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Archive for the ‘Older Parent Adoption’ Category

This evening, as the kids and I watched the “Wizard of Oz’, I had a sudden recollection that ties the generations together for me.

The movie came out in 1939, the year my mother turned seven-years-old, and made quite an impression on her.

It began what was to be an annual run on American television in 1956. I was five that year, but we watched it as a family every year of the ‘50s from then on.

I don’t remember ever not having a TV in the living room; sitting in front of that tiny (by today’s standards) screen in the huge wooden cabinet on the oval braided rug as my mother … either perched on the brown, skirted couch, cup of coffee in hand no matter what the time of day, or standing behind the ironing board with a bowl of starch water at hand … did the ’50s version of multitasking. It was a position I must have mastered very early. Color TV had yet to arrive, so black-and-white was all we knew. Ricky and Lucy’s apartment, Sky King’s sky, everything the Mouseketeers got up to … all were sans any shade but variations on gray.

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The 1939 Poster

And that was fine … most of the time.

The exception to the whole being-okay-with-B&W thing came with the opening bars of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. My mother’s WoO had imprinted itself on her brain before the age of television, when films were only seen in ‘movie houses’ where a show cost a dime … unless you wanted to sit in the loges … and grownups could add a bit of atmosphere with clouds of cigarette smoke.

By 1939, cinemas also offered films shot in Technicolor, something this movie was made for:

Notable for its use of Technicolor, fantasy storytelling, musical score and unusual characters, over the years it has become one of the best known of all films and part of American popular culture. It also featured what may be the most elaborate use of character make-ups and special effects in a film up to that time.

The fact that this beloved experience was reduced for us kids to NO color annoyed my mother no end, apparently, so she did a running commentary to enhance our viewing pleasure … or hers.

This is where, all of a sudden, everything goes into brilliant color!

That is the YELLOW brick road!

The witch has GREEN skin! (No mention that she looked just like our Aunt Mary when seen in B&W until we were much older.)

Those flowers are poppies … bright red poppies … and are so beautiful.

The whole city is GREEN!

That’s the ‘Horse of a Different Color’ and as it walks around the color changes from green to purple and more!

And so on …

All these years later, I found myself tonight explaining my mother explaining the colors to me to my kids as they watched a hyper-hued DVD of the road and the witch and the poppies and the horse, realizing as I did that time sometimes moves in circles.

Now … if I can just find those damned ruby slippers. I know they’re around here somewhere …

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Because that’s how we do things here, Sam gets a YouTube vid for a birthday gift.

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With thanks to all who filled in the PP survey, and who asked for more about my kids here … here’s a vid I put together in tribute to the beauty and sweetness of Cj … my youngest, my baby, my darling little girl.

Enjoy!

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Sam got a cool camera for Christmas from Uncle and Auntie … thank you!!! … and shoots and shoots and shoots. He has quite a good eye and takes some amazing pix, which has been no surprise considering his talents.

What has been a revelation, however, is what Cj accomplishes when she’s behind the lens. Of course, her model is top-class …

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I had so many comments … both on the blog and privately … on yesterday’s post that I reckon some addressing is due.

First, I’d like to thank everyone who has voiced the opinion that my voice is still valid in the adoption world. That is tremendously encouraging. The fact that even Coco lent encouragement is huge for me … thank you, Coco … and I’ll tell you why.

The online adoption community is notoriously fractious, and in my years of writing on the subject I have made no few enemies … some who have taken their level of vitriol so far beyond the realm of polite reason that mud blobs with my name on them stuck to the net will outlive me.

So much of this has felt counterproductive from the early days of my writing on the subject, and I refuse to pussyfoot my POV, as healthy debate has always seemed a good way to forge links that might eventually provide foundations for bridge building.

A conversation with Gershom, an adoptee who wrote what for all intents and purposes … and title … was anti-adoption, ended up in a dialog that encouraged everyone involved to participate in supporting the right of adoptees to their identity, and I’m pleased to say that she and I have developed respect for each other … a friendship, even

Coco and I also have had issues, but although we differ greatly in attitude, we have found the common ground and mutual respect that will eventually provide the only means to true reform that will protect those needing protection without cutting children needing families out of the equation completely.

