Tuesday, August 26, 2008

thank you angie mama

This e-card is from my stepmother. It is not a technicality, but the slow reality after the healing from hurt during my early years when being an adopted daughter, and being a new wife expected to raise an adopted child at the same time she gave birth to her own daughter,were difficult roles forced on the both of us. The constant is that my stepmother has pretty much always laid out a place for me at the dinner table.

Always a wealth of support and a staunch supporter of being an independent woman, it took me a while to realize just how much she cares. Sometimes it's hard to see when there are other people manipulating the emulsion.

Inspiration of the Day: Kareena Zerefoles

illustrations by kareena's zerefoles

I've seen Australian illustrator Kareena Zerefoles's work around the design world in space. Her work is delicate, feminine and bends cute into kinda creepy - in a good way. My favorites are the children's book images (need I remind you that Grimm's Fairy Tales are just that?)

Today she is featured on DesignSponge and had this to say about where she goes to be inspired:

"Where do you go in Australia when you want to feel inspired?At the moment, my studio is based in East Sydney [amongst galleries, design stores, and lovely little cafes and bars] and I’m living in harbour-side Kirribilli – where I’ll often head down to the water and wander around to Lavender Bay – past the rides and carnival tents of Luna Park."

I want to go there - all of there! Keep drawing and inspiring.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


um, not my mother but she did give birth at North Shore Hospital
No Cedar-Sinai? Shocking right?

last week or so have felt like i've been coaxing the last teaspoon of honey out its plastic container. while i've learned that the best of what you can give can not be forced forward, i am, i have grown a bit impatient in my age. i'd like to scribble that out and say how much there is to be done, and how much I've learned while the things you can't push out are baking in the oven but i'd rather burn the roof of my mouth than wait to ingest things properly. I am still a petulant child.
This week a few people have asked me what I think about this lawyer, the mistro. I am in no rush to press fast forward and record a person's character, history with a half drawn picture in my notes. I don't know. I don't know and I suppose that's why I should ask him to help me fill out the features.
As for features, Tuesday is my birthday and if my mother is still here it is our day of remembrance. What she remembers, or thinks of this day I don't know. I don't even have a sketch of her. On Tuesday I will excavate every posting board ISO. I have no expectations beyond expecting that they will never be read by her eyes. What are the things that you do every day? Brush your teeth, wash your face, drink water, pee, talk, walk, read, think? So on the day that you brush your teeth, wash your fash, drink water, pee, talk, give birth to a child, talk, walk, read, think does every other year then begin with the thinking of giving birth to a child? Like the way we celebrate birthdays?
I could have fallen from the sky but according to 1978 testimony, I was born in Long Island. Everything else feels a little out of reach. This information is not suitable for adopted children. I would surely shove all the pieces in my mouth.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Quote of the day: Sylvia Plachy

"What we do, is not polite. We search for that secret which, like a pearl in
the ocean, is not easily found or given up."

Sylvia Plachy, Introduction to "25 and under: Up-and-Coming American Photographers, Volume 2"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Revised Trailer

Cleaned up and more first person:

I am a Jane Doe with three families: my birth parents, my adoptive parents, and my stepmother' family. I belong to them all - yet none claim me as their child. When I visit the doctor's office, I force back a wave of tears as I draw an X through the section asking for my family medical history. If I let the wave crash, I fear I would drown in my own tears.

Maybe the part of me that cries at Volkswagen commercials is hereditary. Maybe I am at risk for certain diseases; maybe I should be checking a different box for my ethnicity. I'm filling in the blanks for my own history. Adoptees are denied the right to their historic and genetic identities. This is what I know - I am made up of three parts: what my life has made me, what I've made out of that life, and the one who gave me life. According to the New York State Adoption Registry, her name is NOT APPLICABLE.

