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My Blog is about many things, adult adoptee, autism, family, laughter, and love, feel free to follow me on my journey, and look through my archives. It takes more than one subject to define me or my family. We are a mixture of a bit of everything!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Remember.......

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I am participating in the Communication Shutdown. However, I have made a previous commitment and am online for a minute just to post my Adoption Awareness Post. Our family is defined by many things, and Autism is only one of them. Adoption is a big part as well.... 

November is Adoption Awareness Month. I am honored to participate in Kelsey Stewarts, Adoption Awareness Event. Bloggers Unite is an awesome site that allows us Bloggers to give our causes a Global voice. It is where Activists can spread their word Globally through Blogging... and without further ado, here is my post...

I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi... Oh sorry that was Steve Martin in the Jerk. My bad. 

Okay okay I will be serious. Most of you that know my blog, know that I tend to sway from LMFAO, to DEAD SERIOUS, in 2 point 2 seconds. Its me, its who I am, and I love it.

In order for me to speak about Adoption I must share my story. This is my story as I know and live it. Some may have different memories, but this is my memory over the years.

This is why, to me, adoption, out of race/bi-racial/same race, and any adoption is so important and necessary. This is why we should teach our Adopted, Biological, and Foster Daughters the importance of understanding that you don't need to give birth to be a complete Woman or Mother.

I have two mums, one father, and one father M.I.A. for reasons I will learn soon. I am 100% African American. 50% comes from my full Rwandan bloodline given to me by mum Darlia (Tutsi) and M.I.A. (who as I understand is full Tutsi as well) and 50% from my life here in the States growing up American and growing with my parents, Lee and Mary Ann.

I was born at the beginning of 1968, in January. I was taken immediately to an Orpahanage in Hoima, Uganda. My mom was very young when she had me she gave me to the three midwives/nuns who delivered me. They worked at one of the closest, and one of the only, orphanages in E. Africa at that time. Their names were Jane, Elizabeth, and Ann... hence my name... Jane Elizabeth Ann. Later, after proper introduction from the nuns, my mum Darlia, met and fell in love with my adopted parents,the lady with the big hair, and the man who gave me the monkey. My parents were in Uganda and serving in The Peace Corps. The nuns and my mum, Darlia, allowed them to let me stay at their Peace Corps home for some time until they took me to Spain, then Holland, and finally the States where I was adopted. I will try to tell this story as I remember it. I will try to stay on my memory path. Thus at times it may seem "child-like" or fragmented. Such as memories are. Most of my childhood under 5 is in dreams, or a triggered memory.. triggered meaning if I hit a dirt road or see a pic of one, i am instantly back home. If the story is truly from me... I cannot give you an age line but i will try. As it evolves I can be clearer. I will put in parenthesis estimated time lines and guesses from pictures and stories told to me.

(1968-early 70's, Uganda)

My earliest memory....I don't remember being born. I remember tall grass. It was everywhere. I remember ladies in white or blue dresses. I laughed hard and legs would scamper, waists would bend and I'd be picked up and safe. I remember that laughing made people love me, want me, hold me. I remember two boys. Two boys who played and played and got me whatever I wanted. I remembered the Monkey that followed me everywhere. I rolled, he rolled. I laughed, he screamed a laugh. 

I remember dirt roads going nowhere and water in big brown jugs. I remember how beautiful the light was and how scary it was when it left me. I remember when the light was gone. I remember closing my eyes when the light left and opening them a lot waiting for the light to come back. I remember cots with cloths and lumps under the cloth being carried past me. So dark I could see nothing but white teeth and white cloths. I remember closing my eyes tight and waiting for the light to return, and before the next time the light left me another small person like me was gone and it was scary but i knew soon a new one small person would come to our circle. I remember heat and cold and liking cold. I remember being scared cold would shut out the light. 
I remember those dead babies, but people didn't want me to remember.  

To this day, if you turn off all the lights we will be in the Ring fighting like Tyson and Holyfield and I have no problem biting an ear if I know the lights will stay on.

