Heartened

The whole kit & doodle!

Just Like Me

Have you seen it? Do you even know what it is? Well let me tell you about it – then I’ll tell you where to find it!

“It” is a new song/video created by Darryl McDaniels/Lovelace aka Run DMC and Sarah Mclachlan. It’s a remake/rewrite of the old Harry Chapin song, “Cats In The Cradle,” remember that?

Darryl recently did a special for VH1 about his adoption journey. Yup, he is “Just Like Me!” It is an incredible documentary. They are re-airing it several times so if you haven’t had a chance to see it, you still can. In the special, Darryl talks about how at one time in his life, he was incredibly suicidal. Listening to the song “Angel” by Sarah Mclachlan kept him going. So, when he decided to do “Just Like Me,” he reached out to Sarah and asked her to collaborate, since he felt she was a driving force in his journey. What did he learn when he contacted her? She is also an adoptee.

The song/video they created is indescribable. It’s something you just have to see for yourself. Make sure you load that in Internet Explorer, it won’t work in Firefox.

To learn more about the VH1 special, check out their website. You can even have them remind you of when it will be showing!

In the meantime – check out the video – it is so worth it!

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February 28, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Void | Leave a comment

Dear mom and dad

Hi, it’s me, your daughter – writing again! I’ve decided that I’m going to blog letters to you as things come to mind. I want you to be able to see where I’ve been when we finally meet again.

I’m learning more about you everyday. I hope you will laugh with me over some of the coincidences and ironies that I’m finding as I search for you. I’m hoping that at least one of my brothers or sisters has the same appreciation of Science Fiction books, and of Robert Heinlein, because that brother or sister and I are going to have a really good laugh together when all is said and done.

I’m in something of an obsessive phase right now. You wouldn’t believe the hundreds of search strings I’ve run in the last day or two. Hundreds? Hah! More like thousands. I’m going to try and let it rest tomorrow. I need a break from my computer screen. With that said, I’ll probably be right back here in my chair first thing tomorrow morning running through the same data all over again. I mentioned I’m in an obsessive phase, didn’t I?

You are becoming more and more real to me with each passing day. Are you surprised that you haven’t been “real” until now? Probably, since I’m sure your life feels very real to you. I hope your life will feel real to me too someday. Will you let me be a part of your life again? I hope so. You have no idea how much I hope so.

I have to admit, it really bothers me that it doesn’t seem like you’re looking for me. I’ve checked every registry out there – nothing. On the other hand, a friend of mine, also a first mother, told me that she (and many like her, apparently) feel it is up to the child to come looking because the moms don’t want to intrude where they are not wanted.

You’re wanted, mom. So are you, dad. So are my brothers and sisters. You are not an intrusion, you are a welcome part of my life. A necessary part. A part I have been missing for a long time.

I’m dreaming about you. Weird dreams. I had a dream last night that we were having our first meeting. The surroundings were strange. We were meeting several months “late.” You told me you had to cancel our first meeting because you were having your appendix removed. That confused me because you apparently had it removed when you were pregnant with me. (In real life, not in the dream, but I was aware of it in the dream.) Suddenly we both started questioning if we were a match or not. I asked if you had the same mole I have, you said no. I said that was ok because I could see my own face in yours. Yup, strange dream.

We’re going to meet, you know. And it’s going to be sooner rather than later. I wonder if you can feel how close I am getting. Do you know I’ve begun looking for you? Can you feel it somehow?

I keep thinking about all these aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews I have out there. Hubby and I did the math – there could be hundreds of extended family members by now. Wow. I want to be a part of that.

It’s time for me to go to bed. I’ll see you in my dreams – don’t be late.

February 26, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Void | 3 Comments

Amazing how fast a week can pass

I just realized it has been a week since I’ve blogged anything.  Blame it on the hubby – he has been home most of this week as he is transitioning into his new job.  He “officially” starts at 8 AM tomorrow morning. 

