ma

National Adoption Awareness Month 2018 is coming to an end. It’s been a very long, sad month for multiple reasons. Sometimes, I have to step away from social media because the chatter is too much. And, on Veteran’s Day, we had to put our beloved dachsund, Peppermint, down. It was one of the saddest days of my life, and I’m still grappling with the loss of my sweet friend. Life will not be the same, at least not for a while.

Ma SketchI was working on a sketch of my first mother earlier in the month and finally painted it. It was referenced from a black and white photo given to me by my sisters in Taiwan. I’m guessing ma was in her forties or fifties when the photo was taken. My sisters told me that I look very much like ma in her younger years. There are no photos of ma in her youth, as they were all destroyed. She also loved classical music, reading, and learning new things. We have that in common. My sisters and brother are also artistic – my second sister is a web designer, my elder sister draws beautifully and my brother is a photographer. I’m a late bloomer as an artist. I’ve never had formal training, and I am still not great at drawing eyes, shading and using paint, at least not in the way I’d like to be. In any case, I appreciate the art of practice and enjoy the creative process. I actually like the sketch better than the painted version. What I love about art is that it allows you to express without words. To this day, I’m not the best communicator. Perhaps that’s why I loved my dog so much – unconditional positive regard and love 24/7, without having to say a whole lot.

Pepper_11-30-2012

I’m glad that Adoption Awareness Month is coming to a close. Thanksgiving is around the corner, and I truly have much to be grateful for, despite the loss of Peppermint. May you make many happy memories with family, friends and loved ones, including furry ones, this Thanksgiving.

 

prayer of a birth mother

I never had the opportunity to meet my birth parents. They had both passed away by the time I found my biological sisters in Taiwan, whom I reunited with in 2012 after 40-something years of separation. I wasn’t surprised, as per my adoption contract, my parents were older when they had me. I once had a very vivid experience with my birth mother, however, that you can read about in my memoir. It was surreal to say the least. It is the greatest sense of loss never to know who gave birth to you. I am eternally grateful to be in reunion with my two sisters and extended family in Taiwan.

The piece of art above, prayer of a birth mother, is to honor mothers who have been forced to relinquish children due to a multitude of reasons, e.g., poverty, shame, lack of support, societal expectations and pressure, etc. They suffer great loss, and in many cases overseas, do not want to relinquish the child. I was told by my eldest sister that I was relinquished without the knowledge of our mother and my sisters by our birth father. My sisters said that after school, they would visit the babysitter and hold me. Then, one day, I was no longer there. To speak of our family’s history is very difficult for my sisters. I respect their privacy and am grateful for the knowledge that I do have about our family. Still, I’m left with so many questions. It pains me to hear others say of birth mothers that they relinquished or abandoned a child because “they wanted to give the child a better life.” Societies around the world do not make it easy for single, unwed mothers to parent a child due to stigma, lack of funding and programs to support family preservation, etc. Though I will never know my first mother, I believe that we are connected and always will be.