lucid

For adoptees, the journey is never over. It evolves, it twists and turns, but it never ends.

I reunited with my birthfamily in Taipei, Taiwan, in January 2012, during the Lunar New Year. I can’t even begin to express what a life-changing event it was. I met my two older biological sisters, their spouses, my older brother, nieces and nephews, and our Uncle, the Patriarch of our family. I did not have the opportunity to meet my birthparents, as both had passed on years earlier. I learned that my birth father died around the same time as my adoptive mom.

Lucid_Light sketchGrowing up, I never entertained the thought of searching for my birthfamily. My adoptive parents hid my adoption records, which I later found after my adoptive mom passed away. My adoption record held information that was quite contrary to what my mom had shared with me. To this day, I’m left wondering if she lied about my past. After learning the truth, I was struck with an insatiable curiosity. I set out to find answers. That led to a three year search for my birthfamily. I won’t go into all the details, but will share an incident that led up to my search.

After my adoptive mom passed, I attended a Bonny Method Guided Imagery & Music (GIM) training at Arizona State University. Briefly, GIM is a type of psychotherapy utilizing classical music to assist individuals in uncovering unconscious material and emotions. Watch a brief video about GIM here. My classmates and I were graduated music therapists. We were paired up and were each given the opportunity to be the “client” and the guide, or therapist. I went into the training worried because my adoptive mom had recently passed away, and I knew that the training might cause more grief to surface. At the same time, I was also concerned that I would not be able to “travel” as they call it, or be able to conjure any images while “travelling.”

When it was my turn to be the “client,” my partner and I found a spot on the floor. I was lying on my back, and he was kneeling near my head. The music began. Eventually, images began to flow. I entered a room that looked like a library. There were bookshelves with hundreds of books. Several minutes in, a cloaked figure emerged in the distance, its face was hidden by the hood of the cloak. Initially, I was afraid, as the figure appeared ominous, its cloak was as dark as charcoal. Barber’s Adagio for Strings was playing. If you’re not familiar with this piece, it is intensely beautiful and mysterious. There is also a yearning and a sorrow underscoring this composition. I highly recommend giving it a listen here.

As the figure drew nearer, I knew in my heart that it was my birth mother. She reached out to me. I remember her long, graceful fingers, which were gloved in grey. We embraced. It was a feeling like I’d never experienced. Joy, sorrow, disbelief, mystery. I then saw my adoptive mother. Her face was lit up, and she was beaming down at me. The first thing she said was, “I’m okay!” By this point, I’m sobbing. I sensed that she wanted to tell me something vitally important. She wanted me to know my birth mother. It was time. It was like she was trying to connect us. I didn’t know at this time that I would eventually set out to find my birthfamily – that did not occur until months later. My birth mother and I held each other for what seemed like an eternity. She told me that she did not want to give me up and that she had given me my musical abilities. I later learned from my biological sisters that our mother loved classical music and learning, which are two of my favorite things.

When it came time for my birth mother to leave, she exited slowly, walking backwards. I cannot begin to tell you the sorrow I felt in watching her leave. Later I watched as my adoptive mom was taken away by white beings. I can only describe them as angels. The music had changed to Mozart’s Serenade in B-Flat. The angels moved to the beat of the music, lovingly carrying my adoptive mom away until I could no longer see them. Both my moms had left me. I should say that because I had such an intense experience, one of the facilitators came to my side to help me through it. They had purposely selected the piece by Mozart because of its ability to contain strong emotion in a way that felt safe and comforting. There was much more to this event that I don’t have time to share. Suffice it to say, it was truly transformative.

The drawing above is an imagining of my birth mother. I never saw her face during the GIM imaging. It remained cloaked in darkness. My biological sisters gave me a picture of our mother when I went back to Taiwan, but she was much older when the photo was taken. My sisters said that I look like her when she was young. Unfortunately, they no longer had any photos of our mother when she was a younger woman. So I’m left to my own idealized imagination and creative intuition.

I believe that the experience that I had with GIM was only the beginning of a journey that led me back to my roots in Taiwan. For adoptees, the journey is never really over. It evolves, it twists and turns, but it never ends.

 

grand symphony

Hey folks! Happy Saturday to you. I have been so inspired to create lately. I’d much rather be drawing and painting or taking some art classes than working. Alas, that is not possible at the moment. I’ve been wanting to make art related to adoption, but have been low on ideas. The piece above came mostly because I wanted to say something to other adoptees. Thus, the salutation, ‘Dear Adopted One,’ popped up, and I wanted to highlight just how important adoptee voices and stories are. In the adoptee community, many of us feel that our voices are the last to be heard – adoptive parents and adoption professionals have long held the mic. Adult adoptees are forcefully flipping the script, however, and changing the scene. We are the truest experts of our own experiences! Our community is vibrant and thriving. Visit Lost Daughters to learn more about this movement.

