off the road. In a woodsy field, she comes face to face with her assailants and herself, as she prepares to undergo a painfully unorthodox delivery and yet another unforeseen miracle...

High Tide-1987- A birthmother is stranded in an Australian trailer park only to discover her relinquished daughter.

Immediate Family-1989 A wealthy, childless couple enters into an open adoption.

Jack Be Nimble-1993 -Jack and Dora, abandoned by their parents as babies, are desperate to find each other after years of adoption. Jack's young life has been spent with a sadistic family. Dora, whose life has been somewhat better, has developed extra-sensory powers which tell her that Jack's in danger and drives her to search for him.

Katts and Dog-1988-91 -"Katts and Dog", otherwise known as "Rin Tin Tin K-9 Cop", is about the life of Canine Officer Hank Katts and his partner, Rinty; how they fight crime and the forces of evil. It also shows the life of Hank's nephew, Steve; through the death of his mother and his adoption by Officer Katts.

The King- 2005 - troubled man, recently discharged from the Navy, goes to Corpus Christi, Texas, in search of the father he's never met-revenge by adoptee on birth father.

Lazurus-1994 - drama set in England and filmed entirely in English, concerns a wealthy British couple of Polish descent who adopt a son because they are unable to have children. However the illegal adoption process they go through involves paying an exorbitant fee to an underground broker, and the child they receive is not the Latin American infant promised, but a strangely hardened 10-year-old from Mozambique. Desperately disappointed with their "purchase," the new parents nonetheless make fumbling efforts to make the child Lazar feel at home. But Lazar is not receptive, and behaves more like a threatened and hunted animal each day in his affluent surroundings. In time, the couple are able to communicate with the boy to discover
that he saw his family die and was forced to accompany the army, where along with other children he was trained to execute prisoners in mass killings. Lazar ultimately develops the will to try to become a child again, but he feels constantly endangered by the wealthy new world around him. One day he runs away, stealing a weapon from his favorite new grandfather. When police rounds up of him, it looks like the boy tries to defend himself.

Les Cigognes n’en font qu’a leaur tete-1989 -Married to Jeremie, Marie wants desperately to have a child. She has a 20 year old daughter from a former marriage with the police commissioner. When the gynecologist confirms they are unable to conceive a child together, they opt for adoption. However, it is a very lengthy and difficult process. When her daughter meets Joanna, a pregnant teenager willing to give up her child for adoption, Marie is thrilled. And so Joanna moves in...

Little Girl Lost-1988 -Based on a true story, The Brady family fight to adopt a little girl they fostered. But then social welfare decide to send Tella back to her natural father, who it is apparent is sexually and physically abusing her. The Bradys fight to get her back.

Little John-2002- unmarried daughter of a Texas rancher gives birth to an unwanted child. She puts the child up for adoption and moves away from home. Without her knowledge, her father took the boy and raised him. Twelve years later, she is now a successful family-court judge in L.A. Over the years, she has avoided her father and knows nothing of the child. That all changes when he decides that is time she knew her own child and heads for L.A. However, he quickly finds that she wants nothing to do with her father and cares little about the son she never knew.

Loggerheads-2005-about adoption rights, inspired by true events. It highlights three triad stories and interweaves each story in the days leading up to Mother's Day weekend.

Losing Isaiah-1995 -White adoptive mother and black birthmother fight over her abandoned child.

The Lost Child-2000- story about Rebecca, a woman who goes in search of her natural parents and in the process finds her long lost family and her rich cultural heritage. Her adoption was never kept a secret from her while she grew up in a loving adoptive family. But her circumstances are drastically changed when her adoptive mother passes away and her father's new wife shows no interest in his child. Then, years later, after her father dies, Rebecca decides to try to find the family her dad had described to her. In response to her search, she is contacted by a woman on a Navajo reservation who is looking for her twin siblings who were stolen from their mother soon after they were born. The women soon realize that they are sisters and Rebecca is welcomed with open arms on a visit to the reservation. But when her husband, Jack, comes to see them, the differences between the two cultures rise to the surface, and Rebecca must integrate the old and the new so that her whole family can be together happily.

Made in China: The Story of Adopted Children from China-2000 -Made in China tells the stories of adopted children from China, predominantly girls, who live in three distinct regions of Canada. Many of the children live with white families and face the challenge of making sense of their identity and their roots at a very young age. We meet the children in their homes, social settings and schools. They explain how they deal with issues of race, racism, abandonment and adoption, birth parents and whether they will return to China to search for their roots. Their stories reflect their inner conflicts and how they have come to terms with their hybrid identities. Sometimes tough, sometimes vulnerable, the children reveal the joys and pain of living in a visibly adoptive family.

