Everybody Hurts

An adoption community friend mentioned that this was a song that always made her cry. I had not heard it before. I’m pretty certain a song by REM was part of my wedding back in 1988 (not this song, of course). I suspect many of the people who read this blog do feel sad, cry, have deep soul hurt, at least sometimes. So I’m making this my Saturday morning blog, just because.

We just spent 3 days without full power (though we do have a gas powered generator, it is NOT enough to power our furnace – we used a space heater and sleeping bags at night). The noise and sustained cold (though the lowest household temperature was 63, the cold seeped into everything in the house) shattered my nerves and happily took 3 lbs off me due to shivering. There was a moment on Thursday when everything was just so wrong but I had to go on. I know we were fortunate to have that much normalcy, yet – it was anything but normal. Our power was restored at 11:35am on Friday. I have even more compassion and empathy for the people of Ukraine today who do not even have what we had and have terror piled on top of the suffering, never knowing when the next missile will strike where they are.

~ lyrics

When your day is long
And the night, the night is yours alone
When you’re sure you’ve had enough
Of this life, well hang on

Don’t let yourself go
‘Cause everybody cries
Everybody hurts sometimes

Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it’s time to sing along

When your day is night alone (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go (hold on)
If you think you’ve had too much
Of this life, well hang on

‘Cause everybody hurts
Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts

Don’t throw your hand, oh no
Don’t throw your hand
If you feel like you’re alone
No, no, no, you are not alone

If you’re on your own in this life
The days and nights are long
When you think you’ve had too much
Of this life to hang on

Well, everybody hurts sometimes
Everybody cries
Everybody hurts, sometimes

And everybody hurts sometimes
So hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on

Everybody hurts

David Crosby’s son James Raymond

While David Crosby was preparing for his liver transplant in the ’90s, he discovered that the child he had given up for adoption in 1962 had been searching for him. Crosby finally reunited with his long-lost son, James Raymond, and as fate would have it, he’s also a musician. Raymond is a successful keyboardist and composer. 

Crosby was in his early 20s when Raymond’s mother became pregnant. “She gave him up for adoption and didn’t tell me he existed,” he says. Raymond was born when his father was young. Crosby declines to identify the mother with whom he had a fleeting relationship, but he admits they put their son up for adoption immediately. Crosby never forgot the son he gave up.

When Raymond and his partner were about to have their first child, his adoptive parents suggested he might want to track down his biological parents. “So he went to check and he sees my name there and he thinks: ‘Nah, couldn’t be.’ So he checks first names and middle names [Van Cortlandt] and realizes, yeah, it is me. He’d already been a musician for 20 years when we met up – “so anybody who tells you it’s not genetic, you tell them come talk to me.”

As his health deteriorated while he waited for a new liver, David Crosby’s thoughts drifted to the boy. “I was in the hospital dying, and I knew that I had a son out there someplace,” Crosby told The Baltimore Sun. “I had been beating myself up for years about not being there for this kid.” Crosby says, such reunions end up in animosity. “But James did a wonderful thing, man. He gave me a chance to earn my way into his life.” How did he do that? “By making music with him.”

Raymond had already made a name for himself in music, having pursued classical and then jazz from a young age. He was the musical director for a successful Nickelodeon series and a sideman for acts including Chaka Khan. From an early age, Raymond knew he was adopted, but he didn’t seek out his birth father until he was living on his own. Discovering his dad was David Crosby came as a shock. 

The father-son duo got along well from the start. “He was this nice, decent young guy, and we became friends immediately,” Crosby said. “We write spectacularly well together.” He says the final song on the album, For Free is Crosby’s favorite. It is I Won’t Stay For Long, which was written by Raymond. The album came out July 23, 2021 and was also produced by Raymond. Crosby says, “Imagine how I feel about my son being that good a writer. I wear it like a garland of flowers on my head. It’s just fucking wonderful.” They began playing music together and soon they formed the jazz-rock band CPR (Crosby, Pevar & Raymond). By January 1997, CPR was touring and performing.

On his website, Raymond talks about his work on the album – “Lyrically, where I started was this visual of agricultural workers in the Central Valley of California, truck drivers, laborers starting their workday early in the cold of morning … knowing that it would get hot as hell as the day wore on,” Raymond said. “I wanted to speak of their resiliency and spirit and that of so many other working folks across the USA.” Crosby added his storytelling and voice, and the results are an iconic father-son collaboration. 

