A First Birth Mother’s Heartfelt Poetry by Alison

A First Birth Mother’s Heartfelt Poetry by Alison

5 hours left…to tell my parents about you..
Today mocks my delicate mood
The clouds cry for me and together we brood
The air is calm and comfortable
But inside there’s a storm
My inside is real but outside I must perform
Everything is bleak and gray
My problems shall forever stay
I only have five hours left to keep my secrets
My tears will resemble the purest garnets
As I break down to tell my sob story
I’ll bloom at the end of the night, only for a small while, like a morning glory
5 hours left to live my life
Later I’ll be caught drowning in strife
Which the clouds cried a roaring river
I dove from the boat without signing the waiver
Now the ice water stampedes over my head
Some try to reach my, but the water pulls me deeper instead
A pestilence chokes its way down my throat
The angle of death stares at my to gloat
She won’t take me but tease me at arm’s length
I’m losing my grip as this secret drains all my strength
5 hours left for everything to be the same
5 hours left to prepare for today’s later pain
——-
The Bottle
Since that day, it’s been 16 years
That whole time, I buried my tears
With them, I filled a bottle
Combined with things that were simply awful
It was tightly capped, to make it all stop
But the pressure rose, as it filled to the top
The first layer was superficial
Day to day worries, that meant very little
They were a distraction for what laid underneath
Not far below, was my hidden grief
A layer of secrets that ravaged my body
Even though my mind stayed cloudy and foggy
This layer was older, it started at 8
Starting a cycle that decided my fate
The next layer and the decades that followed
Reinforced my need to keep it all bottled
Mixed throughout were life’s other struggles
Through which my tears continued to muddle
At the bottom was a pain
That shall forever stay
That is until I meet you someday
This layer was shoved to the bottom
With something I tried not to think about often
Compounded so hard, the tears couldn’t reach
Even though the pain continued to screech
Finally, I cracked it open
As the pain fizzled out, it let the hope in
At the bottom, this final layer was stuck
I thought about throwing it in the garbage truck
But I know I have to clean it out
No matter how much my pain might shout
Eventually, the bottle will dry
And finally, I’ll bloom like a butterfly
After 18 years, I’ll finally be ready
To fly with you, and keep you steady
I’ll take the bottle, and throw it in the ocean
Watching it drift away in the waves and their motion
We will watch the sunrise over the horizon
Together our days will begin to brighten
On grass, we will lay and look at the stars
As the clouds and storm eventually clears
To show us the sky as we watch together
And I can finally be your mother
——
Another day
Another day I sit and wonder how you are
More and more time I spend daydreaming my life away
My heart is spilled
Yet filled with your love
My stomach is empty
yet filled with knots
My fists are clenched
Yet open and waiting
My eyes are dry
Yet tears flow inside
My heart is broken
Yet sewing itself up
My mouth is screaming
Yet no sound escapes
——
The Picture … the first time I saw her as a teenager
A picture of you
A glimmer of hope
My days have been dark
Finally, you bring light
Like a look in the mirror
I can’t believe what I see
I know it’s the truth
Deep in my soul
My body speaks with authenticity
Joy fills my lungs
And my heart begins to sing
An impossibility becomes reality
I’ve awoken
And I’m still in a dream
I wonder if you feel me
Looking into your eyes
From a distance so far
But at my fingertips
As the time ticks away
And space shortens
The day will come

When a picture comes to life

——

Utter heartbreak 
A girl, a child, a mother
Who cannot seem to speak
But actions talk of pain and despair
A piece of her soul, her heart, is missing
It was carved out on a bleak November day
And left in the half-melted snow
To bleed down the sidewalk
And eventually dry
Flaking off in the wind
Leaving no trace
Seemingly gone, lost forever
The void filled with the heaviest emptiness
There was nothing there
But it weighed three tons
Incapable of moving
Unable to breathe
Crushed by the weight

Of ultimate loss

——

Searching online… 
Looking for you and I wonder
Are you looking for me?
Showering through pages
And clawing through words
That feel like a mountain
But end so abruptly
Cracking a code
Clues lead to nowhere
The only path is a bridge
That I cannot seem to cross
Maybe more notes
Can show me the way
Regardless there’s someone
I can’t walk past
You’re there, somewhere
On the other side
Can you feel me
Searching for you?
Adoptee Voices Community Arts Project for National Adoption Awareness Month

Adoptee Voices Community Arts Project for National Adoption Awareness Month

Hashtag #ADOPTEEVOICES Became an EVENT! on November 16, 2019.

15 youth and 15 Mentors arrived! All Adoptees!