There's a way to buy anything - even a child. In the US, there is a dirth of healthy white babies available for adoption. When something is in demand, a rare commodity, there's always someone looking for a way to profit from those who are willing to pay the price. But at what cost to the couple, the child - how far would someone go to get the goods? I was purchased by a couple with the highest bid – the price that was right for a baby broker who in the 1970’s revolutionized the adoption industry in the United States. Three years later that couple divorced, and at age 8, my mother was deemed unfit to raise a child and my father was granted full custody.

With my birth certificate sealed, I posted and searched through countless internet message boards to find my birth parents. While I found no information about my own family, I did find adoptees and birth mothers whose adoptions were orchaestrated by the same lawyer. I'm in touch with a Knoxville police officer and birth mother Jaymie who is now a professional searcher. According to Jaymie, my mother was coerced into giving me up for adoption. She's been tracking the lawyers business for 30 years. She says that birth mothers are misunderstood - and most want to be found. I'd just like to know where I came from, what my ethnicity is, and if she looks like me. It's human to want these answers. It's inhumane to keep them a secret.

Jaymie's not the only one who supports this notion. (This is from a book - need reference) "Methods of procuring the babies include obtaining signed relinquishments from mothers under duress or coercion, admitting a pregnant woman to a hospital under the name of the adopter or falsely telling the mother "the baby died" shortly after birth and falsifying the original birth record, and actual purchase from economically disadvantaged parents in the U.S." Did this happen to my mother? Does she think that I am not alive? Many adoptees and birth parents, those without a tribe, post on message boards on the birth day. Not a year has gone by where I haven't looked.

JAYMIE: "In my searches I have found several natural mothers who had committed suicide on or near the birthday of their relinquished child. I don't think these women did this out of fear of their identity being discovered one day in the future. I think they did this out of total despair. Despair over a system of closed adoption, a system that didn't allow them to have the hope that one day they would get to know the adult that once was their child."

What I do know is that there are people who have revised my history. There are others, thousands of me, looking for where they came from. So I'm going to meet with them and visit my adoptive parents, longtime family friends, and the lawyer behind the curtain - people who know more about the historical me than I do. At the same time, Jaymie will begin her search for my mother. The woman my stepmother thinks is named Mary Mayo, the woman my father said grew up in Long Island, the woman I met only once the first time I ever cried. Maybe I'll find her, maybe I'll find another family in my birth and adoptee friends scattered across the country, maybe I am Marnie Mayo. Maybe I'm not.

The end of the story is not about seeking one adoptee’s history, but about relationships lost and found, those who unknowingly sold their children, the others who’ve learned that they came with an expensive price tag, and those who set the price and profited from a profoundly personal and painful experience.

Monday, August 18, 2008

brokedown ballerina girl

poor girl only has half a tu-tu. When I received the box from the eBay seller, I almost gave it a neutral rating: sure it's vintage and she didn't say it was perfect, but wow, it is trashed and the ballerina is a hot mess. Then I realized that the creepy music box that plays out of tune and my banged up dancing girl is just perfect for the part. Very lucky, ebay seller.

Here she is - she wouldn't be your first pick for the chorus line but she's me, and I am her.

always the same day

been waiting to get feedback on my treatment and lock down dates to shoot the funding trailer. I know email - we think people are fibbing when they say "it must have ended up in my spam" but working for an internet company, I know that email is less reliable than we think. MUCH less. So I did my follow up because it's the right thing to do. Some people think following up is annoying people - you *have* to follow up with people because it's your responsibility, a favor that you are asking of them, and let's face it, people have other things to do. As they should. It's your high priority, not theirs.
Of course I get a response from two different people within 30 minutes of each other. It always happens that way and although it isn't planned, I think we tend to respond to things at the same time. There has to be some reason why it always happens at the same time.
So I'll have a borrowed camera soon and feedback on the trailer. We're moving but sometimes you have to plug along while you wait for the other pieces. I have a photo of the jewelry box. I can't wait to see how it all comes together. I'm guessing the trailer will be shot by the first week of September - edited by mid-September. That's wishful thinking.