4 months down and today was the start of a new topic in the flourish group. We have moved from ownership onto health. Now as a health professional of over 40 years, I understand health, in all it’s guises, and struggled with having it insinuated that as an adoptee I must make poor health choices and that must affect the world and the people around me.
I like to think that I have a fairly balanced healthy lifestyle. I eat relatively healthily. I could exercise more but I do do some. Is it enough? Possibly not. But I don’t feel guilty about not doing more, because if I did I would get up and do some. Now that we are in May, the days are getting longer, and we have had a few games of croquet. After the election on Thursday, I will hopefully have more time to focus on croquet and writing again.
I get enough sleep. I drink social amounts of alcohol, nay I seldom, infrequently, rarely. What is the word for 1 drink a week? Regularly? I regularly have one G&T a week. I don’t smoke cigarettes, cigars, or weed, nor do I vape. I don’t take any recreational or prescibed medications. I have a teaspoon of “Green Magic” most mornings along with Vit C and D. I have researched vaccinations and I make an informed decision not to have them. If I have a symptom of any sort, I try essential oils first. I haven’t seen a doctor for more than 14, since I moved to Scotland. And it was several years before moving, that I saw a doctor.
I decided a long time ago that if I wasn’t happy with my body, then I had a choice. If I could do something about it, then I would. So if I am not happy with my weight, I do something about it, but I don’t spend hours moaning about my weight, that is soul destroying. Neither do I wish I was taller, or had green eyes. There is no point in wasting energy wishing you were something else. I embrace what I have, as God’s creation.
At the moment I am spending more time on a device that I would like, but hopefully after Thurs this may change as I need to be in communication less with people than I am at the moment. Hope I can go back to working, writing and generally taking better care of myself.
I have a saying that I often say to my clients which says “You can’t pour from an empty pot”
On that note I am going to say goodnight as it is 10.30 pm here and I have work in the morning.
My thanks to Deborah for this post. I alerted her to it and as I am rather busy on the campaign trail at the moment, a quick reblog is my post for today. I have missed one day out of my 100 posts in 100 days, but seeing as I have managed two or even three on some days, I am still on track even if there is a wee cheat every now and again. Blessings and Joy, Joy
An adoptee friend of mine alerted me to this article that is an interview of Scott Simon. It touches upon an interesting tangential or is it potential argument for adopting based upon the environment. The title of the article is NPR’s Scott Simon on Adoption and Environmentalism. Before I go any further, I’ll quickly answer that part – the interviewer mentions reading the book and coming across this passage: “Adopting a child to prove something is not a healthy motivation. I would seriously consider alerting the authorities if I heard a prospective parent say, ‘We want to adopt because it’s the most environmentally responsible thing to do. Don’t want to increase our carbon footprint, after all!’ ”
I give Simon and his wife some credit for trying assisted reproduction first. I don’t know how far that went with that effort beyond the most traditional and conventional method of invitro…
Several weeks ago I was approached and asked if I wanted to contribute to a book that someone was considering writing. Or taking our stories and making into a book, would be a more exact way of putting it. Not having any experience in collaborating on a book of adoptee contributions, I thought I would do some research and see if anyone had done it already. And so I discovered the collection of adoptee reflections “Rooted in Adoption” by Veronica Breaux and Shelby Kilgore.
I have only read a few pages of it, but I was hooked from the very first words written in the foreword, which was written by Jules Alvarado MA LPC, a healing expert in the field of trauma. She sums up my grief that I wrote about in How does an adoptee start grieving?
“The experience of the adopted child is often overlooked. We celebrate completing families. We have big adoption parties that fail to realize the devastation, suffering, longing and primal loss of the child at the centre of attention”
I think I am going to enjoy as well as be challenged to read this small book. It has less than 100 pages, but each page holds a nugget of wisdom, of honesty and of pain. Written by adoptees who have their unique story to tell of relinquishment, adoption, pain and healing, as they explore what the whole process has done to them as individual people.