An Event for ALL Adoptees Ages 9 & UP
Teen Adoptees 13-18
Adult Adoptees Ages 18+



TOGETHER THEY SHARED WITH THE WORLD ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE

This mentorship event was a great success.
Together they c
reated a community mural of art collectively, ate pizza, shared stories, and CHILLED OUT!


poster for #AdopteeVoices National Adoption Month

 

How to Cope with the Ups and Downs of Being a Foster Parent by Dr. John DeGarmo

How to Cope with the Ups and Downs of Being a Foster Parent by Dr. John DeGarmo

How to Cope with the Ups and Downs of Being a Foster Parent by Dr. John DeGarmo

As a foster parent, you NEED to take care of yourself.   You NEED to ensure that you are watching out after yourself, finding the time you need for you, and the help you need to care for not only the children in your home but for yourself and your family.  If you do not, all that you do will suffer.

Remember to Be in the Moment

It is important to stay in the moment, so to speak, to focus on the here and now, instead of what might happen, of what could be.  When we worry about what might happen in the future, we lose the chance and the opportunity to embrace and enjoy what is happening in the present time.  When we allow our worries and concerns to overwhelm us about future events, we do not allow ourselves to be helpful to those around us in the present moment.  As foster parents, we can’t care for, help, teach and love the children living with our family, children that need us to be with them right now, at the moment, if we are overwhelmed with things we have no control of tomorrow, next week, or next year.

Let your heartbreak

We do love them as our own, and we experience feelings of grief and loss when a child leaves our home and our family. Yet, it is healthy for us to become emotionally invested, and to become attached to the children in our home.  If we do not become attached, and hold ourselves at arm’s distance, so to speak, and try to protect ourselves, we will not be able to help the ones we are trying to care for.

Patience is a Virtue

If you are struggling with maintaining your own patience, go ahead and call your own time out.  Don’t be afraid or let your ego object to asking your spouse or partner to step in and take over a situation if you are becoming too frustrated, or feel you are losing control of your own emotions.  Tell the child that you will talk about it at a later time, allowing both you and the child to cool off.  Step outside or into another room, and give yourself time to count to ten.  Any of these are positive ways to de-escalate a situation.

Don’t Take it Personally

As foster parents, we need to keep in mind that it isn’t really about us.  The child has been abused, neglected, abandoned. There is a reason why the child living in your home has been placed in foster care. He is hurting. It’s not about us.  It’s about the child and his pain.  Even when he is yelling at you, “I hate you!” and slamming the door. His anger and emotion may be directed at you, but it’s not true about you.  Instead, his anger and pain come from someplace else.

When your buttons are being pushed, it is important to remember that you are the mature one, you are the adult, you are the parental figure.  Resist yelling back, don’t give in to the temptation to respond in anger, no name-calling from you.  Try to not respond emotionally. Instead, focus on the child’s behavior and not his emotion. Respond to why he is feeling this way, not to the words he may be yelling at you.

Your Own Support Group

I have said it over and over again; no one truly understands a foster parent like another foster parent. That’s why it is important to surround yourself with a support group of fellow foster parents, especially when you are feeling burned out. There are a number of foster parent support groups and associations across the nation. A few of these organizations may be national ones, while many others are, comprised of foster parents, like you. Either way, you will benefit by being in a support organization, as they will provide you with not only support, but information, fellowship, and important insight that will help you be a better foster parent.

Celia Center’s Support Group HERE

Sometimes, taking time for yourself also means saying “no” to the next phone call; the next placement. It is okay to say “No,” once in a while as a foster parent. It is okay for you to take time for yourself, your spouse, and your family. It is okay to re-charge those batteries. It’s okay to take some time off to grieve the loss of a child from foster care in your home, and in your life.  It’s okay to take some personal time, each day, for meditation, prayer, or spiritual time for yourself.

Dr. John DeGarmo is an international expert in parenting and foster care and is a TEDx Talk presenter. Dr. John is the founder and director of The Foster Care Institute. He has been a foster parent for 17 years, and he and his wife have had over 60 children come through their home. He is an international consultant to schools, legal firms, and foster care agencies, as well as an empowerment and transformational speaker and trainer for schools, child welfare, businesses, and non-profit organizations. He is the author of several books, including The Foster Care Survival Guide and writes for several publications. Dr. John has appeared on CNN HLN, Good Morning, America, and NBC, FOX, CBS, and PBS stations across the nation. He and his wife have received many awards, including the Good Morning America Ultimate Hero Award. He can be contacted at drjohndegarmo@gmail, through his Facebook page, Dr. John DeGarmo, or at The Foster Care Institute.

When Your Son Has 6 Grandparents By Nicole Rademacher, Adoptee

When Your Son Has 6 Grandparents By Nicole Rademacher, Adoptee

Celia Center Blog

Why do you have two mommies and two daddies? Can I have two mommies and two daddies?
No, but you have 6 grandparents.
I have an idea. If you and daddy weren’t together, then got together with another mommy and another daddy, I could have two daddies and two mommies.
Yes, that’s true, but …

 

Naturally, after the above conversation, my son carefully mulled over what I had said and the implications it has on him and what that means for his family. It’s difficult to explain the complexities of having an adoptive family and a biological family to an adult, let alone to my 5-year-old. Sometimes he’ll ask if Abuelo and Grandma are my “real” parents or if Oma and Opa are my “real” parents. Using that word “real” is arduous for me. It is a word that I have flirted with my whole life, a word that asks for an answer when all I have is a weak notion of what it could possibly mean.

