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Earth Day

Earth Day 2022

Two years ago, I posted this blog about the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day holds meaning for me for many reasons. Please join me in this trip down memory lane and our responsibility to 'remember the future.' 


Earth Day 2020

Earth Day is 50 years old today–first celebrated on April 22, 1970. Two weeks prior to the first Earth Day, I turned 21. Paul and I were married in January 1970, and, yes, I was only 20 years old when we got married! It was the middle of the last semester of our senior year at UMass Amherst. Amherst was a politically active town during the Vietnam War.


As stated by The Resistance Center—

"In winter, 1966, Amherst, Massachusetts became the first town in the United States to form a weekly vigil protesting the Vietnam War. Standing at the northwest corner of the town common on Sundays from 12 to 1 p.m., participants sought to publicly record their political and moral objections to government policies. The vigil continued until the war's end in 1973." www.theresistancecenter.org


But on April 22, 1970, folks gathered to celebrate the first Earth Day. I was walking into town for some reason, up Main Street toward North Pleasant–the main intersection in our small town! Suddenly, I heard the excitement of the Earth Day festivities. Every April 22nd since then, I recall the scene--it is a favorite memory from a very busy year!


"The First Earth Day
We only have one earth, so we need to take care of her. That's what Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin believed. He was disturbed that an issue as important as our environment was not addressed in politics or by the media, so he created the first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970. An estimated 20 million people nationwide attended festivities that day. It was a truly astonishing grassroots explosion, leading eventually to national legislation such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act." http://www.americaslibrary.gov


April 22nd is special to me for another couple of reasons. My birthmother, Joan, was born on April 22, 1929. Twenty years later in 1949, I was three weeks old and in her care on her 20th birthday. Four years later, April 22, 1953, on her 24th birthday, she gave birth to her second child, a baby boy. (Eventually, she relinquished four babies.)


Joan was required to care for her son and me for our first six weeks of life. Today, I wish him a Happy Birthday and hope we meet some day. We were both relinquished into closed adoptions. After years of searching for understanding how she was able to make these decisions, I have developed a deep empathy for Joan. I listened to other birthmothers in books and blogs and support groups. Relinquishing us was painfully traumatic. Relinquishing caused grief and suffering, illness and death too soon. Empathy is the key to understanding and forgiveness.


Young Love ~ An Adoptee's Memoir takes you through my search for my birthparents, for my identity, and for an understanding of the heartbreak experienced by unwed women forced to lose their infants into closed adoptions.

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Quotes From My Blog

Was My Curiosity Wrong?

"Why did I want to know who gave birth to me? My mom and I shared a strong mother-daughter bond. I never wanted to hurt her. I never wanted her to think she wasn't my one and only mom."


Original Birth Certificate, Please
"Once I knew my birthmother's name, I decided to ask for my original birth certificate. It was a tricky process, but thankfully, I succeeded. What a joy to hold that simple document, a lawful and legitimate record of my illegitimate birth!"


Completing the Triangle
"It became clear that my birthmother's only option for me was adoption. There were no alternatives. I believe that without support from her family and community, she did her best. Eventually, I understood her decision."

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Mother's Day

Bonnie at 8 months

with her Mom

Revisiting my Mother's Day blog post from two years ago -- My search angel at the Batshaw Youth and Family Centres in Montreal asked me if they could keep my blog… "I want to thank you for sharing your blog. Part of you stays with us now as your Mother's Day post will be used for sensitization training for future adoptive parents."


Sunday is Mother's Day

If I can ever write purely from my heart, I pray it is today. My thoughts are on motherhood. After all, this Sunday is Mother's Day. I am the mother of two children, a son and a daughter. My son's wife, Kim, is the mother to our three amazing grandkids. My daughter, Emily, has two beautiful baby daughters (updated from 2019!). We will all celebrate this weekend and wish each other, Happy Mother's Day! My family will not be surprised when I admit that I am already a bit teary-eyed. Ahhh, family!


My mom was a wonderful mom. For many reasons, life was not smooth-sailing for her. But when I was almost eight months old, I became her daughter and we were very close. I have many memories of her creative project ideas. I was about seven when she suggested my friend and I could go door to door in our little neighborhood and ask for old, empty perfume bottles.  We stirred up a lavender/water  concoction and refilled the bottles. That's all I remember—I sure hope we didn't charge anything for our eau de lavender! Mom taught me how to sew—another activity I loved, as much as playing the piano. Close to the end of her life, she continued to do crossword puzzles. Mom died from breast cancer at the age of eighty. I know she is still with me. 


The adoption triangle consists of the baby, adoptive parents, and the birthmother. Without the birthmother, there would be no infant, no triangle. Unwed women in our culture, especially in the last century, were shamed by their families and communities, sent away to give birth without support, told to get on with their lives, and to forget about their child, and never search—"You gave up your parental rights!"  As you can imagine, this is not possible for most women who carry a child for nine months and give birth. The trauma stays with them. Many think about their baby and grieve for years.


An unexpected pregnancy created serious difficulty when my birthmother was pregnant with me. Her parents and siblings were victims, in a way, of her condition. I have had years to search for peace and understanding about my birthmother and my adoption. She was successful at work, generous, and alway lent a helping hand to her family. I refuse to judge her and think ill of her! Over time, I came to believe that she did her best at nineteen in overwhelmingly difficult circumstances with no support. 

And so, I open my heart to women who lose a baby to adoption. Let's not forget that an adoption triangle starts with them. This Sunday, I will think of all the wonderful mothers in my life, including my birth mother.

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