James John Raymond is a musician, songwriter, producer and film composer living and working in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I discovered on his website LINK>James Raymond that the composer contributed some additional music to one of my all time favorite movies – 2007’s August Rush. If you want to know more about him and his craft here is a somewhat technical explanatory YouTube.

I can’t help but think of my youngest, musical genius, son. This is the kind of YouTube, my son might make someday regarding his own compositions. My son does things like this YouTube with his Geometry Dash gameplay. He frequently composes music on his computer and posts it online, as well as playing it for us – his family.

Adoption, Foster Care or Guardianship

Came across some thoughts. Just passing them along.

To the thought that adoption equals indentured servitude, one adoptee said – It started as permanent indentured servitude and nothing has changed except the marketing. In answer to that, someone else said – Until the law changes, hopeful adopters can choose guardianship or (not quite as good) choose NOT to amend the birth certificate per this LINK>google doc on State Laws.

The perspective from an adoptive parent, who adopted from foster care, and who is also the sister of an adoptee – The problem with guardianship is it varies so much on what it provides and how it functions. Part of me wonders if that is by design – make it so onerous that it’s the less desirable option.

Washington state recently passed a law that forbids children to be removed from a placement – if that placement is willing to provide LINK>minor guardianship but not adoption. This was specifically done with kinship in mind – apparently children used to be removed from willing kin placements to be put up for adoption, if a grandmother didn’t want to make her grandchild, her child, on paper.

Under a guardianship, the youth loses the benefits they would keep if they had been adopted or remained in foster care, including medical benefits. Guardians can apply for cash support but it is SUCH a complex process and many people don’t qualify. Her perspective is that it makes guardianship only possible for a specific socioeconomic group – and less possible for kin. Like with adoption, a teen must consent. The system leaves many teens frightened that guardianship means no more stability than foster care – with less oversight.

This adoptive parent would love to see a streamlined guardianship process that is a federal/legal mechanism. One that conveys the same parental rights and responsibilities towards minors that adoption does, while simultaneously banning any birth certificate amendments, legal name changes and still preserves legal ties to all genetic family members.

From the daughter of an orphan and an anti-adoption activist – someone saying that “in guardianship the youth lose benefits that they would keep in foster care” – that is the whole point of guardianship and adoption – to transfer financial responsibility from the state to the guardian or adopter! The adopter or guardian puts the child on their medical plan, feeds them, clothes them etc. The government does provide adoption incentive payments and tax credits and sometimes Medicaid for children with complex medical needs because its still cheaper than having the kid remain in foster care. If guardians or adopters ever lose their jobs and can’t support the kids they took in, they can go on welfare, just like the families the kids were taken away from.

The federal government is betting that won’t happen. The federal government has started offering states Title IV funding for achieving ‘permanency’ through guardianship but it is a relatively new development. Title IV refers to federal student aid in which there is a demonstrable financial need to be able to attend public, private nonprofit and proprietary schools. Attendees of these colleges can receive student loans, grants or enter a work-study program.

Hopefully, guardianship would help stop the bullying of people into adoption. Some persons make guardianship sound like it is not as good as adoption for money related reasons. It is outrageous that ‘the system’ is manipulating teens into believing that adoption offers them more stability and oversight than foster care. Foster care meets their needs until they reach the age of 18. They have a right to facilitated visitation with their family. They can’t be moved out of the county where their family resides. They can’t be homeschooled or forced to participate in their caregiver’s religion. They don’t have to call their caregivers “mom” or “dad” and their care givers are not legally allowed to refer to them as their son or daughter. Their caregivers have to take them to mainstream doctors and dentists. They are assigned a caseworker to monitor the safety and appropriateness of the placement. If they are abused in a foster home, they can sue the state and be awarded damages. They always have the right to be returned to live with their family – if it ever becomes safe and however possible – even after their parents rights have been terminated – ONLY if they have NOT been adopted.

Child Protective Services pushes for adoption in order to meet quotas. They receive bounty payments when the meet federal government requirements for completing placements into adoptions. When kids age out of foster care, they age out with their rights intact and there are many programs and scholarships available to them as former foster youth. These would not be available to them, if they are adopted or obtain a guardian. With both guardianship and adoption, the child loses the oversight of the state. The state is freed from the liability related to what happens to the person in the adoptive home or at the hands of the guardian, if any abuse occurs.

