Yesterday I wrote a 6 word story. If you didn’t catch it you can read it here.
My intial reaction was one that the adoptee will often take. That is one of “Oh no! A sense of pending doom”
Baby is spiralling down, down, down. Out of control and spiralling downwards. But, in an instant, my mind was asking “What if she spiralled upwards, heavenwards? What if baby soars to new heights? What if baby soars on eagles wings?”
What if the cord was a rein and was going to stop her from achieving great things by tethering her too closely. Her life would have been restricted to the cord that tied her down. By being given the gift of freedom, she could choose the direction she would travel. Life could now be multi-dimensional, free to travel in whichever direction she chose, or wherever the Universe took her.
Which direction do you want to take God?
Lead Me, Teach Me, Inspire Me
I sit on the wings of your love, take me to the heights that I cannot reach in my own strength.
Reveal to me Your purpose for me.
Thank you for reading this post. When you read the 6 word story, did your mind spiral upwards or downwards? Be honest. Please leave me a comment. I would love to read your feedback.
This is possibly the last post of 2020. We have just 26 hours before we herald in 2021. May I wish all my followers a safe and prosperous New Year. See you in 2021.
As the sun sets on this glorious winter’s day, when we woke to blue skies, winter sunshine and snow, we are hurtling fast towards the end of 2020, and it seems even faster to my 60th Birthday. I have one week left of being in my 50’s.
2020 has been the strangest of years, but I have invested my time and money wisely, reading around the topic of adoption. I have learnt so much. Up until this year I was really only interested in one adoption…..mine….but as the year has progressed I have gained insights into others.
I was fortunate to have been named by my birth mother and have that honoured by the family that fostered me and then subsequently adopted me. For that I am gratful, as I cannot imagine the emotions that are felt by someone who’s name has also been abandoned and replaced with another one, sometimes one that bears no hint of their roots or culture from whence they had been born into. My identity as Joy was formed as soon as the name was bestowed on me. To have my name ripped away, would have added salt to the wound, but many an adoptee has had that injustice done to them. you can hear their pain when you talk to them, and they tell you what they were known by in their early years.
My parents natural daughter had the name Andrina Veronica blessed upon her. Lord only knows what name I would have been given if they had named me themselves. On my discoveries, and reading about other adoptees experince, I have come to realise that as adoptions go, mine was ok.
I was not weighed down with the void that infertility leaves for the couple who are desperate to start a family. My parents had three natural children of their own, so there was no infertility crib to fill. Far from it, these three children were all born within 33 months of each other. There were three children under three at one point. Think of all those nappies, terry towelling ones that needed washing and drying in an age of no automatic washing machines nor tumble driers. Infertility was not the issue, finance was. I am under no illusion that the Gill’s decided to foster for the finances. With three small children to clothe and feed, fostering was a way for a woman to “go out to work” whilst staying at home and being the homemaker. So in the mid to late 1950’s, they started to foster. This is how I came to be in there care in 1961, the last of a line of foster children. They spoke very little about the babies and toddlers that came and went through their home. It was only after reading Judith Land’s book Adoption Detective that I stopped to consider the potential effect of these foster children may have had on my siblings. Did they hug and cuddle them? Or did they act on the advice of professionals and not encourage showering affection on the baby, as they knew they would not be staying long. What bonds did my brothers and sisters make with these children, only to have them broken at the whim of social services? Were these babies taken with only 24 hours notice? Were they taken away to another house, leaving their belongings behind as their new parents would provide them with clothes, toys, prams etc. All new, no recognisable odours, no reassuring touch of a comfort blanket. How are these children doing now, as adults well into their 60’s. Did they find good homes to fill the void of infertility? I wonder where they are now and how they fared? Maybe one day, in a facebook group, I will come across them. I can but hope.
I grew up knowing that I was adopted. I was saved that shock discovery later in life, for that I will be eternally grateful. Knowing you are adopted gives you the start in life that is as honest as society at the time allows. For me there was snippets, from which I cna weave a story of my conception and birth.I struggle to comprehend how someone deals with the abandonment first, and then the lies that follow, once the truth is uncovered. Growing up in the 1960’s, I don’t think I paid the fact that I was adopted much attention. It was what it was.
