I haven’t written on this blog in a very long time. Adoption burn out, in a major way – I had to walk or lose my sanity, and that sort of sums things up.
I was cleaning out my inbox today and noticed a lot of comments had been generated lately. Turns out most of them were spam. But one, in particular, was not – and is probably the most important comment ever left on my blog. It is the comment left on this post – Legacy of an adopted child – in March of this year. I’m angry at myself that I did not pay close enough attention to have seen Penny’s comment when she made it. She has possibly thought to herself, “just great, another person who won’t believe me.”
Well Penny, actually, I do believe you. I was always a bit uncomfortable with the claim someone named Lisa had written the poem – because while my short-term memory sucks, I was always sure the author’s name had been something like Peggy or Patty. And “Penny” is like “Peggy” or “Patty.” Lisa is not.
I’ve written an email to Penny this morning, one I hope she receives. I’ve offered to help her prove that poem is hers, and damn if I’m not going to do that. The author of that poem deserves to be acknowledged, she deserves the thanks of millions of adoptees who have identified with her poem. And to be blunt, she deserves financial remuneration for all the times her words have been used for-profit.
Ladies and gents, you can help with this endeavor. I’m asking anyone who has access to “TEEN” magazine from the late 1970′s through 1989 to please pour through the “Poetry Corner” pages of the magazine and look for this poem. It IS in there – I carried the cut-out from the magazine around with me for years. Maybe there are some “TEEN” magazines in your basement, maybe you work in a library that has them in the archives, or maybe you worked for the publisher and know where archived copies of those magazines remain.
Maybe you lived and worked in the Indianapolis area back then and remember a young teenage girl wining a poetry contest with this poem. Maybe you remember seeing something about it in the local paper.
Whatever the case, speak up – do some digging – let’s FINALLY put this mystery to rest once and for all.
And let’s make sure the real author of this poem finally gets the recognition due. This is just too important to let go.
So by this time tomorrow, I’ll be on the road heading to Virginia to meet the rest of my bio family. The closer I get to departure, the more nervous I get. My poor husband doesn’t know what to do with all this nervous energy I’m spreading all over the place. LOL I’ve got most of the suitcases packed or ready to be packed. I’ve got everything ready for being able to run my laptop (to watch DVD’s) in the car. I’ve got my CD case jammed packed with music for the trip. Hubby is finishing up a last bit of laundry, some of which is going with us. He’s got the litter box cleaned and ready for our friend who will be coming to take care of the cats while we’re gone. I have blank CD’s and photo paper to go with my laptop and two printers/scanner, so I can make copies of photos my family has. I’ve even got a little bag packed with crayons, coloring books and sticker books for our Aunt Jo to play with at the reunion. I’m excited about meeting her!
I have all the water and organic sugar-free, caffeine-free soda ready for the cooler so I don’t have to worry about finding things I can drink on the road.
I don’t think I can be any more “physically” ready for this.
Emotionally, well, that’s something else entirely. Much love flowing out to my friend Steph who understands some of my fears about next this trip and is just a phone call away if I get overwhelmed. Thanks, Steph – you’ve no idea what a difference that’s made for me. Or maybe you do.
Shortly after we get back (the first weekend of July) we’ll be moving into our new house – so it just seems like there is so much exciting/scary stuff happening all at once. It’s a little overwhelming and just a bit breathtaking.
One thing I’m so grateful for is that I’ve already met my sister R a few weeks ago when she and her hubby flew up here to visit. Knowing her adds a measure of reassurance to this whole thing. But Sunday, the day of the reunion, is looming kind of large on my horizon. That’s when I’ll be immersed in dozens of people to whom I am closely related. It’s a daunting prospect. I’m not nearly as scared about whether they’ll like me or not as I am scared of the emotions this experience might be stirred up. I’m questioning whether or not I managed to convince myself that I was “fine” with the whole adoption thing – and will learn instead that I’m not as fine as I thought.
I’ll try and log on a few evenings during the week and blog about how things are going and anything I may be feeling – but I’m not making any promises. My niece wanted me to come stay at my sisters’ house and sleep in her room, but I felt more comfortable getting a hotel room – not because I’m worried about being in “a stranger’s” house, that’s not it at all. It’s totally because I feel like I need to have a safe quiet space available for me to retreat to if I feel the need. I don’t expect to feel the need, but… -shrug- I want to be prepared.