At least with guardianship, the youth remains a member of their family with all kinship rights intact – permanently. The guardian has to do the job of a parent without the title. Legally a child is entitled to the same level of care and support from a guardian that they would receive from an adoptive parent, only they won’t lose their kinship in their family and they can return to their parents, if the situation improves. The guardian does not have a right to keep the person permanently. A guardian also is not allowed to exploit a child in their care, the way an adopter can (such as putting them on Youtube and profiting off filming their every move, as so many adopters and parents do these days). Adopting without changing the birth certificate is not as good as guardianship but it is vastly better than adopting and changing the birth certificate for those who are forced to adopt their kin, rather than serve as guardians.

The Cost Of Hidden Stress

The trauma that afflicts many adoptees occurred pre-language and so the source of it’s effects can seem mysterious but the impacts are very real. Today, I learned about this man – LINK>Dr Gabor Mate. It seemed to fit what I am posting so often in this blog that I thought I would make today’s about him.

For example, one of his books is titled When The Body Says No – “disease can be the body’s way of saying no to what the mind cannot or will not acknowledge.” Dr Mate also believes that “The essential condition for healthy development is the child’s relationship with nurturing adults.” And yet, time and again, I read from adoptees that their adoptive parents were really not prepared to be the kind of parents this subset of our population needed. Under Topics, he has many articles related to LINK>Trauma.

During the pandemic, in April 2021, Dr Mate hosted an online event with Zara Phillips. She is the author of LINK>Somebody’s Daughter, subtitled A Moving Journey of Discovery, Recovery and Adoption. The event information noted that adoptees and children who are fostered are over-represented in the prison system, addiction clinics and are 4 times more likely than their peers to attempt suicide. This talk considered why that would be and what, if anything adoptees and their caregivers can do about it. For many, when we talk about adoption, we talk about placing children in need, into loving homes to parents that want them. The assumption behind these conversations is that love will overcome all challenges and obstacles. What we don’t talk about, or rarely, is that the adoption in the new home comes about because another home has ended, or perhaps not even begun. We forget that all adoption is formed from loss. Love is essential but it is not enough. They discussed what it means to carry the trauma of being relinquished. How adoption is not a one-time event but has a lifelong impact. They considered how unresolved trauma can lead to addiction and suicidal thinking. Also what, if anything, an adoptee (and those that support them) can do to heal and recover.

Often adoptive parents think that their love will be enough but time and again that is proven wrong when it comes to adopted children. Dr Mate brings up the myth of the blank slate baby which Georgia Tann used to highlight in selling babies.

There is a LOT at Dr Mate’s website. I believe much that is there could prove helpful to the people who read and follow my blog. Absolutely, he is about how to heal.

DNA Traveler

Tim Curran

I feel a kinship with this man’s DNA Roots journey. In fact, my family just finished watching the original Roots series based on the book by Alex Haley. I had my own roots journey and like this man, Tim Curran, 23 and Me and Ancestry DNA did help me on my way only I didn’t leave the US in search of family – yet. I’d love to travel to Denmark – from where my paternal grandfather immigrated to the US.

Tim’s story comes to me by way of CNN Travel. LINK>I used DNA analysis to find my birth family and it sent me across three continents. California connects Tim’s story to mine and like me, he found the impenetrable walls of sealed records and tight-lipped officials in that state. Only he was born in 1961 and my dad was born there in 1935. From what I know of my own father’s story, this part of Tim’s story seems to be very similar – “On opposite sides of the world, they had both butted heads with difficult parents and left home at the first opportunity. They both wound up in one of the most free-thinking places on Earth: San Francisco.” On my paternal side, it was San Diego.

I don’t think my paternal grandfather actually butted heads in his family but opportunities in that country for siblings other than the first born were limited. My grandfather was the 5th of 10 children and several of his siblings had already migrated to the US – mostly into the Illinois and Wisconsin areas. My grandfather chose to take a train from NYC, where he landed, and on that train met a woman, much older than him and a private duty nurse, who agreed to marry him. It was mostly a marriage of convenience. When we don’t really know the accurate story, like Tim, I filled in the gaps. I suspect he may have eaten dinners, while his wife was on duty with some person, at the restaurant on the beach where my grandmother was employed by her aunt and uncle. She had a truly evil step-mother and so yes, she fled them and refused to return to Asheville North Carolina, after they traveled to visit her grandfather in California.