His confusion reminds me of my own, which I thought I had cleared up 15 years ago when I “found” my biological family. The reunion was all very enchanting, almost a fairytale: my biological parents married 2 years after I was born. I had two fully biological younger brothers. In fact, I had a whole family that I was not a part of. The irony.

Abuelo and Grandma were young and in love in 1977. But, I’m told, the relationship was a bit “rocky.” I imagine if I were that young and pregnant, I would myself be a bit “rocky” in addition to the relationship. Due to the relationship I now have with my biological parents, I know that the scenario was nuanced with shame and obligations. Because I have trekked through and tried on notions of identity and sense of belonging so thoroughly since I first reunited with my natural parents, I recognize the agony and guilt with which the decisions were made. I was born to the Cerón-Janquart family in February of 1978 and was adopted into the Rademacher family in May of that same year. My body felt the loss, but as I grew, it disappeared from my consciousness. My brain kept the secrets of lost connections and cached it. As I matured, the unfilled feelings grew with me.

Once I turned 18, I chose to do something that I had always dreamt about: finding my birth parents. Alas, when I called the organization through which I was adopted, they informed me that the law had changed. An adopted person was required to be 21 before they could access identifying information about their biological parents. Devastated, I weathered the emotional upheaval. I moved on, agonizing and struggling. Finally in January of 2004, at the urging of a friend, I contacted the adoption organization again. This time at 26, there was no obstruction. I filed the paperwork, and I waited. I imagined it would be years, as such I put it out of my mind as much as I could. But lo and behold, 2 months later, the morning before I was meant to install my thesis art exhibition, I received a call from a social worker. My world collapsed.

It was through a haze and stupor that I completed my undergraduate tenure; real, emotional life took over. I had no more notions of things I wasn’t because for the first time in my whole life, I had a piece of paper–chicken scratch from my phone conversation with the social worker–with decisive information of who exactly I was, who I am. Trembling, I would finger what I had so nervously written on an extra piece of paper from the printer. I walked outside, and paced, as one does in the movies. I walked back inside and sat at a desk in the hallway at school. I was at my student work-study job at the school computer lab. I looked out at all of my classmates desperately trying to finish a design or a paper or a video, engulfed at the end of the semester. While I, less concerned about my final exhibition, I began to undertake the sincere journey of my identity.

When my 5-year-old asks about my mommies and my daddies, I tell him with such ease who they are to me, for him to discover who they are to him. I don’t imagine that the questions around my double parents will stop until he is much older and can more fully grasp the concepts involved in an adopted person’s life and in the life of their offspring. And maybe those questions won’t ever stop, but instead, they will turn into conversations and dialogues about identity and belonging, about secrets and revealing, about truths and frailties.

Complex trauma is, well, complex and also trans-generational. I felt agony while I was pregnant with my son, simply imagining my first mother being pregnant with me, her knowing full well that she would relinquish me to another family. I cannot fathom the anguish and pain. Knowing that I too felt that burden while growing in my mother’s womb and understanding the missed attachments that I experienced over and over before I was placed…strangely it gives me peace: I have a better understanding of why I am who I am. I have come to terms with the complexities that inform my self and my identity.

FATHER UNKNOWN | 6 WORD ADOPTION MEMOIRS Movie #Premieres Q&A with Film Director David Quint

FATHER UNKNOWN | 6 WORD ADOPTION MEMOIRS Movie #Premieres Q&A with Film Director David Quint

On November 8, 2016, Celia Center premiered  2 documentary films:

FATHER UNKNOWN
By David Quint
and
6 Word Adoption Memoirs
By Ridghaus


This premiere took place in Venice Beach, California.

Father Unknown is an uplifting true story haunted by the story of an abandoned boy, a man who sets out with his estranged father on a high-stakes trip to an orphanage in Switzerland. While unlocking secrets surrounding the child’s missing father, the men uncover a stunning truth that transforms their lives.

6 Word Adoption Memoirs is a film that follows A heart-felt piece, interesting to see all the different lenses people see identity through. The Six-Word Adoption Memoir Project was conceived by Derek Frank and Andrew Tash. – both of them adoptees, media producers, and media teachers – in order to make the stories of triad members accessible to a wider audience.

We had the opportunity to experience a very special and rare Q&A with Documentary filmmaker David Quint and his father, who showed up by surprise, Urban Quint.

Q&A filmed on November 8, 2016

This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Watch here: