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Monthly Archives: November 2010

November Adoption Awareness Month – Day Thirty

I just cannot believe I did a post every day of this month.  I usually don’t have that much to say but it has been good for me.

Yesterday I had to take mom to the doctor – seems easy enough but for me it puts me over my limit physically and mentally, I don’t have the stamina and just getting there and back is an effort.  The after effect of not having any family health history and what I will have to live with for the rest of my life – all thanks to being adopted.  I would still have my disease but I would not have been mis-diagnosed that is what caused the damage.

So I got to moms and visited for a bit while she got ready and then took her to the cardiologist in town.  I wasn’t feeling that well and had told her I wouldn’t stay when we got back but just head home.

So the doctor comes in and mom introduces me as her daughter and said her heart is in worse shape than mine, you should look at her because she isn’t feeling well.  The doctor looks at me and I give him the abbreviated version of my story noting the mis-diagnosis due to my age and no family history, what happened and my rare disease.  Then mom pipes in to me – your mother died in her sleep quite young didn’t she? and then realizes how that would sound to the doctor and turns to him and notes her birth mother we adopted her, and then I add in the additional family members who had the same events…and we talk a bit and then the doctor says they adopted too

And as I was driving home I had a couple of thoughts…

Good for mom for using just the term mother without giving it a second thought, and only qualifying it when she realized the doctor was probably confused…

Good for the “new” adoptive dad to realize that the “old hand” at being an adoptive mom does not use a qualifier before referencing my other mother.  I am sure he picked up on it.  Mom did good – she provided some educational thoughts to a new adoptive parent…

I think he will start to worry about his little adoptee and the lack of medical history he has…I think people think there are so few of us and never hear about those impacted…hopefully I planted a seed in someone who could speak up and make a difference.

And finally – adoption seems to always be around me wherever I go, there is no escape.  I am an adoptee.  Adoption is not just a one time event like they are trying to make it out to be now-days…being an adoptee is for life, being reminded of it time and time again wherever I go, is for life.

If this post does not make much sense it is because after yesterday I am totally done in, my body is exhausted and my brain does not want to work…

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2010 in Adoption

 

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November Adoption Awareness Month – Day Twenty-nine

Edited 11/29/10 – just realized one of my ‘mistakes’ from my aphasia – My title read November Adoption Awareness “Disease” – Day Twenty-eight…too funny but all to common for me…ooops and apparently the wrong days as well…

Rare diseases strike adoptees too but without a family health history we are even more vulernable…it has to change…somebody has to make it change…

This is the rare disease I was diagnosed with and my story is similar to Jennifers…

In the video below they are asking everyone in the USA to vote daily and I think it ends the last day of November so if you are so inclined to a text message each day – that would be great.

Thanks guys…

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2010 in Adoption

 

