Adoption Mystery

I was adopted when I was five months of age. I think that those of us who have been adopted share a certain kinship, in that only we can understand what has been called a Primal Wound.

I also believe that the classic closed adoption system that I was a part has more than a few flaws. Imagine if it were against the law for you to look at your very own birth certificate. Imagine if you had no right to have any information about your medical background. Imagine if you didn't know what name you had been given when you were born.

I've been blessed in my life. I was adopted by parents who loved and cared for me. Never for a moment in my life have I doubted the love that they had for me. Sadly I lost both of them much to early.

Over the years, thanks to the post-adoption services in Saskatchewan, Canada I have been able to contact my birth-family on both my maternal and paternal sides and I actually have knowledge about my family tree dating back to the 1600's! I've met family, people who are blood-related to me, and that's a huge thing for an adoptee to experience. This little lonely girl has grown up to be a woman who has four sisters and four brothers!

I am working on a memoir about my adoption experience. This work has taken me into many deep places and I continue to learn, grow, and even heal as I write. The birth of my beautiful granddaughter surfaced some questions for me about the first few months of my life before my name was changed and I became Linda Gail Brauer.

"I like to think that someone missed me. It bothers me to think that I may have spent the first five months of my life in the care of someone who didn't shed a tear when I was taken away."

In just a few days, thanks to new processes in post-adoption services, I am going to receive a copy of my adoption file. I'm going to learn the story of those first few months of my life. I'm excited and nervous at the same time. What mysteries will this fifty year old file finally clear up for me?

What Matters

I spent two days in the hospital unexpectedly last week. There is nothing like two days of poking, prodding, not sleeping, not eating, and other unmentionable things to make one appreciate the finer things in life.

I took a walk at lunch time today. (What?! I can hear you exclaim! You never take lunch breaks!) There are beautiful trails in and amongst the woods where my office is that I never even knew existed before today!

As I prepared dinner tonight I consciously made myself slow down and appreciate each moment. (It's true, making dinner can actually be a restful and fulfilling activity.) As I peeled the squash and scooped out the seeds, I smelled childhood. It wasn't my own childhood, but the childhood I experienced through the lives of my children. I was reminded of countless pumpkins we had cleaned and carved over the years. Special, simple, memories.

Perhaps best of all, I talked to Makiya on the phone. I babbled away to her and she babbled right back. We talked about important stuff....grandma stuff.

I am being constantly reminded lately that it is these things that matter most, and if I don't slow down and take the time to see them, they will be gone in an instant.

What simple things are you appreciating today?

Stories from the Heart Conference

Story Circle Network is holding it's fifth national memoir conference at the Wyndham Hotel in Austin, Texas, February 5-7, 2010.

I'm very excited to be moderating a panel discussion called Finding Our Voices Online. The panel will consist of six of SCN's Star Bloggers, some of whom find their way into My Own Velvet Room from time to time!

Life In The Fast Lane

I sit down to read a magazine and can't focus on a single article at a time. I scan the letters to the editor and then leaf through the rest of the pages. There was a time that a magazine could last me for days; now it last only a few minutes.

I sit down to paint my toenails. It's a chore. I can't see properly and so I make a mess; I regret the time I have to sit still until the polish dries. Once upon a time it was a treat to choose a color and pamper myself once a week. No longer.

I rush upstairs and downstairs putting my home in order. Hurry, hurry, hurry, but I can't tell you why. I don't take the time to enjoy my home, instead I rush through every task that I once enjoyed and found fulfillment in.

It's Sunday evening and so I'm thinking about the work week that's going to hit head on tomorrow morning. There is so much to do and really not enough time to do it well. I know that unless something changes I'll continue to rush to get things done and not take the time I need. The time I need for myself.

I'm longing for a little house on the prairie in a little town of less than a hundred people. I want to can tomatoes, bake bread, make cookies and make quilts. I'm thinking about a dozen Mason jars sitting on a dish towel on the counter waiting for their lids to pop. Precious red jewels that will be put away for the winter.

It's time to get out of the fast lane and appreciate the journey.

Still, Small Voice

I push through the glass doors of the office and step out into the sunshine. The day is still blessedly warm, unseasonably for this time of year. Almost unconsciously I shake my hands at my side, shaking off the pressure of the day.

As I walk I inhale, improperly I know, but in the way that I need to at this moment. My chest, not my diaphragm, expands and I allow my shoulders to rise and I inhale the sweet September afternoon air.