Like Tim, I have found my mother’s and father’s families welcoming me – even though they hardly, if even, knew I existed before I made contact. Some were vaguely aware that one or the other of my grandmothers had given a child up for adoption but really didn’t know any more than that. Sadly, it does not appear that my grandfather ever knew he had a son, being the married man having an affair with a much younger woman. But resourceful as she was, she simply handled it ending up employed by the Salvation Army after giving birth in one of their homes for unwed mothers.

Back to Tim’s story (which you can read in full at the LINK at the top of this blog) – his father worked as floor installer in the city’s North Beach neighborhood — where she was a cocktail waitress and dancer. I pictured them meeting while he installed floors in a nightclub where she was working. By all accounts, it must have been a very brief affair. My father was living with a girlfriend, and my mother’s sister says she never once heard my mother discuss my father in any way. Other than the sister and her mother, no one else in her family was told she was pregnant. (I was lucky enough that my grandmother had a photo album with a head shot and the name of my grandfather on the back.) My father’s family says they are 100% certain he was never told. (And my Danish relatives likewise, never knew my grandfather had a son.)

Tim has a large Moroccan family who own a set of neighboring summer homes just yards from the beach. The houses are built on property his grandfather bought nearly a century ago (when the land was thought to be worthless). It is a place where they go to escape the summer heat of Casablanca. In that family, he was able to recognize that many of their personality traits and quirks – how boisterous, curious and sly they are – just like he was as well. When I met a cousin on my paternal line, her appearance could have made her my youngest sister’s twin. That obvious physical appearance connection between our families seems to have mattered greatly to her.

Touring the country of Morocco, the sites he saw were beautiful and awe-inspiring, alien yet weirdly familiar. He experienced the country in a unique and very personal way thanks to his DNA journey: as a son just one generation removed from his father’s homeland. Though Alex Haley was further removed from his own African roots, it must have been deeply emotional to experience the native culture, which was so different from the modern life in the United States that he became a successful author in.

Like Tim, I bravely went looking. I was not content with the not knowing that my parents died with. I had the wherewithall to seek answers and with determination found success. Just as Tim and Alex both did. It is a journey well worth taking and many have written about similar adoptee root journeys that they have taken. Not every effort succeeds. Tim’s parents were both deceased and my grandparents were all deceased. For Alex, the stories lived on, passed down orally from one generation to the next.

From Orphan to Chess Master

Rex Andrew Sinquefield  has been called an “index-fund pioneer” for creating the first passively managed index fund open to the general public Sinquefield was also a co-founder of Dimensional Fund Advisors. I may have seen his name mentioned before. In Missouri state politics he is considered somewhat of a king maker. Missouri is heavily Republican, and so most of the millions he has donated in political campaign contributions have gone to Republicans, though not exclusively. I suspect his story is more complicated than our divided partisan politics might indicate. The political cartoon alludes to the fact that because he is a chess enthusiast, he was instrumental in relocating the World Chess Hall of Fame to St Louis, making the city the nation’s chess capital.

I became interested in this man when I learned he was raised in a St Louis-area orphanage, the St Vincent Home for Children. He has also donated to them through his Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. When I was growing up, because I had learned that both of my parents were adoptees, I thought they were orphans. I had no idea of the truth that there were people out there I was genetically related to living out their lives more or less ignorant of our own existence. I guess this is why the idea of orphans always gets my attention.

LINK> St Vincent Home for Children was founded in 1850 following a cholera epidemic and a fire, both of which occurred the previous year and which left many St Louis children orphaned. The fire, begun aboard a steamboat at the levee, caused hundreds to be homeless and ravaged a 15-block area. Meanwhile, cholera transmitted by arriving immigrants had killed more than 4,000 of the city’s 64,000 residents. Diocesan orphanages at the time were already very crowded and many of the victims of the cholera outbreak were poor. An appeal to the German Catholic community brought the construction of the new orphanage in 1850 by the German Saint Vincent Orphan Association.

In 1914, a 20-acre plot in Normandy Park was purchased for $18,000. The Cornerstone for the new Home was set on June 15, 1916 and the children moved into their new home in Normandy on August 8, 1917. St Vincent Home sustained itself through the Civil War, the Great Depression, two World Wars and other conflicts, all of which brought their share of orphans to the Home’s doors. Over the years, the St Vincent Home has transitioned to meet the changing needs of children in the area. It is no longer an orphanage but a residential treatment center for at-risk youth very much like the Porter-Leath orphanage in Memphis TN where my mom spent time as my maternal grandmother struggled to find a way to support them both.