November Adoption Awareness Month – Day Twenty-eight

(Edited to change title from Twenty-seven…to the correct Twenty-eight)
All month-long I have tried to stay on the positive side of adoption while talking about the hard stuff as well.  It has been a good excercise for me and I hope for anyone who reads this blog.  Today I am kind of fed up and need to vent…don’t go any further if you think you will be upset because you may disagree – you’re welcome to disagree – but these things bother me because they happen over and over and over again.  Note the term birth is used here simply because it is used elsewhere – I don’t use it in real life because to me it is demeaning.
Things said to me (or read my me) that are guaranteed to make me cringe…
Not all biological familes….look alike, or share the same personality, or get along, or have their family health history, or loves their kids…whichever statement applies to an adoptees specific words on the subject of being an adoptee…
You could have been abortedobviously I wasn’t so your point is…
Your mother loved you enough to give you away….of course said in PAL terminology, NO it does not make me feel special it makes me feel less than and flawed…
She promised to give us her childsaid after a mother decides to parent who was in one of those pre-birth matching schemes
It isn’t in the best interests of OUR child to have contact right now with the birthfamilysounds like a really lame excuse when you have no definitive reason to stop contact…why not just say you can’t be bothered anymore…
What if the child (approx 9) does not want us to send pictures and updatesused as an excuse to stop sending updates – gee wonder who picked up on whose vibes here…
OUR birthmother gave us such a precious GIFTI literally cringe when I read or hear this – adoptees are not gifts – we are human beings – have a little respect…
OUR birthmother said she was not coerced and is happy that she placed her childsaid to the parents who hold the key to keeping the adoption open
OUR adoption was going along fine until we found out the BIRTHFATHER was going to contest the adoption…and it was a year before it was resolved – so much wrong with this sense of entitlement I can’t even begin to explain…
We have passed out all our ‘hoping to adopt’ business pass along cardsthe whole business card concept creeps me out and I really hope you aren’t handing them out to any pregnant women you see who doesn’t have a ring on their finger
Help us fundraise for our adoptionsomething else that doesn’t sit right with me – do they give the money back after they use the adoption tax credit (pretty sure they don’t) and besides you know that you could simply put the amount of a car payment away for 4 or 5 years and not need to fundraise to adopt…
The term ‘forever families’…doesn’t work for me…won’t ever work for me…if you want to be a family just be a family…

 

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2010 in Adoption

 

November Adoption Awareness Month – Day Twenty-seven

Grief, grieving and the societal consequences of sharing your feelings…

I see some great parents who recognise that to be adopted means you lost your family and that is the greatest tragedy anyone can have. How or why you lost your family is always different, it is a loss, it is never a gain. Granted some feel the loss more, some less, some will have more tragedy in their story of loss, some not so much. But loss of your family is loss no matter how it came about or for whatever reasons.

I see those same great parents discuss ways to ensure their children know they have the right to feel grief over their loss. They discuss ways to ensure they regularly check in while not trying to make their children feel the loss if they are not ready to do so. I think these parent truly care and are willing to go outside of the norm and deal with it…and I am thankful they exist.

But a part of me is also hesitant, simply because I don’t believe you ever heal completely from a loss and am worried that they expect their children to heal and get over it. Perhaps not consciously but rather subconsciously some or even many of them may they feel if they ensure their child can talk about their feelings openly without judgement and have the tools they need…they will get over it and will grow out of it and have a happy successful joy filled life having dealt with the loss early on.

Many of my friends tell me that they are like me and did not really feel the depths of the loss until they had experienced life as adults and that events triggered the deeper feelings of loss. So that is also part of what makes me hesitant about the expectations of these parents who do their best to ensure their child has the right to grieve and expects them to be healed, what if the true depths of grief does not happen until their child is middle-aged? Will they be just as non-judgemental then or will they act the same way some parents act when commenting on adult adoptees blogs? That is my fear. That their children who were given the tools to learn how to deal with their loss early may not find the same compassion as when they were young, because they were supposed to have dealt with it as a child.

I have healed from the death of my child so many years ago but I have not gotten over it. The loss is always there, a shadow hovering close to me every day. No matter how hard I try to continue on there are triggers like birthdays and anniversaries that remind me that he was in my life no matter how short a time we had together. And society allows me to always have these moments of sadness. It is justified, accepted that I will feel this loss for the rest of my life. It is okay to be sad.

And the same applies to my initial loss, the loss of my family. I am a survivor and will always continue on but the triggers of that loss show up in my daily life, every day, there is no avoiding it. I deal with it like I have always dealt with it. But those feelings of loss never completely go away. And because I will never have the chance to hear why I needed to lose my mother and father from the two who also lived it, that loss compounds the initial loss so much more.

But somehow society has decided that adoption loss is something we should be able to get over, move on, deal with it and put it to rest. Society cannot accept that adoption is less than a win-win-win. Adoptees and mothers and fathers who surrendered their children to adoption are not allowed to feel loss. That is the saddest reality of adoption. Mothers and fathers must be okay either because it was a choice they made because they did were not able to parent so they did the next best thing (and coercive tactics never happened…). As adoptees were taken into another family so we lost but we gained so get over it, heal from it, continue on.

