Check Out Amanda’s “When Will I Get Over It”

Over at The Declasified Adoptee, Amanda has a great post on “When Will I Get Over It”.

This has been asked of me countless times over the years. Amanda has a great list of “whens”. I added to her list with the comment:

“How about “when adoption ceases to exist”?!

Australia phased out child adoptions. America needs to do this as well. Kinship care and guardianship need to replace child adoptions.

Great post Amanda.

Go read a great mind.

RePost: Graying Adoptees Still Searching for Their Identities

The following is a great article to dispel myths surrounding adoptees’ and natural parents’ access to birth records, however, the focus centers around illegitimacy. My birth records were sealed and falsified and I am not illegitimate. The laws do not even apply to me, yet, I am bound by them because I am adopted. This is why I chose to post this entry under the screen name of “legitimatebastard”. The law treats me as if I were a bastard. I resent being placed in this predicament by outdated laws that do not apply to adoptees today.

Read the article and then contribute to the discussion at the link:

 Graying Adoptees Still Searching for Their Identities

Only 9 States Allow Adult Adoptees to Find Original Birth Certificates, But Changes Being Pushed



July 27, 2010


Carol Cook of Blairstown, N.J., grew up thinking she was a WASP with Native American blood, a splash of ethnicity that pleased her because she had majored in anthropology in college.

But at 33, the executive secretary and mother of two inadvertently discovered a secret her entire family had held from her: Cook was adopted, born in a Catholic hospital and was likely Italian.

“I suspect the [secret] evolved and it became more impossible to tell me,” she said. “I had good parents. But suddenly I was not the person I thought. I was a totally different nationality. I was floored.”

Now she is 68 and a grandmother, but Cook’s struggle to find her identity is never-ending. In New Jersey — and in all but nine states — it’s against the law to for her to get her original birth certificate.

Today, most adoptions are open, but for a generation of graying Americans like Cook, the doors to their identities are irrevocably closed shut.

Now, in growing numbers, adult adoptees are trying to overturn legislation that sealed up records, but in most states they are fighting an uphill battle.

New Jersey is the latest battleground over laws that were originally intended to protect the birth child and her mother from moral shame, but many say are now antiquated and cruel.

Since 1980, efforts to unseal birth records in New Jersey have failed, but an open adoption records bill that recently passed a Senate committee will go before the state Assembly this fall.

Birth parents would have 12 months to request that their names not be made public or to state how they would want to be contacted by a birth child.

Lawmakers in at least 11 states are now considering the issue and in the last decade seven states have expanded access, according to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, an organization dedicated to education and research.

Today, birth records are broadly available to adult adoptees in Tennessee, Alabama, Delaware, New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon and Illinois, as well as Kansas and Alaska, where they were never sealed.

Just this month, the institute issued a report recommending every state enact legislation restore rights to adult adoptees.

“How a human being comes into a family should not dictate what rights they have,” said Executive Director Adam Pertman. “There has to be a level playing field.”

Adoptees also need access to medical records, according to Pertman, noting that the surgeon general says that knowing family history, “is the most important thing for health.”

The 46-page policy brief also contends that the vast majority of birth mothers do not want to be anonymous to the children they relinquished.

“The single biggest factor that helps women heal and deal with loss and the grief they feel when placing a child up for adoption is knowing the child is OK,” said Pertman.

In New Hampshire, where birth certificates were unsealed in 2005, out of 24,000 records only 12 birth mothers stipulated that they wanted no contact with their birth children, according to research.

“Knowing who you are and where you come from, it turns out, is not just a matter of fulfilling curiosity, it’s something that helps human beings develop more fully psychologically to understand and feel better about themselves,” he said.

As for Cook, she said she doesn’t feel “connected.”

“I have friends who are really into genealogy and when they start talking about it, I shut down,” she said. “I don’t want to be rude, but it’s upsetting.”

In 1975, an older half-sister who knew Cook was adopted told an aunt, who shocked her with the news.

“I asked me mother if it was true and she said, ‘yes,'” according to Cook. “I was standing in the kitchen and literally slid down the wall. Everything just went out from under me.”

Her mother told her she was born at Columbus Hospital in the Italian section of Newark, N.J., nothing else. The hospital has since closed and Catholic Charities told her they have no records.