Once, twice, three times as I walk toward my car I fill my lungs with life.

The temperature inside of the car is hot; the digital gauge reads eighty degrees. As I smile at the idea of this heat at this time of year, the air conditioner kicks in to bring it down to a more comfortable seventy.

I plug my iPod into the auxiliary jack, and the smooth, velvet sounds of Il Divo performing Hallelujah fill the car. I turn up the volume a bit, wanting to be blanketed in the music.

Stress continues to fall away.

At home I greet the dogs who are ecstatic to have me home. Their greeting is like food for my weary soul this afternoon. I know that Gerry is going to home late this evening, so I don't worry about supper for the moment. Instead, I take the dogs and we go out into the back yard.

I pull a chair over into the sun and put my head back, basking in the therapy it brings. As I sit I pray. There are people and situations on mind that I lift up in prayer. Here and there, this and that, one thing leads to another. As I pray I relax, comforted in the thought that there is Someone else in charge.

Eventually I am quiet. I sit, looking at the beauty in my yard, filled with gratitude, and at peace.

And then that still, small, voice that I know so well speaks and reminds me of something I have been reminded of before.

"In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quiet and confidence is your strength." (Isaiah 30:15)

In that moment I am all of these things. Repentent, at rest, quiet, and confident that all is as it should be at this very moment.

A Place Called Home

I don't believe in coincidence; I believe that everything happens for a reason. And so, when one experience seems to touch upon another in my life, I take notice.

My daughter and I had a conversation a few days ago about what place and home means to each of us.

I spent my early years in Saskatchewan, and the vastness of the prairie landscape and the endless skies say home to me. Though I haven't on the prairie for over thirty years when I am there I feel planted and filled with a peace that eludes me the rest of the time.

My daughter was born in British Columbia and she longs for the mountains and rivers of that place. She misses the long, hot, dry summers and refuses to call the prairie landscape where she now lives her home. The Rocky Mountain range that she can see in the distance constantly calls her to return.

Yesterday I started reading Together, Alone by Susan Wittig Albert. (I highly recommend it, by the way.) Susan talks about her own attachment to place and home in the Texas Hill Country where she lives and writes with her husband.

There is, in these whispers of place that I am sensing, a message for me. Like Susan Albert says in Together, Alone, "To hear it, I have to be patient, and still, and silent."

Superior Scribbler Award

Thank you Sharon and Pat for giving me the Superior Scribber Award!

One of the requirements of receiving this award is to pass it on to five other worthy recipients. I'm awarding it to the following Superior Scribblers:

Janna at
Carmen at
Kathleen at
Angie at
Christy at

Here are the rules for Passing on the Superior Scribbler Award:

1) Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.

2) Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author and the name of the blog from whom he/she has received the Award.

3) Each Superior Scribbler must display the Award on his/her blog, and link to this post, ( which explains the Award.

4) Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

5) Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog. Thank you.

Dear Makiya

Dear Makiya
Today you are eight months old! How quickly the time has gone since that cold wintery night when you were born. I will aways remember that early morning phone call from your Mommy telling me that your Daddy was taking her to the hospital and that it was finally time for you to be born. She was was excited, tired and just a little bit afraid that morning as she realized that the long months, even years, of waiting were about to be over.
As soon as I got off the phone with your Mommy, we prayed for you, I did a little "Grandma Dance" and then I hurried upstairs to make travel arrangements. I couldn't wait to meet you!
It was late that night when you were born. I will never forget your Dad coming down the hall with the biggest smile on his face saying "It's a girl, and she's beautiful!". You were, and are, beautiful indeed! There was nothing that could have prepared me for the joy that I felt when I held you for the first time.
Over the past eight months I have been filled with pride as I have watched my daughter become your Mommy. I love to see her snuggling with you and making funny faces to make you laugh. Sometimes I look at your precious face and for an instant I am taken back in time because something in your face looks just like your Mommy looked when she was a baby.
This evening Grandma is sitting in the airport waiting for the airplane that will take me back home. I have enjoyed another precious visit with you all. You have grown so much in the two months since I saw you last. You are crawling already! You're able to pull yourself up to stand all by yourself! I know that the next time I see you you will already be walking. That is a bittersweet thought for your Grandma to ponder.
So take good care of your Mommy until I see you all again, okay. When you're feeling tired and cranky, remember that funny "Old MacDonald" song I sang to you. You liked it and it made you stop fussing. (even though Mommy was skeptical that it would work!)
I love you very much,