Friday, April 24, 2015

An opportunity to be heard


A while ago I asked mothers of adoption loss if they would like to be included in this painting. I added their names and the birthdays of their lost children. Since then I've done a number of other paintings, written narrative poetry to go with the pieces and did a book called Silent Voices.

Now I have a wonderful opportunity to continue this series of work about adoption and share it with the public in an upcoming exhibit at the 567 Center for Renewal art center in Macon GA. The exhibit will be in April 2016. My plan for the exhibit includes 14 large paintings (13 of them are done, the birthday candle painting will be included), a series of collages and a display of boxes. My plan for the collage work is to include handwritten stories from other natural mothers and also have some sheets of paper that are blank so people visiting the exhibit can add their own voices to the display.

My dear mom friends out there.... would you be willing to add your voice to this exhibit? This is a chance to have our voices heard. Showing at an art center with an exhibit that focuses solely on adoption loss from the mother's point of view is a rare thing indeed. I'd love to include as many of you as possible. Let's share our stories. Too many people have no idea what infant adoption does to the original family.

If you would like to participate, let me know in the comments. You can leave your story in the comments too and I'll write it out on paper but I would love to have your hand, your touch on that paper and then I'll make it part of the collage. You don't have to write a long thing- a paragraph or two would be perfect. You could write about any aspect of adoption. How did losing a child to adoption impact your life? How has it affected the rest of your family? What were the circumstances around the adoption? Were you able to hold your baby before relinquishing? Was it a closed or open adoption? Did you have to keep the adoption secret? These are just a few ideas.....

We can get in touch through email or you can message me on FB and thank you, thank you, thank you! I hope you'll consider adding your words. It would make the exhibit so much more powerful!






8 comments:

  1. Losing my only child to adoption devastated me. I spent decades punishing myself. I never became pregnant again, and I always made sure to keep enough money saved for an abortion in case I did.

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    1. I was at St. Vincent's Home for unwed mothers and gave birth on January 18, 1974. Long, long story. It devastated my life. I never wanted to give up the baby, but I couldn't afford to "disgrace" my dad. I was just supposed to get on with my life. Well, I did. I sank lower and lower and I ended up with two abortions and a bunch of really bad relationships. The only thing I didn't get into was drinking and drugs (thank you, God). At age 28 I was in another bad relationship and I got pregnant again. I was determined to have this child and did. I will never forget my dad's words on a cold December day close to Christmas when I called him up and told him I was pregnant. He said "Well, you really fucked up again, didn't you." My dad rarely cursed, being a devout Catholic. And that first pregnancy was the result of a rape, but my dad didn't believe me. It happened while my dad was on a business trip on the West Coast. Anyway, I was in NYC, and after this happened to me I remember crying as I was going down in the subway and thinking of throwing myself on the tracks, but something stopped me. I decided instead to just "forget about it" and I wouldn't tell anyone. Unfortunately six weeks later I had severe stomach cramps and ended up in the hospital. And so the discovery was made.

      Maybe someday God will lead me to write my story. Until today, when I was looking up something for someone else I fell across all these stories of unwed mothers and St. Vincent's in Philadelphia, and I learned a term called "baby scooping." I had no idea. I knew I never got counseling at this place or even asked how I felt. I know I was allowed to see my baby for five minutes one day in the hospital, and that was it. I fell in love with him, in spite of the circumstances of his conception. But I did as I was told.

      I was often told that my dad never forgot about him and supposedly knew where he was, but I was never told anything and, frankly, I never discussed it with my dad, ever. Financially, my dad could have helped me and the baby, and he knew I was no slouch when it came to working -- I had been doing that in different jobs since I was 12.

      And in spite of everything, though, I my dad actually thought he was doing the right thing. I knew he loved me, but everything was wrapped up in Catholicism, and it's rules and rituals, and there wasn't a lot of compassion in many areas.

      But I am so glad that I am not alone, anymore, in how this affected me. I'm not sure I even knew until I started reading the stories and thinking back. It was like a black screen was being lifted. My whole childhood was kind of a mess, but this experience was the one that really was the "icing on the cake," so to speak.

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  2. Happy to add my story, shoot me a PM and I'll send it. It was written in September.

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  3. Placing my child for adoption almost 23 years ago, forever changed me as a person. I have never been the same I feel as if part of my soul is missing. I live in silent grief, shame, guilt, gut wrenching pain, and never ending sorrow. One minute I'm fine and all of a sudden, it comes over me in waves. The hard part is the silence. Seeing the sympathy and uncomfortable looks on peoples faces if I dare bring up the subject is enough to keep me silent. But, then that only deeply angers me because how dare anyone make me feel guilty for making them feel uncomfortale. As if....It's a vicious cycle. I would't wish this agony on my worst enemy.

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  4. My middle of the night ramblings The truth is I didn't want to be a birthmother I don't know how to be a birthmother I fucking hate that word-birthmother. But I am sure that a person who steals hates to be called a thief just as someone who misrepresents the truth hates to be called a liar. I hate that I gave my firstborn to strangers only to become a stranger myself. A labeled stalker a labeled birthmother left with a longing of what could have or would have been but will never be. Even though I think of her all of the time I have somehow managed to build a life a family yet I still profusely miss her; it's like I've gone on and grown on and around the pain the loss. At the end of the day or in middle of the night I think its the not knowing that haunts me the most. I don't know her favorite color or food or hopes or fears I don't know common facial expressions basic temperment. I am afraid that if she someday lets me anywhere near her I'll screw it up and say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing and poof she'll be gone again and I would have to experience a different level of broken. I find myself both fearful and hopeful. Is this even possible as they are opposing emotions at their most basic level.

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  5. I wake at night, still listening for her breathing... It has been 33 years. I never stopped loving her, even when she rejected me over and over. I never will. I spent three years fighting for her, even fighting for her to be allowed to be born. She has spent 1/3 of her life hating me..... and most of the rest wondering why I punished her by making her live with the abusive people that had her. I will never stop waking up listening for her breathing..... and feeling like I am going to drown every time I want to even try to be part of her life.... drowning in her hate and fear.

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  6. I would love to participate. Sounds beautiful. I am writing a book telling te stories of 15 original moms. Love to s hare. my e mail is lindy.whiton@gmail.com

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  7. I would love to share how adoption has affected me,an adoptee and a birth mother. I STRONGLY discourage any adoptee against becoming a birth parent. U can email me at theayoung@hotmail.com.
    Thank you!

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