The very first sentence in the book, even before we got to the foreword says:
“To adoptees, some of the strongest people with the most beautiful souls. We lost so much, yet we continue to give. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the world.
The election campaign has taken over my writing for the time being, but I feel compelled to write this, after coming across an article, orginally published in The Independent on 27th September 2017. It had the headline “Adoptive parents say “extraordinary lack of support has driven their families to crisis point” written by their social affairs correspondent at the time, May Bulman. As I read the article, I thought that the heading would have read better if it had said “Adoptive parents totally mis-handle the children they have taken in” as the article showed no understanding, of how to deal with the trauma that relinquishment instils!
The article starts “We always felt that our love and commitment would prevail.” How many times have I read that? “We love them, that is all it will take” mentality. It goes on – more than a quarter of adoptive families are in crisis, parents with adopted children tell the Independent, they are overwhelmed. Around 5,500 children are adopted each year in the UK, they tell us at the very end of the article – so 1250 families, if we assume that some siblings are adopteed together, are in crisis because of how they do not understand how the child feels.
We read about Sarah and Dave, who adopted a baby boy when he was ten months old. We are told that Ollie* not his real name, was adopted when he was ten months old. We are not told how many times Ollie was relinquished in those ten months, but my guess would be twice, but more is a distinct possibility. He may have been relinquished by his mother who gave birth to him, very close to his birth, and then taken to a foster family whilst the adoption process was being finalised, before arriving at Sarah and Dave’s home. In the early days his development followed a normal course, but issues soon started to emerge. Again we are not told of the parenting style of Sarah and Dave, but I can’t help wondering if Ollie was ever put on the naughty step as a way of managing his behaviour, because I can tell you, as an adoptee, he would feel abandoned again, triggering his emotions that he probably couldn’t verbalise, so he would have a tantrum. Rather than investigate why he was showing signs of ADHD and autism, it was put down to his birth mother’s use of heroin during the pregnancy.
Sarah says he had terrible issues making friends. Darling Sarah, do you have any idea how it feels to be a child who has been abandoned and rejected by your mother? You take that experience into life – if your mother didn’t want you, no-one wants you to be their friend either. In our tiny tramuatised minds, we crave friendships and relationships and yet we push people away, because it is easier for us to reject you, than wait for you to reject us. We hold the cards that way.
At secondary school he sounded like he was in his own little war zone in his head, struggling to deal with the social elements. Sarah had eighteen months going between services, being bandied about. “It took an extraordinary amount of resilience to fight with all the services” she said. I have three questions to ask her, or any other person who is struggling to deal with their child’s behaviour.
Have you spoken to an adoptee? One who has come out of the fog, as an expert on how your child may be feeling and why they are acting the way they are, at any given time.
Let’s take birthdays as an example. In general we adoptees don’t like our birthdays. It is nothing to do with the heroin our mother’s may or may not have taken whilst they were pregnant with us. We don’t like them for the very reason that we see them as the day that our mother abandoned us, whilst you, dear adoptive parent, see us as the answer to your infertility problem. So while we want to grieve the loss of our mother, you want to celebrate. Grief and celebration really don’t mix too well in our tiny minds.
I am so sorry Ollie, that Sarah and Dave had absolutely no idea how you would feel being sent away to boarding school. They promised to love you, and instead of trying to understand you, they did the most hurtful thing imaginable, they rejected you and sent you away and went to the newspapers to say we did everything right, but social services didn’t support them.
“In order to maintain his place in the family” you sent him away. Please don’t be surprised Sarah and Dave if he never comes back to take his place in your family again. You sent him away, why on earth would he want to come back to take his place? He doesn’t have a place in his eyes.
I couldn’t bear to read much further as Sarah went on to say how she made 20-30 phone calls, and goes on to say “parents already going through such trauma”. Not one mention about the trauma that Ollie went through prior to arrival at their home.
