Winter Fire – And Our Mother’s Cried | Where are They? | The Worst Way to Start a City

“And Our Mothers Cried” vividly brings to life the Indian boarding school era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For several generations of Native American children, including some Chickasaws, attending boarding school meant separation from their families and indoctrination into a culture that wasn’t their own. The schools, which were guided by the infamous slogan, “Kill the Indian. Save the Man,” prohibited most students from speaking their own language and emphasized labor-intensive trades that would assimilate them into white culture through military-type institutions.

The documentary presents a stark contrast between these schools and schools established and operated by the Chickasaw Nation, which were designed to prepare Chickasaw children to compete in a rapidly changing world. “And Our Mothers Cried” presents compelling stories from some of the Chickasaw elders who lived through the boarding school era. Their experiences weave a complex story of sorrow and survival, but also one of hope and resilience from a time when tribal governments and culture were under attack.

Click here to watch the EMMY® Award-winning “Winter Fire—And Our Mothers Cried.”
https://www.chickasaw.tv/embed/episodes/winter-fire-season-1-episode-1-and-our-mothers-cried?utm_source=outreach&utm_medium=press_release&utm_content=emmy-2018&utm_campaign=chickasaw

Source: Chickasaw Nation Documentary Wins Heartland Emmy Award – Native News Online

Where are they?

Last Year:

On June 15, 2017, at its Mid‐Year Conference in Connecticut, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) adopted a resolution, sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation, encouraging American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations, families, and descendants to provide information on children who never returned home from Indian Boarding Schools.

The information will be used for a submission to the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID). This UN submission will be jointly filed by the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS), the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), and the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). The submission will call on the United States to provide a full accounting of the children taken into government custody under the U.S. Indian Boarding School Policy whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown. NCAI represents 250 American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes.

For more information on the US Boarding School policies, their ongoing legacies, and using UN human rights bodies to defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples, log on to www.boardingschoolhealing.org, www.narf.org, and www.iitc.org.

READ: US Tribes Call for Testimonies on Missing American Indian & Alaska Native Boarding School Children – Native News Online

 

The Unassigned Lands

In the 1860s and 1870s, white settlers from the areas around Indian Territory — like Kansas and Texas — started to realize that there was vast piece of land in the middle of the United States that wasn’t claimed by anyone (ah, what?). They started agitating to to be allowed to seize this land for free. These white settlers even began a series of illegal raids into the territory, sneaking into Indian Territory at night to get to that little center portion of the Unassigned Lands.

Couch and his men had brought surveying equipment — and they quickly began laying out streets and lots as they had planned them in the months leading up to the Land Run. In the days following Oklahoma City’s rapid settlement, town leaders would have to reckon with all the cheating that had happened during the Land Run. Who cheated and who didn’t? Who deserve to keep their land and who didn’t?

GOOD LISTEN: The Worst Way to Start a City – 99% Invisible

Advertisements

Eliminating the Human | The amazing Laura Grace Weldon

A View from David Byrne

I have a theory that much recent tech development and innovation over the last decade or so has had an unspoken overarching agenda—it has been about facilitating the need for LESS human interaction. It’s not a bug—it’s a feature. We might think Amazon was about selling us books we couldn’t find locally—and it was and what a brilliant idea—but maybe it was also just as much about eliminating human interaction. I see a pattern emerging in the innovative technology that has gotten the most attention, gets the bucks and often, no surprise, ends up getting developed and implemented. What much of this technology seems to have in common is that it removes the need to deal with humans directly. The tech doesn’t claim or acknowledge this as its primary goal, but it seems to often be the consequence. I’m sort of thinking maybe it is the primary goal. There are so many ways imagination can be manifested in the technical sphere. Many are wonderful and seem like social goods, but allow me a little conspiracy mongering here—an awful lot of them have the consequence of lessening human interaction.

I suspect that we almost don’t notice this pattern because it’s hard to imagine what an alternative focus of tech development might be. Most of the news we get barraged with is about algorithms, AI, robots and self driving cars, all of which fit this pattern, though there are indeed many technological innovations underway that have nothing to do with eliminating human interaction from our lives. CRISPR-cas9 in genetics, new films that can efficiently and cheaply cool houses and quantum computing to name a few, but what we read about most and what touches us daily is the trajectory towards less human involvement.

Note: I don’t consider chat rooms and product reviews as “human interaction”; they’re mediated and filtered by a screen.

We are beset by—and immersed in—apps and devices that are quietly reducing the amount of meaningful interaction we have with each other.

the downside of technology

Social networks are also a source of unhappiness. A study earlier this year by two social scientists, Holly Shakya at UC San Diego and Nicholas ­Christakis at Yale, showed that the more people use Facebook, the worse they feel about their lives.  While these technologies claim to connect us, then, the surely unintended effect is that they also drive us apart and make us sad and envious.

David Byrne is a musician and artist who lives in New York City. His most recent book is called How Music Works. A version of this piece originally appeared on his website, davidbyrne.com.

A MUST READ: Eliminating the Human – MIT Technology Review

***From L/T…

I do not spend hours on Twitter or Facebook like I used to.  Teaching about social media and blogging, I’m not doing that anymore.  In my own research/work at the moment… I can tell you that some of the greatest minds in the world are sharing generously with us… on blogs… on twitter… and on other social media.  Like David Byrne (read his thoughts above)… Just like so many of you amaze me each week on your blogs.

My online friend, the author LAURA GRACE WELDON has some of the MOST amazing Tweets!  Last week I tried to pick a few you might like 🙂  (One of the nice things about Twitter is you can go back and read all the tweets – and even go back months!)  Please follow her if you are on Twitter.

This is her:   Writer, editor, farm wench, wonder junkie, awkward empath, aspiring hermit.

 Laura has built a treasure on her website and in her poetry and in her books.  (top photo)  Please do this for you and go visit her website this winter.  She’s been such a gift to me.

There were so many great tweets, it was hard to pick!   See you all next week.

BLOG BONUS | How Ghost Tours Often Exploit African-American History | Three Brave Men

Historian Tiya Miles’ new book “Tales from the Haunted South” takes a hard look at Southern ghost tours.

University of Michigan professor and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Tiya Miles joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to talk about “Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era.”

MUST READ and listen: How Ghost Tours Often Exploit African-American History | Here & Now

 

***

From the Archives: Loudoun, Slavery and Three Brave Men
Lee Lawrence, Oct. 26, 2017, Loudoun Now 

Harry was in a terrible situation: it was 1828 and Harry was an enslaved man in Loudoun County, rented by his owner to Samuel Cox. Because Harry was chattel (personal property), he had no recognized surname, as was common among slaves in Loudoun before 1860. On learning that his owner, a “Miss Allison” of Stafford County, was planning to sell him to slave traders who would take him further south, Harry decided to escape.

