About Cheerio

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In general I am a cheery and energetic person. But I am enshrouded in a cloak of iron. That cloak is the weight of greiving my son, whom I've lost to adoption.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Meeting on-line Friends

Adoptee Rights Demonstration (ARD) – Day#1,
 meeting on-line friends July 19, 2009:

Sunday late afternoon we arrived in Philadelphia; my Hubby and I.

 It was a pleasant enough of a drive. We missed our exit off the highway and were lost in Philly for only 30 minutes. Hubby did a great job working our way toward the hotel as we maneuvered through the crisscrossing of one way streets. At one point we were just a few blocks from our hotel when we ended up in a wrong lane and were forced to cross over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge into NJ.

 Of course there are no exits off the bridge and so we got off at Cambridge, looped our way around, under the bridge and back onto the bridge again without too much time lost. I initially thought Sunday night would be a night for just me and my hubby. But just as we finished our ‘bridge tour,’ my cell phone rang. It was Jimm.  He was at the airport waiting for H-of the UK to arrive. We planned to meet up at the hotel and go out for dinner.

 We found our hotel, unpacked and took a stroll down Race Street to see if the seafood restaurant I saw on the drive was within walking distance. When we got back from our walk, just as we were on the hotel steps, my cell phone rang again. It was Jimm and I could literally see him through the glass doors, with his cell phone to his ear.

 Wow! What a surprise to meet him face to face, as well as other adoptees I’ve met on-line!
H-of the UK was with him. ULB was also there -- She is one of the organizers of the ARD, and was one of my encouragers for my writing my Leggies & letters several weeks back. There was OurVeryOwnComedian, EPari, M (another organizer of the ARD) and her sister, MM.

 Also in the lobby I got to meet Jack who is a FaceBook friend. I cannot forget another FB Friend, Jeff and his wife. Our original plan was readily scrapped as we exchanged introductions, shook hands and hugged my group of on-line friends. The informal plan was to just walk down Market Street to find a nice place to eat.

 We travelled at a very relaxed pace and they were enjoying some details of this Historic Area. They were moseying along, and Cheerios sugar was dropping. Alas, I had to break away from the group – it was after 8pm, and Cheerio needed food quickly or things would get ugly!

 We waved and promised to meet up tomorrow.

Links to other Cheerio ARD related posts: Funky light patterns on the Benjamine Frankliln Bridge

on-line friends

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Funky light patterns on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge

Cheerio is on Day#3 at the Adoptee Rights Demonstration (ARD) in Philadelphia.

My original intent this week was to blog about the highlighted events of each day, here at the ARD. But a surprise it was for me as to how quickly time would pass.

Instead of taking time to connect and write, I spent as much time as possible actively listening. More importantly than mentally jotting down “facts” or ‘statements” that an uninvolved reporter might do, I listened not just with my ears, but with my heart.

I listened as both men and women shared their thoughts, their souls, some of their struggles with me. With every person I connected with, their words and experiences through their own individual journeys has stitched on my heart a very sacred and personal place for each and every one.

It is only Tuesday and the night is young. Most of the group, and my hubby were heading out to their last event and stop for the day. Oh, how I wish I could go and enjoy the night with them at the comedy club.
But right now, adoption just isn’t ‘funny’ to me.

Even a multi-grain cheerio can only soak up so much milk, and that is where I’m at.
Emotionally I’m full- I’m not maxed out but I just feel like I’ve had enough for a few hours.

The shuttle whisks away the group to the comedy club. As I walk up the stairs to my room, I am alone and the emotions that were on the back burner started to take over and I just feel like I could throw up.

Two days of admitting I am a first mom. Yes, admitting is the most accurate word. Each and every time I have to say it, I feel the shame and guilt all over again. There are BSE (Baby Scoop Era) moms here, and adoptees who know their mothers had no choice about them being taken from her. I feel guilty about how lame my pathetic little “story” sounds.

The grandparents of my son on the father’s side wanted so much for us to parent and offered to help, but noooo – I insisted he must be adopted. So many other mothers would have given ANYTHING to have just one person support them, and I – I refused it all.

As I listen to adoptees talk, whether to me directly, or just conversation among themselves – they experience LOSS. Not only have they lost their natural family and the freebie crazy relatives, but also their original identity and a very real piece of themselves is lost.

The subject of first moms who did not have other children came up a few times. I tried to be appear indifferent, but before I could even speak a word, I know my face showed the pain.

There are two vivid things from the Demonstration that pricks my heart to even recall. One adoptee occasionally yelled out, or asked women as they approached, “Are you my mommy?” I don’t know that I can actually describe in writing how that makes me feel. It made her sound so unprotected and vulnerable to not have her Mommy. That pinched my conscience of how vulnerable and unprotected my own son may have felt at times in h is own life.