I have reached out to Adoption UK and offered to speak at thie conference, they haven’t replied to my reply. I have also reached out to the journalist and The Independent, offering to write an article about how society can help adoptees. They too have failed to respond. Until the adoption fraternity start to engage with adoptees, I fear that more and more “Ollies” are going to be let down. Please engage with us, we want to help you stop causing children more issues than they already have, because adoptive parents and the adoption world beleive that all you need is love. It is what we need, but we also need you to understand us. Reach out to us, if you are serious about the mental health of 1250 children a year.
So yesterday was the submission date for the book proposal and it has past. I didn’t submit but I am okay with that, and if you read yesterday’s post you will know why. I now have a countdown for the next one which is on the 30th June 2021 and I will be much more focussed for it. If I am honest I never realised that the book proposal would be such an involved process. There is much more work to do, to submit a proposal to a publishing company than I ever thought, but I am determined to do a good job when it happens and it will. If you have any tips or advice then please leave them in a comment.
For now I am fully focussed on doing all that I can for the Freedom Alliance campaign, leading up to 6th May. When I mentioned to my husband how much I was actually enjoying working with a team of people, he rolled his eyes. He has heard me so many times talk about how people are winding me up. He often says to me “Joy their way is different, it doesn’t make it wrong, just different.” Today he commented that my Flourish group must be doing something good, for me to actually say that I am enjoying working with other people. As an adoptee, I have become so used to working on my own, making my own decisions and sticking by them, or altering the direction I was going, becasue I wanted to, not because it was the whim of another person. Could it be because for the first ten days of my life i lay in the nursery on my own, only having the presence of another person when I was being fed or changed, and left alone for another four hours until the feeding and nappy changing routine was repeated? Who knows but as a result of Flourish I am mellowing as a person, and learning skills that will transfer over onto the book tour circuit.
Yesterday in my Flourish group we were asked to tell the story of our true north, and what grand gesture would we need to take to solidify this. Here is my response, written in the 15 minutes that we were given:
My true north is wherever and whatever God wants to align me to. I have dreams of writing my story. I have had prophetic words spoken over it. I have had visions given to me that if I don’t write my story, thousands will be denied my wisdom. It is not magic, it is God’s creation. Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall receive.. I set my intention, I visualise my intention, I see my book manifested in physical form. I create it by taking a book and covering it with my book cover, with my title book publisher on the dust jacket. I visualise a famous author writnng the foreword. I cast a spell on my story being a success. I visualise myself at book signings and recitals. I see myself standing up at Adoption UK conferences and at APPG, who have no adoptee on their panel. I become an adoptee advocate and voice to groups who think they have adoption at their heart, but they continue to use language and miss the basics that only fuels the issue with the children of today, who will become the adults of the future, with the same issues that we have in Flourish. Parents need to know how they are adding to our issues. That is my true north. If my true north aligns with God’s will, then it will happen.
My first grand gesture is to hand over my ego, to surrender to God, to stop trying to get it to happen, and relax, safe in the knowledge that God has this. It is not magic, but by the power of the Holy Spirit this shall com to pass. I need to play my part, take the action of taking the time of sitting down and writing my story to send to the publisher.
My practical grand gesture is to take what appears to be a side-step, to stand for a seat in the Scottish parliament, safe in the knowledge that God has this and that each step in my life is a step towards my true north. Skills and experiences will help my development as a person, dealing with things that I have not encountered before, which will prepare me for events that I have not thought about in the book world, for the future. At times when it has been dark and hard, I have struggled to cope with it, and it is only with hindsight that I have come to realize that beautiful gems come as a result of either irritation in the case of a pearl, or intense pressure where diamonds are formed. By going through the furnace and fire of life, I will get to my true north.
Where is your true north and are you sterring towards it?
In the Flourish group today we were asked what our North Star is. What are we focussed on and travelling towards.