The Magdalene Sisters- 2002-drama charting several years in the young lives of four "fallen women" who were rejected by their families and abandoned to the mercy of the Catholic Church in 1960's Ireland. Triumphant story of three women who found the courage to defy a century of injustice.

Marvin and Tige-1983- Old man and orphan are thrown together to find the child’s birthfather.

Measurable Rights-doc story of Helen Hill and adoptee rights group Bastard Nation who used Oregon's Ballot Measure 58 to open sealed birth certificates for adult adoptees. Daughter from Danang-drama of longing, identity, and the personal legacy of war.

The Miracle-1991 -Genetic Sexual Attraction occurs when a male adoptee meets and actress who turns out to be his birthmother.

Mighty Aphrodite-1995 -Adoptive father searches for his child’s prostitute birthmother.

Mommie Dearest-1981- The adopted family life of Joan Crawford; several of her adopted children where stolen by the Tennessee Children’s Home.

Mon Amie Max-1994 -concert pianist is surprised one night by the arrival of her best friend from childhood, Marie-Alexandrine (Max), whom she hasn't seen for 25 years. Catherine and Max were Québec's most promising young pianists in the mid-1960's when the adventurous Max gets pregnant. She wants to keep the child, but her mother forces her to give him up for adoption; afterwards, Max leaves Québec and music. Now, years later, she returns, obsessed with finding her son. She locates the adoption records, and social services contacts her son to ask if he wants to see her. He refuses, but she keeps trying. Is a relationship with him possible? And what about her musical talent?

My Own Private Idaho-1992 -Two teenagers search for the birthmother of one of them.

Next of Kin-1984 -Twenty-three-year old Peter Foster is an only child who lives at home, where he constantly hears his parents arguing. Because Peter does nothing all day, the family goes to a clinic where a therapist videotapes them. After Peter watches his tape, he views the tape of a troubled Armenian family, who gave their only son away for adoption when they arrived in Canada. Peter decides to visit this family, and he pretends to be their son, Bedros Deryan. The Deryan family welcomes him with open arms, and Peter tries to patch up the poor relationship between George Deryan and his daughter Azah.

Niedzielne dzieci aka Sunday Children-1977-(Polish) middle-aged pair of newlyweds is still without a child after two years of marriage. It's an embarassment so they decide to adopt a child. This takes time, however, and they cannot wait. The solution is to fake a pregnancy and make a deal with a young girl expecting an illegitimate child, who in turn does not want give the baby up to the adoption home. The deal is made, pregnancy faked and then the middle aged wife suddenly finds herself pregnant. Now the deal is off and the young expecting mother is facing a new decision. She does keep the baby in the end.

Nobody’s Fool-1986- young birthmother tries to make the best of her life after relinquishment.

The Official Story - 1985-Argentinian adoptive mother who searches for the birth mother.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit-1991 -adopted girl, raised by religious fanatics, realizes she is a lesbian.

Orphan Train-1979 -treatment of Dorothea Petrie’s novel about the trains that transported New York City street urchins into the American West.

The Other Mother-1995- adaptation of Carol Schaeffer’s book about her relinquishment and subsequent search.

Our Son, the Matchmaker-1996- story of 43-year-old Julie a beautician who when 15 was forced by her mother to give up her baby for adoption. Her son, now 28, a minister, with his wife expecting, begins to search for his biological mother to find out his family medical history. She hears of his search and reunites.

Problem Child & Problem Child 2-1990/91- Awful pair of films about troublesome adoptees. Also reported but unseen: Problem Child 3, 1995.

Rat Race - 2001-reunion between first mother and daughter.

Reno Finds Her Mom-1998-first person account of Reno's, an adoptee living in New York City, search and discovery of her birthmother in Southern Califonia.

Samantha-1993- an adoptee’s search after she’s told she is adopted on her 21st birthday. Not for all tastes; the reunion is very strange!

Second Best-1994 -Lonely, middle-aged man in England adopts a lonely teen. Tremendous performance by William Hurt as the adoptive single father.

Secrets and Lies-1996-story of an English adoptee reuniting with her birthmother and birthfamily.

Seetha & Carole-1998 -story of a tug of war between two women, one Canadian, the other East Indian, over the same child. A Canadian woman, who has suffered two miscarriages, decides to adopt a child in India. The child she selects was sold to an adoption agency by his impoverished father who hopes adopted parents will give the child a better life in America. The problem is that the child's mother knows nothing of the plan. When she does find out, she wants the child back.