It has been an eventful week – and yes, I know, I’ve got a dozen or more emails to answer!  I’ll do my best to get to them this weekend.  I’ve been driving around most every day looking at rental houses so we can finally get out of hotels.  The more I look, the more I become convinced that I need to swallow my fears and just buy a house.  The rentals leave much to be desired.  Have I mentioned that I am extremely picky?

So this is just a short note to say “I’m alive and I will have more to say in a few days!”

Hopefully I’ll have some good news on the house hunting front and maybe on the family hunting front as well. 

February 23, 2006 Posted by | General | 1 Comment

Ok, tell me what you think –

Manuela had this on her blog, asking her readers to give feedback on how they perceive her. I thought it was pretty neat and decided to put one up for myself. So, if you’d please, visit this link, and pick a few words you think describe me. You might consider creating one yourself, too – I think it’s kind of cool to get a glimpse into how we see each other. Have fun!

February 17, 2006 Posted by | Just For Fun | 2 Comments

Some happy personal news

I’ve mentioned before that I travel with my husband for his work. We’ve been doing this for years. We were on the road so much traveling from plant to plant that we ended up selling our house and putting our things into storage. We could not justify paying a mortgage on a place were “visited” only a few weeks a year. Ever since then, we’ve lived in extended stay hotels and driven anywhere his company sent us, trucking our cats and personal items along with us. It’s been crazy.

The most recent facility he was sent to was located on Southern Michigan right at the Ohio border. The closest extended stay hotel was in Ohio, so that’s where we’ve been since last fall. Now, as a matter of ethics, let me explain that hubby was contracted to work for a company who was working in the plant. So the plant is NOT his company’s customer. In his field, that’s an important distinction.

The other engineers at the plant made it known to my hubby that the facility was looking for an in-house engineer like him and that they would really like to see him put in for the position. We discussed it at length – I was definitely attracted by the idea of finally being able to settle down in one location again. And I’ve come to really like this area a lot. We would live near the plant which is in a totally rural area but have a number of bigger towns/cities within a reasonable distance including Toledo, Detroit, Ann Arbor and Adrian.

They made him an offer today – at a considerably higher salary than he makes now, “technically.” I say technically because right now, he ends up working, on average, 65 hour weeks. With the new job, he’ll make the same amount – for 40 hours a week. A normal life! Plus, the benefits package is incredible – medical, dental and vision for next to nothing per week. 3 weeks paid vacation. 5 personal days. 5 additional personal days for the week between Christmas Day and New Years, along with all the normal holidays – Christmas, New Years, Easter, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. Benefits don’t kick in for 90 days, so the company will pay our COBRA to continue our current coverage until the new coverage kicks in. And they’re giving him a stipend to cover the post of his boots and safety glasses. All total, in his industry, this is a dream position. And it’s the kind of position you keep until you retire.

He is putting in his 2 weeks notice today. His current company has a history of firing people as soon as they give notice. The new company is ready to have him start Monday if that’s what happens. Or in two weeks, whichever works out.

So I’ll be house hunting this weekend! I’ll find a rental house for now. There are many in the area. Once we’ve had time to get more familiar with the area and where we want to live, I’ll begin house hunting in earnest.

It’s so stupid, but I’m sitting here grinning from ear to ear just thinking about getting all my stuff out of storage and moved into a house again. No more hotel rooms! Wheeeeee!!!!!

February 17, 2006 Posted by | Family Life | 2 Comments

Dear mom and dad,

Dear mom and dad,

Guess what I received today? I received a letter containing the information you provided to the agency when you placed me. Want to know what I learned?