For a time, Cook attended some advocacy groups and even called the records office to see if she could get her birth certificate.

“I got this nasty person who said, ‘Why do you even want to know it, like I was some kind of horrible person. I really just couldn’t face it.”

When Cook goes to the doctor’s office and forms ask for her health history, she writes “not applicable.”

Cook’s granddaughter was diagnosed with celiac disease and she has wondered if the genetic disorder came from her side of the family. “Whether it has any bearing, I don’t know,” she said.

Religious Groups Oppose Access to Original Birth Certificates

The New Jersey bill faces opposition from New Jersey Right to Life, the Catholic Church, the New Jersey Bar Association, the National Council for Adoption and even the ACLU, who defend the privacy rights of birth parents.


For 30 years, Pam Hasegawa of Morristown, N.J., has been fighting to change a 70-year-old law in New…

For 30 years, Pam Hasegawa of Morristown, N.J., has been fighting to change a 70-year-old law in New Jersey that denies adoptees their original birth certificates. A grandmother and adoptee, Hasegawa still doesn’t have access to her birth certificate, but believes her mother may have been Scandinavian.

(Courtesy Pam Hasegawa)

“Birth parents who place children for adoption should have the right to keep their identities private, both prospectively and retroactively,” is the stance of the New Jersey Coalition to Defend Privacy in Adoption.

“It almost makes us sound like terrorists who are going to creep into people’s lives and destroy them,” said Cook.

Pam Hasegawa, an adoptee and grandmother who has led the 30-year fight in New Jersey with the New Jersey Coalition for Adoption Reform & Education, said their argument is “full of holes.”

Today, with open adoptions the norm, “most birth mothers choose to meet with the family and to know each other’s names, and if they can, get the birth certificate or a copy of it before it’s finalized to give to the adoptive parents,” she said.

Historically, birth records were closed to protect children from the stigma of being born “out of wedlock” and having “illegitimate” stamped on their birth certificates.

It also was designed to protect the adoptive family from intervention or, as older adoption contracts state, “molestation” by a birth mother.

Hasegawa always knew she was adopted, but later learned more detail about her birth mother’s identity through letters written to an adoptive aunt. Her birth parents had married in Paris, but after her father was killed, her mother had to return to the United States and, without help, reluctantly gave up her daughter.

Hasegawa said birth mothers were never promised anonymity. They were forced to sign papers that relinquished their babies, giving up all rights to knowing their fate — if they were later sick, died or even if they were ever adopted.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, most states had sealed adoption court records completely but, typically allowed adult adoptees to obtain their original birth certificates, according to adoption researcher Elizabeth Samuels, a law professor at the University of Baltimore.

“In the 1950s when adoption was more popular, they wanted to hide the shame of the illegitimate family and the adoptive family didn’t want interference in creating the perfect family,” she said. “The adoptive birth certificate should reflect the new person.”

In 1960, the laws in 40 percent of the states still permitted adult adoptees to inspect them, but between then and 1990, all but a handful of the rest of the states closed the birth records to adult adoptees.

When mores changed, a generation of adoptees began searching for their birth parents, and adoptive parents felt threatened that their children wouldn’t love them, according to Samuels.

The focus of protection shifted away from the birth mother and her child to the rights of adoptive families. Efforts to keep records closed were led by adoption agencies, attorneys general and legislators, but not by the birth mothers themselves.

Today’s adoptive parents are more apt to fight for the “rights of the child and their origin,” said Samuels. And birth mothers are speaking out.

In 1979, Mary Lou Cullen gave up a son in a closed adoption when she was just 19, never telling a soul, not even her husband or later three children. She was contacted by her birth son Nathan, who is now 30, by letter eight years ago.

“He said, ‘If you don’t want any communication, that’s fine, but if you do, this is how you can get a hold of me.’ I never even second guessed or had a moment of hesitation, knowing I was going to contact him,” said the Marshfield, Massachusetts, mother of three more children. “But I had a whole lot of people to tell.”

Birth Mother Supports Reform

The reunion and revealing her secret was “stressful,” said Cullen, who is now president of Concerned United Birthparents. But after working it out, birth mother and birth son have become close.