I remember seeing strange new faces that always laughed. I liked that. I could make them laugh and play with me. I remember crying when the faces and laughter left and the light shut out again. I remember white faces taking me to a new place. I remember eating and peeing on a big yellow chair. I remember a lady with big hair on her head... and I don't remember how or why she hugged me so much. I remember making her laugh to hug me more. I remember staying at the new place and playing with new kids and my monkey. I remember going back to the place where the light shuts out. I remember I want to be with the big hair lady, and my monkey and the place where the light never leaves. 

I remember people coming and looking and laughing, eating and smiling, and taking me away from the place where the light shuts out. I remember a bag, some water, we moved on the water where I stayed for a very long time. I remember the water was scary there was no light but the lady with the big hair and the man who gave me my monkey made me feel safe.

(early mid 70's Holland)
I remember a new place. Lots of happy faces. I remember two new boys. I remember bathing, playing, and talking to them. I remember people visiting. I remember big rooms and the boys and I would laugh and giggle under the table. I remember the boys shared everything. I remember food! Food Everywhere! I remember crying and peeing on myself if the lights shut out and the boys would tell me wipe my tears and make the lights come on. I remember going everywhere with the boys. I remember my mum (the lady with the big hair) coming in to tell me and the boys to be quiet. I remember the two boys and me would laugh. I remember my panties were too big. They always fell down (this is truly innocent and not a lead to some sick scary story). I remember two boys and me laughing and the big people who had so many friends. I remember the two boys and I cried because I had to go meet some lady named Dog.

(70's-80's United States, My grandmother *moms side* Dagmar...a.k.a. Dog Ma, Grandfather/her husband, and My grandmother, Mary Evelyn *dads side* a.k.a. Christmas Everyday )

My earliest memory of the U.S....I remember the lady who said we can't go in this room. YOU MUST NOT GO IN THIS ROOM UNTIL MORNING and if you wait I promise you will love it! By then I learned that when the light was off it was called Night. When the light was on it was called Day. I liked to go to bed early! I love Morning time and still do!... So anyways, this Lady was the best!!! Every time I saw her she had a mint or gum in her purse. If I was good she promised to give it to me... she ALWAYS kept her promises!! So I waited and waited and even stayed up through the night. Which wasn't to hard because there was a person called Cousin and her name was JoJo... and Jojo was the best thing EVER!!! Way better than two boys! She was really tall like the grass. She played and played and played with me. I didn't even have to make her laugh, she made me do it!! All night. So, the next day JoJo and I woke up and I asked her about the room... and she showed me!!! There were these big double doors brown that she slid open like Magic.. and there was a HUGE Tree and gaziliions of presents I mean gazillions!! She showed me presents had names and I looked and they did!!! Lots of them and most were for us!! I remember knowing what a present was and being so excited!! I remember Christmas Everyday woke up and laughed and danced (she, my grandma turned 96 Saturday) and that is my memory of my first Christmas. I remember being told about Christmas and it was only sometimes but I remember Christmas Everyday always had a lil' something for me in her purse! 

I remember Dog ma (Dagmar). My first memory of her and grandpa was a big fat Turkey. She had bought me a matching outfit. When I say matching... I mean matching!! Everything about Dog ma was matching from her earring to her socks and shoes. If it was Halloween Dog Ma would have Jack O' lantern Earrings, Blouse, and Socks.. always with a holiday pin stuck on her. If it was Christmas the same but Xmas Trees or presents. If it was Valentines day Hearts everywhere. She put the festive in festivities!!! Oh how I loved Dog Ma (just a couple of years ago I held her hand and whispered in her ear my memories until she passed) she was the FIRE in Firecracker! So, our first holiday, that I remember... Thanksgiving. I was starting to get this American thing down... Food it is!!! 

I remember knowing in my head NEVER to call her that out loud because I was told to call her Grandma and she definitely didn't look like a dog. This lady was petite and beautiful!!! I couldn't figure out why she was  Dog Ma. She was my Jackie-O. She always smelled good. I remember going into her room and she had this mirrored tray trimmed in gold with every perfume, spray, and lotion. I remember bathing there and it was a big theater production. There were these beads she would put in the bath for me that had oil in them. When the beads got soft and popped the tub would fill with sweet smelling oil. There would be rose petals in the bath!! That kind of tripped me out. Who takes a bath with Plants? But it was a great event!! and you would get a shower cap and when you got out you'd step on plush pink carpet and get a lotion rub down and a Splash of Jean Nate'. If she wasn't looking I'd splash and splash some more!! I remember she had bright shiny candy trays everywhere!!