St Vincent is now know as The Core Collective. The image above is titled “Bed in the Attic” and was photographed by 16-year-old Shardae for the LINK>”Photography Project: St. Vincent Home for Children” exhibit. The featured pictures taken by teenagers, educators, support staff and volunteers of the north St. Louis County-based St Vincent Home for Children. Participants were taught photography through the University of Missouri at St Louis, known as UMSL.

One never knows what they might run into googling around. I’ve not seen this version of Dicken’s Christmas story but I am intrigued by some of what I read about it here LINK>An American Christmas Carol. The Bookshop Owner of Christmas Past whisks Slade back to his childhood at the orphanage, where local businessman Mr Brewster shows up looking for an apprentice to help him at his furniture factory. Instead of choosing one of the good kids, Brewster instead chooses Slade, a known troublemaker (“he likes to FIGHT!” warns the old maid running the orphanage), and teaches him how to whittle. No, really. He gave the kid a knife, and a stick of wood. And they whittle. And whittle. And whittle some more. So Slade becomes Brewster’s apprentice, and moves in with him. In other words, he’s basically been adopted.

And shades of Sinquefield, the real trouble starts when Brewster doesn’t change, and his business starts going down the tubes. This leads to Slade leaving Brewster and starting an investment firm with Latham. So the investment firm of Slade and Latham has a choice: they can either fund Brewster’s failing furniture business, or they can put their money into Slade’s new idea, which is basically to let people rent appliances and charge them a weekly fee. You know those rent-to-own places where you go and get an Xbox 360 for $30 a week, which you wind up paying $1,700 for before you actually own it? All Slade’s idea.

I don’t know – although it is probably awful, I might just have to watch that version of a Christmas Carol. Art has a funny way of imitating life.

Childcare Boxing Day

A foundational backbone for financially challenged families to keep the wolf of Child Protective Services away from their doors and children is access to affordable child care – 24/7 regardless of holidays.

Not as often celebrated in the United States, today is Boxing Day – a holiday celebrated after Christmas Day. Originating as a day to remember, by gifting, those people who support our everyday lives. In the 1800s, the rich in Britain used to “box up” gifts for people, especially their servants and helpers, and present these gifts to them on the day after Christmas, thus earning the day its name, “Boxing Day”. 

In addition, during that time, churches used to collect money from their congregations throughout the year in a box, and then “un-box” the money after Christmas Day and hand it out to the poor as alms and charity. Thus, the day after Christmas got this identity. Daycare may not be a charity but it is a kind of charity for all those people who must continue to work throughout the holidays. Nurses, store clerks, law enforcement (by the way, most of these people are NOT highly paid) etc.

An interesting point to note about Boxing Day is that it coincides with St Stephen’s Day, a day that honors the death of a Christian martyr. One of my favorite Christmas carols is Good King Wenceslas which tells a story of a Bohemian king who goes on a journey, braving harsh winter weather, to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (December 26). Blogger’s note – my husband’s name is Stephen and that is probably the whole reason I became enamored with this song. Anyway, during the journey, the king’s page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by following the king’s footprints, step for step, through the deep snow. The legend is based on the life of the historical Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia (907–935). Good King Wenceslas has a rich history, appealing medieval feel, and bone-chilling winter imagery.

Inclusive Adoption Narrative ?

Short on time today, I googled Christmas Adoptions and found this LINK>5 Holiday and Christmas Movies About Adoption at Adoptions with Love. No personal comments or perspectives today – again no time. Just bringing in the website description.

#2 – The Family Stone

Everett Stone – one of five adult children – brings his girlfriend, Meredith, home to meet the family for Christmas. Nervous and desperate to make a good first impression, Meredith fails to make a positive mark on the family.

One night, around the family table, the uncomfortable vibe in the room comes to a head, when Meredith asks Everett’s brother, Thad, about his forthcoming adoption with boyfriend, Patrick. She asks whether they believe in “nature vs. nurture” in regard to raising a child in a gay household. Questioning herself, Meredith suggests theories that homosexuality may be influenced by one’s home environment. The family works to lighten the conversation and joke that the matriarch, Sybil, had hoped that all three of her sons would grow up to be gay. Meredith questions this statement, suggesting that no parent would really “want that” for their child. Her comments offend Thad and Patrick, and enrage Sybil and family patriarch, Kelly. Sybil and Kelly shout at Meredith, and she runs off from the table feeling awful.