Both of these relationships forged in fire where the inspiration behind the formation of Adoption Under One Roof, the community I helped found … then felt unworthy of continuing to contribute toward (although I hope and plan to reenter soon) … that was based on the idea of bringing all notes in the adoption triad together to learn to sing harmoniously, rather than harp on discord … or dis”chord”, as I think of it in these terms, “triad” also meaning a group of three notes on a chord, not simply opposing positions of those whose lives have been touched by adoption.

Of course, I also thank the adoptive moms that formed the backbone of my readership years back and continue to grow in numbers that form a protective circle around me as they close ranks and ‘get my back’.

And I’m pleased as anything to find new readers like Peter … an amazingly talented musician and writer with no adoption affiliation, as far as I know … adding his related experience to the mountain of support I find myself clinging to these days as I lurch my way up and out and toward the light that leads from the depths to the heights.

Thank you all.

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Magnar teaches Sam and Cj to groom a horse

Magnar teaches Sam and Cj to groom a horse

After 10 days with their dad, Sam and Cj are now home again, and home is once again a calm environment, albeit punctuated with girly giggles and the occasional squabble.

This reality, the one that has them having another place that’s home-like with the man who is their father, along with some woman I’ve never laid eyes on … and a baby on the way … is one that I never saw coming back when Mark and I were going through the adoption processes for them.

I’m not going to whine on here about ends of eras or dashed dreams or bumpy roads. In fact, I’m not going to whine at all.

I will, however, touch a bit upon how pulling rugs out from under the feet of children who began life with loss impacts, and how unfair it all still seems … to me, yes, but also, and more importantly, to them.

I was a child of divorce, so unlike my husband who conveniently assumes that “they’ll adjust” because “kids are resilient”, I know the consequences that come from abrupt shifts in the world, and I see the effects creeping in.

Although they are happy, healthy, smart and funny little people, emotional bruises are showing.

A few examples:

Cj now asks many times a day if I love her.

Every drive to school has her asking, “Will you pick me up?”

Sam refuses to mention one word about anything that occurred during his week away from home, as if it’s all one big guilty secret he must keep.

None of the signs I see are blatant examples of emotional upheavals, but all show cracks that weren’t there before their dad walked out. Their trust levels are way down, while their worry levels are way up. Stress, in other words, has come to their lives.

As long time readers have noted, I no longer write much about adoption, and since I used to post about 2,000 words per day on up to six different sites, this has been quite the drop-off.

The reason? I feel a bit a fraud touting the gifts it brings since I can no longer offer the bubble of security and protection I thought I was assuring when we brought them from Cambodia to Seychelles, promising, I thought, happy ever after.

Okay, life happens. I know this. And I also know the long term advantages of learning early that life is hard and that adjustments will have to be made as one makes their way down whatever path is put at their feet.

That was an easier take with my bio kids. For one reason, I was younger and less concerned by outcomes years down the pike. For another, they were the results of what had always been a crap shoot. Neither was planned, so their existence felt meant-to-be in ways beyond my scope.

Sam and Cj came to me through great and concerted efforts that involved much inward examination of motives and well-laid plans for futures based on foundations forged in determined ground that was to hold solid for them.

There is no lack of love around them … Mark does love them … and, in fact, they are getting love from sources that wouldn’t be showering it upon them now had circumstances not put people like Magnar in their lives.

And they are doing well, according to all observers, from teachers to friends to me and their dad. But they do, again, know loss, and that hurts them.

I may again take up the adoption torch and advocacy roll that had me so active, and in some quarters so hated, but I’ll enter that fray from a different angle now and with a cautious optimism that my kids will make it through the upheaval in their young lives and learn to live with a family much less the “Brady Bunch” than I’d hoped.

Not all sunshine and lollypops, for sure, and that’s a drag when learned at 5 and 3. But learned it must be, and I’m working like hell to keep the lights and goodies coming while helping them navigate the unfamiliar waters of a family broken.

Life is what it is, and theirs has already had such drastic twists and turns. I can only hope the result for them will be like it has been for my brothers and me … a capacity to roll with the punches and make lemonade.

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For anyone interested in my writing on adoption issues, I have recently found the energy to post on the topic again over on the Adoption Under One Roof site I helped found that’s now been around for seven months.

I’m in the process there of going over the details of my disappearing act and reasons for, my guilt, pain and all that jazz, so if that sounds like something you want to read about, please check it out.

I will NOT be doing that here, or at least not in the sort of depth I’m aiming in that direction.

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