Jean Sacconaghi Strauss, a documentary filmmaker and adoptee, chronicles finding her birth mother…

Jean Sacconaghi Strauss, a documentary filmmaker and adoptee, chronicles finding her birth mother Lee Iacarella Beno, then reuniting Beno with her own birth mother Mary Brown Milosey. The three generations of women, all adoptees, reunited more than three decades after Strauss was born and have since become good friends.

(Courtesy Jean Sacconaghi Strauss)

Even though both Nathan’s adoptive parents and birth parents supported the reunion, he can still not access his birth certificate in Ohio, where he was born.

“Once Nathan met me and my family, he said he felt like it completed him,” said Cullen, now 50. “For me, it was very difficult for a number of years, but it’s my truth and I don’t need to deny it anymore or hide it or cover it up. I can live my honest truth.”

“On top of that, I got to meet my first born, who I never thought I would see again,” she said. “I had no idea what had happened to him. And I was able to deal with the grief that I had never dealt with before.”

But Jean Strauss, a filmmaker who for 30 years has has chronicled the lives of adult adoptees in books and documentaries, admits, “It’s not all about reunions.”

Her film on adult adoptees searching for their identities, “For the Life of Me,” premiered at the Cleveland International Film Festival in March.

“Owning your own information is a very powerful thing,” said the now mother of two. “You are a human being and this belongs to you.”

Born Cecelia Ann Porter in California in 1955, where records are still sealed, Strauss hired a private investigator to find her birth mother after her beloved adoptive mother died in 1988.

“I was terrified I might hurt her,” said Strauss, who described her adoptive mother as “my best friend.”

When they reunited, Strauss was 33 and her birth mother Lee Beno was 54. Six years later, they located Beno’s 80-year-old birth mother, Mary Miklosey, who had grown up in an orphanage where she had been sent when her own mother died.

“The two of them hadn’t seen each other in 60 years,” said Strauss, who told the story in her short film, “The Triumvirate.”

“It’s given me a tremendous sense of freedom,” Miklosey said in the film. “I can say, this is my daughter and my granddaughter and look at the world and say I have a family.”

Strauss also learned she had seven brothers and sisters and for the first time found others who “biologically related to me.” Tragically, a younger brother died of lymphoma, a new relationship she lamented was cut short because of the secrecy of adoption.

“I can’t tell you how it changed me to find out the information,” she said. “I felt so empowered by it and it’s what drives me to help other people to have the truth.”

The “stigma of illegitimacy” that sealed up records has disappeared, notes Strauss, but the world is “much different now.”

Across the border from Kansas in Missouri, an adult adoptee must have the the adoptive parents’ permission.

“Can you imagine being 40 or 50 years old and having to get permission?” she asked. “You have to prove your adoptive parents are dead. If you jump through those hoops and contact the birth parents, they have to give permission. If you are 50, the odds are pretty high that your birth mother is dead.”

In the most restrictive states adult adoptees must pay court and lawyer fees to show cause why their birth certificates should be released.

“It’s a capricious process where some judges say, ‘sure’ and others say, ‘no way, even if your life is threatened,” according to Pertman of the Donaldson Institute.

“People in all 50 states every day are finding their birth parents through the Internet, Facebook and private detectives,” said Pertman. “So what’s the argument and if you don’t believe they are evil people, why not just give them to them.”

As for Carol Cook, she still longs to know who she is — so much so, that she has recently ordered a DNA kit to at least find clues to her genetic roots. Though even if the law passes and she can get her birth certificate, Cook said her parents are likely dead.

“Everyone knew I was adopted except me,” said Cook. “I think that has affected me in some ways. I find it difficult to trust people, It’s not overt. I just can’t get real close to people…I couldn’t let the rest of my life fall apart but it would be nice to know if I can find something out.”

posted by legitimatebastard ~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.



Newly Discovered Family Keepsake: 1956 Baby Shower Card

In clearing out the attic over the past several months, I’ve discovered a few items that hold opposite meanings for myself and my adoptive mother: Greeting cards. But not just any type of greeting card. There are Baby’s First Christmas, Baby’s First Birthday, Baby’s First Valentine. The one that struck me the most, however, was the 1956 Baby Shower Card that reveals the promise of “increasing” happiness with the addition of a baby girl but ignores reality of loss of that baby’s family of birth. Such is the reality of adoption.

