Sunday, June 22, 2008

Recognize this?

Looks are something that many adoptees are obsessed with, and not in a vanity sort of way. I never spend time staring at myself in the mirror, but for most people in the world, they get the privilege of growing up in a family where they see pieces of themselves mirrored back in those around them. I have not had this luxury, though my adad and abro are blonde, and we're all of the white variety :)

So meeting my birthfather (Jim) on Saturday was crazy. It went 8,000 times better than meeting my birth mom, and I'm excited for the years ahead to get to know him and my 1/2 sisters and to see myself mirrored in those around me. Though many in my life may squirm at this mention of me wanting a relationship with my first family. This is not a reflection on my love for my aparents. I love Bob and Lori, my frister (friend/sister) Allison and bro Ryan very much. I can have a lot of love in my heart for everyone. Even Elisa.

And I want to freaking stop apologizing for it. I want to stop feeling the adoptee guilt of loyalty. My parents are excited for me and are even excited to meet Jim, so there....(sticks tongue out)

And here is the magic of digital photography:

A transition from me to Jim (based off a picture of him from like 8 years ago). Eerie, eh? :) I used to be mistaken for a guy, apparently it was my father...picture of me in college and Jim in 7th grade or so...

sibling similarities? me as a wee tyke, and my 1/s sister Libby... family

So it was fantastic to hang out with the Titchenal family. We looked at photo albums and shot the breeze. We talked about choices and where we would be if choices hadn't been made. It was almost 8 hours of goodness, and after dinner I was tired, but sad to go. Jim got teary. We hugged. Oh, and it was also cool to see baby pictures of me. Real baby pictures. With Elisa holding me in her arms and Jim holding me in his arms. It sounds funny, but I now see that I was really born...

I wish I could write this more coherantly, but I'm happy. I feel like both feet are firmly planted on the ground. I feel like my heart is 12 times bigger than before, and my soul is lighter, freer. With stage 1 (if there is such a thing) of the reunion past, I'd have to say that I am very happy. I've taken the good with the bad. The sad with the happy. And I look forward to the trials and tribulations ahead of me.

Friday, June 20, 2008

And I still haven't found what I'm looking for...

and I still haven't found what I'm looking for, but I still haven't found what I'm looking for...

Her name is Elisa, though I've known that for 25 years. Her hair is bleached blonde and she said she's stuck in 'some era, I'm not sure what,' and I wonder if she's maybe stuck in the 80's, and if the year is 1982. She smelled of stale cigarettes and perfume, which triggered memories of Christmas presents wrapped in cigarette/perfume smelling tissue paper. It's heartbreaking, really, to sit across the table with my first mother and yet to see the empty shell of who she is and who she could have become staring back. A beer wrapped in paper was nestled snugly in her knit purse, and the response she had to certain questions made me mentally rifle through my internal DSM-IV for a diagnoses. Alcoholism is a nasty disease that takes people's lives.

The what ifs swirl around in my mind. What if she hadn't given me away? Would that have helped? Would Jim have married her like he told me? Would they have gotten a divorce? Is her fate inevitable. Is any of our fates inevitable? If not my relinquishment, would there have been something else to drive her to the bottle? Or had she started on the path long before the choice to give me away? From a scrap of non-identifying medical information I know she drank and smoked and smoked pot while she was pregnant, and didn't get a dr. apt. until she was 6 months along. I wonder if I would have had the same fate as her other two, a life with mom, but being bounced around from family members houses and with live-in boyfriends. I wonder if I, too, would have moved out at 15 and into a friend's house? Or, as the oldest, would I have been another little mother in another lifetime, parenting siblings as I've somewhat tried to in my own family.

The questions aren't easy to ask. It's a typical adoptee response, to wonder 'what could I have done?' is it 'my fault that she's had the life she had?' And yet, what person would bestow the responsibility of the world on the shoulders of an infant? Who could blame a child for the fate of the parent?