He approached a freedman named Alex McPherson and asked to borrow his “freedom paper,” a document carried by all free blacks verifying the person’s freed status. McPherson, at great risk to his own safety and liberty, agreed to lend Harry his paper, but insisted it be returned to him as soon as possible. Harry would carry the paper north. If he was stopped and questioned along the way, he would show the paper and claim to be a freedman.

Before leaving Loudoun, Harry needed to learn the best route north. Once safely in a free state, he would need a job and place to live. For this help, Harry turned to some Loudoun County Quakers, many of whom were abolitionists. It was common knowledge where the Quaker communities were located, including Waterford, Hillsboro, Goose Creek (now called Lincoln) and other villages.  continue…

Some book reviews! here is what i’m reading

Poetry and Book Reviews BY LT

I have a few book reviews to share.  Check with your local bookseller and library for these titles:

AshiAkira’s HAIKU POEMS

Wise words are snapshots. In three-sentence-structures with five-seven-five syllables, in snippets of one man’s movement across the cosmos, Japanese elder AshiAkira shares 496 of these precious moments in his new collection HAIKU POEMS [ISBN: 978-1-4834-6846-4].

As Ashi explains in his introduction, “By catching a glimpse of nature’s work, only a momentary spark, and jotting it down in words as a reflection of our mind, we may get closer to knowing it.”

Out of thousands he’s done, his first collection of haiku-style was randomly chosen by the 79-year-old poet, and each is as joyful as it is sacred. (He’s working on a new book now and  it should be out soon.)

34

Wherever you are,

You are watching this same moon

Together with me.

65

Hear sparrows chirping.

I can tell what’s going on.

They can’t keep secrets.

85

Weather forecasters—

Basically honest people,

So I forgive you.

128

Clouds flowing away

Bring my words with you to her.

Stars twinkle like her eyes.

221

A crow on a branch

Watches other birds away

Like a lonely king.

283

Humming of mother

Long ago, but it still sounds

In my gray-haired head.

333

Dragonflies move fast.

They hover from time to time.

They see the world well.

377

Evening subway train,

Many people busy texting.

A child smiled at me.

414

The middle of August,

Anniversary of war’s end.

Hunger remembered.

466

Crows on a tree branch

In black robes like Buddhist monks

In meditation.

He writes:
Since the haiku poems must be squeezed into such a small number of syllables, we need a special poetic license to write them: the license to kill, to kill the grammar. And, for now:

Whatever language

Say it in five-seven-five rhythm

My heart will follow

My friend AshiAkira’s new book is a beauty, a ravishing art, pleasing and easy on the eyes, and lovely to the heart.  

Visit Ashi and his writing at his blog: https://ashiakira.wordpress.com/

*** THE MISSING GIRL

Some writers make it seem easy to craft a story.  Author Jacqueline Doyle is so friggin’ good she’s literally scared the crap outta me. Well, her eight stories did.  I read the book in one sitting, and writing this good, it should be known about and shared. But not everyone wants to see inside the mind of a predator, or their prey. Or a serial killer. Or a victim. Eight chapters – that is it.  Each story is unique, powerful, not technically graphic (blood and gore) but terrifying, and it is about horror -and the horrible.

The Missing Girl was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2017, and has already won the Black River Chapbook Competition.

One reviewer wrote: “In these dark and edgy stories, Doyle has made a dispassionate study of the degradation of girls and the twisted hearts of those who hunt them… Prepare to be very disturbed.”

This book is not for everyone. But those with the stomach for it, you won’t ever forget these stories.

FMI: Black Lawrence Press

***

I’m now reading Adam Rutherford’s new work! (top photo)

REVIEW: … Rutherford is the author of A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes.  (excerpt) …Nor is Rutherford happy with some of those who seek to commercialise modern genomics, and in particular derides ancestry companies that have claimed their DNA tests reveal the identity of Jack the Ripper; that Prince William harbours Indian blood; and that it is possible to trace living descendants of the Queen of Sheba. This is “PR dressed up as research”, we are told. For Rutherford, modern genetics has far less to say about us as individuals than we have been led to believe. On the other hand, he is confident it sheds a great deal of light on us as a species. Demonstrating these divergent concepts is not easy.  Happily, Rutherford is up to the task. He has produced a polished, thoroughly entertaining history of Homo sapiens and its DNA in a manner that displays popular science writing at its best.

What really caught my attention is the DNA bullshit ads luring in people …This DNA marketing is used like ammunition and The Holy Grail. And to my horror, we know they are storing our DNA results but are they using them in some way nefarious? DNA is our signature and belongs to humanity. It is not something a company should own. L/T

(click to read)  A New History of the First Peoples in the Americas 

[A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived is published by W&N (£20). Click here to buy it for £16] I bought my copy on Amazon.com

I will be getting this:

Dead White Men is not only a searing indictment of colonialism but also a painful reminder of the violence that underpins the logic of exploration. Each poem strikes at the heart of the issue: there are often unarticulated, unacknowledged Indigenous presences here that have been flattened over by the lies and mirages of empty landscapes. Dead White Men is a stinging and difficult journey, and one that continues to remind us that stolen land has always been the most pressing concern for Indigenous peoples and settlers. This is an absolutely essential book.’
– Jordan Abel, author of Injun

full review: Dead White Men.  Shane Rhodes.  Coach House Books.  Toronto, Ontario.  2017.

***Just in case:

(click) How to find an academic research paper 

Looking for research on a particular topic? We walk you through the steps we use here at Journalist’s Resource.

*** The power of a name!

Trace. As a noun, a way or path. A course of action. Footprint or track. Vestige of a former presence. An impression. Minute amount. As a verb, to make one’s way. To pace or step. To travel through. To discern. To mark or draw. To follow tracks or footprints. To follow, pursue. –  Lauret Savoy Thoughts

In order to remember, one must also forget. Otherwise each of us would drown in a sea of every detail of every experience of every day of our lives. To make sense of things, to function—to gain retrospect—we must forget, and instead sort what remains in memory. To remember—re-member—is to piece together constituent parts toward some whole. Re-membering is selecting, arranging, interpreting. “The memory is a living thing,” noted Eudora Welty, “it too is in transit.”