Here’s the front of the card:

1956 Baby Shower Card

Here’s the inside showing the cut-a-way window. The last names of the “girls at the shop” have been deleted.

 1956 Baby Shower Card - inside 1a

Here’s another view of the inside of the card with the secondary card opened:

1956 Baby Shower Card - inside 2 

 Note the words:

“A darling little baby girl

To steal your hearts away —“

 Evidently, as a child, I stole their hearts away.

Definitely, they knowingly stole me from my family.

I gained an adoptive family, but lost the family that I had.

It is inhumane what was done to me and my siblings in the name of adoption. They did it – my adoptive parents – knowingly, willfully and intentionally. They did it out of love. And with Jesus’ blessings. Good Catholics they were.

And for this I am to be grateful.

No question about it, for me, there is no way to get through this pain but radical acceptance of the reality. Do I need to mention that I have no forgiveness for the parents and extended family involved with the coverup of the truth at my expense? I am not required to give forgiveness as it was not earned, nor even asked for, except by my adoptive father immediately after he spoke with my natural father on the phone in 1974 just days after I was found.

For whose happiness did I enter their family? Theirs. I was manipulated and tricked into believing the life they fed me. I developed close attachments and love with aunts, uncles and cousins who later turned out to hate me (but other cousins and aunts and uncles were not that way). I loved my adoptive parents, but I was cheated out of life with the siblings I was never supposed to know. Meanwhile, my natural father lost his newborn daughter and his other children lost their baby sister.

Let this be a lesson to adoptive parents everywhere: be as honest as you possibly can with your adoptee. Honesty is the best policy. For when there are secrets and spiteful rage to keep the adoptee from ever knowing the truth, the adoptee suffers at the hands of the very people who are suppose to love that adoptee unconditionally. Withholding vital information and preventing a minor child contact with full or half siblings is a cruelty worthy to be called child abuse of both the adoptee and her siblings left behind.

Yes, today my elderly adoptive mother shares her joyous memories with me of the day she and my father “got” me. She talks of the baby shower that welcomed me into the family. I acknowledge her joys. This is her journey through life. I try to make her as comfortable as possible by listening to her.

I also acknowledge my profound sadness at what I lost: my entire family of birth. My father, my siblings, my aunts, uncles and cousins, and I lost my natural mother due to her early death, a death that lead to my father’s mistaken belief that the only course of action was to give me up to a completely closed adoption. We lived less than six miles apart, but this magical social construct of adoption robbed me of my family, robbed my siblings of their baby sister, and robbed my father of his daughter. The only ones who got away with any happiness and security were my adoptive parents. They got the baby they could not produce on their own. Eighteen years of infertility and voila – a baby is suddenly available by the death of her mother. Take the baby and run. Have a baby shower and pamper that baby girl with all their love. And for what? For 18 years of lies to the adoptee and 36 years of hell to pay after I was found by the very siblings my adoptive mother so adamantly declared I should never know.

The past 36 years have been filed with accusations that I have been disloyal and ungrateful. Why? For accepting the truth of my birth and adoption? Why is it always the adoptee who is expected to accept other people’s viewpoints and opinions? Is it worth it to be permanently separated by arbitrary laws and social constructs to create a falsehood within  which the adoptee is expected to live? No, it is not.

I have been told with flippant comments from non-adoptees that “that’s the way it was done back then”.

So? That doesn’t make it right. I am the one to suffer the consequences of other people’s actions. My life as an adoptee was not worth the cocoon-sheltered childhood and the emotional and psychological abusive adult life I have had to endure because of adoption.

Now I must slowly say goodbye to a misguided elderly adoptive mother, make her journey to life’s passing as gentle as possible, and struggle to comprehend the devastation left behind.

~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.



Obituary: Annette Baran dies at 83; crusader for open adoption

There are two published obituaries for Annette Baran. One is in the LA Times and the other is in Both are open to comments. The Kansas City Obituary is a reprint of the LA Times article. Please note the separate link for comments to the Kansas City article. Thanks to Mirah Riben for the notice of these publications.,0,2544355.story


The clinical social worker and psychotherapist co-wrote an influential book that helped popularize the argument that an adoptee’s knowledge of birth parents is crucial to his or her identity.