Wish me luck – this is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. And that’s saying a lot.
So I realized today that it had been a long while since I’d put up a new entry. I can only say that I’ve been very busy launching the Soul of Adoption discussion forum. In two months time, we’ve grown to nearly 1,000 members with more signing on every day. It’s a pretty amazing community and I’m really proud of how well the different members are communicating with each other.
I’ve also been busy spending time getting to know my sister. She posts on SoA as Punkin, incidentally. She and her husband flew up two weekends ago for our first meeting, and it was amazing. Better than I dreamed. Next weekend, we’re heading to Virginia to spend the week with her and the rest of my family, and to attend a family reunion where I’ll get to meet everyone else for the first time. It’s a little scary and exciting – I hope this week goes by fast!
I’ve more to write, but I’m pretty wiped out. I added a new extension to my Firefox browser which allows me to blog directly from my browser – I like that – and it will hopefully get me blogging more. LOL
Edited to add: If you are still unable to reach the forums, there are a few steps you should take.
1. Make sure you are adding the www in between http:// and soulofadoption – When a change like this is made, it sometimes takes a while for it to catch up. Making sure the www is present can help your computer and ISP and the site all "synch" together.
2. Reboot your computer. Do a complete shut down. Wait 5 seconds. Turn it back on. This helps clear your computer and reset your connection to your ISP.
3. Try going to the website, holding down your shift key and clicking refresh/reload.
4. Be patient, it may actually still take YOUR ISP (internet service provider – like AOL, SBC, YahooDSL, etc.) up to 12 hours to refresh their DNS. If you still cannot access the site by tomorrow morning after AGAIN repeating steps one, two and three, call your ISP and ask the tech "How often do you refresh your DNS?" Ask them to do a refresh while on the phone with you. When they've done it, reboot your computer (again) and try getting to the forum.
5. If none of that works and you're still going insane, leave me a message here on my blog and I'll try and help you troubleshoot it.
They'll be back in a few hours – promise! Our host (jbservers.net) was transferring us to a new server – the fastest, best one they have. It was supposed to be done during the middle of the night, when traffic is lowest, but it seems someone made a boo-boo and scheduled the transfer for the wrong time of day.
I'm sorry I didn't post about this earlier – I'm a night owl, I was sleeping. LOL
But "this" is the 9 hour outage I posted the announcement about last night. It just happened at the wrong time of day, unfortunately.
We won't have to go through this again, promise. And honestly, jbservers was giving us a very nice "gift" by moving us to another server.
Here's a trick that's good to know – if ever you're getting a weird message when you try to go to the forums (I know most of you have bookmarked the forums rather than the site) – just visit http://www.soulofadoption.com
That's going to give you the most accurate "error message," letting you know if something big is being fixed.
Also, bookmark my blog. I'll try to post information here if anything like this ever happens again.
Don't forget, you can always email me through my blog – heartened1 at gmail d0t c0m
There is a certain adoption-related website which I have not only supported in the past but I actually volunteered my time and energy to serve as a forum host for them. Since I refuse to link to them from here on out, let me say that their website address contains a www then a dot then the word adoption and a dot and then the com.
Today, in the owner’s “infinite wisdom” a decision was made to delete the “non-traditional families” forum. What is a non-traditional family, you might innocently ask? A GLBT family, of course.
I’ll write more about how I feel about this in a moment – in the meantime – I offer soulofadoption.com as an alternative.
The discussion forum is here – http://www.soulofadoption.com/forum/index.php
There is a thread specifically devoted to this topic here – http://soulofadoption.com/forum/index.php?topic=16.0
You do need to register, but I promise, I won’t spam you.
From an email my sister R sent me this morning – “I talked to mom’s sister Aunt J**** and she agreed that you should come for the reunion which is the weekend of June 11 she is going to talk to the aunts and let them in on what has been going on in regards to the new addition to the family, I told her we should send out birth announcements “It’s a Girl” but she told me I had a weird sense of humor…. I don’t think so, do you?”
Why no, R, I don’t think you have a weird sense of humor – I think you have MY sense of humor. Or I have yours.