Society believes that in adoption loss plus gain equals good, a formula for success and everyone comes out a winner.

It’s just not so easy when it is your life society is talking about. Parents and society in general, please don’t be snowed by the win-win-win all will be well message provided by the adoption industry…life does not always work the way they say it will. Sometimes life just sucks – learn to be compassionate.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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November Adoption Awareness Month – Day Twenty-six

Z” is for Zebras
Zebra is a medical slang term for a surprising diagnosis. Although rare diseases are, in general, surprising when they are encountered, other diseases can be surprising in a particular person and time, and so “zebra” is the broader concept.
The term derives from the aphorism “When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra“, which was coined in a slightly modified form in the late 1940s by Dr. Theodore Woodward, a former professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. Since horses are the most commonly encountered hoofed animal and zebras are very rare, logically you could confidently guess that the animal making the hoofbeats is probably a horse. By 1960, the aphorism was widely known in medical circles.
So both rare diseases and early age onset of common diseases could be defined as Zebra’s and doctors are told to look for horses not zebra’s.  So a good family health history that showed either a rare disease or early onset of common disease would provide the doctor with an incentive to look for the ZEBRA instead of the horse.
At this point in time they have identified 7,000 rare diseases.  To be qualified as a rare disease there has to be less than 200,000 individuals in the US diagnosed with that specific disease and can at times number less than 100.    
I have been looking for the statistics on the number of adopted individuals in the US and cannot find them but remember it is approximately 2%.  Adopted individuals from the Baby Scoop Era is estimated to be approximately 6 Million.  None of us from the BSE had great starting family health histories and now that we are older those histories, even the good ones are useless.  Those who have found their families may only be able to obtain their maternal family health history, although some is always better than none. 
So how likely is it that two adult adoptees from the BSE, living in different countries would find each other on a message board, become friends and find out we had both be diagnosed with a rare disease?  And would then start a blog together?  Yes – both of us have been diagnosed with a rare disease so we are Zebra’s to the medical world.  One got her diagnosis relatively early – my diagnosis came after being mis-diagnosed with a common disease and then surviving two back to back life threatening events, and then the diagnosis only happened because the specialist was willing to entertain the idea of a Zebra, not a horse.
But when I read different adult adoptee blogs I find we are not the only ones with rare diseases or being diagnosed at an early age for a common disease.  
So how rare is it for an adoptee to be diagnosed with a rare disease or at an early age for a common disease?
I think this type of study would actually be beneficial study on Adoptees…
If you are an adoptee that falls into either category, i.e. a ZEBRA please leave a comment.  Should we not be working together to make the adoption world aware this is a bigger problem than anyone realized – for the next generation of adoptees?  Because we know there will be more generations of adoptees…

  

 

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2010 in Ethics, Uncategorized

 

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November Adoption Awareness Month – Day Twenty-five

Y” is for Yes I am thankful….
Although I am not in the states today I am thankful for the love mom and dad give/gave me unconditionally.  They are/were great people and impacted my life in a very good way.  I know that other adoptees did not get the same as I did. 
I am thankful for my husband who loves me, takes care of me and will always have my back.  And that without him I might not still be here today.
I am thankful for all my friends on-line in the world of adoption, without them life would be very lonely.
I am thankful it has been snowing since last night the world looks so wonderful blanketed in white. 
I am thankful I have a wonderful home filled with dogs and cats. 
I am thankful I have a beautiful back yard where at any given point you can see squirrels and birds happily munching on the variety of food that is provided.  Today staring out my kitchen window I saw Northern Flickers WP’s, Starlings, Wrens, Finches, Bush Tits, Nuthatches, Chickadees, Towhees, Sparrows, Stellar Jays and of course the Crows…I have not seen my Downy or Pileated Woodpeckers…
I am thankful I live in a country where healthcare premiums do not bankrupt you (hardly makes a dent in the family budget) and you cannot be denied for pre-existing conditions.  That going to the hospital will not cost you your home.  That seeing my doctor today or tomorrow is always possible. 
 
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Posted by on November 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

November Adoption Awareness Month – Day Twenty-four

X” is for the letter X and other X words…
This letter is HARD to write about.  I have been going over various ideas all day and have come full circle and back to my original idea to start with.
My Original Birth Certificate is beautiful.  I remember the day I received it in the mail more than four decades after my birth.  I sat on the couch and read it over and over and over again.  Completely surreal holding in my hands.  Words cannot do justice to the feelings that were washing over me.
When I got to Box 23 I laughed out loud.
23.    LEGITIMATE?
         Yes  [ ]   No  [X]
And to further highlight my disgrace someone had ensured the “X” in the No Box would not be missed by circling it with an ink pen as well! 
I am happy to say that my date of birth IS my date of birth…trust me I checked that out right at the start.
What I find so incredibly strange is the stigma of illegitimacy is one of the main reasons why our Original Birth Certificates were sealed from the PUBLIC in the first place.  Somewhere along the line other people used that original concept to seal them from US as well…horrors we may find out we were born to unwed mothers…we all knew that was the reason we were placed back then – come on.
What I will never understand is how the act of adoption removes the FACT that I was born illegitimate and makes me legitimate.  No matter what my amended birth certificate states to my knowledge there are no do-overs in life.  I was born illegitimate – it never has bothered me, I have not lost any sleep over it…it is what it is… 
I will leave you with a selections of X words and a few others that I sourced today from Phrontistery a wonderful site of words seldom used and mainly forgotten.
  1. agamogenesis – reproduction by non-sexual means
  2. cryptogenic – of unknown origin
  3. misosophy – hatred of knowledge or wisdom
  4. morosophy – foolish pretence of wisdom
  5. mysteriosophy – system of knowledge concerning secrets and mysteries
  6. mythogenesis – origin of myths
  7. xenogenesis – generation of offspring entirely unlike the parent
  8. xenogenous – due to an outside cause
  9. xanthippe ill -tempered woman
  10. xenodochial – hospitable; kindly to strangers
  11. xenolith – fragment of extraneous rock embedded in magma or another rock
  12. xenophilia – love of foreigners
 
 
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Posted by on November 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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November Adoption Awareness Month – Day Twenty-three

