Books judged by broken bindings,
Not by the pages that hide the findings.
Endings not printed on the back,
Deceiving pictures in the jacket flap.
Chapters of past etched in black,
The numerals of those pages always stack.
Distant chapters written in invisible ink,
Yet visible in only a blink.
Appearing with the minute hand.
Take a second where you stand.
Because your book is never complete,
Until the antagonist lay in defeat.
So forget the prologue,
It never sells the story anyway.
Fill your pages with memories everyday.
Because it is you,
That makes your book come true.
And once the book is closed you can never undo.
Guest Blogger …. My Daughter, Amanda and the story she so truthfully tells.
There is a darkness out there. Roaming, weaving, whispering to me. It cackles in the daylight and snarls in the night. Some people have the will to ignore it…others are destined by it. I was imprisoned by it. I’d like to say I was one of the lucky few with this curse. But, it isn’t luck I’m drawn too- it’s experience.
Life is one long string strung up with all the beads we’ve collected over the years. Some people are lucky enough, rich enough, or sneakier enough to get the pretty beads. I didn’t care for pretty beads. I chose the deformed, uncolored, and ancient beads to weave my tale. For I was not a kindred spirit to those others.
And they and all my dysfunctions certainly were not a kindred spirit to me. When I was little I carried my beads with me everywhere. Hanging out for the world to see, because I was proud of them. They were me in essence. Plus, no one anywhere had beads like mine. I felt special. As if I contained a secret no one else did. I treasured them, clutched in my small hands like rubies until one day, and many more after that, I was rebuked for them. My beads weren’t pretty, they were ugly, old, used up, and so very stupid.
I was devastated. And so, I began to hide my beads. Too afraid to show them to anyone.
As the days turned to months that turned to years I had begun to resent them. I resented them and resented myself and especially the world for not accepting the beauty that was crafted in my beads as old as time.
I was now the outcast. I had few friends who talked to me occasionally, but I was still “the weird one.” I began writing at a young age. Angry poetry and dark stories. I read more books than I can name and started to obsess over things that I felt understood or made me in a way. An escape from reality. Each year I masked my resentment and indulged in a different kind of self-destructive pattern. The first when I was little. Dinosaurs. Then, space. Then, Japan. Then, Scotland. Things I could never hope to see and places I felt I could never go. It didn’t matter that all the kids could now make even better jokes at my expense or that my brother and sister were always teasing me or angry with me for taking so much of moms time. I had found my quiet place. I had finally picked back up my beads.
Of course, that wasn’t enough to help me through the storms to come. My step-father, though real-est father I’d ever known was called back to Iraq for the second time. Not only that, but my mom wanted us to move to Charles City my first year of High School.
I forgot all about my beads. All about everything. And was sucked into a darkness so deep, so terrifying, and so full of hatred no one wanted to be around me. I ran away once. Then, the second time the cops were called and I was sent to a psycho-ward for seven days. By this time I knew how to cheat the system. I’d been in these white rooms with white doctors who repeat the same questions and all you can do is smile, take your pills, and promise not to hurt yourself or anyone- many more times before. I was a teenager in crisis, and suicide wasn’t something I didn’t consider. This time I had thought to be like all the others. But, I was wrong. They were sending me to Teen Challenge. A 15 month rehabilitation center for teens in Kansas City, Missouri.
15 months later, one divorce later, one mom almost committing suicide later, and dad back home later…. I was vulnerable. Scared. And still fuming with hatred. I was now a Senior. 17 years old. Just when I thought I’d escaped it all the Devil looked down at me and smiled a Cheshire-smile. Stupid cat.
Things were getting worse at home. I’d gotten my first job out at Arbys and was working a lot. I also met a group of people who saw my beads. And accepted them. Wrong crowd. But, what did I know? For the first time in years I didn’t have to be afraid of letting other people see who I was. I didn’t have to hide my beautiful beads. I felt acceptance from those who desired to be around me.
It wasn’t before long I started sneaking out, drinking, and started doing drugs. It had gotten completely out of hand when in January my mom and dad call me downstairs to their “Yahtzee” room for a talk. So, I went. With dread. Already having an idea of what it was going to be about. My mom talks, she’s always talking, she cries, she’s usually crying, my dad sits there like he’s made of stone….but they didn’t know we were all three sitting there far past our breaking points. My mom finally heaves a sigh and looks me, I squirm. “You graduate in 5 months. We will give you your car and gas just for school and back. You stop talking and hanging out with your friends, you help around the house, and spend time with your family….or get the fuck out of my house.”
I was infuriated. Infuriated and hurt they weren’t going to let my addiction continue here. I wanted to stay, wanted to beg them to help me. But, I smiled. My addiction was stronger. And I was just tired of it all.
“Fine. I’ll start packing.”
