Swear Vent and Color

I could be therapeutic. I have enjoyed coloring at various times in my life – don’t really have time now. I’m not an “angry” adoptee (just the child of two adoptees that found each other). However, this looks like a really fun way to release some emotions.

From LINK>Amazon where this book is available – The creators hope that being able to vent your feelings and thoughts in this Coloring & Journal book helps you along your healing journey.

Why an angry sweary coloring & journal book? Because punching people in the face is frowned upon, and anger isn’t great for your overall mental and physical health, if you hold on to it – so just let it all out !

As an adult adoptee that struggles with the 7 core issues of being adopted (loss, rejection, guilt and shame, grief, identity, intimacy, and mastery/control), I have created this therapeutic coloring book with angry quotes, original sweary coloring illustrations & patterns, journaling prompts and blank doodling pages (extra journal & doodle pages are included at the back).

A beneficial companion to therapy – the coloring pages will help reduce stress and anxiety, promoting mindfulness and reflection as you release your inner most angriest feelings about being adopted, adoption trauma, adoption laws, discrimination, and the adoption industry as a whole.

You don’t have to follow the journaling prompts, you can just write all your thoughts and feelings anywhere you please – this is YOUR healing journey and there are no rules.!

Helpful Tip – Don’t use felt tip markers – it might seep through to the next page. You can use colored pencils or even crayons, if you have them.

PS – I don’t know if the creators or Amazon put those “censored” stickers on the book cover but this was the only illustration I found.

What It’s Like To Age Out

Today’s story (not my story) –

I’m in Kansas. From age 2 to 18 I was in and out of the foster system. I aged out 4/27/2022, 11 days after my 18th birthday. The state aged me out and left me with nothing. I stayed living with my kinship placement for awhile. The night before graduation she kicked me out and the day of graduation texted me telling me she expected me to come home and get ready for graduation. She kicked me out again, after I told her I was taking a semester off before starting college. I spent the hottest part of summer homeless and couch surfing. I came back to her house 9/21/2022 and it’s been rocky. She continuously threatens to kick me out, which would be fine but I have nowhere to go. I have a Div of Child and Family Services worker at the moment, who is somewhat helping me out but she is hard to get ahold of. I am currently working as a server and about to become a manager as well as starting college this month. I don’t have many options right now and don’t really know what to do.

One adoptee offered this advice (which I agree with) – Don’t go back to that house. And honestly if u make more as a server don’t take the management position unless it’s more money. I’ve only taken lead server roles where I made more hourly and got to keep my tips also. Look on LINK>Roomster – it’s an app for roommates. That way you can at least get a room of your own. While you work on yourself. And it turns out that the management position is $2 more than what she is making now. And if she get tips while being a manager, she gets to keep them.

Since she indicated transportation issues, one person suggested that in some states, the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation will provide Driver’s Education classes for people who need to be able to drive themselves to and from job searches/work. She wrote back – I passed the driver’s education class, but had to be medically cleared. By the time I was finally medically cleared I had to retake to test and haven’t been able to.

Re: the housing issues, after someone suggested Catholic Charities (and talking to an advisor at the college about what might be available to share), she adds – “I did have rapid rehousing with Catholic Charities but when I worked at Amazon, I lost it because I made too much.”

And I didn’t realize Reddit could be helpful – there was this – Reddit is more anonymous and you can post on your local sub (probably r/”city name” as well as r/assistance, r/almost homeless, r/ex_foster and r/fosterit.) Your college might also have some resource suggestions, google “college name” + “counseling department.” Assuming you’re in the US, call 211 as well.

I rented rooms in apartments and houses from age 19-28 with roommates I found off of Craigslist, despite it’s bad rap. Many rooms do not require a credit score (I moved countries once, and credit scores don’t transfer.)

Also look up YMCA Host Homes to see if that’s a thing in your city, it’s a small program but could be an option.

All this, just to give you an idea of what these young people are up against. There is much more and I am hopeful that somehow my group which is so resourceful will be able to help this young woman somehow.

Mary Ellen Gambutti

Thanks to my friend Ande Stanley, a late discovery adoptee, who’s own effort in the cause she has titled LINK> The Adoption Files, I learned about this author, LINK> Mary Ellen Gambutti, today. In looking more closely at Ms Gambutti, I discovered this site LINK> Memoir Magazine, which I may look into submitting to some time in the near future. She has written several books and has a few blogs available on her author page at Amazon.

I Must Have Wandered is described as a memoir told through prose, and the letters, fragments, and photos of her infant relinquishment at birth in post-World War II South Carolina. Her adoptive parents were native New Yorkers, who happened to be stationed in the state at the time. Common in that time period – hers was a closed adoption. She reflects on the primal loss experienced by many adoptees. In her case, there were also the separations caused by a transient military lifestyle. The book includes her coming of age in the turbulent ’60s and the barriers to truth that many adoptees find, due to their sealed birth records. Add into the mix a culture of secrecy, which is often the adoption experience. Just as often, adoption includes a hefty dose of religious fervor. It is sadly a common enough story but universal in adoptionland and yet always highlighted by individual details. Like many adoptees, this woman’s genetic heritage was obliterated by her adoption, and then similarly to my own roots discovery journey, her quest for identity includes some degree of reunion. 