*** Alaska U.S. Senators Say No to Trump to Rename Denali:  Trump seemingly bent on reversing everything his predecessor did while in office thought he would throw in the reverting back to Mt. McKinley

Source:  November is American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month – Native News Online

 

Louise Erdrich on ‘LaRose,’ and the Psychic Territory of Native Americans | In The Veins @BlueHandBooks #NoDAPL

By Lara Trace Hentz  (poet-writer) (founder of Blue Hand Books)

I am remiss in mentioning I’m in the new poetry anthology IN THE VEINS (released 2-1-2017) and last year I did mention the poetry book TENDING THE FIRE by Chris Felver that is coming out in 2017.   Louise and I are both that book.  NICE!

Louise’s bookstore BIRCHBARK BOOKS (top photo) in Minnesota carries some of our Blue Hand Book titles. I am very grateful to her for this. Supporting me as a small press and publisher helps me publish new Native authors.

click logo to visit them

I founded Blue Hand Books in 2011 to give back to my community, right after I did my memoir One Small Sacrifice.  Since then we have published 18 books, with four volumes in the Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects book series. (TWO WORLDS was the first anthology.)  In the Veins is Volume 4.  A portion of the proceeds from this poetry book edited by Patricia Busbee will be sent to the Standing Rock Water Protectors Camps (#NoDAPL).

Here is one of my poems from IN THE VEINS

…When People of the First Light saw ships and strangers disembark

…When the conqueror ran out of the woods firing loaded guns

…When they loaded some of us onto slave boats in shackles

Then a trickle becomes a river then a flood

…When an Indigenous mother loses her child at gun point

…When her child is punished by a nun, kicked in the neck

…When her child dies in residential school, buried in an unmarked grave

Then a trickle becomes a river then a flood

…When a black sedan enters the rez and children run and hide, afraid

…When a Cheyenne adoptee is a small boy, watching westerns on TV, he is told he is Indian

…When a Navajo adoptee is taken at the hospital and disappears, raised by Mormons

Then a trickle becomes a river, then a flood ….. of tears.

The people who chained, who murdered, who hacked, who raped, who hated their way across North America… they are still here, too.

ebook-cover-vein

Read an IN THE VEINS excerpt HERE.  My Ojibwe scholar friend blogger Dr. Carol A. Hand (who I interviewed on this blog) and my dear friend and Unravelling anthology co-editor MariJo Moore and many many other Native American and First Nations poets (some of them famous or soon-to-be) contributed prose and poems for this beautiful new book. If you love poetry, you will love this… LINK to BUY from BHB.

COMING SOON! Blue Hand Books is publishing a brand new novella by Barbara Robidoux, author of Sweetgrass Burning.

CALLED HOME: The RoadMap | Why changing family patterns is our most important work

As we learned from the CDC-Kaiser Permanente ACE Study, negative childhood experiences are often kept secret, downplayed, or repressed because of our powerful desire to put such things behind us. Unfortunately, our minds and our brains don’t work that way. Patterns can play out automatically, no matter how hard we try to be original and create our own realities.

Just as it is important to know family medical history (e.g., diabetes or tuberculosis) it is equally important to know about our social inheritance.

…There is a chilling quote from Time magazine essayist Lance Morrow, from his ACES-informed book, Heart: “Generations are boxes within boxes; inside my mother’s violence you find another box, which contains my grandfather’s violence, and inside that box (I suspect but do not know) you would find another box with some such black secret energy—stories within stories, receding in time.”

Source: Parenting’s troubled history: Why changing family patterns is our most important work

****

By LT Hentz

Our job as humans is to connect the dots. I published this link on the ACE STUDY and learned about that important study while I was writing my memoir One Small Sacrifice.

What does it mean for an adoptee to be raised outside your ancestry and culture that isn’t white/American? I have some answers in this new anthology CALLED HOME: The RoadMap. [ ISBN-13:  978-0692700334 (Blue Hand Books) ]

Here’s an excerpt of the PREFACE

No matter who adopts us, new parents will never erase our blood, ancestry, DNA… or our dreams…

No matter how much I want to believe things have changed for the better in Indian Country and in our world, the reality is there is still an “adoption-land” waiting to scoop up more children and more children who need healthy moms and dads.  This anthology and this entire book series will be their roadmap.

This is why Patricia and I chose the title CALLED HOME for this anthology. Roadmap was added to the second edition you are now reading.

There are many adoptees called home, but very few are back living on tribal lands.  It’s a testament to the courage to be in reunion as adult adoptees, as survivors who were part of the government plans to rid the world of Indigenous and First Nation People.  Adoption didn’t kill our spirit but it hurt us deeply.

After ten years of researching the topic and history of adoption, sadly, states like South Dakota and South Carolina are still violating federal law called the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 when Native children are supposed to be placed with family, close kin, a relative, or with a different tribe.  “Stranger adoptions” with non-Indian parents is supposed to be the absolute last resort or rare occurrence.  However, it can still happen, you can read the chapter on Baby V.

Let’s face it: With a shortage of Native adoptive and foster homes in the US and Canada, children will be lost and later called Lost Birds, adoptees and Stolen Generations.  Indian Country as a whole is still impoverished, living with daily reminders of broken treaties, remote reservations, soul-crushing poverty, loss of land, shortages of language speakers, and generations who are dealing with post-traumatic stress after centuries of war, residential boarding school abuse, food scarcity and neglect.  Since so many are still subjected to Third World conditions, Indigenous children will continue to be taken and placed into foster care and adoptions.  (Wasn’t this the original plan to erase all Indians?)  Native American moms and dads can still lose their child (or all their children) in courtrooms of white privilege and cultural insensitivity.

On a visit to Brock University in 2014, my co-editor Patricia Busbee and I learned how foster and adoptive parents are invited to bring their Native child to First Nations Friendship Centres in the Niagara, Ontario area.  Children are invited to hear stories, learn their language and songs, while their new adoptive parents can participate in activities, too.  The entire family is welcome and nourished in this cultural exchange.

Indian Country needs to look to its northerly neighbors in Canada and start its own US-wide “Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC),” and reinvent and redesign its own child care protection systems for the sake of its own future generations.  Maine is the only state with a TRC.

After many adoptees contacted me wanting to find their first families, I can say with certainty adoptees are CALLED HOME, called in dreams to be reunited with family members and their many nations.  These adoptees do find a way to reconnect despite difficulties with archaic laws, a clueless public, biased lawmakers, closed adoptions, sealed court documents and falsified birth records.

