Posts Tagged ‘#amwriting’

Be prepared.

Friday, September 6th, 2019
This morning, as I gave Mateo bus and lunch money, I noticed his wallet was stuffed with Qs. (Qs=Guatemalan currency, quetzales.)
“Why so many Qs?” I asked.
“In case I get deported,” he said.
This is the world we live in, people. For kids like mine, US citizens with brown skin.
Crazy, except that it’s real.

ShareThis

Our front door

Friday, August 30th, 2019

Every summer when we visit Antigua, Guatemala, I make Olivia pose with me at the door of the charming little house where we lived together while waiting for her adoption to be finalized, back in 2003. Here we are in August 2019. Mateo snapped the picture. xoxo

ShareThis

Our annual party

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019


I channeled my Rockette mother as I struck a pose and greeted guests at our annual party for adoptive families with children born in Guatemala. I love this day that brings us together to catch up, connect, laugh and cry. How blessed I am to be part of our community.

The party was Sunday, which meant Costco run Saturday. Once again, I was that frantic woman pushing two carts through the aisles and ordering cake. The Guatemalan flag is light blue and white; hence the color choice.

Cheers!

 

 

ShareThis

Book review of “Inheritance” by Dani Shapiro

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

 

I finished reading Dani Shapiro’s newest memoir, Inheritance, and highly recommend it. Here’s a one-sentence plot summary: “A 54-year-old writer takes DNA test on a whim and discovers the father who raised her is not her biological father.”

Dani was conceived with donor sperm in the 1960s, at a clinic in Pennsylvania. At the time, donor sperm was mixed with sperm of the father, and Dani’s parents (both deceased) never knew whose sperm created Dani. The story told to Dani was that her parents had trouble conceiving, and visits to a clinic fixed that. The donor himself was promised anonymity. He may or may not have other donor-created children out in the world currently.

The memoir is especially timely because of our cultural moment, when DNA kits are available and cheap. As I’ve noted previously, we in the adoption community have dealt with family complexity for years, but for most people, the information that a parent is not blood related comes as a life-upending shock.

The Inheritance narrative reads like a detective yarn as Dani, her husband, and the genealogy experts they consult unravel her history. Throughout, Dani poses ethical questions about what a person who is donor-conceived has a right to know regarding her biology. But as she points out, such questions are becoming increasingly irrelevant as anyone can spit in a vial and discover unknown parents, brothers, and sisters. The implications of this reality are far-reaching.

To me, as an adoptive parent, the equally compelling question is addressed in the memoir’s parallel thread: the question of identity. Dani wrestles with identity on every page. Who am I, really? she wonders. Who am I if not the person I thought I was, if my story is different from the one I believed? Who is my ‘real’ father? What does being a father mean?

“Who am I really?” is the question asked by many people who are adopted. And on some level, the question never goes away. Answers evolve over a lifetime.

Inheritance is one of the most probing, insightful, beautifully written explorations of the meaning of family and identity I’ve every read. Chapter by chapter, Dani puts the reader right beside her as she comes to terms with her new truth: from denial and anger to understanding and acceptance. Inheritance is not written specifically about “adoption,” but its reflections will resonate with the adoption community. Dani loved the father who raised her and demonstrates a profound, driving need to know her birth father. Both these statements are true, and worth pondering.

Inheritance also offers much to think about to anyone who is donor-conceived or considering donor conception. Thought leaders in the fertility industry should be required to read Inheritance.

I’ll leave you with two quotes. The first is said by Dani’s ninety-plus -year-old Aunt Shirley, and the second by Dani’s friend and colleague, Rabbi David Ingber.

“Finding all this out is a door to discovering what a father really is. It isn’t closure—you may not get to have that—but it’s an opening to a whole new vista.” (p. 138)

~Aunt Shirley

“You can say, ‘This is impossible, terrible.’ Or you can say, ‘This is beautiful, wonderful.’ You can imagine that you’re in exile. Or you can imagine that you have more than one home.’” (p. 209)

~Rabbi David Ingber

 

ShareThis

A note from my mom

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

One of the benefits of a torn calf muscle is being forced to sit down. For the past few days, I’ve parked myself downstairs on a small stool and sorted through boxes. This is part of my ultimate plan to carve out a permanent space for a writing desk for me. Currently, I write on a collapsible Costco table that stays in our guest room until guests arrive, which is often, and I’m compelled to take the table down. (Not that our guests would complain! Just that my papers and books overwhelm the space. Bottom line: I need a surface that is permanent.)

Today, I found this note from my mother, one of hundreds I’ve saved. She was a faithful correspondent, always clipping and sending me articles: about adoption, Guatemala, child-rearing, museums, the dance world. Her handwriting is so distinctive and energized, like my mother herself. Even her choice of stationery is revelatory.

I miss her every day.

ShareThis

Dancer down

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

I tore my left calf muscle, dancing if you must know. Practicing a dance routine to be more precise, awakening my dance gene long-dormant after decades of neglect. Six weeks to recover. I’m missing my lovely walks with Charlie, who may be more upset about this turn of events than I am.

I’m using the time to:

Read more (one of my eternal goals, hard to achieve because of my guilt over sitting down). I’ve finished reading one book and today will begin another.

Re-work the beginning of my novel, to draw out certain traits of the main character, sooner. (Will send to Beta readers for their impressions.)

Re-design my blog and web page.

Stay off my leg so I can do these things.

Just when we think we have everything under control, we realize we have nothing under control. That’s the lesson I constantly must re-learn.

ShareThis