My earliest memory of my parents in the States...

I remember my Dad was, and still is my Daddy. He is my heart and soul. He is that person that I never want to leave the earth. I don't remember him to much in my infant and toddler days. My first memory, besides monkey man.. our pool in Compton. Every time I would go swimming and get out of the pool he would wrap me like an African Queen. Most of my Childhood, and even now, he was my link to home. I remember when I was 5 or 6 he would wrap turbans around my head and wrap my baby doll around my back and tell me that's how they did it back home. I remember he would make all my costumes. Not sew.. I mean make as in Tim from Home Improvement work. I remember one year I really wanted to win this Halloween Costume Contest and he made me a duck outfit. Okay no ordinary duck outfit... like full on I'm in Tim the Toolman... Grrr Woman come get your child, me workin' kinda outfits! I remember this duck outfit it was really awesome big round belly and back booty feather I had suspenders to keep it up and had to lift it over my head.... and oh my... the head part... it was made of chicken wire and covered in some kind of plaster i think (like a cast for a broken arm) and painted. It was heavy as hell!!! I wore that and he spent days making it, just so I could walk the 6th or 7th grade Parade Circle and be the baddest chick... i mean duck. Seriously, it was so heavy.. I almost broke my neck. Then I remember walking home duck head in hand pissed off and mad as heck thinking I didn't win and i'm pissed off but... shoot!!!! what if dad drives by and sees me not wearing his WHOLE costume? I remember putting it back on and walking all the way home! I remember later that evening he asked if I got 1st or 2nd place and I told him I lost to some other characters that were plastic and store bought.. Cinderella and... I remember him hugging me and telling me I was the best duck. I remember later that evening laying in bed listening to him say the first cuss word I EVER heard him say FUCKING CINDERELLA ARE YOU KIDDING ME Mary Ann (my mom)!! I remember saying in my head that's right dad Fucking Cinderella (if i was cool enough I would've added that dumb bitch)!!  

My dad and Halloween. He pretends he doesn't care, but he truly loves reactions! I know I got that from him! I remember one Halloween he told me I couldn't go across the street to my best friend Kristi's house to watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the movie). I begged and begged and he said no, you know you hate the dark, don't do that to yourself. Well my you already know my dumb ass went across the street and watched it, then called him crying to come get me and he said okay wait 10min. and he will open the garage door. I remember that was the longest ten minutes of my life. I remember standing at my friends door hearing the garage go slowly up then dashing across the street to meet my loving and safe father... but no, a man came out with a Flannel and a Chainsaw running at me.. I peed my pants and ran down the street... it took a few blocks for him to catch up to me and calm me down and say he was just trying to teach me a lesson, because i never listen and to show me, is the only way I will get it!! Which is totally true...Lesson learned and pants thouroughly pissed! I remember saying and doing some irrevocable things as a teen and honestly, as an adult. And my daddy, my rock, my teacher of wisdom constantly chalking up things as a life experience and letting me know if I learn from them then all is forgiven. When I was young, I remember my dad and books. I remember our house has always been a library. I remember my dad reading to me every night. I remember whining because I would have to wait tomorrow night for the next chapter. I remember, ever since I could even remember, National Geographic being in our home monthly. I remember my dad opening up the paper daily and doing the crossword puzzle. I remember sitting at the table in feetie pajamas pretending I knew what the heck he was talking about just to keep him home an extra hour before he went to work. I remember our trips to Acres of Books and the Used Bookstores in Long Beach on Saturdays. I remember he was, and is the Star in my Universe. I will crumble when he's gone, yet I remember he has always shown me how to get back up.