I’m still sitting here snickering about the whole thing. I find it so funny that my sister would say the exact same thing I would say in that situation. Nature vs nurture indeed. LOL
In other news, our sister S’s husband was in the hospital at the end of last week. This is the sister I haven’t “met” yet. R gave me her email address today in case I want to send them an e-card, something I would really like to do. When R first told me what happened last week, I asked her to tell S and her husband that they were in my thoughts. On my end, it doesn’t matter that S and I haven’t talked – I know she is my sister and some primal (?) part of me reacts to the fact that my sister is having a problem. I want to fix it, which I know I can’t. So, failing that, I at least want to support her. At the same time, I don’t want to intrude, you know? R doesn’t seem to think I would be intruding, but we’ll see.
R and I continue to get along extremely well. We talk via email or phone pretty much every day. When we get on the phone, we’re on it for hours. Usually her husband is home and I’ve come to know him through stuff R passes back and forth as we’re talking. I can usually hear him really well in the background and he just chimes in during our talks. Mine does the same, when he’s home. It’s nice! He clearly loves my sister which makes me extremely happy. I get a HUGE kick out of the fact that her hubby and mine have the same name. LOL
I dream about them (my siblings) a lot, now. Because I have names and faces, they seem to show up with greater frequency with each passing day. It’s kind of like, well, do you know how it is when you’re first dating someone? They don’t really enter your dreams much, though you might have an “adult” dream in which they’re featured. LOL But they aren’t “part of the scenery” yet. Almost as if you’re surprised to see them there. Then, after a while, just as they become part of the scenery of your life – there everyday, not such a surprise – so too do they become part of the scenery of your dreams. You “expect” them to show up. You “expect” that if you’re dreaming, they’re going to show up in the story line. Well, that’s where things are with my sisters – R in particular. She’s part of the scenery of my life and my dreams. Now, considering I’ve only “known” her for what – a little over two weeks? That’s a surprise. But just as it is with my husband, it is as if she has always been there. I’m not surprised to find her in my dreams, she belongs there just as she belongs in the scenery of my life. How sad that it has taken 35 years for that to happen.
Edited to add: I just got another email from R. The last line, gotta love it -
"And the reason that we clicked is that we are like twins that were born two years apart, you just needed to cook longer."
I wrote her back and said "Hahahaha!! Yeah, it is like that, isn't it? Except it was THREE years dear sister, not two. LOL Don't make me any older than I already am, damnit. -snicker-"
Yup, that's my sister – and I'm stickin' to her.
I am such a follower. LOL Seems several people I know are migrating over to these WordPress blogs. Since I love WP and use it quite often as a CMS for websites, it seemed silly to not give their new blogging server a try. I’m pleased, very pleased (other than not being able to edit my template myself, but WP says they are working on that). I’m quite impressed with the quality templates they’re offering and absolutely love the sidebar widgets. I’m thinking the developers may be able to create header and footer widgets in the near future, which would be a good alternative to full template access.
In case you didn’t know, WordPress is what powers the Soul of Adoption website. Neat, huh? Of course, that version is completely customized because as the server owner, I have full code access. That’s not the case with these hosted blogs, but I’m content.
I’ll add a redirect on my blogger.com blog and start sending people here. I’m pretty happy with the format WP is offering and, of course, it has one of my favorite features – categories. Something blogger has long been needing. I do prefer blogger’s open templates and the fact that you code your links yourself, but that’s a “me” thing and I realize that for most people, the method WP uses for adding links is much more functional. I’m not complaining, it didn’t take me long to move my links over.
Of course, WP also offers the very cool “static pages” feature. That’s always a nice bonus, and being able to have pages in addition to posts comes in really handy.
So anyway, here I am, settling in to the new digs. Don’t forget to update your bookmarks. You don’t want to miss anything.
About 8 months ago, maybe a little more, I discovered this neat little piece of software you can (SAFELY!!! I promise!) install – it is called “Stumble Upon”. What this is, is something called a “browser extension.” Your browser is what you view websites in – you’re probably using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, most people do. If you have any significant amount of computer expertise, you’ve probably thrown Internet Explorer out for the trash it is and installed Firefox as your browser. Guess which one I use?
Stumble Upon is something you install as an add-on to your browser. Fortunately, those of you running Internet Exploiter (my poor, misguided friends, I love you anyway) need not fret. The wonderful programmers at SU have taken pity on you and have created a version which works with Internet Exploiter.
I promise – the Stumble Upon software is 100% safe. It won’t crash your computer, it isn’t spyware, there are no viruses. (But seriously, do yourself a favor – install Firefox and leave Internet Exploiter alone. Internet Exploiter WILL crash your computer, it IS spyware, and it allows more viruses through to your computer than anything else ever will. Internet Explorer SUCKS!!!!!)
Sorry, I can’t help it. Anyway. What is Stumble Upon? Well…I’ll give you the description from their site.
“StumbleUpon is an intelligent browsing tool for sharing and discovering great websites. As you click Stumble!, you'll get high-quality pages matched to your personal preferences. These pages have been explicitly recommended (rated I like it) by friends and other SU members with similar interests. Rating these sites shares them with your friends and peers – you will automatically 'stumble upon' each others favorites sites.
StumbleUpon uses / ratings to form collaborative opinions on website quality. When you stumble, you will only see pages which friends and like-minded stumblers () have liked. Unlike search engines or static directories, this allows for a true "democracy of the web" – all SU members have a say ( or ) as to whether a page should be passed on.
In effect, StumbleUpon's members collectively share the best sites on the web. You can share any site by simply clicking I like it. This passes the page on to friends and like-minded people – letting them "stumble upon" all the great sites you discover.”
Seriously, if you enjoy finding new sites, checking out some of the coolest places on the net, and having endless hours of entertainment handed to you on a silver platter, just by pushing a button – all customized to your own interests, install Stumble Upon.
And no, I don’t “get” anything for telling you about this. You all know what a techie geek I am – this just happens to be one of my favorite toys. I put off mentioning it because I was trying to focus this blog on adoption. If you decide to become a Stumbler, drop me an email and I’ll give you my Stumble Upon user name so we can “be friends.”
If you’re worried, I should mention, I have never ever, not even once, gotten even the tiniest bit of spam as a result of Stumbling.
Ok, real quick – about Firefox – if you want to completely eliminate pop-ups; if you do not want to be subjected to those god-awful “GIVE US YOUR BABY” ads on a “certain commercial adoption-related website;” if you want to avoid those stupid in-line text ads on that same “certain commercial adoption-related website;” if you want most advertising banners, period, to disappear from your view; if you want worry-free browsing; if you want to stop spyware (or viruses) from being installed on your computer while you’re browsing websites; if you want total control over browsing – including only having to open one browser window while being able to view 10+ web pages at the same time; if you just want to enjoy surfing the web and stop worrying about all the bullshit – go install Firefox right this minute. Once it is installed, you can also install AdBlock and the AdBlock Filterset – and be done with banner ads, popups and the rest of that crap. Even if you’re viewing porn sites. -smirk-
Go on, get going – what are you waiting for?
If we could reduce the world’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all existing human ratios remaining the same, the demographics would look something like this:
5 US Americans and Canadians
8 Latin Americans
49 would be female
51 would be male
82 would be non-white
33 would be Christian
67 would be non-Christian
5 would control 32% of the entire world’s wealth, and all of them would be US citizens
80 would live in sub standard housing
24 would not have any electricity
(And of the 76% that do have electricity, most would only use it for light at night.)
67 would be unable to read
1 (only one) would have a college education.
50 would be malnourished and 1 dying of starvation
33 would be without access to a safe water supply
1 would have HIV
1 near death
2 would be near birth
7 people would have access to the Internet
If you have a bank account,
money in your purse
and there is some trifle in your coin box,
you belong to 8% of well-provided people in this world.
If there is a meal in your refrigerator,
if you are dressed and have got shoes,
if you have a bed and a roof above your head,
you are better off, than 75% of people in this world.
If you have never experienced a war,
the loneliness of an imprisonment,
an agony of tortures, or a famine,
You are happier, than 500 million persons in this world.
If you woke up this morning with more health than sickness,
you are luckier than the million that will not survive this week.
If you are able to go to church, mosque or synagogue
without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death,
you are happier, than 3 billion persons in this world.
If you take a look at the world from this condensed perspective,
the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes evident.
I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I asked my sisters to do DNA testing with me. This is best, I believe, for all our sakes. I want us to KNOW. I don’t want there to be doubts floating around in our heads, impacting our relationships down the road. This is too important for there to be any mistakes. My one sister (J) told my other sister (R) that she is afraid to become emotionally invested in a relationship with me without knowing for sure. I GET that so completely, and fortunately, R told her that I get it. I guess J was worried that I’d think I was unwanted because she isn’t calling me everyday. R reassured her that I’m not thinking that at all and again stressed that I truly understand the need to protect her heart. I’m the same way. And quite frankly, if the tables were turned, I’d be reacting exactly as J is!
I care about this too much to leave it to chance. (A note to mom who can read this from “The Everafter”: Mom, this all would have been easier if you had told the kids about me before you died. I love you, I hope you don’t let fear be your guiding star your next time through life!)
Anyway, so I had been looking online for “home siblingship” DNA tests. Found a bunch with prices all over the place. Cheapest was $180 for two siblings to be tested. I began doing research. An “absolute must” when choosing a DNA lab is to ensure they are accredited by the AABB (American Association of Blood Banks). Guess what the $180 testing company doesn’t have?
Now, I’m no geneticist, but let me try and explain the DNA of siblings in very layman terms. A child gets half their DNA from one parent, half from another. But multiple children don’t automatically get the same 50% from each parent, equalling 100%. So in reality, two siblings are only likely to have 50% of their DNA match one another. This is in the case of FULL siblings (same mother and same father). I don’t have the same father as my sisters. J & R don’t have the same father, either. Which means we only have 25% of our DNA in common. We have the added complication of not having our mother alive to be tested as well. So our sibship study has to be pretty intensive in order to give us accurate results.
I’m not leaving this up to chance or to a potentially flybynight company. So I went to the best. Orchid Cellmark. This is the company that did DNA testing for the OJ Simpson trial, the Jon Benet Ramsey case, etc. It’s going to cost me $900 for me, J & R to all be tested. (Accuracy is higher with three children to compare.) I’m thinking that is $900 well spent, especially considering I was willing to spend that much (and more) just to find them. Since I didn’t have to spend that kind of money on the search, I have it to spend on the test.
I’ve already been told that I’m insane for doing this – twice in the last 24 hours.
I disagree. I think it is worth every dime.
Orchid Cellmark has already opened a “case file” for us. My sister R and I called them together last night so she could give them hers and J’s contact info. Once I pay the fee (sending it in Monday), the lab will call each of us and schedule a time for us to go to the nearest lab they have a contract with. There is one near all of us. We will each go in, on our own, and get our cheeks swabbed. It takes them about two weeks to do the study and give us our results. I can live with that.
I truly believe these women are my sisters. R and I both “allowed ourselves” to become emotionally involved with each other. We took the risk because our instincts both say it is safe to. Honestly, I couldn’t help myself – she and I are so much alike. Plus, I’ve no doubt that under other circumstances, R and I would have been the best of friends anyway. She said, “at the very least, I’ve made a new good friend.” Exactly. But I know in my heart it is more. My heart knows these are my sisters even as my mind says “Hold up there, girl, don’t go jumping feet first!” It’s this weird dichotomy I’ve got going on in my head and heart.
Getting all metaphysical on you, here, but I really believe our mom has had a hand in making this reunion possible. I can’t really go into details because I don’t want to betray a friend but let me just say that I truly believe that there was some serious “divine mom guidance” going on, particularly in the early days of my information seeking. Too many “perfect circumstances” showed up through which I was able to glean information. I don’t believe things happen like that by chance. I believe they are deliberate.
(Yes, Mia, Abe-Hicks and ACIM too! LOL)
I’m excited about finishing the DNA studies. I think we all feel like we are sort of in limbo right now until they’re complete. I think we all need these questions answered before we can move on and start building a sibling relationship, making plans together, etc. I’m hoping it is done by Easter – we would like to drive down there for the long Easter weekend. I’m not sure we “should” unless the results are back. But we’ll see. My mind says, “be careful.” My heart says, “Wheeeeeeeeee!!”