About mom I learned:

  • You had a case of appendicitis when you were pregnant with me. Was that scary for you? Were you afraid? Did the surgery hurt? Did you recover quickly? Was your doctor good? They must have known what they were doing – after all, I got born, didn’t I?
  • I have 5 (not 6) older brothers and sisters! How many are boys? How many are girls? You were only 29, they must be pretty close to me in age, right? I miss them. I miss you.
  • You and dad were separated. You were getting ready to proceed with a divorce. You were facing severe financial problems. All of that must have been hard. I’m sorry you were having such a difficult time.
  • You are shorter than me! Thinner too, it seems. But I got your big bones, and need glasses, too!
  • You enjoyed reading and singing. I can’t (vocally) carry a tune but I read, constantly. Something else we share!
  • You got good grades in school. So did I!
  • You have 8 sisters and 1 brother. Wow! Big family! No wonder you and dad had so many kids! I’m sorry about your sister, that had to have been hard.
  • Grandma had diabetes – don’t worry, I don’t. And she was an LPN? You’re going to love hearing some coincidences about that when we meet!

About dad I learned:

  • You are 6’3” tall – now I know who I got that from!
  • You took 4 years of “special music training” and enjoyed music, electronics and were an artist. Well, music and electronics, I’ve followed in your footsteps. Somehow I missed out on the artistic stuff.
  • You were an A student. Maybe some day we can compare report cards!
  • You wore glasses, too. I suppose between you and mom, I was “doomed” in that regard. LOL
  • Your only brother died in 1970 at the age of 47. I’m so sorry for your loss. You had a rough year between your brother, the divorce and losing your daughter. I hope you’ve found happiness since then. He was also diabetic, like mom’s mom. How I managed to dodge that bullet is beyond me, but I’m glad I did!
  • You’re the baby of the family – just like me, huh?

But do you know what was the most important thing I learned from this letter? Two sentences. Two sentences which have the power to undo a world of hurt.

“Your mother needed considerable support for her plan in placing you up for adoption.”

“Your mother requested information on your adoptive family and said she was having difficulty with the separation.”

You wanted me. You really wanted me. You’ve no idea how many wounds that helps heal.

I’m here, mom and dad, I’m here. Help me find you. Please, help me find you.

Love,
Your daughter

February 16, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Void | 16 Comments

Raw and angry

I had an appointment with the eye doctor today. First exam I’ve had in several years. Loved the doctor. Since it looks like we will be permanently relocating to southern Michigan in the very near future, it will be easy for me to keep seeing this particular optometrist. Yeay! Feels like I’m putting down roots again.

Since this was my first visit, I had to fill out the usual patient registration forms. Get down near the bottom of the page – “Any familial history of…” -sigh– Pick up the pen and draw a line through it all and write, “no familial history available, patient is adopted.”

Nice doctor brings me back to the exam room. We spent a good 15 minutes just talking about my vision and the potential for my high blood pressure to impact my vision. I think it is the longest I’ve ever spent just TALKING to a doctor of any kind, let alone an optometrist. I explained how it has felt like my eyes have to “settle” before I can really focus on anything, and how much that has been bothering me. Also explained that this doesn’t seem to happen when wearing my prescription sunglasses. Well, it turns out that the “eye doctor mill” I went to last time gave me the wrong prescription on my regular glasses. They were too strong! All this time, I’ve been thinking I was going to need bifocals. Turns out the script was too strong. No wonder I was having such a hard time.

He then spent another 15 minutes very carefully weeding out lenses until it seemed I was seeing ok. It will take a few weeks for my vision to really improve with new lenses – I’ve “trained” my eyes to compensate for the wrong prescription for so long they have to be retrained. I also got contacts again. I’ve worn them on and off since I was 14. This last time, they just didn’t feel right. Well, yeah, duh, they were the wrong prescription too. Right now I’m sitting here typing wearing the right lenses. Mostly right – I have to pick up new ones for my left eye on Saturday because these aren’t the ones that will correct the astigmatism I have in that eye.

So anyway, needless to say, writing that “no familial history available, patient is adopted” just brings it all up to the front again. Maybe you’ve noticed from my recent blog entries – I’ve been in avoidance mode again. When I start posting about all kinds of crap that has nothing to do with my feelings (Google home pages, linky links, etc.) it is a good sign there is something I’m trying to avoid.