W” is for Words…
Words shape our views and realities. As I go through the month of November I keep coming back to the danger of the single story – see previous post.
My single story was created with words. Words designed to both apply a reason for my need to be adopted because there could be no marriage, to ensure I could not identify who my family was and to lessen any anger in me.  The main sentence in my four sentence story was…
“My mother was a college student who had an affair with an older married college professor.”
In my era in this situation a divorce would seldom have happened. If it had, both would have been persona non grata to everyone and they would have to have left the area and rumors would somehow have followed them to the next city. The professor would have been summarily dismissed from the college on moral grounds for both the affair and I would expect, the divorce. My mother would have been “THE OTHER WOMAN” and been completely and utterly reviled by other wives as lowest of low creatures, wanton, without morals, beyond redemption.
See how that single sentence both created the reason for my surrender and the reason why the other alternative – family preservation – was not a consideration? I often wonder if “that story” was repeated over and over again for all babies surrendered in my area, a college town. It wraps every question that could be raised in a neat package complete with bow that says no other option.
In reality, my mother worked and my father had attended college and they were boyfriend and girlfriend relatively close in age. Not as easily accepted as a valid reason to surrender, they could have just got married, they could have raised me, they could have tried harder to keep me.
But instead that single sentence that framed and justified my need for surrender, “my single story” quashed any concerns my parents may have had over whether I needed to be adopted. It quashed any anger I could have over them not trying hard enough to keep me. It quashed any chance of me finding them based on who they were and what they did. It solved everything and also provided the lure of a baby coming from intelligent genes, a college professor, a female college student, the creme de la creme. The lure of coming from moral people who made a mistake and did the right thing for all parties, despite any personal cost to them. A healthy white baby girl from a family with superior intelligence and deep moral strength to do the “right thing”. What could be finer?
In reality like so many other boyfriends and girlfriends of that era they had sex with little or no protection. And like so many other girls from that era my mother got pregnant. And the choice then was marriage (some due to family pressure, some because they wanted too) where the baby was born “early” and oh my, wasn’t it a miracle she had such a large baby? or no marriage happened and the girlfriend “went away” and the baby was surrendered to adoption and the problem was gone never to be spoken of again.
I find it amazing what a selection of words can do to create an illusion that is acceptable and accepted by all. Words that calms any fears and reassured at the same time plus gives the added bonus of promises of superior genes in all areas. The person who crafted the main sentence should have worked in advertising…
Words can also be used to bolster and encourage feelings of entitlement and deserving or on the flip side not entitled and unworthy. It just depends on the way you craft the sentence and who your target is.
The adoption industry builds up one side and tears down the other side with the best tool possible – WORDS. A recent newspaper article clearly shows how the effect of building up one sides feelings of entitlement stay with that individual even years later. “Despite their own anxiety, realizing the young mother’s difficult choice, they allowed the other family time to say good-bye” Yes, I had to read that twice and today had to go back and read it again. Allowed…even though they were not the legal parents of said baby “they allowed the other family time to say good-bye“.
and then the Words used to convince the other side you are not worthy of being a parent…
Your child deserves a better life than what you can give him”
“Every child deserves a mother and a father”
“Imagine the GIFT you are giving to another couple who want to be a family”
“Loving your child means recognising you may not be enough
And the Crisis Pregnancy Centers…they have developed an amazing way with Words. All carefully crafted and refined to make all options other than adoption scary and wrong. I googled today and found one where the word adoption was only used a couple of times and you had to go past the front page to find them, and yet I knew it could not be that simple. So I did some digging (simple google search of a key phrase) and found the people who link them to adoption agencies and the NFCA. So much for being open and upfront.
Words can be crafted in so many ways.
 
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Posted by on November 23, 2010 in Ethics, Uncategorized

 

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November Adoption Awareness Month – Day Twenty-two

V” is for Veracity…

I imagine any regular readers expected victim or villain but that would be too easy and done already I am sure…and perhaps victim and villain will also be included in your mind reading below.

Definition of Veracity: Veracity means an adherence to the truth, or to truthfulness.

What Is the Principle of Veracity?

If you followed the above link you would read a very clear picture of what the term veracity means in the medical profession.  The subtitles in the article and indeed the entire article could equally apply to the adoption industry if you simply changed a few words.  Subtitles used are Ethical Principles, Considerations, Informed Consent, Professional Ethics, Violations.

I find it strange that all the adoption agencies websites I have been on I have never seen a link to their Code of Ethics which speaks to their Principles of Veracity.  Have you?

The first application of the principle of veracity relates to informed consent and the autonomy of the patient to make decisions based on all available information.

Perhaps it is because they are an “Adoption Agency” they do not see any reason to provide their non-paying clients with all available information regarding choices in regards to her pregnancy?  That they have no responsibility to provide information on ways to ensure family preservation?  That responsibility is on the mother?  I would disagree with that simply because everyone and especially a “Christian” non-profit adoption agency has a moral obligation to ensure fair play.