I remember my Mum (the lady with the big hair) was, and still is, a truly deep and genuine kind soul. She fought for everything and everyone. You point a cause in her direction, she won't even blink and dive in head first. I remember her interactions with my race. I remember our first home in Compton, California. She was very adamant about keeping me around children of my race. I remember her trading babysitting with the Black and Latin Community. I remember the women teaching her how to cook and take care of my hair. I remember going out of our community grown ass Black & White Women staring her down and giving her the evil eye and her grabbing me by the hand and walking by with her head in the air and a kind smile while telling me that ignorance comes in all shades and colors. I remember her telling me all about my mum Darlia back at home who loved me so much she wanted to find someone who could take care of me. I remember her showing me pictures and letters of all my family back home. I remember her giving me unopened letters and saying she will leave the room while I read what my family has written me. I remember telling her you are my family and why don't you read while I look at the pictures. I remember her holding me tight when I tried to push her away with pre-teen hormones. I remember her standing by me during my teen pregnancy and helping me to raise my daughter. I remember her holding and nurturing each of my children as proud as a mom of a Married Harvard Grad would. I remember her always making sure her grand kids were okay regardless of the choices her daughters made. I remember her sitting next to me at my son's IEP and raising her fist in the air saying that's right, hell yeah to everything I said. I remember her ditching her "retirement" constantly to attend our appointments, autism events, and absolutely ANYTHING that has to do with her kids and grand kids. I remember just this last Friday when I was sick with a 104* fever and she picked up my kids for the night. 

I remember my parents teaching me to embrace my culture, my heritage, all races, and to always put the UNITY in Community. I remember my parents teaching me how to get 'er done, and not sit and complain. I remember my parents teaching me that no matter how bad you fucked up.... there is always tomorrow. I remember my parents instilling EVERYTHING I needed to become as loving and compassionate as I am today. I thank my mum Darlia for having the wisdom to know that it truly takes a village.

I remember today, Sunday October 31st I need to call my mom and dad and let them know I will always remember and thank you for Adopting me! 

 Me in UG at Orphanage
The Lady with the big hair
Mum, Mom, Mama

The Man with the Monkey
Dad/Daddy/Poppa Lee
The Unselfish One
Darlia Gasibiregye
My Mum

Me at Dog Ma's house
(Dad wrapped Turbin)
 Me and Mum

old shot of dad and me by the pool.
i stopped my story before my teens. I was a wild child of the 80's, a young adult in the 90's,and that era has nothing to do with my parents.. i accept full responsibility. 

I was a product of my ignorance with a toxic mix of my generation definitely,
not a product of adoption, so I chose not to write about that era. 
But I will at some point.. so follow my blog!

 Please visit Bloggers Unite  

More Adoption posts by Jane:


Kmama said...

Thank you for sharing your story! I love the pictures and the story.

EmptyNester said...

Incredible story! Adoption is a huge part of our family also. My parents adopted THREE brothers when I was almost 12 and they were 9, 10, and 11. It was the best thing that ever happened to our family!

singedwingangel said...

I love this Jane.. Now I know so much more about you.. and it tells me that you were blessed with some awesome parents 4 of them to be exact.. and they raised a wonderful well rounded woman.. WHICH is why I listed you on my blog today as a blog that must be read..

Heather said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your birth mother was a beautiful soul for giving you to someone who could care for you. That's true love indeed. The pictures tell a lot - I love them.

Brittney said...

wow that was an amazing story! I absolutely love reading your story Jane, youre an amazing woman :)

Dawn said...

Thanks for sharing Jane! What a heartfelt story! We adopted our 13 year old son (who also has Autism) from the foster care system and are considering more adoption. You definatley gave me reason to pause, feel grateful and pass the message along.

blueviolet said...

I really like how you remembered bits and pieces and flashes. Your senses stored it in such an interesting way.Your story is wonderful!

Wendal said...

What a totally amazing story. And what a blessing to be surrounded by the people you reflected upon. May God bless every single one of them, all the way to Jane, Elizabeth and Ann. And God bless you too.

LL Cool Joe said...

This was just beautiful! You remember soooooo much. I remember very very little!

Autism Mom Rising said...

Thank you for sharing this. You have opened my heart like a flower this morning

Campbell said...

Smile on my face, thank you for this post.

Rose said...

back from my trip. thanks for sharing about your adoption. your parents sound like wonderful people. you've got some great memories. take care rose

Pam said...

I love your story! The pictures are incredible.

Jane said...

I love your story. What a wonderful read this morning and I love the old photos!