I’m avoiding anger. I’m avoiding that raw, vulnerable feeling. I’m avoiding how betrayed I feel by a system which still, 34+ years later, hasn’t gotten it right. I’m avoiding how angry I feel when I read really scary comments by adoptive parents who just don’t seem to have a clue. I’m avoiding how angry I feel when I encounter an adoptee or a first mother who thinks that because “they don’t have a problem” no one else should, either.

I still haven’t given my best friend T a link to my blog. I did, however, copy some of the posts and email them to him. Yes, I know, he can use Google to search out a sentence from what I sent him and find my blog – that’s ok. I’m ok with him “finding” it, just not ready to “give” it. That makes no sense. LOL Last night we were chatting on Yahoo and I told him that I really need him to promise that he’ll read them. He said he promises, he’ll read them this weekend. I love that, actually. I love that instead of glancing over them in the midst of a busy week (for him) that he’s holding off until he can devote his attention to them. I love that he gives enough of a shit to wait and really read them. I love that I mean enough to him that he wants to know how I feel. I love that I know he’ll hold my hand through this. I love that I know he’ll move heaven and earth to protect me from pain. I love that he is a safe haven.

I mentioned that his little sister is having a baby in a few weeks. So I went shopping for baby stuff. Fun! I went a little crazy. LOL Put it all in the mail yesterday with a really nice “Grandkids” picture frame for his mom and dad, along with some aroma therapy bath stuff and a Zen relaxation CD for the soon-to-be mommy and daddy. I also put in a little valentines day present for him. I used to know his address by heart, but for some reason, couldn’t remember the house number. So I called his mom to get it (he was at work). Now mind you, I “disappeared” on them for almost a year. You’d think one of them would be angry or something. Nope, mom says “Hi Heart! It’s good to hear from you!” and we chit chatted for a few about how excited she is, etc. I love his parents. I love that they care about me. I love that they never encouraged him to stop being friends with me through any of my major fuck-ups. I love that they’ve always treated me as if I’m important, as if I belong. I love that I have a rock from their garden. I love that they never thought it was weird that their son and I are best friends like so many of that generation seem to.

With T’s little valentines day present, I included a nice card I found. (Side rant: Why is it that every single “best friend” card on the market, regardless of holiday, is always one woman talking to another???? My best friend is a GUY for crying out loud, not some girlie girl!) So I was sitting here signing all the cards that were going in the package – card for mommy and daddy to be, card for grandparents to be, card for T. Card for T. -sigh– I started writing. Signed my name, thought I was done. Nope, had to write on the inside panel of the card. I don’t remember the exact words, but it went something like this:
Please don’t ever let me get away with disappearing like this again. Please don’t let me run, don’t let me hide. Please don’t let me do this. You are too important to me. I need you in my life, even when I pretend I don’t. I need both you and hubby in order to feel complete. Don’t let me walk away.

I basically went on like that for a few sentences. And before I get any snotty comments from anyone, hubby reads this blog too. There is NOTHING I would say to T that I wouldn’t want hubby to know about. Hubby knows how much I love T, how important T is to me. He also knows there is a world of difference between loving T and being in love with T. And fortunately, my husband is one of those men who realizes that love is not a finite quantity. He does not receive LESS love because someone else also receives love. If anything, he receives more – because not only do I love him but T loves him, too. So please, keep the prudish comments to yourself.

Anyway, back to what I was saying. I probably could have told T those same words over the phone, or in email or in IM – but for some reason, it felt more right to write them out by hand. They are things I need him to hear, desperately. But things I have a hard time saying. I need for him to hold onto me even when I’m trying to push away from him. (Attachment therapy, anyone?) I can’t do all of this without him. He forces me to face things I don’t want to face. I need someone who can do that for me. Left to my own devices, I bury it. I can’t keep doing that. I can’t keep running away.