 Annette Baran | 1927-2010Annette Baran, seen at home in 1981, was a clinical social worker and psychotherapist who co-wrote “The Adoption Triangle,” an influential 1978 book credited with giving early shape to the open-adoption movement. (Bob Chamberlin, Los Angeles Times / July 18, 2010)

By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times

July 19, 2010

Living with a secret is psychologically destructive — that concept was nearly an anthem for Annette Baran, a clinical social worker and psychotherapist who co-wrote “The Adoption Triangle,” an influential 1978 book credited with giving early shape to the open-adoption movement.

Baran died July 11 at St. John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica of complications from an infection, said her son Joshua. She was 83 and lived in Santa Monica.

“If there ever was an activist who changed the world of adoption, it was Annette,” said Joyce Maguire Pavao, founder of the Center for Family Connections, an educational and counseling center in Cambridge, Mass., that specializes in adoptions.

From the late 1950s to 1974, Baran was director of adoptions at was then called Vista Del Mar Child-Care Service in West Los Angeles and placed more than a thousand babies, her family said.

Her acceptance of working in an era of sealed records and secrecy surrounding adoption eroded after a birth mother insisted on meeting the potential adoptive parents, Baran later said.

As Baran watched the back-and-forth between the couple and birth mother, she said she thought, “This is pretty good. Why does this have to be secret?”

As time went on, she also encountered many adoptees searching for their birth mothers who were in psychological pain, said Betty Jean Lifton, an adoption reform advocate.

“She thought, ‘Oh my god, what have I done?’ It really radicalized her,” Lifton said. “She was waking from the great sleep that social workers were in and realizing how secrecy in closed adoption affected people.”

Moved to crusade for open adoption, Baran joined a novel research project started by a UCLA psychiatrist, Dr. Arthur Sorosky, who noticed that his patients who had been adopted tended to have identity problems. Another Vista Del Mar social worker, Reuben Pannor, collaborated with them.

When they solicited opinions on open adoption — the idea that birth parents and adopted family know who each other are — they received more than 600 letters and interviewed many of the writers.

“The Adoption Triangle: The Effects of the Sealed Record on Adoptees, Birth Parents, and Adoptive Parents” resulted from that study. It helped popularize the argument that an adoptee’s knowledge of birth parents is crucial to his or her identity.

Adopted adults “told us the reunion with birth parents made them feel normal and whole, for they finally experienced genealogical connections,” the researchers wrote in 1980 in a letter to The Times.

For birth parents, there is “always a lingering pain for that child given up for adoption,” they wrote. “Birth parents do not know if that child is alive or dead, well or ill.”

“All adoptees, if they have a shred of intelligence, have to assume somebody dumped them,” Baran told the Chicago Tribune in the 1985, displaying the forthrightness that was a hallmark. Knowing about their background can ease those fears, she said.

The book significantly altered people’s attitudes about adoption, according to several histories of adoption in the United States. The authors “quickly became the intellectual patron saints of the adoption rights movement,” E. Wayne Carp wrote in the 2000 book “Family Matters.”

Today, varying levels of open-adoption practices have become the norm, said Chuck Johnson of the National Council for Adoption.

In the early 1980s, Baran was again ahead of her time when she began investigating the secrecy surrounding birth by artificial insemination, colleagues said.

With Pannor, Baran interviewed donor offspring, donors and parents years after the fact and wrote the 1989 book “Lethal Secrets: The Shocking Consequences and Unsolved Problems of Artificial Insemination.” The authors advocated for a child’s right to know and were critical of the business of artificial insemination.

“No child is the product of a teaspoon full of sperm,” Baran said more than once while arguing that donor records should be made public. “A child has a father — a genetic father. And to be denied half of one’s genetic origins is really unfair.”

She was born Annette Dolinsky on Jan. 7, 1927, in Chicago to house painter Hyman Dolinsky and his wife, Lillian. Her brother, Meyer Dolinsky, wrote for television.

Growing up, she spoke Yiddish as her first language and as an adult hosted a Yiddish-speaking group in an effort to keep the language alive.

At UCLA, she earned a bachelor’s degree in social work and followed it with a master’s in the same subject at USC.