My North Star has to be my book that will be published. It would appear that I have gone a little off piste, as the deadline for the book proposal is tomorrow and I have steered off course to campaign for the upcoming elections on 6th May, but my faith is strong and I know that God has me doing what he wants me to do. All of my life I have preferred to be on my own. I work on my own and am happy doing so. What I am doing at the moment is showing me that I can work alongside others. Today I have worked with a couple of other people to organise the bundling and distribution of 70,000 campaign leaflets. A major feat for me, believe me.
In adoptee centric communities, one quickly learns about “the fog”. This is the feel good narrative that adoption agencies and adoptive parents “feed” their adopted child. Many adoptees never come out of the fog. Most do not come out until maturity, maybe when they give birth to a biological child genetically related to them and begin searching the adoption related literature, a prominent one is The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier. This is the preverbal, subconscious trauma experienced by a baby when they are taken from the mother who gestated them and then gave birth. It matters not a lot whether this separation occurs immediately after birth or months later. My parents were 6 mos and 8 mos old at the time they were separated from their mothers – so preverbal. The trauma is real and has ongoing effects.
So, I was attracted to an article in The Guardian titled
This is not the planned post that I was going to write, but I have just come across the blog Psyche Cafe that had the image of the book The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk MD on it. This is the next book on my list of books to buy, as part of my research to write my own story of healing, and so I diverted my attention away from writing, onto reading. It’s what we adoptees do, think of doing one thing and end up doing something else. Ask my husband.
I read “Adoption said, I’ll label this one as mine and handed me a mask. Don’t worry honey. It will stretch as you grow. Put it on. And keep it on. And we won’t talk of this……..I’ll tell you when it’s safe to take the mask off.”
And so I thought pensively about the mask that I may have been handed and worn for much of my life. I was often accused of being funny at inopportune moments. It was like I couldn’t tell what was comedy and what was tragedy. My brain had been wired differently to others. I laughed out loud at my sister’s funeral, as the ladies of a certain age discussed picking up an aerosol cannister thinking it was hairspray only to discover that pledge doesn’t hold the curls quite like swartzkopf does.
And so my mind wandered to what the world has been doing for the past year. Governments and society have been trying to tell us when to wear masks, and more poignantly, when we can take them off, and like the average adoptee, I have rebelled. They cajoled us with “face coverings” it didn’t need to be a mask, you just had to cover your face. Now as someone who has years of experience working on an infectious diseases unit in a past life, masks when an infectious disease is concerned are contaminated clinical waste, and are disposed of and sent for incineration, not scrunched up and put back in your pocket or handbag, nor is it worn under the chin when outside for ease of pulling back over the breathing orifices when required. If people could only see the mites that might be crawling on their skin, they may think about not cradling their chin with a chin warmer, before replacing over their nose and mouth, to breathe those microscopic critters in. I resisted, I resisited to wear a paper mask, and a cloth one, a glittery one or even one that turned itself into a necklace when not needed to cover the face. Thinking about it that might be preferable to perching it under the chin, I would need to see the risk assessments done on the two designs to compare.
No I resisited because the logic and science says that masks don’t work in a respiratory virus, and yet still the people wore them. Nor did it seem logical to introduce mask wearing when they did. We weren’t told to wear them at the beginning, although advised, we had the choice. I chose not to. Then after 3 months in the UK they told us we needed to wear them when going to the shops, it was mandated unless you had an exemption. I do. I have panic attacks when I think about putting a mask over my face. I wore a mask for many many years, I now chose to show the world the real Joy, maskless, smiling communicating with the whole of my face. Is my body keeping the score of the mask that it wore for years.
The mask of “put a brave face on, don’t let others see that you’re not coping”, whatever coping means. Can I still feel the imprint of that mask that I wore for so long? Is it imprinted on my Soul in the same way as the primal wound is imprinted on it? Recalled but not remembered. Now I so want to buy the book to see what Van Der Kolk MD has to say? Where’s my credit card? Is it hidden under the mask in my handbag, that I bought back in Summer 2020, just in case?
Blessings and Joy, Joy
PS Go check that blog out and read more of what Psyche Cafe had to say.