It was pleasant, not terribly awkward, but not entirely comfortable either. Family and yet, not family. It's a strange situation all around. It's not that I was ever ungrateful to have been blessed to grow up a Powers, it's just that I need to know where I come from, perhaps in order to know where I'm going. There aren't enough words in the English language to adaquetely describe what this is like.

And it makes me angry and sad to be adodpted. But to be honest, it makes me angry and sad that I am not my parent's natural child. Why? Why was she able to get pregnant at 17 and not my parents? This makes me very sad, because they have been excellent parents. I wish I looked like them. I wish I could say that my great grandma really was Anna Christina Wolff, and that I could inherit a portion of the Colfax farm, but the truth is...I'm not. They are my parents but their ancestors are not my ancestors and this makes me very sad. I am sad that I have two moms and two dads, that I have to use 1/2's to distinguish my siblings to others, or to say 'birthmother' in order for strangers to know what the hell I'm talking about. I'm trying to have a large heart and love the situation, but it's freaking hard. No, it's fucking hard.

Me and Elisa:

Elisa and Trisha (my 1/2 sister)

Me and Trisha

The lines, 'and I still haven't found what I'm looking for,' popped into my mind and I thought how fitting it is. And I'm almost positive, that what I'm looking for no longer exists, at least in the way that it could have been.

The best part of it all, though, is I feel beautiful. I'm looking forward to meeting my birthfather tomorrow. This process has helped me feel more real and whole, but meeting my maternal side has helped me feel beautiful. Perhaps it's seeing something of myself reflected in others...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

French and who knows what else...

I often have the ostrich syndrome, the belief that if I wish hard enough, or hide my head in a hole, then I will somehow be...'normal.' Because opening myself up to the tidal wave of emotions that comes with being adopted, is hard. HARD. Harder than living in a 3rd world country or getting my Master's Degree. Emotions are tricky things, and I find that I am much easier at navigating the cerebral...

But yesterday, during my massage, the lovely Courtney (and if you haven't looked her up yet, you should, find her through the link Healing Nest on my page), performed reiki and my outbreaths let go of things like: shame, not good enough, closed off, unworthy, unloveable, unwanted, and on the inbreaths I took in: honesty, love, vulnerability. I'm working on opening my heart and making room in the nooks and crannies for all the various people in my life. My black and white thinking often doesn't allow for there to be more than one, like if I have one mom, I can't have 2 (and adding a third in the form of a MIL). But I can, and I do.

So with a heart open to possibilities, I shakily dialed the number and shakily spewed out "I was adopted in 1982 and I have reason to believe he is my birthfather" (like some episode of Law & Order), and there it to my birthfather Jim on the phone, for the first time.

The emotions are crazy overwhelming, because I already have a 'daddy,' but this man is 1/2 my genetic history and it was good to hear him say that a Dec. 13th didn't go by without him thinking of me, that when I turned 18 he updated his info at the agency so I could find him, and that he was 'so glad' I called. He even said he'd want to meet me.

What's great is that he's stable, married for 14 years, has 2 daughters (I mean, I have 2 MORE 1/2 sibs), and one of them is tall & plays basketball (this is the side of the family I get my height from I guess!). But silly as it is, the thing that stuck out to me the most, and it was good that I have been open and vulnerable and flexible...

Before the phone got disconnected I learned that his side of the family is French. This blows my entire life heritage of believing (because my parents told me this) that I am 100% Norwegian. The upside of this is I get to learn about a new country, as well as the fact that his father's side of the family has been in the country since 1620, in Jamestown...and this could possibly lead to there being some Native American blood ;) Not sure why I've always been obsessed with that, but there's much more likely a chance than my b-mom's side of the family which came from Norway like only 100 years ago.

So in order to stop sitting on the futon freaking out internally, I decided to do some art, which of course is adoption related...