I was an avid reader when I was a child. I loved Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series, but my by far the most favourite by Enid, was a book called “The Boy Next Door”. I loved this book. Unlike all of my other Enid Blyton book’s, which were paper backs, my copy of this story was hard backed. It had a pale blue cover, with no dust jacket. It was the story of a boy next door, no surprise there then. He, like me, was someone who appeared to make the most of life. I identified with this boy who was left very much to fend for himself, as my recollection goes, and he does so in rather remarkable ways and places. He lived on a houseboat…or did I just imagine that. He tied people to trees, or did I just imagine that too?
What held my fascination back then? Why did I identify with the boy? Was it the making the best out of life, disappearing into a land of make believe. I used to wish that the boy lived next door to me. Both sets of neibours from my childhood were elderly grandparent households, although as I think back to those days, they were probably younger than I am now.
Growing up knowing that I was adopted, I guess I made the most of it. I never really felt that I fitted in anywhere, but always put that down to having siblings several years older than me. I was like an only child, with four siblings who were close in age, only six years spanned their ages. They didn’t want to play with me, and could out run and out climb me. I always thought that was why I sought solace in books.
My lack of confidence issues came later. People who know me will say this is poppycock, that I am overly confident, but that is the trick of the adoptee, brashly confident whilst struggling to comprehend that anyone will take any notice of you. The woman who gave birth to you didn’t listen to your cries, why would strangers listen to what you have to say years later. I built walls around me as protection, but the only thing it achieved was to imprison me within my walls. My anger issues that came later in life, that too was a product of my adoption I believe, I just didn’t understand it until this year really.
2020 has given me the opportunity to sit and write and reflect on my story. ONly know am I beginning to appreciate my life and attitude being filtered through the early experience of abandonment. 2020 has given me the time and freedom to explore the whole issue that adoption is, and try and tease the parts that apply to me and those that don’t. The books that I have acquired over the year have given me hope, but also raised lots of questions and sent me into places behind my walls. I have written some posts already and will no doubt write many many more as I explore the topic and my experiences, as I write my story.
For now as we come to the end of 2020, I count my blessings that a relaxed work schedule has given me to reflect on my life and write my story. As 2021 is just a few days away I wonder which will arrive first? 2021 or my copy of The Boy Next Door which I found on Amazon. Failing arriving in time for the chiming of the bells, I hope it will be a 60th birthday present to myself.
Lala Land is where we are all living right now, between Christmas and New Year, this year being made all the more memorable for the lack of movement “allowed” between households.
60 years ago, a woman was sitting around in Wiltshire, Devizes to be exact, waiting to go into labour and give birth of her child. Thirty five years later, that child was in exactly the same position, but made a different decision, to the one that her own mother had made.
27th December is a day betwixt and between. Not one nor the other. Not Christmas, nor not yet New Year. A day of not a lot, unless you count gluttony and slovenly behaviour as doing much.
We are waiting again today. This year we are waiting for guests coming for dinner. Meat that was bought for Boxing Day dinner, but our plans were spoilt. How inconvenienced have we been? Not as much as 2000 years ago, when a heavily pregnant Mary set off the 80 miles or so from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Outside the window, as I write this, the wind is howling and hailstones are pounding on the window. It is wet and wild out there, as Storm Bella does her best to make her presence known.
What was the weather like 60 years ago? Pat I believe was safe and warm being kept at Roundway Hospital pending my birth. Did she have far to go from the ward to the labour and birthing suite? Maybe they let her out for Christmas. Who did she spend it with? Who was she surrounded by?
Answers to those questions will never be answered. I have to accept that I will not know the intimate details of my birth. It is a tiny part in anyone’s life, but in the life of the adopted person it is these little details and others which mark us out as different from thsoe who remain with their parents. I can tell my daughter the details that are missing from my story.
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My big sister had a record when I was young, an LP. (Some of you might need to go and look that up.) It contained songs like, “My Old Man’s a Dustman, Tell Laura I Love Her, Apache, Cathy’s Clown.” I loved the record and the songs that were on it. I begged her to play it over and over again. I would sneak it on when she wasn’t around. We had a gramophone player, a Grundig it was big piece of furniture. It is now used as a blanket box, with all it’s electrical and music making capacity removed. We moved when I was 10, and I don’t remember where it went in our new place. I don’t recall listening to music once we had left Laverton Road. I am sure we did, but the memory of it are not in my memory bank, unless they are hidden so deep I cannot recall them easily.
My first home, where I went to live, after I left the maternity ward where I was born, aged 10 days old. For 10 years I lived at number 7 Laverton Road, Westbury Leigh, Westbury Wilts, in the days before postcodes. In the years before we had a telephone. We had one when we moved, we needed it for the shop.
2754 that was the number, Westbury 2754. It later went on to become 822754. When we moved when I was 14, our telephone number was Bramley Green 488…..then it became Basingstoke 881488. My first plae I owned was 58190. Oh how I remember those numbers. I digress because that is what my brain does, it wanders from one idea to the next, I never know where it is going to go next. Like my life which began at the whim of others deciding where I was going to go. Not my choice to have a wandering brain either. But back to those songs.
Those songs, how I loved those songs on my sisters LP album. Where the album came from I don’t recall. Whether it was a Christmas present she received, or whether she brought it with pocket money will remain a mystery I expect. She is seven and a half years older than me, so she may even have been earning money and bought it for herself. However she acquired it, it was my favourite album. Today I was doing a quick search on the internet for the number one song in the charts on 5th January 1961. It was Cliff Richard and The Shadows,
“I Love You”.
But I discovered something else. The number one songs for 1960! And what did I find on that list? Lonnie Donegan and His Group’s My Old Man’s a Dustman, Everly Brothers Cathy’s Clown, Eddie Cochrane’s Three Steps to Heaven. The songs from my favourite album. The songs of 1960, as I was forming in my mothers womb.
Did I recognise them the first time I heard them on the gramophone? Did I recall, but not remember? We know that babies recognise music when they are born, that they heard whilst they were in the womb. My own daughter would settle to the Neighbours theme tune, and that of Star Trek, both programmes that I had watched whilst pregnant with her, along with Queen album, Made in Heaven. Did my mother listen and sing the same songs that I connected with years later.
There is a joy in my belly as I write this. An incredible feeling that I find hard to describe. I feel at one, at peace with the woman who’s belly I was formed and developed in. In that tumultuous year of 1960, did she find herself at times singing along to Lonnie Donovan, Cliff Richard and The Shadows, Everly Brothers.
I would rather like to think she did. Did she dance around the kitchen with my father to those songs? I would rather like to think so.
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…..so said John Barbour 1320-1395, and whilst we still have it I intend to express it and fight for it. The road to somewhere is paved with good intentions. Well today it was Edinburgh. I had intended to go there to participate in the March to Freedom from Holyrood Park to Bute House, home to the First Minister of Scotland, currently Nicola Sturgeon. Well I was an hour out. As I was parking at Castle Terrace Car Park, a group were setting off from Holyrood. I thought I had an hour to get there, so I slowly meandered throught the streets of Edinburgh. It really is a fascinating place, a city where whole rows of houses appear to hang in the air. No wonder JK Rowling found inspiration there to write the Harry Potter books. There are alleyways galore to stimulate the imagination, along with statues of unicorns and a writer’s museum tucked away inside a close.
The theme of freedom carried on from the march that I had missed, as I came across this saying in the close where the writer’s museum was.
This wonderful memorial to the Polish men and women who fought for your freedom and ours. How ironic that it is for the very reason of freedom, that I found myself in Edinburgh today, fighting for this noble thing.
I missed the march, but had a wistful few hours on a dreich December day walking around and finding wee gems of reminders that freedom has been hard fought for in the past and something that we are still fighting for now. Will you join us.
My Adopted Life A birth mother’s story By AHM Beattie
This is the smallest of the books in the trilogy, but it is the one which sets the scene and events for the other 2 books to take over the story. This book has the eventful indiscretion that brings about the being of the author. Set against a backdrop of 1960’s North of England working class society, with the added bonus of catholicism thrown in for luck, you have the story of many many women who found themselves in a similar situation, and how it was dealt with in society. It was quite poignant for me, reading this small pocket sized book, as it possibly mirrored my own conception. The author is after all just a few months older than myself, and so reading the story, I was catapulted into the society of the early 1960’s, when we were both born, and immediately relinquished.
We both had an older sister, when our mother’s were respectable married women. It leaves us with no room for misunderstanding that women got the raw edge of the deal in society when their marriages broke down, regardless of the reasons. It brings to mind that many families thought more about what the neighbours might think, rather than to offer full support, to a mother who now finds herself a single parent in the early 60’s.
I selfishly enjoyed this small book that I read in just a few hours.
Gritty and honest, you can only feel sorry for the main characters who were a victim of society. The women who often felt they had no other choice but to relinquish their child, and for the baby who had no say in the matter. To make matters worse for the child, laws were in place to keep that child from discovering the truth for many years. It gave me an insight into what life would have been like for a newly divorced woman in 1960 with a young child to raise.
As I read it I could almost smell the coal fires of my childhood and shivered at the memory of cold bedrooms and blankets on the bed. There are, I am sure, a multitude of people approaching and in their 60’s who will find themselves transported back to the world of their childhood. They will find this book an eye-opener and a poignant reminder of what went on in society, with rippling consequences for the generations to come. It leads into the other 2 books in the trilogy, where those consequences are played out.
This book will either have you in tears or throwing it across the room at the injustices on the innocent, that is our life.
I hope you have enjoyed this review. If you would like to purchase a copy then you can find the author on facebook AHM Beattie Author, or it can be obtained on Amazon.
Blessings and Joy, Joy
This book review has been written entirely at my own volition. No monies have been exchanged in payment for this review.
Talk to any group of people who have been adopted and many of them will tell you that they don’t feel grounded, or connected to the experience that they are having on earth. They feel as though they are not physically here, it is like being a ghost, silently, or maybe not so silently sailing through life, battered by the winds and storms of life, hanging on by their fingertips, as the tempest of life squalls around them. Much of the time is spent trying to work out how one needs to behave in the nest that the storm has deposited you in.
You are a cuckoo, the question is “In who’s nest”?
Your parents are another bird altogether, of a kind that you are not familiar with, you are a cuckoo after all, and everyone knows where cuckoos are raised, and who by. You are just not quite sure what song you are supposed to sing. In your immature voice you try a few, hoping that one will sound pretty similar to the rest of the brood.
This morning in clinic, I found myself reminiscing back to several years ago, to the early years of my marriage (currently at year 10). My husband had been married before and found himself widowed, at the age of 50. 27 years earlier he had moved into a house, and vowed never to move again. When he took his wedding vow, he never relinquished that vow to himself, so I am in the unenviable position of living in a house, should I chose to accept the mission, which is not of my choosing. Another nest that I had not chosen, built or furnished. The only good thing was the cockerel to my hen lived there.
In true adopted fashion……I mostly made the most of it. After all, we who have been adopted, grow up under the “grateful” umbrella. We hear it so many times from so many different people, in so many guises. Some aimed at you, and some aimed at your parents.
“You must be grateful to the people who took you into their home, knowing nothing about you and how you might turn out”
“Be grateful for what you’ve got, they didn’t have to y’know”
“Be grateful little girl, you don’t deserve a house of your own, one that you’ve chosen to live in, be grateful that he married you” or words to that effect.
I had expected when I married to make a nest together, choosing the very walls in which I would sleep, hang my own dreams and shadows on the inner walls, not be observed by the mirror that had been hung by a previous owner of the house.
So now I have laid out the background to my story I shall continue. I saw red one day, realising that there was not a single piece of flooring that I walked upon, from the moment I got up, to the moment I left the house to go to work, which had not been walked upon by Wife Number One (WNO). Bedroom carpet, landing carpet, wooden stairs, hallway carpet, kitchen lino and dining room flooring. Even the shower tray was the one that WNO stood in to take a shower.And so on the day that the red mist descended, I knelt beside the bed, with knife in hand! I wonder if you can guess what I did next? I often wondered if, given my childhood, I could get away with murder? However this was not the time to see if I could put my hypothesis to the test. NO!
I cut a piece out of the carpet, right where my feet would touch the ground, when I swung my legs out of bed in the morning.
Revealed beneath, was underlay, underlay that her feet had not touched. I could now start my day by touching a piece of flooring which had not been touched by the soles of her feet. Bliss and Bless, the angry child in me who had seen fit to destroy a tiny patch of carpet, in an effort to get to ground herself. Husband was not amused when he came home to see what I had done. Ungrateful child.
I finally had his attention. I had finally managed to perform an action…..after so many words had been spoken, when I was reminded to be eternally grateful for the home that he had opened up to me and invited me into. I was expected to open myself to him, but be happy and content with a nest that I had not chosen, designed or furnished. Discourse followed, the old wounds were opened, but a turning point was reached. he finally understood how much the house did not feel like my home.
We went carpet shopping soon after that and slowly room by room, we replaced the flooring along with all the other identifying pieces in each and every room of the house. We now have new flooring in the bedroom, so that I can ground myself each morning, when I touch my feet to the floor.
Morning Prayer and Grounding Ritual
As my feet touch the floor, I am grounded and connected to Mother Earth. I send roots down, deep into the earth to give me nutrients to sustain this body, for which I am eternally grateful.
I connect to the Divine above and ask for guidance and discernment to see me through this day, until I lay down again.
I bring the energies up from the earth and down from the divine, to meet in my heart, where I minister from, in my daily life and work.
I find this prayer very powerful in keeping me grounded and coming from a heart centre.
Do you have any rituals that you use to help you keep grounded? I would love to hear them. Please leave a comment below.
There is a Finding Joy Community over on facebook, for any adoptee who is searching for ways of looking to help with dealing with the feelings and emotions of being relinquished. I look forward to welcoming you there.
A friend posted this on her facebook timeline today.
“If the child in you could have anything she wanted today, what would she wish for?”
I knew immediately what I wanted……a hug from the woman who gave birth to me. Some may say my mother, I would call her Pat. I don’t want the hug now, I want it backdated to almost 60 years ago, as soon as I had emerged from the womb.
You see, I have a letter written by her, addressed to the social services child care department on 27th February 1964, asking them
“to go ahead with formal adoption…………especially as I have not seen her”
From that I take it that she did not hold me after I was born, that there was no skin to skin contact, no sweet words of love, telling how pleased she was to have me in her arms. I remember by own daughter’s birth, and how we spent the first hour getting to know each other, just gazing into each others’ eyes. There was none of that on the day I was born. No I was detached from the mothership, sent off into orbit without a safety line, to tether me to the sights smells and sounds that I had grown and developed with over the past 9 months. The moment I was earthside, our auras were separated and I was in free fall. We no longer shared the same energy fields, which I had grown accustomed to over the past 9 months. I wrote a poem 4 years ago, which can be read here
Paul Sunderland in his excellent lectures, that can be found on youtube, talks about the moment of expectation, when a baby is born, having spent 9 months developing, being nurtured in the warm amniotic fluid, listening to the sound of her body. The baby is all wired up to be welcomed into her arms, to be laid upon her chest, to continue to hear her heartbeat and her voice.
Instead I got what? I don’t know!
After reading the post this morning, after my initial reaction, I spent an hour feeling quite discombobulated. I wanted to go into a meditation, to see what came up around my birth, to allow healing to take place, but I had second thoughts about that. My birthday is only 32 days away and I would like to spend it listening to my body, my moods and my energies, to see if I can sense the time when I was born. There are a couple of things that I would say ALL adopted people want to know, even those who have a good relationship with the family that ultimately become their family. They want to know about hereditary health issues, and the time they were born. All astrology asks you for your time of birth, and I do not have the remotest idea. After listening to Paul’s lecture on adoption and addiction, I came to realise that I have physiological reactions to external triggers, that I think relate to my birth. I am keen to see if on the 5th January, I am able to tap into those energies, and from there, be able to release the negative ones and replace them with better ones.
As my husband would say “reprogramme” them.
So for now, I am going to take my inner child downstairs to the fridge, to get some ice-cream and watch The Sound of Music, for the second time in a week.