After working at Vista Del Mar, Baran directed an adolescent drug treatment program at UCLA, and as a psychotherapist in private practice often counseled adoptees.

“She became the Joan of Arc of open adoption,” her son said. “To the adoptees, she was their hero. At conferences, they would cheer her and weep.”

In addition to her son Joshua, she is survived by her husband of 62 years, architect Ephraim Baran; another son, David; a daughter, Naomi; and two grandchildren.

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times


Comments (0)

Add comments | Discussion FAQ

Currently there are no comments. Be the first to comment!

Comments are filtered for language and registration is required. The Times makes no guarantee of comments’ factual accuracy. Readers may report inappropriate comments by clicking the Report Abuse link. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Rest in Peace Annette Baran

A great woman passed away on July 11, 2010. She was my friend and mentor, a leader and pioneer in the adoption reform movement. I can’t believe Annette Baran is gone.

Annette Baran

I first began reading Annette’s works in social work journals in 1975 and 1976 in articles that developed later into the book, The Adoption Triangle: Sealed or Opened Records: How They Affect Adoptees, Birth Parents, and Adoptive Parents, that she co-authored with Dr. Arthur Sorosky and Reuben Pannor, MSW. They were my heroes. From their book, I learned the basics. I attended ALMA meetings in New York City with Florence Fisher and Pam Hasegawa and Adoption Forum of Philadelphia where other pioneers of the movement added to my knowledge. I attended American Adoption Congress Conferences where I met Annette and Reuben. Friendships were formed. The god and goddess became real people.

It hurts now to realize just how much Annette did for me in private talks and our personal correspondences. 

Then Annette and Reuben wrote Lethal Secrets: The Shocking Consequences and Unsolved Problems of Artificial Insemination. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone considering creating a child by gamete donation. It was through discussions that followed Lethal Secrets’publication that sparked Dr. Rene Hoksbergen and I to co-present a workshop at an American Adoption Congress Conference on “The Forgotten Ethics of Reproductive Technologies” in Dallas, Texas in 1997. To my surprise, Annette sat in on that workshop. I was honored and humbled to have my mentor in the audience for my co-presentation. I became Annette’s colleague that day as the sharing of knowledge and polite discourse during the The Q & A session at the end was enriched by Annette’s contributions. Ever the gentle lady, Annette sat in the circle and stated her arguments. I had grown that day to realize I had learned from one the greatest minds and hearts in adoption reform and was honored that she joined us.

May your god be with you, Annette, and with your family.

I will miss you.

~ ~ ~ Joan Wheeler

What I’m Doing This Summer

Nursing homes, hospitals, funerals and memorials, declining health, recovery, inevitable death, fear of the unknown, fear of death, sadness, grief, reconciliation, savor the moments, overwhelming contradictory feelings, and simple joys — these are my summer activities.

This is a time of daily struggle for family and friends. We’re aging. Our parents are dying. Our spouses are dying. Church members are dying.

A phone call tells of an adoptive second cousin’s mother’s death. Reading her death notice tells me of that cousin’s wife’s passing. I did not know. A family gathering after the memorial reveals memories and smiles of cousins not seen in decades. New wonders present themselves. Life’s continuity unfolds.

A phone call from a friend tells of her mother’s hospitalization and dying. The bits of summer sunshine fade as familiar faces dim. Grasping for memories of good times past, we cling to the moments of the present and grapple with the process of death and the aftermath. Still, we plan for the upcoming birthday party of her twin toddler grandchildren.

An email from an adoptive cousin lifts with happiness as he tells of his joys of soon to be married in midlife.

At a church gathering, a mother tells of her son coming home from Afghanistan. We mothers tear up with joy that the one’s son will never see combat again. He returns to his wife and infant son.

My son visits a museum where he sees a new exhibit of a distant blood cousin’s fame as a scientist immortalized. Wonders of adoption reunion pop up unexpectedly. My son calls me excitedly. Coincidentally, that cousin calls out of the blue. His message greets me as I return from a memorial service. I wait till my mood lifts before calling him back.

My daughter and I share daily stresses and concerns.

The occasional gathering of friends for a bit of live music and smiles are small moments of happiness. A walk along the river for a breath of fresh air serves as respite comfort.

Political adoption issues are not on my mind.

~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.