There are many important lessons within this scene. Once Meredith leaves the room, Sybil reminds her son, Thad, how deeply and completely she loves him. Sybil and Kelly are proud of their son. They support his same-sex relationship and are happy to see their child moving toward parenthood and toward the loving choice of adoption.

Meredith did not mean to offend or hurt anyone in the family. She was simply uneducated. She did not understand why her comments were hurtful and how off-base she was in sharing them. This is an important lesson in “listen and learn” when it comes to supporting LGBTQ+ families.

Before the film ends, Thad and Patrick return to Kelly’s house with their adopted child in tow. At the uncomfortable dinner scene, Thad and Patrick are asked whether they have a preference of the race of the child – since they are an interracial couple. They simply answer that they do not care one way or the other. They will love the child no matter the skin color. When the couple arrives with their baby, we see that he is black. This is a great example of a happy and loving transracial adoptive family.

Mehran Karimi Nasseri

Not my usual kind of story for today but this man was definitely missing his Mom. When his father died of cancer, his mother informed him that she was not his real mother and he was the result of an affair between his father and a Scottish nurse. He was 23 years old.

He was granted refugee status by Belgium in 1981 and tried to travel on to Britain to find his real mother, whom he believed resided in Glasgow. He discarded his identification papers onboard an England-bound ship in the belief he would no longer require them. He was mistaken and this rendered him into a stateless limbo.

Repeatedly refused admittance to the UK and sent back to Belgium or France, he eventually gave up his quest and settled into a life in exile in August 1988 at Charles de Gaulle Airport. In 1992, a French court ruled that Nasseri had entered the airport legally as a refugee and could not be expelled from it. At Charles de Gaulle, he spent most of his time on a red bench on the lower floor of terminal 1. He was known to decline donations and gifts but did accept the occasional meal voucher from airport staff. He lived in the airport’s Terminal 1 from 1988 until 2006, first in legal limbo because he lacked residency papers and later by choice.

His saga inspired a movie by Steven Spielberg called The Terminal starring Tom Hanks. He ended up in a hospital for an operation. Then moved to a hotel near the airport, paid for with the money he’d received from the film rights. When that ran out, he moved to a shelter for homeless people. In recent weeks, he returned to living at the airport again. He died on Saturday around midday after suffering a heart attack in the airport’s Terminal 2F.

~ RIP ~ Mehran Karimi Nasseri Asked by a journalist in 2003 whether he felt angry about having lost 15 years of his life at an airport terminal, he replied: “No angry. I just want to know who my parents are.” Maybe he has now been reunited with his Scottish mother and will have learned the full truth from his Iranian father.

Project Zero

Awareness of this effort is new to me today but it IS still National Adoption Awareness Month and it’s original purpose was to find homes for kids in foster care, instead of letting them age out of the system. This effort comes from Arkansas, a state I have lived in, have genetic roots to and neighbors my home state of Missouri.

From their website LINK> Who We Are

Project Zero began as the Pulaski County Adoption Coalition, over 15 years ago, to further the cause of adoption in our county and state. The coalition was made up of adoption professionals, ministry and organizational leaders, DCFS staff, attorneys, adoptive parents, foster parents, and others who were passionate about adoption. In 2009, our coalition obtained it’s 501c3 non-profit status and pushed forward with new ideas and opportunities.

As time went on we realized that, although many of our events were productive, there was more work that needed to be done in the effort to link waiting children and adoptive families. Project Zero was born in the fall of 2011 as a result of that need for change. Project Zero became the ramped-up, overhauled, and statewide version of the coalition with a renewed goal to deliberately and purposefully pursue out-of-the-box ways to find forever families for kids in foster care who are waiting.

I should add that my mom’s half-sister Javene, who lived and died in Arkansas, adopted two children as well. It just seems that adoption really does run in my family (both of my parents were adoptees and both of my sisters gave up babies to adoption). Even so, I do struggle with the way adoption has been and do believe in a need to reform the practice.

Project Zero has a LINK> YouTube channel. Here’s one for National Adoption Month – a music video titled Hold My Hand. The kids speak and it IS heartbreaking.