The next 4 months are a blur. I’d done almost 20 different drugs, slept with many more men, and wasn’t going to school. I lost 30 lbs, was always trying to steal money. I- I was a wreck. I wanted to die. In my addiction I was gone from the world, I didn’t remember it in those drugs. What I didn’t know was that in my addiction when I’d shown my precious beads those I called friends were making fun of me…in their own drug addict way.
Only, then I was too blind to see it.
April 28th, 2011… Jericho fell. As my mom puts it. I’d been on a meth binge for a week and a week prior to that she knew she was losing me. Losing the battle of her little girl. So she prayed. And God told her to turn to the story of the Bible about Jericho. She went so far as to march around the apartment complex I was staying 7 times for 7 nights.
The 7th day my four “friends” and I were arrested and spent the night in jail. I have never been so terrified in my life. Though we made the most of it, and were under 18 I got slapped with possession of drug paraphernalia. Then, with our heads hung low, with no desire to quit, I went home with the girl Id been staying with. The police left our drug of choice on the table because its technically legal and we snorted a whole vial before I finally worked up the nerve to call my mom and beg her to take me home.
Its been 11 months since then. By grace and trial, I graduated from high school, and after detox, have been drug free ever since. I’m learning to bring my beads to light the right way. No, they’re not pretty. Yes, they’re old and ancient. But, they’re my beads. I’ve embraced them.
Sitting across from them, it was inconceivable that I had the right questions to ask which would bring me the answer I needed to change the life of my son forever. I was choosing adoption for my first born child, and if that choice wasn’t the hardest I’d ever make in my life, choosing his parents was.
In 1991, the Internet wasn’t available along with such informative articles as “Birthmother’s Advice on Choosing Adoptive Parents,” and Birthparents, What To Do, which are articles I could have benefited from when trying to hard to find the right path and questions to ask along the way. I didn’t realize that the term, “Open Adoption,” wasn’t a legally binding term in a court of law. I didn’t know that anything I agreed to with my son’s potential adoptive parents would be a solemn promise we shared, but not a promise I could take to court should it be broken. I didn’t know a lot of things.
After being involved in the adoption community for about ten years, publishing my first book, “One Birthmother’s Emotional Truth on Healing, Recovery, and Success,” later on going to Capital Hill to speak against a proposed bill, and traveling the country as a guest speaker on behalf of Birth Mother‘s in adoption; I discovered a major flaw in the adoption system and process. It wasn’t just that I didn’t know which questions to ask, or how the process worked … it was my relationship with my son’s adoptive parents. The one bond that required the most attention not only for myself, for my son, but for them as well.
It seemed everywhere I went, whether it was to host a Birthmother Support group at an adoption agency, to speak at a conference, or to be at home at Adoption.com on the discussion forums for Birthparents and Adoptive Parents, no one – on either side of the adoption triad – had been offered co-counseling for the purpose of establishing long term communication in the adoption relationship they were entering into. Birthmother’s are offered counseling pre and post placement by the adoption agency, and a good adoption agency will also require the adoptive family to financially support up to a year’s worth of third party therapy for their birthmother. Adoptive parents utilize the adoption agency for support groups, counseling, and long term care. However, there is a missing link.
For as many questions as I had, but did not know how to ask … so too did my son’s adoptive parents. Sadly, it was only later on, after the adoption was finalized, that they realized they had them. The long term effects and issues of adoption often time don’t surface until several years after the placement. Birthmother’s and Adoptive parents alike will find themselves wondering, “Did I agree to the right thing? What did I do? Why didn’t I ask? How do I maintain this? What should I say? How do I respond?” Without initial pre-placement co-therapy and counseling together, these questions remain silenced. There is no solid foundation for the freedom in discussion.
After several years of attempting to get pictures and letters from my son’s adoptive parents, the agency finally sent me a letter. They’d written, “We are deeply sorry for this response, and pray you are able to move on from here. We wish you the best.” There was a second letter re-typed by the agency, from my son’s parents which read, “We are grateful that you chose us to raise our son, however he is ours until he is 18 and we would ask no further attempt at contact be made. We wish you all the best.”
In all my years of being involved in the adoption community with Birth Parent‘s and Adoptive Parents, and even today as I read through the Forum Discussion boards at Adoption.com, I see that this is a trend that continues to bleed hearts from all sides. I am not an adoption advocate, and I refrain from giving any kind of advice to anyone making these life altering decisions, but I do hope and pray that anyone reading this connects to the eternal truth that they are not alone, there is help out there, and for every question you do not know you should ask … I hope you find the courage and the strength to reach out and seek more from those who are in place to offer help to you.
Suggest Co-Counseling for Birth Parent’s and Adoptive parents, in a unified and cohesive approach for the long term benefit of your relationship both to one another and to your commitment to a healthy adoption. Birth Parents and Adopting Parents alike. Your family, on both sides, deserves this.
A gemologist, towards the end of his career, found himself alone in an abandoned African mine. This last search meant everything to him, for the respect he so deserved and his own validation as a professional depended on it. So far, he had found nothing and even his fellow workers had long ago left the mine in defeat leaving him completely alone.
Looking behind his shoulder, just to make sure all were gone, he vowed to himself that he would not come out until he had it. The Eye. It had been a myth for centuries, but in his heart he believed it existed. His entire career was built on his belief, even when everyone else laughed and scorned him.
He was going in. All the way in. A s he traveled on his belly through the airtight cavern, thoughts of his family entered his mind. They had ridiculed him, ignored him, and then eventually stopped talking to him about the gem all together. They deemed his dream a silly dream, for crazy men and fools, and he had no one to share this last journey with. Even the looks on the faces of those he loved most should they see it, should he find it, would now no longer validate his life. He knew, going deep into the dark recesses of the cave; this was for him.
Hours passed leaving his hands bleeding and his body consumed in heat. Yet, he went on. Soon the crew out at camp began to worry. One man who held a deep friendship with him said, “Oh, you know him … getting carried away with his dream as usual. He’ll give up soon and come out, just you see.”
But the old man didn’t come as the stars revealed the time far past midnight. And he wasn’t asleep in his tent the next morning. As the men rushed to form an emergency crew, the sun was just setting over the African mountains. One young boy, who had bee listening to the old man’s stories of the Eye looked out at the horizon with great concern. There, through the mirage of heat waves, standing in the shadow of orange … was the man.
Reaching the top, heaving in breath and pouring sweat from every inch of him, he stood in silence with the old man. Without moving his head, he could see the luster and the enormity of the gem cupped in the blood crusted palms of his old friend.
Finally he whispered, “You found it. Is it the real thing?”
The man didn’t look over, but the boy could hear the years of his dreams as they fell and sizzled into the rocks and dirt below. Just before they heard the men from camp running up the mountain, the old man barely whispered, “It’s the real thing,” and then, he threw it as far as the Eye could see.
The old man knew that taking that beautiful stone back to sell would only discredit what it took him to get it. No one would ever know the blood, the sweat, and the tears of his journey that that lonely African mine. So is our story, our journey, and the authentic purpose for which we fight for it.
Make your dreams authentic. Claim them as your own. Let it be the real thing. Remember, no one else on earth will ever appreciate is as much as you do. Let the life you live be evidence of how authentic your journey is. Love like the mother you are. Fight like the protector you have become. Laugh with the freedom of forgiveness. Succeed by the sacrifices you’ve endured.
Give your dreams flight, and reason and purpose by living authentically so that others can reap the blessing of what you have to offer in the truth you dare to live by. Don’t sell out.
Over ten years ago I began working for adoption.com as a moderator, and within a few years I became a published author with my first book, “One Birthmothers Emotional Truth on Healing, Recovery, and Success.” I spoke across the country and assisted with many support groups especially for birthmother‘s who entered into open and semi-open adoption that ended up, sadly, closed. I wrote over 60 articles during that time which were published across a media platform of 6 websites. I hosted retreats that were adoption based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado and I flew all over meeting amazing men and women both, in adoption.
However, after a few years, when my adoption being closed began to take an emotional toll on me, I stopped writing. I closed down my desktop computer and I went to work, raised my babies, and attempted to tuck that part of my writing life aside. I never stopped writing to my birth son or calling the agency every year, but my involvement in the adoption community simply became too difficult for me. I’d been told I would receive letters and updates for the first five years of my son’s life and then, at that time, be able to have an open communication through the adoption agency with his parents with the ultimate outcome being preparing for a healthy reunion. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen.
I have reunited with my son via facebook, and our online social media relationship has been ultimately healing for me. He is happy, he is loved, and the parents I’d dreamed of him having … he got all along. My decision was validated that I had done the best thing for him and he told me thank you, thank you for giving me life. He’s having a fabulous life. While he does not want to meet me at this time or speak on the phone, I am at peace. He is okay.
These years of being in touch with him empowered me to write again. I wrote another book, and began this blog, and as I work hard on networking and setting up all of the connections one does with blogs, I went back to adoption.com and re-registered. Maybe, after all this time, I could offer something of value.
In registering for my profile it allows you to post a you tube video if you have one, and so I went to you tube to find the URL link to my own intro video for my blog. Being an internet/blogging newbie, I didn’t know how to find myself! I typed my name in, and was literally in total and complete shock with what I discovered.
Words I’d written, in painful vulnerability, over ten years ago, were being used to promote a nonprofit with a cause that is beautiful. They’d given me full copyright inclusion, and I watched and read the description of the video, where my words are copied, with tears in my eyes. I had never known that my words had meant anything to anyone aside from my own healing so long ago.
I’ve contacted the group to let them know, and volunteered to do a donation by giving proceeds from my last three remaining copies of my book to their group, Birthmom Mission. Perhaps once again, after over ten years, I might lend my own vulnerability to someone who may need to hear … we are never alone. Our Reaching Out is Never in Vain! *See my other blog post on this one!
Have you been blessed by a response from someone, years after you didn’t even know you’d made an impact? I’d love to hear your story!