The other vivid thing was at the end of the Demonstration. I had already turned in my sign and was waiting for the rest of the group, so we could head out. There was a tall young fellow in military looking attire. His t-shirt said “Restore Adoptees Civil Rights.”

We ended up talking with him briefly. I have not been telling people I’m a first mom unless they question if I am an adoptee. When this fellow asks if I’m an adoptee, I have to once again admit I am a first mom. I was very interested in talking with him and listening.

But when we hugged good-bye, he said, “Bye Mom.” I had to hold back the tears. Mom. Someone called me 'Mom.'

So, like a weighed down milk saturated Cheerio, I’ve retreated to my room. I just don’t want to have to hear any more for now. I am here to support Adoptee Rights, but that doesn’t quell the tumultuous reality of my connection with Adoption, with Adoptees themselves, with a boy out there whom I desperately long to find. Eventually I’ll pull out a garden magazine to read while drinking a soothing cup of hot tea. But for right now, I’ll just sit here alone in my room, and in solitude I’ll stare at the funky light patterns on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
funky light patterns
Benjamin Franklin Bridge
Links to other Cheerio ARD related posts: Day #1 Meeting on-line Friends

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I go to a Mom and Pop type shop to get my nails done.
With all the landscaping, gardening, digging in the dirt, and moving of rocks I do, I’m very glad to have found someone who does an excellent job.

I am aware that ‘nails’ is always a potential trigger for me.
Sometimes it’s when the ‘A’ word comes up on the tv shows. But more often it’s because Norm (not his real name) talks about his perception of ‘me’.

He describes how much money (he thinks) I have and how rich I am and how easy my life is, because I don’t have children.

Although his blind assumption of my finances is slightly annoying, it deeply hurts for him to assume how ‘easy’ my life is without children. It ouches every time he says it.

He has no idea of the nights I cry myself to sleep, or the countless days I drive into work crying the whole way because of the child I don’t have, and the indescribable pain and heartache that it brings.

Last week; however, was completely unexpected to me. I don’t even remember how the subject came up.

He was talking about a relative or friend who quit smoking for something like 16 years, and then started smoking again. I made a simple comment that I know I have habits too, but not any that I know will kill me.

That was like gasoline on a fire!

His tone changed completely. He was instantly worked up and he raised his voice (only slightly, but it was noticeable to me) and he vehemently attacked that idea. I was stunned as he boldly declared that smoking doesn’t kill people!

He talked of an older man he knows in his home country who has been smoking since he was 14 years old.

I suggested that maybe cigarettes are different in his country. He went on to complain about how much the price has gone up on cigarettes from 20 years ago.

Hello, price of milk and gasoline has gone up too! He mentioned his idea about the tax on cigarettes. That the government uses the ‘claim’ that smoking is bad for you, so they it can tax it.

Now, I was just sitting there giving all the signs that I wanted the conversation to end. I was looking all over the room, and not even looking at him as he spoke. I did not interject anymore comments either. I guess when he started the conversation; I just took for granted that he was not a smoker. How was I supposed to know otherwise? He continued on for a very long time.

The phrase that he repeated over and over throughout his entire discourse was that smoking does not kill people. After all, he exclaimed, if it was really bad for people, the government would put a stop to it. And at the very end, he lamely added – people die from other things you know. You may be wondering why I am writing about this. What in the world could smoking and adoption have in common?
Most people I know who smoke, will at least acknowledge that it probably is not good for them.
But this man's attitude was not at all like that. Instead his attitude was absolute denial.
The common thread between Norm's tirade and adoption is
people’s refusal to acknowledge how harmful and damaging it is or can be.

The entire time Norm was on his one-sided tirade, it made me think of all the people who refuse to even consider that adoption just might not be the win/win situation it is marketed as. It made me think of all their arguments of “well I know of this one person…” and then totally disregard the words and writings of people who don’t fit what they choose to believe.

When they read about the obvious signs of PTSD that firstmoms exhibit, it means nothing to them.

When they read about the nightmares that a firstmom has, or nightmares and struggles that her subsequent chidren have, it is irrelevant. When they hear a firstmom begin to describe how the adoption has caused her to question her self-worth, and throws her into near crippling depression – they cut her short. They prefer to believe their own little fairy tale version of adoption.

But it is not just a refusal to listen to firstmoms, they don’t accept the feelings adopted people express either. They don’t want to believe that an adopted person who grew up in a loving afamily would still feel abandoned by their natural family.

They don’t want to think that an adopted person struggles with not knowing their roots, their origins, and their own identity. They don’t want to cloud their perfect adoption picture by thinking that an adopted person has extra emotional baggage, just because they’re adopted.

Other things kill people – stop making cigarettes look bad.
Other things make people sad – stop making adoption look bad.
How obviously silly.