Thank the gods this is a burden T has always willingly taken upon himself. And thank them again for giving me the strength to write the words begging him to not let me run again. I can trust now that he won’t. I can also trust that he’ll help hubby keep me from doing it as well. The two of them work very well together. LOL

I just feel really raw right now. My copy of my non-id still hasn’t arrived. Every morning I wait eagerly for the hotel staff to slip the letter under my door – it hasn’t happened yet. The agency said they’d get it out at the end of last week. I hope it is on the way here. I feel a strong need to hold those papers in my hands. I keep thinking I’ll find something in them that will help me find my family. Please let it be so. I need to finish this before I run away again and it is too late.

February 14, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Rants, Adoption Void | 1 Comment

A day in our life

Somewhere in the world, there are 5 or 6 adults who are probably sleeping right now, dreaming their dreams, perhaps snoring, maybe lying beside their spouses or lovers. They are my brothers and sisters.

Somewhere in the world, 5 or 6 adults probably enjoyed a Sunday afternoon, perhaps cooked dinner with their families, maybe watched a little television. They are my brothers and sisters.

Somewhere in the world, 5 or 6 adults are celebrating wedding anniversaries, or birthdays, or other milestone events periodically throughout the year. On certain dates, they probably pick up the phone and call each other to say “Happy Birthday.” At Christmas, they probably spend weeks shopping for one another and for nieces and nephews, maybe even for grandkids. They are my brothers and sisters.

Somewhere in the world, 5 or 6 adults might be sitting in front of their TVs watching the same programs I’m watching, or sitting in front of computers surfing the same sites I am. Perhaps I’ve played an online game with them at some point, who knows? Perhaps we’ve viewed websites together. Maybe we’ve even been in some of the same chat rooms or on the same discussion forums. They are my brothers and sisters.

Somewhere in the world, there are little children tucked safely in their beds, maybe cuddling a favorite stuffed animal, blanket or pillow. They may be dreaming of sugar plums or dragons, of learning to fly or of going to Disney. They are the children of my brothers and sisters. Will they ever know they have an aunt who loves them, who hopes they have beautiful lives?

We’ve looked at the same moon, enjoyed the light of the same stars. The same sun shines on us all. We’ve perhaps passed each other on an interstate, driving by without knowing that a few feet away rides someone who has the same blood flowing through their veins. Maybe we have seen the same sunrise, watched the same sunset. Walked the same streets, shopped in the same stores, saw the same sights. It’s possible we’ve sat on the same bench in the park or in the same row in a theatre. And never knew that the other has passed right by.

Do they ever dream about me? Do I show up in their dreams as they do in mine? Am I ever in their thoughts as they are so often in mine? Has one of them sat and written similar words as I’ve written here, glancing at the moon and thinking, “she sees this too.”

Think about your brothers or sisters – do you know what foods they like? When they come to visit, do you know what drinks to have on hand for them? Could you choose a present for them with confidence, knowing it is something they would enjoy? Have you had the pleasure of shopping for a gift for their baby? When something significant happens in your life, do you call your siblings to tell them? Did you come together to grieve at the funeral of a loved one? Did you argue over who got the biggest piece of cake? Do you have years of memories stored away of things you did together as children?

I don’t even know my siblings names. They look like me, our DNA is very similar, and somewhere out there is a woman who knows about all of us, knows we all exist, knows all the secrets. I only hope she reveals her secrets before it is too late for us all.

Somewhere in the world they dream, somewhere in the world I dream – maybe we can meet there.

February 13, 2006 Posted by | Adoption Void | 6 Comments

Amazing how a simple phone call can make you stupid happy

Don’t get too excited, this isn’t about adoption. LOL

I just got off the phone with my best friend T. Read the previous two posts for background.

I’m on cloud 9 over here, grinning like a Cheshire cat.