I worked on “Grand Symphony” over the week and had great difficulty with painting it and with the letter stamps. Grrrrr. Didn’t quite end up exactly how I had envisioned. Practicing patience…There are many, many other adoptees using the creative arts to flip the script. I’m just grateful to make a small contribution.

Cheers…

no judgment

Are there any places in your life at the moment where you need to let go of judgment?

I was watching and learning from a YouTube video recently by Mark Crilley on how to draw more realistic eyes. I liked that he said to draw anything realistic takes patience. I’m not a very patient person. I tend to want to do things right the first time. So practicing these skills is a lesson for me in patience, and furthermore, letting go of self-criticism and judgment toward my own creative work. I have only just begun learning to draw and paint more seriously. I have to remind myself that I’m a novice, I’m exploring and creating for the sake of creating, but it’s tempting to observe other professional artists’ work and feel that I’m very much an amateur. Are there any places in your life at the moment where you need to let go of judgment? Toward self or others? I invite you to let go today!

Cheers!

dear adopted one

Ours is a sacred community of individuals who rise up, speak out, and overcome.

I love that social media allows people all over the world to connect. I remember the first time another adoptee reached out to me in 2011. She was adopted from the same orphanage. It was profound. Social media has allowed me to connect to many adoptees in the U.S. and abroad. I see photos and posts daily that clearly communicate the trauma, loss, woundedness, confusion, and rejection felt by so many of us. And yet ours is a sacred community of individuals who rise up, speak out, and overcome.

My beautiful biological sisters have always said to me how happy they are that I was adopted and experienced a better life, and out of love and respect for them, I don’t post things that I feel may be upsetting to them. They are genuinely compassionate, kind, and forgiving. This morning, I felt inspired to create something adoptee-related. The piece above is part of an angels series I’m creating. To my fellow adoptees, may you know that you are truly precious. And, may you know that your angels are always singing love over you.

grit

if you are feeling shame, blame, or down on yourself this morning for whatever reason, you have strength, courage, and beauty that you never imagined inside you

Have you ever just had such an awful week that you felt tired to your bones? I mean, felt as though you’re cloaked in weight, a weight that just presses you down and in on all sides? I had one of those kinds of weeks. I’m sure I’m not alone. We all suffer through valleys, and though it can be excruciatingly painful at the time, sometimes we come up on the other side having gained greater insight, wisdom, and compassion for ourselves and others. This morning, I’m still processing through one of the most difficult circumstances I’ve ever encountered in my professional work. I felt that I was being unfairly blamed for things by others who were oblivious to their own part in the unfortunate situation. Okay, I know that everyone probably experiences similar situations at some point in their lives, but this was very personal. When there is an attack on your person, it just goes a little deeper. I was hoping someone would take to my defense; alas, that is not what transpired until after everything boiled over.

So, as I processed what I could have done differently in the situation, I drew the piece above. Yeah, her dimensions are a little off, but you know what, I’m letting go of perfection this morning. As I sketched and erased, sketched and erased over and over, I thought about grit. Not the southern fried comfort food (which I also happen to love), but a characteristic that is defined as courage and resolve; strength of character. I have been tempted to be down on myself, to turn inward and believe that I was wrongful. However, I have begun to realize that I also need to trust my intuition and my own clinical insight. It takes grit, I think, to take responsibility, to take a hit and then get back up. To accept the blame when really, you aren’t to blame, and to stand strong, despite feeling crippled. I am confident that as I continue to learn and grow, fall and get up, grit will keep me going.

If you are feeling shamed, blamed, or down on yourself this morning for whatever reason, trust that you have strength, courage, and beauty that you never imagined inside you. Dig in and know that you are worthy of all things good, bright, and lovely. Dream big and wide, and don’t let other’s *&%#$@! get you down. Set strong boundaries on what’s someone else’s stuff apart from your own. Sending lots of love out to the universe and to those who need an extra dose of courage and strength.

Cheers…

innocence

there’s something about being a kid and living life as though it were an adventure

I love kids. When our daughter was a very young child, I was fascinated by her sense of wonder when she discovered something new or was exploring. I loved watching her eat ice cream because the look of pure joy emanating from her face and her tiny, wrinkled up nose were priceless. I loved that she saw and perceived the world through untainted eyes. Everything was like a new adventure. Unfortunately, as we mature, we get exposed to the unkindness in the world; we get hurt by others as well as by our own selves. We learn and grow through positive and negative experiences. That’s just life. But, there’s something about being a kid and living life as though it were an adventure. There’s something special about engaging with kids and capturing that sense of wonder and innocence – That time in life when you have absolutely no responsibility but to live and grow and be nurtured. I was inspired by that sense as I created the piece above.

May we keep on seeking adventure and wonder in our own lives and continually open ourselves up to new possibilities!

Cheers…