Adoption—Striving for the Brass Ring

“Striving for the ‘Brass Ring’ means aiming for a chance at success. If you are a participant in an adoption story what is your definition of affluence and a blockbuster Hollywood ending?” Judith Land

In order to encourage more riders to sit on the outer rows, someone devised the ring game and it became a common fixture of the carousel. Getting the brass ring was a special treat entitling the holder to a free ride or it could be kept as a memento and good luck charm.

The brass ring is symbolic of adulthood, triumphs and favorable outcomes. The meaning of “grabbing the brass ring” or “getting a shot at the brass ring” has evolved over time to convey striving for success and living life to the fullest; getting recognized and aspiring for the highest attainable prize.

Brass ring dispensers were developed during a period of time when carousels were popular between 1880 and 1920. Dexterous riders on the outside row of horses were given the challenge of grabbing for rings dispensed on a wooden stick for amusement and as an added incentive for enjoying the carnival ride. On the end of the dispenser there were many iron rings with no value and only one brass ring. The lucky person who received the brass ring won a prize, or it could be redeemed for another ride on the merry-go-round.

The earth is like a spinning carousel; a merry-go-round that never stops; around the sun orb it goes, never stopping, never hesitating. The cycles of life are the rhythms and routines that occur in the universe and in our daily lives, like blood flow and breathing. We have sleep and awake time and then we lay our heads down on our pillow and gently fall sleep again. All things evolve and grow as they develop; there is nothing in the lives of a little green caterpillars or small children that accurately predicts the remarkable evolutionary life changes yet to come. All the rivers of the world flow into the ocean, yet the ocean is not full. And when the water evaporates it forms clouds, the rains falls and the endless hydrological cycle continues. Clouds drift by as the sun comes up; the moon and the stars become visible as the sun disappears over the horizon and the sky turns pink and darkness blankets God’s enormous carousel. The movements of the planets and the changing seasons, the ocean tides, economic cycles and our lives continue to go around and around in a circular pattern like a band of Whirling Dervishes so filled with happiness that they stretch out both arms and start spinning in a circle.

The brass ring that I reached for was the opportunity to discover my true identity; success was defined as the chance to meet my parents and siblings and extended family and reconnect with a life that could have been. To be able to share my story and thoughts about adoption with people from 173 countries has been very rewarding and more than I ever thought I could achieve. How do you define success? What does the brass ring symbolize to you?

Judith Land

 

 

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Adoption-Children in Greenland were taken from their homes for a social experiment

“Social engineering is the use of centralized government planning in an attempt to manage social change and regulate the future development and behavior of a society; an act of psychological manipulation of humans associated with the social sciences.” Judith Land

Greenland has been under Danish colonial rule for nearly 300 years. Residents fear that independence would lead to a fall in living standards.

Inuit children were taken from their families in Greenland to be re-educated as model Danish citizens. Danish authorities decided the best way to modernize the island was to create a new type of Greenlander. Many parents were reluctant to give up their children but Denmark had resolved to improve living conditions in its Arctic colony where only a small percentage of the population spoke Danish. More than 60 years later, the children who were taken from their families asked the Danish government to apologize for an experiment that did enormous damage.

The children were initially placed in quarantine because it was the first time children from Greenland had arrived in Denmark. “We cried quietly; we were sad and feared for our safety. We didn’t understand the language. We were divided up and sent to live with foster families. They controlled everything. When we were returned to our families we couldn’t even speak the native language of our parents. In hindsight, we have all felt that this was wrong. We have felt a sense of loss, a lack of a true identity, and self-belief. It was a clear violation of our rights. Even in adulthood, our emotions haven’t gone away.”

Far from serving as a model for cultural change in Greenland, the children ended up as a small, rootless and marginalized group on the periphery of their own society. Several of them became alcoholics and died young. A few became homeless and others just broke down. They lost their identity and they lost their ability to speak their mother tongue and with that, they lost their sense of purpose in life.

The authorities in Greenland requested an apology from the Danish government. The Danish Red Cross formally regretted its role in the experiment. Save the Children agrees that documents detailing the organization’s involvement have disappeared and admits they could have been deliberately destroyed.