What is of primary importance to me is that despite my foolish behavior, he still loves me, is still the same friend he always was. It was as if no time had passed at all, we picked up where we left off aside from having news to share – like he’s going to be an uncle in about 3 weeks. I’m blown away that his little sister is going to be a mommy – in my mind, she’s still a young’un. LOL She’s not, she’s about 26 now. I mean, I “knew” her age of course, even when we were still talking day in and day out – I just didn’t think of her as being old enough to be a mom, which of course she is and has been for a long time! His dad and mom (in particular) are excited about becoming grandparents – I’m excited for all of them. And since they know the baby is going to be a boy, Auntie Heart is going to go do some shopping this weekend! Whee!

There was other news and sharing, of course, most of it personal.

Talking to him, I felt safer and more secure than I’ve felt in a long time. When he finally reads this blog, he’ll know the exact moment in our conversation when that safety and security came flooding back. It’s one of those ritual-like things I mentioned in an earlier post. It was such a relief for me. Physical, emotional, mental – total relief. I feel like this enormous weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I’m going to bed now. Happy. Going to bed happy, that’s a good thing.

February 11, 2006 Posted by | Family Life | 1 Comment

He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me

In my last entry, I blogged about my self-created drama with my best friend. Well ladies & gents, he wrote back. And he still loves me.

Did you ever have someone you were close to and you had a really special “uniquely yours” way of communicating the specialness of your relationship? Some cutsie words, a little ritual, something? We have one of those things – well, several, actually – but a special way of saying “I love you” that is uniquely ours. It’s rooted in a typo. LOL That special phrase conveys a lot of sentiment in two words – it says “I love you, I care about you, you are important to me, you are my best friend, you are irreplaceable, there is always room for you here, you are part of me in a very real way.” And he’s still signing his letters to me with it. (Those are good tears, by the way)

I called hubby to tell him, he’s thrilled. He knows how much I’ve missed T. I said, “he still loves me” and he said, “I knew that.” He’s happy, I’m happier. LOL

So I sent T a sort of rambling email back. I told him about my search, about this blog, about my new friends here. I told him that I was afraid to give him a link. I said:

I want to share my blog with you but I'm afraid to. Stupid, isn't it? It's not because I'm afraid for you to know how I feel about things, after knowing each other for so long, it's a little late for that, isn't it? LOL I'm afraid you'll be hurt because I haven't talked about you. I'm not good at talking about you because it meant talking about me and admitting my mistakes. I got good (unfortunately) at talking "around" you. But it meant that there were things I didn't blog about because in order to do so, I'd have to also explain why you aren't here now. So I just kept that stuff to myself. Which makes progress hard since you were so central to everything in my life.

So I just kept telling myself I'd "deal with it tomorrow." Notice a pattern, here? Tomorrow turns into weeks, months and a year really quickly.
Then I started telling myself you were better off not having to deal with my shit. "No more bullshit." Well, I'm mired in it. Except now it's totally personal drama, not of someone else's making, not of someone else's influence. It's the worst kind of bullshit there is, the kind that takes a lifetime to accumulate and I don't know how long to wash away. So I told myself I was doing you a favor by sparing you from it. Smart, huh?

I think he’ll understand that. I also told him:

Those are actually probably the hardest – the time when it is hardest for me to just shove the sadness away and pretend it's not there. It's always there, every time I think of something I know I should be sharing with you. Which basically means every day. Is it worse knowing you did nothing to deserve this? That it had nothing to do with you "doing something" to make me pull away? Knowing that I have it in me to isolate myself so completely to the exclusion of all else, including my best friend? What kind of friend am I and why on earth would you want that kind of friend? That's what I wrestle with and what makes it easy to stay silent, hidden, away, where I don't have to face the music. I've gotten far too good at that.

I know I’ll eventually give him a link to this, because I can’t not do that. I can’t keep all this from him, nor do I want to. I need him to know all of this. I’ve needed that for a while. I’ve missed him so much, missed having his support, missed having him to calm me down and lift me up. I’m feeling so relieved tonight. Now I’m sitting here hoping he’ll want to call later. I want to hear his voice.

February 10, 2006 Posted by | Family Life | 2 Comments