It’s long overdue that North America opens their closed adoption files.  When this happens, if this happens, the entire world will finally comprehend how adoption was actually colonization and the trafficking of Indigenous Indian children by the “Nation Builders” who call themselves America and Canada.  We in North America are literally educated to be ignorant of the true history of our colonization, by the nation builders who use it and what really happened here.  Hiding it only perpetuates continued racism and intolerance.

The fog is lifting now and it’s time we shine a light on the hidden history of the Indian Adoption Projects and Programs like ARENA, the Indian Adoption Projects, Operation Papoose, Project Rainbow and the 60s Scoop.  You will read about these programs in this book.

For the writers in this book, adoption was the tool of assimilation, erasing our identity and sovereign rights as tribal citizens, intending it to be permanent.

For too many of us, states still won’t release our files to us, even as adults.  We have included a section in this book for adoptees who are still searching for clues after their closed adoptions.  Many adoptees are doing DNA tests with relatives and to find relatives..

As these books travel to new lands and new hands, I pray that adoptive parents accept that we cannot be the child they want us to be, or dream us to be, and that we are born with our own unique biology, ancestry and characteristics.  We will always dream in Indian.

ebook-cover-new
LINK

 

Love is the one and only answer

By Lara Trace

I am going to have a poem Swallow Manifesto in the new collection TENDING THE FIRE by the famous photog Chris Felver who is in San Francisco. He came to see me and took my photo last winter.  I also read two poems for him for his video exhibit.  My prose WHAT I KNOW is not going to be in his book so I’ll share it:

What I Know

The open heart remains a sacred mystery

As wisdom grows,

the greatest love delivers hope

That is what we know.

 

All around us, lovers get tangled and twisted

Human nature is brutal and obsessive

And fear so instinctual

That is what we know.

 

Long ago a monster changed me

In one moment crushing my heart in his hands

I learned then if I fear, I can’t love

That is what I needed to know.

 

Love lessens pain, washes away sadness

And massages the contours of memory

Love can heal anyone

That is what I wanted to know.

 

Love can end a child’s curse

Love can move lovers to fight monsters

And win.

That is what I know.

 

As sacred a mystery, love is the cure

The medicine, the magic,

The sword and the savior

Love is what I know.

 

© 2012 (revised from 1990)

I’ll post when Tending the Fire is available from the University of New Mexico.

 

EDIT: Einstein didn’t write to his mystery daughter – I was spoofed… so I deleted the info…

 

=========== AND WE ALL NEED TO LAUGH=========

When you laugh, powerful endorphins, which act much the same way as morphine, are released in the brain.  Endorphins trigger a feeling of well-being throughout your entire body. So its good medicine!  I hope you will all spend time laughing. BIG BELLY LAUGHS…guffaws.  HUGE LAUGHS! We need to balance the world and your love and laughter will help do this.  I love you (no joking) …Lara Trace

TOP JOKE OF ALL TIME

A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: ”Ugh, that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen!” The woman walks to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: ”The driver just insulted me!” The man says: ”You go up there and tell him off.  Go on, I’ll hold your monkey for you.”

and it’s time to JIGGY too! (A cheer to my Eire kin on March 17)

 

Save

An Interview with Adoptee Author Claire Hitchon #flipthescript

Have you ever wanted something so badly it was all you could think of? All you could talk about, write about, dream about. Claire did.  She wanted a horse.  Finding Heart Horse is her journey and her search for her Heart Horse. It takes her from being “the girl most likely to succeed” to a life on the streets of Yorkville in the late sixties.  As an adopted child she had no identity, no history, and no place where she “fit.” Her years on the streets lead her into many dark places, where she began to add more secrets and traumas to her already large collection in the wall of secrets.  Life changed quickly in those days, from peace and love to war and violence. She went along for the ride not knowing where it would lead, just knowing that she had to find Heart Horse.  If you know anyone who may be struggling, perhaps even yourself, Finding Heart Horse can give you hope where you thought there was none.  We all have different journeys, but the essence is the same.  We all want to be loved, to belong, and to be happy.  Everyone at some point has yearned for something so powerful that, like a magnet, it pulls you into the unknown.  Even if you weren’t really sure what it was for, you knew you had to pursue it.  Life lessons are learned, spirituality discovered.  The reality of opposites is proven.  With pain comes pleasure, with despair comes hope, with sadness comes joy, and perhaps along the way even your Heart Horse may be found.  (Description of first memoir FINDING HEART HORSE)

By Lara Trace Hentz

Hey there. As some of you know I have wonderful friends who write adoptee blogs and books. The books FINDING HEART HORSE (A Memoir of Survival) and THE WALL OF SECRETS (A Memoir by The Almost Daughter) are memoirs of the highest order, in my humble opinion. When a book can make you tense, then hurt then yell then cry often, then you know they are REAL and meant to be read, valued and savored. Claire is that special writer of these two memoirs and her blog THE ALMOST DAUGHTER. Claire’s life has not been easy. She suffered drug addiction and abuse by her adoptive mother who rivals Mommie Dearest in terms of terror and horror.  And even though Claire has been ill, she found time to answer a few questions. So please read. The links to her books and website follow the interview. (I read Kindle versions of these books.)

Claire, your first riveting memoir needs to be a motion picture. How long did it take to write Finding Heart Horse?

Claire Hitchon: Actually, it was all one big pile of stories in the beginning, far too much for one book so I had to split it in two.  It’s taken eight years to complete them.

I always felt there was a book inside me. I never had an ending and was too busy trying to survive and provide for my daughter.  In 2006 the ending became clear. The end then became another beginning.  Pain was like a poisonous inspiration for me. I began writing and couldn’t stop. As I relieved each and every trauma I realized how much I had survived and felt others could benefit knowing there is always hope.

So many people, especially young people are caught up in addictions, violence, pain and trauma, and adults, too, of course.

Sometimes, all we need is someone to believe, someone to give hope that healing is possible and that you have internally all that you need.

Did your early journals assist you in any way with your writing?

Unfortunately, many of my journals were stolen while living in Toronto.  The next era of writing was destroyed when my friend and mentor Daryl died and I was in the hospital.  Our mothers cleaned out the apartment and when I came home the apartment was empty, Daryl dead and all of our musical writing and my journals gone. I imagine they were all just disposed of. I remember many of the stories of course, but my music and poems I lost.

When writing, I surrounded myself with pictures from the internet and relived each and every moment written about.  It was so real, I could smell my fathers pipe tobacco.

In an instant I went from “the girl most likely to succeed” to a 15 year old runaway living on the streets of Yorkville Toronto in the late 60’s (the hippie era).  I became a street kid, a hippie that encountered every subculture you could imagine, always searching for were I belonged. The Peace & Love quickly turned ugly. From rapes, drugs to jail in a few short years, I experienced it all.