And yet it happens to all of us who are part of adoption, adoptees – the information provided about our parents and family, the surrendering parents, the adopting parents (who are the ones paying the ‘fees”) – no one is spared and seldom is the agency called on the carpet and made to change their practices.  Instead the agencies use their spokesman the NCFA to deal with it.  Adoptees are labeled anti-adoption, mothers and fathers are ridiculed and dismissed and told they are lying, adoptive parents who speak out should have known better and were told everything…the message is they are the good guys and we all just had a bad experience but it wasn’t their fault – they dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s…

Veracity can be violated in several ways. Omission means that critical relevant facts are intentionally left out when disclosing the patient’s medical information. Commission means that medical personnel intentionally tell the patient or her family a lie. A third, more subtle way to violate the principle of veracity is to cloak the truth in so much medical jargon that the patient or her family will be unable to understand it

I have seen omissions, commissions and the cloaking of the truth of critical relevant facts intentionally left out.  It has happened time and time again.  It happens in all three of the main adoption categories, domestic, international, and foster care.  Adoptive parents have taken them to court – below is just one example from each category.

The link is a perfect example of lack of veracity in foster care adoption.  Texas adoption nightmare, heartache for Arizona family

International adoption In Lawsuit on Adoption, Focus Is on Disclosure

Domestic adoption Burr v Stark Cty. Bd. of Commrs., 491 N.E.2d 1101 (Ohio 1986) Wrongful Adoption

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2010 in Ethics, Uncategorized

 

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November Adoption Awareness Month – Day Twenty-one

U” is for Unethical Practices…
I am thankful for the following websites and the people who work so hard to report on ethics in adoption or the lack thereof – three of my favorite sites below.  (WordPress still is not allowing me to create links.)
PEAR – Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform http://pear-now.blogspot.com/
Ethica – an independent voice for ethical adoption http://www.ethicanet.org/
The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism – http://www.brandeis.edu/investigate/index.html
And every other indidual or group who works to ensure ethics are at the forefront of any adoption…
 
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Posted by on November 21, 2010 in Ethics, Uncategorized

 

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November Adoption Awareness Month – Day Twenty

T” is for Today and Time and Trains..
Today I know where I came from and it is so much more than so many will ever know…
Time is the enemy that we cannot fight. 
Time has run out for most who rode the Orphan Trains…taken from The Children’s Home Society and The New York Foundling Hospital in mid 1800’s and continued until the 1920’s and is widely recognised as is the forerunner of todays Foster Care.  An estimated 200,000 children rode these trains before they were made to stop.
Take the time today to read about those who rode the Orphan Trains at the website below.  Google Orphan Trains and you will find more websites dedicated to preserving their memories of what it was like.
http://www.orphantraindepot.com/index.html The mission of the National Orphan Train Complex is to collect, preserve, interpret and disseminate knowledge about the orphan trains, and the children and agents who rode them.  The museum’s collections, exhibitions, programming and research will engage riders, researchers, and the general public and create an awareness of the Orphan Train Movement
 
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Posted by on November 20, 2010 in Ethics, Uncategorized

 

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November Adoption Awareness Month – Day Nineteen

Sis for the Danger of the Single Story…

Chimanda Adichie – “The Danger of the Single Story” I posted the link to her talk here (for some reason I cannot create a link so here is the address) https://theadoptedones.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/the-problem-of-the-single-story/ because it spoke to me very deeply. I find I keep coming back to it over and over again and wanted to try to write down my thoughts on just how much this talk impacted me and how vividly it applies to myself as an adoptee. The quotes from her talk are hopefully accurate but I have been known to make mistakes…  

In the talk she shows time and time again with anecdotal personal stories how our impressions and views on an individual are shaped only by what we know about one part of who they are.
 She states “It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power. There is a word an evil word that I think about “oncarli” (my phonetic spelling), it’s a noun roughly translated “to be greater than another”. Stories to are defined by the principal of “oncarli”, how they are told, who tells them, when they are told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power. Power is the ability to tell the story of another person but to make it the definitive story of that person.”
As an adoptee in a closed adoption with knowledge that I would never know my family, my ancestors, my nationality I had one Single Story of them. A Single Story passed to my mom and dad from the social worker. That story consisted of four sentences. Once the court opened my records and I met my family, I learned that story had no truth to it at all. But it had been MY Single Story of my family for over 40 years. The power was held by the social worker who crafted my story, each sentence had the smallest grain of truth and a liberal helping of borrowed or changed information designed to ensure that even if I searched, with those facts I would fail.
That Single Story omitted the true facts and created a stereotype of my mother. A woman with no morals who got in trouble and was sent away and the baby, me, was placed for adoption. No mention of family or the role they most likely played. No mention of any traditions that had been passed down from generation to generation. No story of the immigration my ancestors undertook to cross the Atlantic Ocean, the reason for leaving their home countries, or the states or provinces they settled in each time they migrated closer to the coast. No stories of triumphs or tribulations. No knowledge of who they were, what they did, what they were like, what they were good at or not. Four sentences with the smallest grain of truth in each sentence, told over and over and over each time I asked as a child.  
I had those four sentences to compare against the rich varied tapestry of my mom and dads family histories. The stories of when, why, and how their (my) ancestors immigrated. The ship my moms mothers was supposed to take and most can figure out which ship that was. The voyage over, first settlement, who immigrated together, who came later, what they did for a living, marriages, births, religion, who was named after who and why, hobbies, volunteering, how they were viewed by the community, right down to how they shopped, the deaths that happened, why and when, places they went, and events they shared as a family. All told in living color with detailed descriptions of relatives and get- togethers complimented with funny stories. Family recipes and traditions passed down along with the stories that happened at those events, family going off to war and coming home never to speak of it again and those who didn’t.
Dads side was even more in-depth and included stories that made the local newspaper that happened generations ago. Family history that paints the picture of the individuals, that defines who they are and why they are like they are. Stories of migration and returning home, and migrating west and pioneering feats that make your hair stand on end. In dads family I can trace the ethics and morals each generation passed down by the accounts written about them. Their quest for knowledge and the education each had. The strength of character that was sometimes all that saw them through. The fun stories and the amazing stories. The stories of back-breaking labor to support their families. Even the nationalities and maiden names of ancestors who married into the family were carefully preserved. A complete picture for hundreds of years.
How can you compare those four sentences I came with to what my family had of theirs (mine)? How can someone know where they are going if they have no knowledge of where they came from? How can you justify how little I came with when you compare it to the knowledge my mom and dad had of their own history. And while I believe that their ancestors are also mine because it made them who they were and are, and that also shaped who I would become, the dearth of knowledge about who I was left a gaping hole. Perhaps simply because theirs was such a rich tapestry and mine just a simple scrap of fabric.
Towards the end of the talk she states “The consequence of the Single Story is that it robs people of dignity, it makes our recognition of equal humanity difficult. It emphasises how we are different, rather than how we are similar. Stories matter, many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispose and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity. That when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.”
I truly wish I had grown up with more than a Single Story of who my family was and now knowing that, that Single Story was not the truth, makes it even harder for me to understand how anyone thought it was okay to do that. To rob an individual of their social and family history “as if” it means nothing does hurt me deep inside. In reality it means everything, it tells you who you were meant to be. Who I became was a combination of who I was meant to be and who my parents taught me to be. I was brought up in a loving home and it is my lived experience, another story that adds to who I am. I am also the story of my early adulthood and the good and bad times that happened. The places I visited, the people I got to know. All those combined added another story to who I am. As an adult I have now added another layer, more pain and despair, greater understanding and empathy that seems to continue to evolve me into the person I was meant to become. If I had not suffered my events I would never have learned my story of who my ancestors were and that means a lot, but the cost to learn that was too great and no one should ever have to go through that in order to know where they came from.
My wish is for all to join together and make open records happen now, before my generation is gone – never to know where they came from.
 
 
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Posted by on November 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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