Gambutti also wrote a book of essays titled Permanent Home. One reviewer wrote that this book blends early childhood memories into what reads like a vision or a dream. Detailed is the trauma and loss many adoptees realize when they learn the circumstances that surrounded their birth. Her search is not supported by her adoptive family and trigger warning – there is abuse. Never-the-less a reviewer says the book is not a downer but reality. Common to the experience of many adoptees is missing health history and not looking like anyone else in their family.

 

John Lennon’s Mum

I didn’t know this sad story but someone in my all things adoption group mentioned it. “Ok adoptees, tell me John Lennon didn’t capture mother abandonment in his song: How?”

So I went looking for the story. I found an article in a Liverpool newspaper titled “The true tale of John Lennon’s mum revealed in Walton author’s book.”

His mum’s early death in 1958 is understood to have scarred him for life and inspired his music. On his 1970 song, Mother, he sang “You had me but I never had you”. Kevin Roach says that the idea of Julia as an irresponsible “good-time girl” who couldn’t look after her son came from Aunt Mimi, who raised John in her house in Menlove Avenue.

In Julia, Kevin goes into detail on the rows between Julia, her father George and her sister Mimi, as well as her relationships with men. Julia Stanley’s family never approved of her relationship with Alf Lennon, and they eventually married in secret. But merchant seaman Alf deserted her after baby John was born. As World War II continued, she had a brief affair that left her pregnant – but she was forced by her father to give up that baby for adoption.

She later met another man, John “Bobby” Dykins, but her sister Mimi disapproved. Eventually, after Mimi reported Julia to social services, Mimi won custody of John. Julia had two children with Bobby and later became close to John again, sharing her passion for music. But in 1958, she died after being hit by a car in Menlove Avenue.

Later in life John remarked that he had lost his mother twice – once at five, when he was sent to live with his aunt, and once at 17 when she died.

The book Julia by Roach appears to be out of print with a few, very expensive used copies available at Amazon. But I learned there is also a movie titled Nowhere Boy which thankfully is available at Netflix (and so I have added it to my list).

Nowhere Boy is a 2009 British biographical drama about John Lennon’s adolescence, his relationships with his aunt Mimi Smith and his mother Julia Lennon, the creation of his first band, the Quarrymen, and its evolution into the Beatles. The movie is based on a biography written by Lennon’s half-sister, Julia Baird.

Hopes & Wishes

For some time now, I’ve been writing these adoption related blogs every day. I don’t think I have missed many, if I’ve even missed any. I often wonder what there is left to say . . . and then something arises and off my fingers go to type up a new one.

I know my perspectives have grown since I started writing these. A lot of credit for that goes to my all things adoption Facebook group – where I often find stories and perspectives to pass along here without revealing any sensitive or private details. I hope that by sharing these, my readers also find their perspectives broadening along the way.

When I first joined that group, it wasn’t long before one of the members called me out on my unicorns and rainbows happy perspectives on adoption. It hurt at the time but it was an important wake up call and I do believe I have emerged entirely from what is known as adoptionland fog.

Because both of my parents were adopted and both of my sisters gave up babies to adoption, what is actually a VERY UN-NATURAL practice seemed entirely normal to me. Yet, now that I know who my grandparents are – I’ve added their birthdates to my annual birthday calendar – because I wasn’t able to acknowledge them in their lifetimes. It matters to me.

I now think of my adoptive grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins as placeholders for the real thing I lacked. This isn’t a judgement of them. They probably all viewed it as natural to our lives as I did but it really isn’t. I don’t even think of them as related to me anymore. But I do have a history with them and have felt their love and concern over the years, especially during my own childhood.

And adoptionland IS changing slowly but surely, one family at a time. In my all things adoption group, expectant mothers are often encouraged and even financially supported to the best of our ability (such as with Amazon gift registries) to keep their babies. It is more of a walk the walk than simply talk the talk group and I am proud of that.

Adoptees and former foster care youth are PRIVILEGED voices in that group, as they should be for they have the direct experience to open the minds and hearts of the public in general. Many people who have already adopted are learning to be more sensitive and to do the already reality situation better, including honesty, truthfulness and attempts to keep their adopted children connected to their biological/genetic families and at times, even culture (when that is different than the adoptive parents’ own culture).

My hope and certainly my wish is for our society to be more supportive of struggling families in EVERY WAY POSSIBLE and to see adoption no longer a choice that couples realizing infertility feel privileged to make – taking some other family’s baby to pretend that child was born to them.

A change it is a comin’ and I am grateful to be part of that. Happy New Year.