Spoiler Alert: Tell us about the transition from book one to book two?

As I mentioned above it really was one huge book to start with and had to be separated without truly disconnecting each book. Believe it or not, there were a lot of stories left out.

It’s as if part of you is erased, leaving you with many missing pieces to a huge puzzle. I set out, leaving an abusive home at the age of 15 to find these things.  Overnight I went from the “girl most likely to succeed” – I was a classical pianist and planned on being a physician.  In an instant, I took an abrupt turn, ending up on the streets of Toronto during the Yorkville Hippie era in the late 1960’s

It’s not the things that happen to us that cause us to suffer, it’s what we tell ourselves about them.

I know you have been in hospital. How are you handling your health issues and you do believe they are related to your being adopted?

Absolutely related.

As long as I searched for my biological roots, I searched for answers to my health issues. Many things now I wonder….if i had the knowledge then would I be as ill now…the answer being NO.

I have a rare mast cell disease, Systemic Mast Cell Activation Disorder.  My biological grandfather died of leukaemia which is related and helped in my search for answers.

Unfortunately, the actual finding of my biological roots in 2003 set off a cascade of stress reactions which is one of the major triggers to mast cells.  I still didn’t know my diagnosis but adoption reunion sent my mast cells into the abyss, taking me with them.

As I wrote out my history for a mast cell doctor in the USA, I couldn’t help but notice with each trauma I experienced, my illness was bumped up a notch… it was clear even back to my childhood with adoptive mother. Of course reunion being the most powerful.

For adoptees who read this, where are you in reunion?

Reunion: Somehow that puts an element of “happy” into a situation that was born of sadness.

I found my biological family in 2003. I had been searching for over 35 years. Totally shocked to find there were actual “people” attached.  I know it sounds strange but we, as adoptees are so conditioned for rejection and I had spent a lifetime. I was doing it as a last resort, for closure.

In 2005, I was ill enough that I had to take disability from my Nursing Career that I loved as an RN,  I decided that I would always regret not taking the next step, which was moving across Canada to get to know this family of strangers. My family.

My birth mother was quite ill and passed away 9 months after I arrived on Vancouver Island. BC from Ontario.

The reunion itself was fast and furious because of my birth mothers health. It also became the prime focus until she died leaving three siblings and myself in a place of grief. They had lost their mother, and I had just found mine, only to lose her in the next breath, never knowing what it was like to be mothered.

I was left with a family of strangers who had decades of history together. I tried several times to enter their world, to bond, to become friends hoping to be allowed in.

I was becoming extremely ill and finally realized I would never belong, never fit. My health had to take priority, So in my case…history won.

I was an only child and having siblings was beyond my wildest dreams…Reunion should be a time for family healing and growth. I can wish all I want, but the fact is, I’m still alone.

I would do it all over again in a heartbeat for the process has given me pieces of the puzzle and reintegration of self. I am, at last at peace.

IMG_4906

LINKS:

The strength of the human spirit is unending…. Claire Hitchon

My thanks to Claire for her memoirs and for her tenacity, great writing and inner beauty to survive her journey and for this interview… Lara

When Words Matter: An interview with poet Kim Shuck and artist Marcer Campbell

Women: The Lifeblood of our success: Guest Post by L. Dwain Boswell

Virtual Book Tour
Virtual Book Tour

GUEST POST:

Virtual Book Tour of Award-Winning Author L. Dwain Boswell,  (I Am Worth the Effort Blog)

I am excited to guest post on Lara’s blog as a part of my virtual book tour. My first book, “Sex Lies & Alibis”, has proven to be helpful to more than just family and friends. Many have given their reviews of the book including a 5-STAR independent review.

The objective was not to become an award-winning author.  My objective was to compile over 10 years of research, make it available in quality print and digital eBook format, and deliver a professionally finished book to as many people as possible.  As a result of this hard work and diligence, it is now an “AWARD WINNING BOOK.”  Consequently, I have achieved the title of “AWARD WINNING AUTHOR.”

The book is an inspirational Award-Winning relationships book that exposes a culture of exploitation and why the current dating culture continues to fail. It talks about how we are all vulnerable to a distinct mix of outside forces that can sabotage the success of any relationship whether married or single.  It is then packed with ways to improve your relationship and will present you with a new approach that is guaranteed to be worth every step outlined. Here is an example of what you can expect.

Women: The Lifeblood of our success

Have you ever been on a date and felt lost for words? Maybe you decided to do dinner and a movie but had little to talk about at dinner and hated the movie.  Well, that dinner you ate will pass away, literally! That movie will be forgotten, probably.  But the association between people will remain forever, definitely. When boy meets girl, how you communicate will determine whether you become friends or enemies.  Even if you never see the person again, you will still have an association with that person that can never be erased.  Unfortunately, men tend to be the ones who devalue the essence of a woman’s beauty with derogatory words, not realizing that women are the lifeblood of our success as men.

 “As men we are born to lead, but we can not do it without the woman.  The question then becomes, are we improving a woman’s life, or are we making her life worse?  When a woman leaves your presence, is she better off having encountered you or does she need to be renovated like a condemned building?  When you speak to women do you speak life words or death words to her?  For instance, when she does not fall for your pick-up lines, do you call her a whore, slut, or tramp?  Those are words that speak death to a woman’s soul.  Men are supposed to add to a woman, not take away from her.  When a woman comes into your presence she should leave improved, even if she is not the one for you.” Excerpt from the book Sex Lies & Alibis.

I will be checking back daily to respond to your comments concerning this post or any questions you want to ask. In the meantime, here are some great ways that you can give back with your purchase.

  1. Use Amazon Smile to make your purchase and automatically give .5% to a charity of your choice! I chose Shared Hope International from the available choices.
  2. Gift a book to a friend and we will donate 20% to groups fighting human trafficking.
  3. Donate this book to your local library. No library will turn down donated books, the more copies in circulation the better. 
  4. Recommend this to your book club and use chapter 2 to launch a discussion about human trafficking. Email me to set up a free awareness discussion: bookclub@iamworththeeffort.com
  5. Purchase the eBook from Google Play and we will donate 10% to groups helping to end Domestic Violence.

Birthing the new book #CALLEDHOME

coming soon to Amazon
On Amazon (June 26, 2014)

By Lara/Trace

Break out the cigars!  We have a new baby — the brand new anthology CALLED HOME [Book Two: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects].

Whew – it took way more than nine months to make this baby!

I do treat books like babies, giving them love and attention while they grow. Eventually I let the book go off and travel on its own.  It’s not hard to watch it travel to new hands and lands.

The 49 writers in this new anthology (plus one poet who is not an adoptee) didn’t spare us any details of what it was like growing up outside of their culture and trying to fit back in. They are not “angry bitter” but changed by their experience of being adopted outside their culture and tribal families. (Many were small children and separated from their siblings too. This is heartbreaking to read.) Finding your way back is usually the most challenging part, then come the reunions!  Generations of families were affected and adoption does change all of us. That is the dilemma: adoptees feel we don’t know enough to fit back in but we have to be back HOME to re-learn what we missed!

Writing personal experience actually heals you in many ways. The changes I have noticed in the writers in TWO WORLDS (up to now) is significant.  Each has grown more secure in themselves, most are still in reunions, and they have developed a unique voice as gifted writers! Some new adoptees had never been asked to share these personal details and for some, yes, writing was scary.

There is no shortage of talent in Native Americans, and these writers are from across North American (and one Lost Bird is from Ireland via Newfoundland and another is a LAKOTA living in Germany.) As much as I have changed in the past 10 years, you will see that clearly in the updates from Two World anthology adoptees in part two of CALLED HOME.

We cover topics like DNA tests, Baby Veronica (in depth), the movie PHILOMENA, Stolen Generations (60s Scoop history) and historical news like OPERATION PAPOOSE, one of Arnold Lyslo’s Indian Adoption Projects.

My husband was saying that the book press release needs to interest people who are not adopted. He said lots of people have difficulties being with their own family members. That is definitely true.

So is the question: will the general public care to know that thousands of American Indian and First Nations children were adopted out to white families prior to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978??  Will they care not every adoption was magical or perfect?  Will they care that adoptees have opinions about their own experiences and the BABY V case which stunned many of us Lost Birds? Do Americans and others want to know what happened to the LOST BIRDS in this adoption history? That remains to be seen.

As a matter of record, every adoptee in CALLED HOME wanted to find and reunite with their tribal relatives. These are mini-biographies with twists and turns and so much courage!

Part Three, there is a section in the book for adoptees who are still searching and have been told that one or both birthparents are Native American.

They are all excellent essays, so I cannot begin to choose a favorite but Levi’s THE HOLOCAUST SELF will definitely stop you in your tracks. It applies to many humans who are marginalized, but especially Native Americans and adoptees in general.

Co-Editor Patricia Busbee’s introduction in the book is brilliant and heart-wrenching as she shares her reunion with siblings and shares pieces of the past in her adoptive mother’s diary.

Cynthia1970Here’s an excerpt from a new writer Cynthia Lammers (who has found she has 5 brothers and they are Lakota.)

…My case worker told me I had to write a letter to my birth mother, explaining why I wanted to know her. I did this and sent it to her. Then I had to do some legal paperwork for the State of Nebraska and pay $15 to have it processed. Then I later received a phone call from my case worker, telling me to come to Omaha on a certain date. That I was not to come alone, to have a friend or family member come with me. My best friend Susan went with me to Omaha. We had no idea what this was about to happen? Was I finally going to meet my birth mother? We arrived at the address that I was given at the time they told us to be there. We were at a College Campus, in a classroom, filled with about 50- 60 people, sitting at round tables with 6-8 people at each table. We ate lunch. Then a Native American man started the meeting with a prayer. Then several different Native men and woman got up to speak, each one telling a story about their lives. The strange thing was, almost every story was almost the same about how they grew up and who they grew up with. Native people growing up in white families. We were all adopted. We all had alcoholic mothers who couldn’t take care of us. We all felt lost at some point in our lives and maybe some of us still did. We all had questions about who we really were.   What was our Indian Culture or Heritage about, we didn’t know. Were we all related? Probably not, I thought to myself.   Then suddenly, it hit me, I turned and looked at my caseworker from the Children’s Home. She had tears running down her face. I said to her, “You have been lying to me all these years, haven’t you?” She began to cry. I began to cry. Once I got myself back together, I told her it probably wasn’t her fault, that she was just doing her job. She’d been telling me what she was told to tell me…”

I am honored to be in this anthology too.  The new book CALLED HOME (ISBN: 978-0692245880, $15.99) is on Amazon NOW. The e-book version will be on Kindle and all the e-readers in the next week or so.  We have a Media Blog here with a link to buy the book on Create Space or Amazon.

Help us get the word out and tell your friends. Patricia and I and all the adoptees in this book are available for interviews, too.

As I wrote in the Preface:

“For Lost Birds/adoptees coming after us, when they find this new book and the earlier anthology TWO WORLDS, adoptees themselves documented this history and evidence.  We have created a roadmap, a resource for new adoptees who will wish to journey back to their First Nations and understand exactly what happened and why.  There is no doubt in my mind that adoption changes us, clouds the mind and steals years of our lives, but there is something non-Indians can never steal and that is our dreams and the truth we are resilient!”

 

From my heart to yours, I am so grateful to be able to do this work.  Mitakuye Oyasin (We are All Related) and Megwetch (THANK YOU)….Trace/Lara

 

Facebook: CALLED HOME LOST CHILDREN (please click like if you visit)

MEDIA BLOG: http://lostchildrencalledhome.blogspot.com/ (lots more details there if you are interested!)

And Man Created God

Synopsis

 

on my to-read list

A groundbreaking history of the age when empires used religions to become powerful and religions used empires to spread their message At the end of the first century BC, the world was full of gods. Thousands of them jostled, competed and merged with one another. In Syria ecstatic devotees castrated themselves in the streets so as to become priests of Atargatis. In Galilee, holy men turned oil into wine and claimed to be the Messiah. Kings, queens, and emperors were riding on the backs of these religions to increase their power. And Man Created God considers how and why religious belief has had such an immense impact on human history by identifying the roots of belief within societies. O’Grady looks at the whole world during one short period and asks a specific question: Why did Christianity grow so quickly and become the predominant world religion? The beliefs held by a tiny Jewish sect in an obscure corner of the then mighty Roman Empire would have seemed doomed to disappear within a few generations. Instead, they became the official religion of the Empire. What was it about Christian ideas that appealed to people in so many different cultures at that time? Beginning in Rome, expanding her review out to Gaul, Germania, North Africa, the Near East, Persia, and beyond to China, the author sifts through the economic, political and sociocultural facts to understand why some ideas die and others thrive in a thrilling new work of history.

At the end of the first century BC, the world was full of gods. Thousands of them jostled, competed and merged with one another. In Syria ecstatic devotees castrated themselves in the streets so as to become priests of Atargatis. In Galilee, holy men turned oil into wine and claimed to be the Messiah. Kings, queens and emperors were riding on the backs of these religions to increase their power. And Man Created God considers how and why religious belief has had such an immense impact on human history by identifying the roots of belief within societies. O’Grady looks at the whole world during one short period and asks a specific question: Why did Christianity grow so quickly and become the predominant world religion? The beliefs held by a tiny Jewish sect in an obscure corner of the then mighty Roman Empire would have seemed doomed to disappear within a few generations. Instead, they became the official religion of the Empire. What was it about Christian ideas that appealed to people in so many different cultures at that time? Beginning in Rome, expanding her review out to Gaul, Germania, North Africa, the Near East, Persia, and beyond to China, the author sifts through the economic, political and sociocultural facts to understand why some ideas die and others thrive in a thrilling new work of history.

At the time of Jesus birth, the world was full of gods. Thousands of them jostled, competed and merged with one another. In Syria ecstatic devotees castrated themselves in the streets to become priests of Atargatis In Galilee, holy men turned oil into wine, healed the sick, drove out devils, and claimed to be the Messiah. Every day thousands of people were leaving their family and tribes behind them and flocking into brand new multi-ethnic cities. The ancient world was in ferment as it underwent the first phase of globalisation, and in this ferment rulers and ruled turned to religion as a source of order and stability. Augustus, the first emperor of Rome (though he never dared officially to call himself so) was maneuvering his way to becoming worshipped as a god – it was one of the most brilliant makeovers ever undertaken by a ruler and his spin doctors. In North Africa, Amanirenas the warrior queen exploited her god-like status to inspire her armies to face and defeat Rome. In China the usurper Wang Mang won and lost his throne because of his obsession with Confucianism.To explore the power that religious belief has had over societies through the ages, Selina OGrady takes the reader on a dazzling journey across the empires of the ancient world and introduces us to rulers, merchants, messiahs, priests and holy men. Throughout, she seeks to answer why, amongst the countless religious options available, the empires at the time of Jesus chose the religions they did?Why did Chinas rulers hitch their fate to Confucianism, a philosophy more than a religion? And why was a tiny Jewish cult led by Jesus eventually adopted by Romes emperors rather than the cult of Isis which was far more popular and widespread? The Jesus cult, followed by no more than 100 people at the time of his death, should, by rights, have disappeared in a few generations. Instead it became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Why did Christianity grow so quickly to become the predominant world religion? What was it about its teachings that so appealed to people? “And Man Created God” looks at why and how religions have had such an immense impact on human history and in doing so” “uncovers the ineradicable connection between politics and religion – a connection which still defines us in our own age. This is an important, thrilling and necessary new work of history.

[I heard an interview with the author on AlJazeera…it sounds like a must read! We must really understand the basis for world religion… Lara/Trace]

interconnectedness and quantum physics

I was honored to work with MariJo Moore on this amazing anthology. Indians always knew String Theory but call it The Theory of Everything …Lara/Trace

Unraveling the Spreading Cloth of Time
Unraveling the Spreading Cloth of Time

The Spiritual Universe of American Native People By Marcianne Miller on April 7, 2014

BOOK REVIEW
Format: Paperback

“It was not until the 20th Century that [Eurasian scientists and philosophers] began to suspect something that the Indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere have known all along. Everything is connected,” Dean Hutchins explains in his essay “Deciphering the Great Mystery.”
This essay is part of the anthology Unraveling the Spreading Cloth of Time: Indigenous Thoughts Concerning the Universe. Editor MariJo Moore says she sees “the universe as a great cloth… shawl… spreading and spreading…unendingly into a circle that flows forever.”  This anthology explores the ways the interconnectedness of the universe, while a new concept for Western thinkers, has long been a part of Indigenous knowledge.
Moore and co-editor Trace A. DeMeyer have compiled an eclectic collection of nonfiction and fiction: essays, poems, stories, prayers, songs and memoir. For example, follow a concise history of philosophical thought with Hutchins.  Dance with Mary Black Bonnet in her kitchen as she learns the Lakota flag song. Find out what the Milky Way tastes like and what note black holes sing in from Kim Shuck. Hear a Ketoowah traditional story and follow Denise Low as she discusses its implications for modern day climate change survival. Read the best poem that Doris Seale has written – yet. These are just a few of the illuminative and creative pieces contained in this book. Each author explores Indigenous knowledge about the interconnectedness of the universe.
The anthology, dedicated to Moore’s mentor, Vine Deloria Jr, honors him and carries forward his work on the subject of the spiritual universe.  It opens with the poem “Sing Your Song for Vine,” by suzan shown harjo. In the essay included by Deloria, “Spiritual Universe,” he examines some of the most significant Western thinkers and how they reach “the opinion that the world we think of as solidly physical is, in fact, a strange, indescribable “mind stuff” that provides the foundation for everything.”  Throughout the book it becomes clear that there is a parallel between Europeans “discovering” an America that was already populated with native peoples, and Western scientists and philosophers just now “discovering” truths that native peoples have known and told for a long time.  The authors of this book don’t stop there, however.
Deloria says, “This belief, as we have seen, is the starting point, not the conclusion. Assuming or intuiting mind as the dominant entity, would not the tribal peoples’ questions vary substantially from the questions asked by the Western philosophers?”  This anthology records and passes on knowledge, and at the same time asks us to consider how we have and will continue to use the knowledge we possess.
If the concept of Quantum Physics is intimidating, don’t worry. The authors here guide the reader through the subject matter in easy to understand language. Conversely, for the reader versed in Quantum Physics, there are plenty of opportunities to engage on a deeper level with the philosophical and spiritual implications.

excerpt from Rapid River Arts & Culture magazine, Asheville, NC

(Click on book cover for more reviews and to purchase)

Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age: An Interview with Trace A. DeMeyer

Posted by Drinnen in Adoption

VISIT her Website: http://puzzlesandpossibilities.com/

ADOPTION REUNION cover copyA new book on adoption reunions is available now on Amazon. I am SO honored to be a contributor to Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age, which opens up  important conversations on the topic of adoption search and reunion.  As part of the launch of this new book,  Trace A. DeMeyer (author of One Small Sacrifice and Two Worlds) and I are participating in an interview series with the contributors.   Laura asked us to discuss our experiences and share these questions on our blogs. The book was released on January 27, 2014 and is available as an EBook on Amazon (ISBN  978-0985616847).  A paperback version will be released soon.

After reading, check below to learn how you can win a copy of the book!

BECKY:  ”Genetic Mirroring” is something most non-adoptees take for granted.  Knowing someone we look like and act like is often missing in the lives of adoptees.  You wrote about finally meeting someone you look like.  How important was it for you to meet someone you looked like and what advice would you have for adoptees who struggle with their lack of genetic mirroring?

TRACE:  Unless you’re adopted with a sibling, you aren’t genetically related or physically resemble anyone in your adoptive family. That is why “genetic mirroring” is a wonderful new discovery – experts finally get it that adoptees need it! I was adopted by strangers who had no clue as to who I was, or my own unique genetic identity… My adoptive parents could not tell me anything.  Because of this, I felt isolated, a stranger in the family.  Back in 1996, I travelled to Illinois to meet my natural father Earl. For over 30 years, I never looked like anyone – this bothered me to a much greater degree than anyone realized. Finding someone who looked like me was a very healing thing.  I saw a photo of my grandmother Lona and knew instantly that this was my family.

I would tell adoptees going into reunion that they will look at the faces and manners and eccentricities in biological relatives and find all kinds of good surprises.  It’s like solving your own mystery.

BECKY: Many adoption reunion stories published in the press focus on reunions with mothers. However, we all have fathers, too.   Both Trace and I found and reunited with our birth fathers after our birth mothers refused ongoing contact with us.  Trace, what are your thoughts on why your father was willing to meet you and your mother was not?  What would you say to a birth parent reluctant to meet their child?

TRACE: When I was in my 20s, I was fixated on finding my mother and had not even thought about finding my dad. I don’t know why that is. Then I found a news article about Florence Fisher* who reunited with her birthfather. It opened my eyes and gave me huge hope. *Florence founded the Adoptee’s Liberty Movement Association in New York.

When my birthmother Helen refused to meet me or talk with me, I was not prepared – how can anyone prepare for that? I didn’t get to know her so I can’t even guess why.  But I felt rejection and confusion, not love or acceptance. I never expected an apology. I read her letter over and over and felt shock first, then a crushing pain, then deep sadness.  Sorting it all out emotionally took a few years. I later met an uncle who told me it was better Helen and I never met.  If Helen’s own family felt this way about her, I felt sorry for her actually.

My reunion with my birthfather’s family happened 20 years ago. When I phoned, my dad asked me how soon I could get there. Why birthparents are reluctant or refuse to make contact is actually where they are emotionally, too.  If they never told anyone they had a baby and gave them up, they might still be afraid of what others think.  I would tell them what really matters is healing yourself – and this can happen once you reunite with the child you lost.

BECKY:  As adoptees, we long for information about our birth families yet adoption agencies, laws, and sometimes even our birth families, feel we have no right to know.   You met your grandmother (Helen’s mother), without her knowing who you were.   If you had it to do over, would you take that step again?  What advice do you have for other adoptees that have not had an opportunity to meet a birth family member, such as a grandparent or sibling, because of a birth parent’s desire to keep their existence a secret?

TRACE: I started my search when I was 22 (in late 1970s) and was very naïve, eager, optimistic.  I was not aware of what to do or what not to do. There weren’t any books on searching or reunions!  Like you Becky, I had no choice but to use my intuition (and phone books).

It’s true that adoptees become genealogists, detectives and search for clues using a single name (usually their mother’s name).  It’s tedious work that usually lasts years.  In my desperation, in 1993 I did drive to Wisconsin to meet Helen’s mother (my grandmother was also named Helen)… If I could do it over, I’d definitely ask questions about ancestry, family history and medical information, just like I did.  This time, on my way out the door, I’d tell my grandmother I am your grandkid and here’s my phone number and then leave.

I am so done with secrecy, to answer your question.  Adoptees are human beings yet denied the most basic information others take for granted.  I think that is probably one of the most outrageous ongoing injustices in the world.  Since I went through this myself, I tell adoptees to meet every relative you find, don’t delay, be brave, make calls or visits and do not stop. We don’t need permission to do this.  It’s our information!  I also think birthparents and adoptees need to “Man Up” and get therapy if they are not in reunion or too afraid to try.  And please read this new book!

BECKY:  Trace and her father confirmed their relationship with DNA testing.  At the time Trace reunited with her father, DNA testing was an expensive option.  My birth father and I also confirmed our relationship with a DNA test. In 2013, DNA testing had become readily available and prices low enough to make it a viable option for just about everyone.  In fact, some adoptees that don’t have access to their original birth certificates have been able to find birth family members by using very tedious search methodologies using DNA results.   Trace, how important of a role do you think DNA testing will play in adoptee search and reunion in the coming years?  What are your thoughts about the importance of DNA testing for adoptees?

TRACE: My mother Helen’s name was on my original birth certificate so this wasn’t a question that needed DNA.  But I do think DNA tests will be critical and crucial until we have better reunion services and registries and paperwork for the millions of adoptees out there now.  A father is not listed in adoption paperwork if you are illegitimate like I was.  Birthfathers will need to recognize this and consent to do DNA tests if an adoptee finds them.  If he refuses or is already dead, I tell adoptees to find a paternal relative, like an uncle or granddad, to do the DNA test with you.  We can’t wait until our birthparents are ready or emotionally well enough or open to it.  Waiting can be a huge mistake.

I want to thank Trace for sharing her thoughts and story with me.  Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age is sure to create conversations in the adoption community.   Trace and I would enjoy hearing your comments to our stories.  And check this out:  one commenter to this post will win a free copy of Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age (your choice of an ebook or a PDF), so let us hear your comments today!  I will announce the winner here on Sunday, February 2, 2014.

Trace has also interviewed me about my experience.  You will find her interview with me on her blog  at www.splitfeathers.blogspot.com and on her website www.tracedemeyer.com.  Please visit her sites to read my interview and for information about her memoir One Small Sacrifice and her anthology Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.

The Healing

My friend and co-author Patricia Busbee highly recommends this book. Great reviews on Amazon!The healingPlantation mistress Amanda Satterfield’s intense grief over losing her daughter crosses the line into madness when she takes a newborn slave child as her own and names her Granada. Troubled by his wife’s disturbing mental state and concerned about a mysterious plague that is sweeping through the plantation’s slave quarters, Master Satterfield purchases Polly Shine, a slave woman known as a healer who immediately senses a spark of the same gift in Granada. Soon, a domestic battle of wills begins, leading to a tragedy that weaves together three generations of strong Southern women.

Rich in mood and atmosphere, The Healing is a powerful, warmhearted novel about unbreakable bonds and the power of story to heal.