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Who Tells Your Story?

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“Let me tell you what I wish I’d known, when I was young and dreamed of glory,  you have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story.” – Lin-Manuel MirandaIn the final number of the musical “Hamilton,” Hamilton’s wife Eliza sings a song called “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” where she describes the 50 years the good Lord gave her to tell Alexander’s story.Alexander Hamilton ran out of time to tell his own story to the world.I am deeply aware that I could die with my story inside of me and that scares me; however, it doesn’t push me to write my search memoir and publish faster.I procrastinate.I ask myself do I have a right to tell this story?People ask me about this story frequently and I so want to tell it, every detail or it, but it’s just not possible to create a true narrative of my story in just a few minute summary. It just can’t be done and when I attempt it, other people’s narratives move front and center which then takes meaning away from my narrative.Let me…

Alexander Hamilton: Bastard, Orphan, Adoptee?

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I was so excited to see Hamilton Friday, July, 3, the day it debuted on Disney Plus, with my mother and daughter in the comfort of the Grubb house.We threw a little party for this long-awaited event as we had never seen it live on Broadway.(Alexander Hamilton will henceforth be referred to as “Alex” – yep, a little legal humor).The movie on Disney Plus is not actually a movie but a 3-day film shot of the live performance of the “best-rehearsed cast” that performed in June, 2016.I was pleased that Lin Manuel was in this version, because I don’t think I would have been as excited to view it had he been absent from it.My daughter knew all the lyrics of the soundtrack and because of that, knew what was coming ahead before I did, but I was content to be surprised and was only familiar with the more often-played songs that happen at the beginning of the show.My daughter and I have an inside joke about how many Disney or other movies, books or media have orphans as the main theme. It seems t…

Thoughts on 15 Significant Steps Toward Adoptee Healing

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My friend Pamela Karanova wrote about 15 steps toward healing and it got me thinking about my own journey.  Pam has so much insight into healing from the ground up, coming from a birth family and an adoptive family that did not provide her the love and care that she deserved.In my mind, what makes Pam such a leader in the adoption community is her ability to move toward healing herself without having extended family support on her journey.Now that is truly an accomplishment!We all know adoptees who had fantastic adoptive parents who did the best they could given the limitations of closed records and a lack of post-adoption services in many communities. However, it is now becoming a well-known fact that most adopted people suffer from developmental trauma – this is pre-verbal trauma that happens in utero or during the first 1000 days of life. In other words, even with the best adoptive parents, that is no guarantee that adoptees won’t have significant pain and healing to deal with thro…

Lessons for Adoptees with Unknown Parentage

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I was sharing the story of finding my birth father with the local DNA interest group I am part of and one of the members suggested I share it with the local genealogical society, so I wanted to write something coherent for not only them, but anyone who wants to understand the strategies that were used in finding my biological father, especially when a “case” does not fit the typical DNA strategy.
The lessons that follow are assuming that the adoptee has their DNA in all of the following already:Ancestry DNA, 23 and Me, Family Tree DNA, My Heritage and Gedmatch.
When I was first learning genetic genealogy, it was stressed to me that the goal was to find common ancestors amongst two or more DNA matches and then, that would lead one to conclude that if two DNA matches share the common ancestor, then you do to.Unfortunately, that strategy never worked for me because I have a father who was a very recent immigrant. For years, I never had anything closer than a 4th cousin match with bad tree…

Finding My Truth After All These Years

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I wanted to share an article a friend of mine, Pamela Karanova, wrote about finding our truth and how that is the place we need to be in order to begin the process of healing.Healing from what exactly?
Adoptees carry an extra burden than most biologically born people.Pamela discusses it very eloquently when she talks about how some of us were adopted to serve others’ needs.Whether we were a cure for infertility, or we were the girl adopted to round out the family who only had a boy, there was an agenda many times when we were adopted.

And some of us were trained to become caretakers of others which delayed our ability to differentiate from our adoptive families and live our lives for ourselves, instead of others.
We started life in chaos. Life was uncertain from day one.  We had no say.We had no control.Many of us had no information about where we came from or who we looked like and the big question: why was I given up for adoption?
And we bear the consequences of other people’s deci…

Adoption Triggers During Social Distancing (Part I)

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Laureen Pittman (Author of The Lies that Bind,) and I are doing an on-line talk tonight called “Social Distancing Together” through Zoom.It will be the first time I have ever done anything like it so it will be kind of  experimental – sitting on the couch with a glass of wine while everybody sits at home with their electronic devices.(There is still time to sign up here).
So, what does adoption have to do with Covid-19?Well, on the face of it, nothing.We are dealing with a new virus that our bodies have not yet developed immunity to and our best defense (and the best defense for others) at this time is to wash our hands, stay home and away from others.
But if we dig a little deeper, we can see that adoptees have some significant trigger points. We began our life with much uncertainty, unanswered questions, and severed from our roots  (I recall hearing it described, "not having my feet fully planted on earth").  When your beginnings are rooted in so much uncertainty and separat…

Despite Reports, A Child Dies

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The morning of Tuesday, January 7, 2020, was my first day back from a trip to Orlando, Florida.I was happy to be sleeping in my own bed again.I hazily stumbled to the kitchen, ignoring my unpacked suitcase, searching for a cup of coffee that my husband, Mark, brewed.I grabbed one of my favorite coffee mugs and wandered into the living room passing by Sunday’s, 1/5/19, Dayton Daily News sitting on the side table where I see the headline: “Despite Reports, A Child Dies.”
I had seen the social media posts by a teacher friend of mine who works for Dayton Public Schools.She was devastated at the death of a student at the school she worked at – Horace Mann Elementary, a 10 year old named Takoda Collins, at the hands of his father.
What makes this situation all the more heart breaking is the repeated reports and calls by teachers and Takoda’s mother to both Child and Family Services and the Dayton Police.The child’s father, who had custody of him, had removed Takoda from school where there …