Wednesday, December 31, 2008


So I just finally finished my application for a grant for nonfiction writers who write about the desert. Not sure if I've mentioned that I'm a total desert junkie--used to be a ranger in the Grand Canyon and a wilderness guide in New Mexico and Arizona. So I think this grant is a really good fit for me.

I have a whole theory/hypothesis about the relationship between the Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River as a metaphor for the institution of closed adoption. But perhaps I am getting ahead of myself.

I applied for this grant, and I'd really like to get it. I'd like to know that someone believes in my writing and my quest for identity enough to fund it, even just to throw a little bit of cash at it. So, wish me luck?

I always have a hard time with applications that are about me. (I'm great writing grants for things that have nothing to do with myself.) Something about tooting my own horn is excruciatingly difficult for me, and I end up moaning "I'm not worthy!" (a la Wayne and Garth) and crawling back under the covers for days. Luckily, if my husband's within earshot of this moaning, he might say "You are worthy! You're so worthy!" But sometimes he drops the ball and says "Your application looks pretty good." Like today. (Sorry, honey, but it stings.)

Can I just say, "pretty good" applications do not usually win the prize?

Anyone have any opinions about adoptees and self-confidence? Especially you adoptive moms out there? I sure wish I could shed this garment of underconfidence (like underwear--just take 'em off?) and get on with it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Family

Thanks to everyone who chimed in that they are reading this blog when The Sought-After sought herself some companionship out here in cyberspace. Nice to know you're all there, folks.

After three days spent visiting friends in Sacramento and Davis, I am in a wintry whiteout in intermountain Northern California at my parents' place.

My husband and son and I just came in for a lunch break from fort-building, cross-country skiing, and sledding. There's just about nothing better than the joy and excitement of a five-year-old playing in the snow.

Except maybe visiting with lovely close friends whom I've known since I was three, and since first grade, and since 7th grade, and since grad school, and since my son was born...

My parents just left to drive three hours to Chico so that my mom can receive her chemotherapy, and they're going to try to make it back tonight because another big snow storm is forecast for tomorrow and the next day. I really hope they make it back in time for Christmas. I wish they hadn't had to go at all. But she's got to beat that cancer.

My brother from Florida is due to arrive here with his husband at any minute, and my other brother is coming with his family in a few days; I can't wait for the house to be full of family--all kinds of family. Adoption is one of the things in this world that expands the meaning of family, as do marriage and friendship.

Happy Birthday to Carol, my birthmom, who turned 60 yesterday!

It's so comforting to have all these people around me, my big, extended, blended, complicated family. I love you all.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Void

The Sought-After is a bit lonely. No one has posted a comment for weeks. Perhaps I scared you all away with my angry posting about the myth of salvation. If so, I'm sorry. Or maybe it's something else. Send up a flare to tell me you're out there? (I have no idea how to access my statcounter, so I really don't know if anyone's reading at all.) Am I just shouting into the void? Please let me know. And I promise not to be mean.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Busting Myths about Mythbusting

Last week, this article from Adoptive Families Magazine showed up in my email inbox. It suggests that the media perpetuate these four myths about adoption: 1) Adopted Children are Troublemakers, 2) All Adoptees Have Traumatic Birth Histories, 3) All Adoptees Search, and 4), Adopted Children Are Obtained Illegally.

I take the subtext of this list to be "Things That Dissuade People from Adopting," since from what I have read, Adoptive Families is extremely concerned with making everyone's experience with adoption seem very positive, and they want people to adopt. If this is indeed the subtext, I am kind of appalled by #3, All Adoptees Search.

Does the fact that some adoptees search for their biological origins dissuade people from adopting? If so, why? I understand that the prospect of an adoptee searching may threaten the adoptive parents' sense of parenthood, but shouldn't Adoptive Families, as an advocate for, well, adoptive families, which I assume includes adopted people as well as those who adopt them, support adopted peoples' interest in searching? And, come to think of it, shouldn't they disabuse adoptive parents of the notion that their parenthood is in question if their adopted child searches?

What is going on here? Please read the article (hyperlinked above) and let me know what you think.

Monday, December 1, 2008

More on Adoption and Chronic Illness

I got really sick right before I turned twenty. I felt very weak, had no appetite, and ached all over. I went to the doctor and told him I felt like I had been hit by a Mack Truck. He said I probably had the flu. But it didn't go away, so after a few blood tests, we learned that I had inflammation in my blood (before which time I didn't know one's blood could be inflamed), indicating some kind of inflammatory arthritis. I had to go on massive doses of cortisone to calm the inflammation, and it helped, but they couldn't give me a specific diagnosis. My new rheumatologist said what I had was sort of like rheumatoid arthritis, although my blood wasn't testing positive for that disease. So it was a mystery.

I decided it would be a good idea to find out about my medical history, something that I had never thought about before, so I wrote to the adoption agency that handled my adoption, and received my "non-identifying" information--information about my birthparents and their families that is vague enough that I wouldn't be able to track them down. There was nothing about arthritis in it. But I did learn that my birth mom liked to swim, and my birthdad liked to sing. (More on that later.)

Eventually, after 8 years of being sick and going on and off various medications, I had accumulated enough damage in my joints from inflammation to indicate that I have a kind of inflammatory arthritis called spondylitis. It is chronic, uncurable, very painful, and in some cases, very debilitating. I am lucky to have a somewhat mild form of it, but I would be lying if I said it hadn't completely changed, and sometimes ruled, my life. I have had it for 22 years now, and I'm very tired of it, but I'm also very accustomed to it. I can also say that it is the reason I became a ranger, a wilderness guide, a search and rescue worker, a mountain biker, a backpacker and a climber.

During the initial months and years of being sick, when I didn't know what it was and I was very scared, I decided to try to exercise/exorcise it out of my body. I bought a mountain bike and started riding it up the humongous hill to my college campus at UC Santa Cruz every day. At first, I sweated and pedaled as hard as I could, while going so slow that flies actually landed on me and other people, who were riding Schwinn 3-speeds, passed me handily. Eventually, though, I worked myself into shape, and gained some confidence, and in turn felt I had some power, some control over the then-mysterious disease that was kicking my butt on a 24/7 basis. My goal was to kick its butt in return, which didn't really happen, since the disease never left my body, but I became very strong and began to identify myself as a rugged, outdoor gal. Which was sort of cool.

What, you might ask, does this have to do with being adopted? Well, I think that adopted people are probably more prone to chronic illness than other people. Why? Because we feel vulnerable and susceptible. It has been proven that adoptees have more psychological disease than the average person, so it makes sense to me that our sensitivity would cross over to the physical realm as well.

I have two brothers; one is adopted and the other is not. My adopted brother has a chronic illness, too. He's diabetic. My other brother is as healthy as a horse.

Now, I know a sample group of three people does not a scientific study make, but I am very curious about this.

Any thoughts?