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Adoption searches are not just for young people

“Have you ever wanted to pierce the surface reflection to see what lies in the depths below? It’s never too late to solve the riddle of the labyrinth and the reasons for your birth.” Judith Land

“Studies have shown that the elderly are a happier age group than their younger counterparts. Despite the stressfulness of old age, they tend to be more agreeable and accepting.” Judith Land

I recently introduced an 87 year old women to her 91 year old sister. Neither woman knew the other person existed before being formally introduced. Warm hugs with tears of joy flowed like water during the heartwarming emotional unification experience. The father had died at a young age and the younger sister was adopted before age one. At the time of her adoption, she was issued a new birth certificate with an altered date of birth and given a new name. She was never told anything about her parents as a child, other than the fact that her father had died. She had given up any hope of ever learning anything about her parents, biological family and cultural background many years ago—a cold case that seemed utterly impossible to solve. The older sister had heard rumors about a potential sibling as a child but she knew nothing of substance.

Thanks to simplified DNA testing, open records and computers, there are more access tools available for genealogical searching than ever before. More people today are realizing the joys of searching, learning about the past, and the value of knowing something about family medical history. It has been my experience that with age comes wisdom and an ever greater degree of forgiveness.

Judith Land

 

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Adoption—Life as a Country Song

“Few things in life are as difficult as the heartache of being separated from someone you love. Was your home never home to you? Were you ever told, ‘Don’t criticize what you don’t understand?’” Judith Land

“Sad country songs are heartbreaking and often make us cry—my favorites being the ones that provide the type of emotion that gives us encouragement, comfort, consolation and solace.” Judith Land

Country songs tend to fan the emotions of everyday working class Americans by evoking intense feeling of love, frustration, jealousy, confusion, and all of the things on your mind that are unsettling; when there’s nothing in between and you are forced to make a choice.

Is your life sadder than a country song with a hard rain about to fall? Did you ever wake up in the morning and come home at night with nothing to say because there’s too much to think about in your life and too much to figure out?

Are your memories perfectly clear about how things never were? Perhaps, it’s because you have been living in a world described in the country songs that your mother wrote and that’s why the good times keep passing you by.

Nobody knows what triggers those crying spells, when you can’t help falling apart, and you’re dying to find a place to leave your impoverished heart. Your pockets are empty and there’s an empty bottle beside you; your heart is broken and your momma is still the only person on your mind. Life doesn’t get much sadder or lonelier than the words to a country song when the old dog dies and a hard rain is about to fall; when you need a needle and thread to sew up your broken heart; the thunder is about to roll and you’re stuck inside looking through the pane (pain) at nothing but lightning and falling rain.

Country artists come straight from America’s heartland where they sing about drinking beer and chasing women, dogs and pickup trucks, relationships, and bars and honky tonks, but country music themes also often tap into populist family values with a fresh wholesome appeal to patriotic Americans by showing support for Independence Day, red white and blue, and soldiers overseas. Country music takes its roots from folk music and blues, consisting of ballads and dance tunes with simple forms, folk lyric, and harmonies accompanied by mostly string instruments such as banjos, guitars, fiddles and harmonicas. Country music is usually vocalized, generally simple in form and harmony, and typified by romantic and melancholy ballads. The origins are the folk tales of every day working class Americans, who blended popular songs, fiddle tunes, English ballads and cowboy songs integrating rockabilly, bluegrass, country pop, honky tonk, western swing, and dance hall music; a style and genre of largely string-accompanied American popular music having roots in the Southeast and cowboy music of the West.

If you’re an adoptee, hold onto the things that you believe in. Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you. Don’t always expect a free ride. Don’t hold onto a grudge. When you get where you are going, don’t forget to turn back around and help the next child in line because nobody needs another heartache. Don’t sing about dusty trophies on the top shelf and don’t get too overwhelmed by the words of a sad country song. Create a pivotal moment in life by being humble and kind and learning to admire magnolias and horses and corn fields out on the farm. Sing songs about romantic love and commitment, warm friendship, ice cream, puppies and life changing dreams, and when the last line to that emotional country song about a lonely adoptee unfolds, don’t always expect the last line to rhyme…

Judith Land

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Adoption—Harbor Lights

“The sea inspires visions that are haunting and alluring, especially at sunset. When my adoptive father’s boat was leaving the port at dusk one moonlit evening and silver light was shimmering on the placid combers of the briny deep, I had a remarkably unexpected fantasy—a ghostly image of my first mother, like an apparition of the Virgin Mary. My eyes grew misty when I imagined her standing on the vanishing shore. I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing when I saw the harbor lights departing—I longed to hold her near and kiss her once more. It‘s hard to breath when your heart yearns so much for someone behind a closed a door.” —Judith Land

Portofino is an Italian fishing village and holiday resort on the Italian Riviera. It is famous for its large number of celebrity visitors and picturesque harbor with colorfully painted buildings that line the shore.

When responsibility for a child is renounced by the parents and supplanted by others, the path to the throne is abdicated and the outcomes of each successive significant event in life become less predictable. There is no remedy; the ship has sailed without you, and there is no hope of turning it back. Adoption is an event that creates a serious disruption of a person’s beliefs about human nature and the randomness and order of the universe; an emotional occurrence with enduring consequences that adoptees have no control over, yet the outcome has profound aftereffects and significant implications to one’s values and eternal life. There is much at stake, yet no child is able to act on his or her own self-interest in any definitive way whatsoever—most are essentially powerless to alter life’s circumstances.

Life is a struggle for adoptees who feel the plight of the refugee when there is no other recourse other than to quietly endure the interminable outcomes of the pivotal events in life over which they have no command. Trauma causes us to step back and re-evaluate our deepest motivations and convictions as we pass through each phase of the human life cycle. Each chapter of our life story has its own perception of humanity and at each subsequent stage we must learn that happiness is based more on internal, controllable values and less on the externalities of the ever-changing outside world. Regardless of the life phase you are in now, it really doesn’t take a full clinical analysis to correctly identify adoption as the underlying reason for—looking, longing, wishing, hoping, and dreaming—the same shared feelings and emotions that other adoptees experience. Flowers, sunshine, comraderie, world traveling and savory food can help the soul to heal but they are not the cure.

Sentience is the capacity to be finely sensitive in perception to subjective experience. To live a happy life we must learn to take ourselves out of harm’s way, avoid temptations and ground ourselves in deeply held values. Knowing what you stand for determines your behavior, especially when the going gets tough, and the temptation is to choose the easiest path. Just remember that life is like riding a bicycle—keep moving forward to maintain your balance. If you are clear about who you are in any given situation, and steadfastly unwilling to negotiate, the songs of the Sirens aren’t so alluring.

Judith Land

 

http://www.adoptiondetectivejudithland.com

 

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“Adoption—Life is a Challenge”

“Life is challenging for adoptees because they have more things to think about and more personal issues to resolve.” Judith Land

There comes a day when turning the page is the best decision for you because you realize there is so much more to the book than the chapter you were stuck on. Change can be dramatic but when it is time to make a life adjustment, the smallest step in the right direction is often the most important of your life. The secret of transformation is not to fight the old but focus all of your energy on building the new by challenging yourself to improve. Old habits keep us back—but you must master new ways of thinking before you can master a new way to be. If you are on a path with no obstacles, it probably means you are complacent.

Adoption Detective | Judith Land

“If you are an adoptee caught in unpleasant relationships that are untenable and situations over which you have no control that are enduring, you must learn to challenge yourself to refashion the way you think and act by reorganizing and redesigning your life. You must consciously transform yourself through the acquisition of new skills that will help you metamorphose into someone new—the person you always wanted to be.” Judith Land

Are you an adoptee with missing chapters in your life’s backstory that are vexed by peerless omissions and vacuous darkness? The difficult tasks you may face are an opportunity to prove your ability to yourself, and to others. Everything of consequence that you ever do starts with a passion to do something extraordinary. When you challenge yourself and expand your horizons you achieve more and grow as a person. You learn to trust yourself more and you greatly increase the likelihood of having happiness and success in your life. Following is not the way to lead. Choosing the road less traveled is sometimes the best choice.

The way to achieve success in life means learning to start your day earlier, exercising more, committing to doing things culturally enriching, checking items off a to-do list, staying away from social media, meditating, and writing down your future hopes, dreams and obtainable goals. Favorable outcomes result from aiming high in your personal life and career, meeting and interacting with new people, cultivating social skills, and growing in emotional intelligence.

Developing a passion for increasing your life skills and knowledge helps you gain confidence in the belief that you can succeed and triumph over adversity. Being productive and retaining a positive mentality is contagious and inspires others to help you achieve your goals. Patience and strategy skills are needed to determine relevant methods and directions for achieving goals. Climbing a mountain takes planning, vision, true grit and ambition. And, in many cases, initiating an adoption search to discover previously unrevealed historical events by anonymous ancestors requires backbone, courage, extreme fortitude and strength of character. There is a wealth of information just waiting to be discovered in courthouses, town halls, city and state archives, old newspapers and historical societies all across the country. Another treasure trove of genealogical information is DNA testing which is an affordable solution that is proving to be very useful in solving genealogical mysteries and clarifying medical history.

You can choose to sit in perpetual stagnancy, immobilized by the gravity of your loss and lack of a clear self-identity, or you can rise from the pain and cherish the most precious gift you have, life itself. You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf. Know your limitations and then defy them but be realistic—don’t quit your job at the bank to become a lion tamer. Hard work and discipline are what you need to succeed. Mysteries are what make life interesting and unraveling them is what makes life meaningful. Sometimes overcoming great difficulties are as simple as changing the way you think about the situation. People of accomplishment cause change by going in the direction of their own choosing, rather than simply reacting to altered circumstances. Keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason. The greater the obstacle, the greater the glory there is in overcoming it. Stay strong because things always get better eventually—it may be stormy today, but it never rains forever.

Judith Land

 

 

 

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Adoption—Bubbles in Time

If I could save every day like a treasure in a bubble of time, I would preserve each precious moment and memory and continue to relive those experiences until eternity passes away. If only I was a child again, I would save all my wishes and dreams in one place and capture them in a bubble of time. Thinking about my biological family and mortality stimulates emotional resonance that evokes strong reminiscences, potent images, mysteries about relationships and human character, and sentimental feelings of life, like the brightly colored pedals of an enchanted flower slowly unfolding one beguiling leaf at a time to expose the inherent beauty of the corolla.

“My early life was a joy. Flowers bloomed, the water glistened, and the sun twinkled merrily on little waves of the sea of tranquility, but the journey to find my biological family was an emotional experience filled with mysteries, hazards and pitfalls. The thrill of discovery of each new clue that brought me one step closer to my real self and true identity, caused me to bubble over with enthusiasm, sparkling and effervescing like a Waterford toasting flute of crystal glass filled with bubbly champagne.” Judith Land

Have you ever felt nostalgic about what happened long-ago? Have you ever wished you knew more about the people and significant events in your life? Have you ever wished you could enter a bubble in time to see what your parents and grandparents looked like, how they thought and behaved?

I’ve always been fascinated with bubbles, spherical creations that capture our breath and stir our imaginations. Blowing bubbles is fun, creating spheres that are inherently tranquil and whimsically bright that trigger feelings of gaiety and delight. Bubbles are temporary manifestations of jewels with smooth surfaces reflecting all the colors of a rainbow that automatically respond to the wisp of a breeze, like a butterfly or a child with a mind of their own, and the freedom to come and go as they please. Bubbles are airy and light fragile creations. The ones that I like best are those that remain buoyantly suspended—indefinitely, floating, drifting, defying gravity, and effortlessly sailing on air. I love a sudsy bubble bath that gives me time to think sentimental thoughts about those we love.

Why do bubbles always burst like temporary winning streaks that come to an end?

I was raised in a bubble, insulated and protected from danger and shielded from the truth and the unpleasant cold realities of the real world. I was raised with an idealistic notion of the greater community and a limited perception of human nature and the ways that people tend to behave naturally.

The age of reason, the years of discretion, and the glory years of moral discernment are analogous to distinct passages in time, the memories of each ephemeral phase of life encapsulated within a bubble of time with a beginning and an end with each transition leading to an expanded level of comprehension and appreciation of the world.

Bubbles are fragile and temporary and when a bubble bursts herein lies the death of a dream, or the life of another person. Bubbles never go away quietly. Someone’s illusions are always shattered and sense of well-being destroyed. Sometimes, it is the parents who willfully take proactive steps to force a child out of naiveté by egregiously bursting the bubble of youth, insensibility, and immaturity. And, when the bubble bursts, the cradle falls and down comes baby cradle and all. Other times, it is the child who bursts the bubble of complacency surrounding their adoptive parents when the parents discover that the adopted child for whom they have an abiding love and affection has initiated a vision quest as a right of passage to discover their natural place of origin and true self-identity. And when the adopted child discovers the identity and source of their birth parents and aggressively knocks down the door of transparency, the bubbles of secrecy, privacy, isolation, and solitude are collectively and simultaneously burst en masse in unpredictable ways.

Bubbles are capsules in time that define every stage of life. The bubbles we inhabit, the ones we choose to enter and the ones we exclude others from entering define our time on earth. We all experience feelings of immaturity, chaos, fear and instability and uncertainty followed by various stages of happiness, communication and periods of enlightenment. Bubbles are ephemeral points in time and space that define each phase of our life by offering portals to help us visualize the past and present and give us hope by providing insight into future trends leading to a better life. Bubbles are forever changing, growing, evolving and merging.

I sincerely hope there will be a need for fewer adoptions tomorrow than today because more birth parents will aspire to fortuitously hang in there for another day. I wish I could save and protect every child in need like a treasure in a bubble of time. I pray for those who seek transparency with a desire to resurrect, reconnect, and comprehend the events of yesteryear.

Judith Land

 

Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child

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