And taking this open heart mentality I called my 1/2 sister and said I wanted to hang out, and I wanted to meet my b-mom, too, which is a huge step for me. Wowzers, so much emotion inside of me...


Saturday, June 7, 2008


When I think of hummingbirds the image that comes to mind is fluttering and a constant flurry of activity. When I stand in front of the microwave tapping my foot impateintly I realize that America is definitely a culture of hummingbirds, whereas life in India was more of a culture of...(the image that came to mind was sloth, but that has a negative connotation and NOT one that I want to convey about my heartland)'s just different there, slower and more relaxed.

So this week's topic in Inspire Me Thursday was hummingbird, and after playing around with hummingbird colors and not really liking what it produced, I went to Value Village and bought some old magazines (I have picked mine over again and again and am almost out of new things to add to my collage pile), and I came across a National Geographic (my favorite magazine EVER!)that had an article about hummingbirds. When I flipped it open there was this picture, of a hummingbird, just hanging out on a branch.

Ah, that picture of sweet rest made me take a few breaths and's okay that I haven't finished my cover letter or done any other work today. It's Saturday. It's okay for me to have a sabbath. I can collage and watch tv and hang out on my futon and not feel guilty. This is a good feeling.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

More Orange and Purple...

This week I've been obsessed with Inspire Me Thursday's prompt Orange and Purple, so I ended up with 2 pieces that, together, fit the bill...

The purple one, is entitled "The Ties that Bind" and the orange one is "A Stitch in Time." They convey some deep seeded emotions that have been bubbling up in me this past week or two. I don't have the strength, or the words to write about it tonight. Perhaps at a later date. For now, the pictures will suffice...

Monday, June 2, 2008


I've rolled around the phrase "leap and the net will appear" since September. It started as a conversation with a new friend in my Counseling Theories class, and while it was a principle I had tried to live by in the past, only recently did I really leap without peeking over the cliff hoping to have the net hanging there peacefully.

I quit my job last Wednesday, though I had actually put in my application at Highline School District and was told to come to a substitute orientation on Monday (today), which, in some ways is peeking over the edge to see if there was a net, but it didn't feel like peeks in the past. In the past I've had solid proof (perhaps i've climbed down a goat trail to the net and tested its hold of my weight before I scramble up to the cliff and leap).

A side note to making the decision to quit: the authenticity of this decision is something I have not felt in a LONG time. I have never quit a job before, they have always ended naturally, end of school year, end of summer, store unexpectadly went other and I'm stranded on the street begging for change (okay, that's an EXTREME and an exageration) but still, quitting is never been something that I, a perfectionist, would do...

Oh how good it feels, though. To really examine what makes me happy and what was sucking my soul out of my body and stepping on it repepatedly until I felt so downtrodden (and like part of a cult) that I seriously questioned if I could actually do another job right. So authenticity and being honest to myself and what I need, is something that I have been working on lately, and it is coming to a beautiful outcome.

I quit last wednesday (with a final day being this wednesday), and had my orientation today. Not only am I qualified to be a para-educator, I can also apply to be an emergency certificated substitute teacher, which means that in the fall I can sub as a teacher's aid or a teacher, and with that combination of job opportunity, I'll be able to have a pretty solid living that is flexible and will play more to my strengths. Of course it'll be stressful getting calls at 5 am, and the uncertainty of heading into a sub teaching job (gulp), but it's back in the realm of what I I am stoked.

So there you go. The motto is, leap and the net will appear. But don't just leap off any cliff, do it carefully you know, with eyes wide open and all the information possible... :)

And can I tell you, that it just feels FANTASTIC. I have never been this true to myself and to see how it is playing out is amazing. I knew that I was gifted in this other direction and so to pursue it and see how all the pieces are fitting in nicely, is just great. Will it be stressful? Yeppers. Different type of stress. Stress more on my own terms, though :) And in an area I love...teaching and education. Woot woot!!

And here's a picture I've done on how yoga makes me feel...fantastic: