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




About Judith Land

Judith Land lives in Colorado and Arizona with husband and coauthor Martin Land. Judith is a former nurse, retail shop owner, college instructor and avid outdoor person. Her book "Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child" is a true story detailing the journey of Judith Romano, foster child and adoptee, as she discovers fragments of her background, and then sets out to solve the mystery as an adult. She has reached readers in 192 countries. "Mothers and fathers everywhere in the world need to understand that children are forever and always." --Judith Land
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2 Responses to Adoption—Striving for the Brass Ring

  1. Twitter is not availeble

  2. Finding Me says:

    My brass ring would be All of my children together just once. My success and legacy is one of happy healthy adults that won’t ever go through what I have. xx

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