The Shipping News-2001- inksetter in New York, Quoyle returns to his family's longtime home, a small fishing town in Newfoundland, with his young daughter, after a traumatizing experience with her mother, Petal, who sold her to an illegal adoption agency. Though Quoyle has had little success thus far in life, his shipping news column in the newspaper "The Gammy Bird" finds an audience, and his experiences in the town change his life.

Sioux City aka Ultimate Revenge-1994- doctor who gets suspended on his birthday. At his adopted parents home, he has a party at which one of the gifts is an American Indian necklace with a note from his birth mother who he has not heard from since he was given up for adoption when he was very young. In the note she wishes to see him. So he leaves to visit her only to arrive a few days after her death. He visits the local sheriff because he is curious of the circumstances of his mother's death. He then heads out to the reservation in search of any relatives he may have. He runs into his grandfather who is kind of a witch doctor. On the way back to town he is attacked by some of the sheriff's men who try to kill him. They leave him for dead, but he is rescued. He then decides to perform an Indian ritual where he hallucinates or has visions to try to identify why he was attacked. He has visions and discovers the reason he was given up for adoption was because his father was the local sheriff. He didn't love the birthmother and ordered her to give him up for adoption...

The Sleepy Time Gal -2001-Frances had been a radio DJ in Florida; she's now living in San Francisco and dying of cancer, with one son living nearby whose work as a photographer is beginning to take off and another, mostly estranged, living in London. She makes a trip to rural Pennsylvania to visit an old lover (and his wife). Meanwhile, Rebecca is searching for her birth mother, who is, of course, Frances. Their lives intersect in other unexpected ways as her search and her work, inspecting the books of radio stations being acquired, progress.

Smoke Signals - 1998 -Native American man embarks on journey to collect the ashes of his father who'd abandoned him.

Snow Dogs
- 2002-Miami dentist is about to get thrown into a whole new world when he receives word of a reading of a will. Ted, who is in his 30's, had no idea he was adopted and now he has discovered that his birth mom has recently died and left him.
her estate.

Soapdish-1991- Genetic Sexual Attraction occurs on a soap opera set between a birthfather and a daughter he is unaware of.

Star Wars -Episode 4; A New Hope-1977, Episode 5; The Empire Strikes Back-1980-Episode 6; Return of the Jedi-1983 -Trilogy of films about two adoptees searching for their birthfather. Luckily, not all birthfathers turn out to be Darth Vader.

Stolen Babies-1993- Social worker exposes the Tennessee Children’s Home Scandal.

Stranger Who Looks Like Me-1974- first TV movie about adoptees searching.

Superman-1978 -The first interplanetary adoption.

Tatsulok-1998 -Minda, in her forties, is having a torrid affair with the younger Dave, and is trying to hide it from her husband Chito. One day Stephanie, a Philippino-American who came to the Philippines on a cultural discovery tour, turns up at Minda's house claiming she is her daughter, whom she gave away for adoption twenty years earlier. Stephanie has questions about her adoption that Minda is unwilling to answer.

Terror in the Shadows-1995- Christine went after the baby she gave up for adoption, claiming he'd been stolen, and wound up killing Alex Williams' wife and the baby the Williams' had adopted. Now, Alex has remarried to a woman with a young son and when Christine escapes from a mental institution, she heads straight for Alex, looking for revenge.

Their Second Chance aka The Keller/Keller Story -1997 -Twenty eight years ago, Barbara and Larry were college lovers and Laurie was conceived. They were unmarried, young and afraid and decided to put her up for adoption. She now returns to their lives and through persistence, re-unites them.

Thief-1981 - highly skilled jewel thief operates a resturaunt and a car dealership as covers for his illicitly-gained income. He falls for a woman he meets out on the town and gets hired by the local godfather to pull a few heists. In return, the mob arranges a steady flow of cash and a black-market adoption for Frank and his girlfriend. When Frank tries to quit the mob, various bad things happen to illustrate the point that he can't quit.

Thursday-1998- former L.A. drug dealer has moved to Houston to make a new life for himself as a married architect. Everything falls apart when he is suddenly visited by one of his former cohorts who comes carrying heroin. Discovering the dope, the architect flushes it down the drain. Michael Jeter also appears as a psychologist from an adoption agency where the couple is seeking to adopt a child.

The Tie That Binds-1995 -John and his wife Leann are fugitives who are both wanted for murder. They have a young daughter named Janie. John and Leann are in the process of robbing a house when the two residents of the house show up. John kills the two residents and heads back to the car with Leann - only to discover the police waiting for them. John and Leann get away after a cop shoots John, and Janie is placed up for adoption. Janie is soon adopted by southern California carpenter Russell Clifton and his wife Dana - and what they don't know is that they're in for the fight of their lives. John and Leann are trying to locate Janie and will stop at nothing to find her, even if it means killing whoever is in their way.

To Find My Son-1980- Single man experiences difficulty when he tries to adopt an 8 year-old boy.

Track 29-1988 -doctor's wife tires of his obsession with model trains, and spends her days wondering about the son she gave up for adoption at birth. While eating at a roadside cafe, she encounters a British hitchhiker, who turns out to be her son. They spend time together trying to find a bond. The son begins to hate the husband, and the wife begins worrying about the safety of her husband.

Twins-1988 -Julius and Vincent Benedict are the results of an experiment that would allow for the perfect child. Julius was planned and grows to athletic proportions. Vincent is an accident and is somewhat smaller in stature. Vincent is placed in an orphanage while Julius is taken to a south seas island and raised by philosophers. Vincent becomes the ultimate low life and is about to be killed by loan sharks when Julius discovers that he has a brother and begins looking for him. Together, they search for their birthmother. I loved it when Arnold confronts the doctor that caused it all; “If you’re lying to me, I’ll be back.” Later, the birthmother punches out the doctor.

Two Family House-2000 -unseen narrator looks back to 1956, on Staten Island, when Buddy, an Italian guy with big dreams, buys a house planning to live upstairs with his wife Estelle and run a bar downstairs. The first problem is Estelle's lack of confidence in Buddy. Then, Irish tenants upstairs refuse to move and won't pay rent; plus, the woman upstairs is about to have a baby. The next problem is the baby: once he's born, it's clear his father was Black. The Irish guy splits; Buddy evicts mother and child, then feels guilt and sets her up in a flat while she sorts out an adoption. Estelle's lack of faith, the Irish lass's spirit, Buddy's dream, racial prejudice, and the baby's fate play out.

Unlocking the Heart of Adoption-doc that bridges gap between birth and adoptive families through diverse personal stories of adult adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents in both same race and transracial adoptions.

Wong Fei-hung ji yi: Naam yi dong ji keung-1992- Martial arts expert Wong Fei-Hung faces Kung, a mercenary rival with skills to equal his own. In addition, Canton is convulsed by a struggle between the local representatives of the Chinese governmentand Europeans who want to control China, and Wong ends up in the middle of this fight. He is again assisted by young Chung, and again must protect Aunt Yee, his young, Westernized aunt-by-adoption with whom Wong has fallen in love.

Wong Fei-hung tsi sam: Siwong tsangba-1993-Wong Fei-Hung and sidekick Chung arrive in Peking just as the Empress announces a Lion Dance martial arts contest. Also accompanying him is Aunt Yee, his young, Westernized aunt-by-adoption, to whom Wong is secretly betrothed. Wong faces a possible romantic rival in a Russian diplomat, Tumanovsky, whom Aunt Yee knew back in school.


Blossoms in the Dust (1941) - The Edna Mae Gladney Story on film; she is one of the reasons adoption records were sealed, to “protect” adoptees from the bastard label. she remained a staunch supporter of sealed records.

Curly Top (1935) - Bachelor millionaire, orphaned youngsters, love, romance and lots of song and dance. Happily ever after with Shirley Temple.

Inn of the Sixth HappinessI (1958)-story of Gladys Aylward, adoptive parent and missionary in China.

Men of Boys Town (1941)- Spencer Tracy as Father Flanigan in Boys Town.

Anne of Green Gables (1934) - tale of orphan being adopted by a brother and sister to help on a farm in Nova Scotia. Superior 1985 remake starring Megan Follows, Coleen Dewhurst, and Richard Farnsworth was followed by a sequel in 1987 called Anne of Avonlea. Followed by a Disney TV series and a sequel film in 2000.

Bachelor Mother (1939)--woman becomes the guardian for an abandoned baby.

The Bad Seed (1956) -Sweet looking 8 year old girl is a liar and a murderess; her adoptee mother finds out the truth and tries to commit suicide. Remade as a 1985 TV movie.

The Bigamist (1953) -Harry and Eve Graham are trying to adopt a baby. The head of the agency senses Harry is keeping a secret and does some investigating. He soon discovers Harry has done an unusual amount of traveling from his home in San Francisco to Los Angeles. Harry gets tracked down in LA where he has a second wife and a baby. Via flashbacks, Harry tells the adoption agent how he ended up in two marriages.

The Big City (1948) -girl adopted by three men.

Delinquent Parents (1938) -Rich boy marries poor girl. Poor girl gets pregnant. Rich boy's parents don't know they're married, forbid him to see her anymore. Rich boy dumps poor girl, poor girl gives baby up for adoption. Rich boy and his family are happy, poor girl and her family are miserable.

The Divided Heart (1954) -Yugoslavian woman finds that her child, lost during World War II, has been adopted by a German family.

Frisco Jenny (1932) -Frisco Jenny was orphaned by the 1906 earthquake and fire and has become the madame of prosperous bawdy house. She puts her son up for adoption and he rises to prominence as district attorney dedicated to closing down such houses. When her underling proposes killing the DA, she kills the underling and must face execution.

Here Comes the Groom (1951) -foreign correspondent, has been running an impromptu adoption agency for war orphans in Paris, when an ultimatum from his erstwhile fiancée draws him back to Boston, complete with two adopted orphans to melt her heart. Too late! She's now engaged and if Pete's not married within five days, he loses the kids.

Kiddie Kure (1940) -Rich 'Old Man' Morton is a hypochondriac. The doctor suggests to Morton's wife that adopting a child mighthelp cure Mr. Morton of his delusions. Overhearing the conversation, Morton invites the the Our Gang to lunch in order to sour his wife on children and adoption.

The Lady is Willing (1942) -Broadway performer Lisa Madden befuddles her handlers by coming home with a baby she picked up on the street. She wants to keep the baby but has to find a husband to make adoption viable. Why not her new obstetrician Dr.McBain? She offers him help with his research on rabbits in exchange for marriage - and he accepts. The marriage of convenience turns into a marriage of real love. When Dr. McBain's ex-wife comes looking for money, Lisa suspects something and leaves New York. However, a serious illness with the baby brings them together again as McBain operates to try and save the baby's life.

Penny Serenade (1941) -Courtship, marriage, and the loss of two children, one who was adopted, is recollected by a divorcing women.

Prelude to Fame (1950) -While vacationing in Italy, Nick Morell, son of John Morell, a famous English philosopher and amateur musician and his wife Catherine, becomes friendly with young Guido, and Morell discovers the boy has an extraordinary instinct for orchestration and a phenomenal music memory. A neighboring couple, Signor and Signora Boudini become aware of the boy's talents, and she appeals to his parents to let her educate him musically. Torn by their love for their son and, they feel,the duty to let the world hear his talent, they consent. The boy is tutored by Dr. Lorenzo, Signora Bondini denies the boy all contact with his parents and everyone else except her. She also has neither sent his letters to his family, nor let him see the ones they've sent to him. He becomes phenomenally successful and makes the grand tour of Europe as Signora Bondini is enraptured by the acclaim given her through her "discovery" of the boy. She prepares to take him to America and also prepares adoption papers.

Room for One More (1952) -Family of five adopts a little girl. AKA as The Easy Way; later a TV series.

The Search (1948) -American GI in post-WW2 Europe helps a boy find his mother.

The Ten Commandments (1956) Adoptee searches for his past and leads his people to freedom.

Three Secrets (1949) -A five-year-old boy is the sole survivor of a devastating plane crash in the mountains of California. When the newspapers reveal the boy was adopted and that the crash occurred on his birthday, three women begin to ponder if it's the son each gave up for adoption. As the three await news of his rescue at a mountain cabin, they recall incidents from five years earlier and why they were forced to give up their son. Remade as a TV movie in 1999.

To Each His Own (1946) -During World War 1, small-town girl Josephine Norris has an illegitimate son by an itinerant pilot. After a scheme to adopt him ends up giving him to another family, she devotes her life to loving him from afar.

The Tunnel of Love (1958) -a married couple trying to adopt a child.

Women in Hiding (1940) -This Crime Does Not Pay series 22 minute short focuses on unwed mothers, specifically those who believe that they cannot confide in anyone and, therefore, go to clinics run by people more interested in profit than proper medical care. In this dramatization, women pay $500 to enter a clinic and must sign papers in which they agree to give up their babies for adoption. Childless couples then pay the clinic operators $500 to adopt the children.

White Banners (1938) -homeless woman named Hannah drifts into the lives of the kindly Ward family, in a small Indiana town in 1919. Hannah makes herself useful as a cook and housekeeper and stays with the Wards... but her real interest is in meeting their neighbor, teenager Peter Trimble. It turns out that Peter is the son she bore out of wedlock and gave up for adoption, and now Hannah has returned to town to see what sort of young man her son has become.