Monday, October 30, 2006

100th Post!

WOW!! I actually made 100 posts in less than a year!! Hard for me to believe I had that much time to blog...

So, in honor of the 100th post, I'm actually going to "repost" one my favorite entries of the last year. Since I have new readers - I figured one or two of you would have a sassy comment or selacious theory concerning Beloved Eeyore. So, for old times' sake - here is the post:

I need your help today!!

Last night, I was puzzled by something. Eeyore.

There's a friend of ours that I playfully refer to as "Eeyore," but I won't go into details as to why. Suffice it to say, I mean this as an endearment more than anything. This is a male friend, and up until last night, I always assumed that Eeyore was a male.

So it hit me - what's up with the pink bow on the tail? Now, Eeyore never put off any "gay" vibes, as far as I was concerned, and he definitely has a masculine voice - but could I be wrong?? Is Eeyore a gender-challenged male? A donkey in drag? Or merely an old female donkey that never got rid of that two-pack-a-day habit??

Then I got to thinking, one of Eeyore's biggest problems was that his tail kept falling off. Now, I have wondered about the cruelty of sticking his tail in with a big, fat nail - but considering his difficulty in maintaining tail attachment, I assumed it was the preferred method. However, now I'm wondering, was his body merely rejecting the overly feminine tail? Was some other donkey's tail mistakenly given to Eeyore at birth??

Help me out folks. I couldn't sleep too well last night, and I'm wondering if somehow I need closure on this!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Separated at Birth

One thing that bothers me about being adopted is the fact that I might have siblings. It is said that you have the longest relationships during your lifetime (barring some unforeseen tragedy or illness) with your brothers and sisters. And, if you do the math, that's a pretty accurate assessment.

This is a photo of me, my friend Charlie, and my friend Nicholas (Nic). Now, it's not so obvious here, but in a lot of photos, Charlie and I look very much alike. We are asked ALL THE FREAKIN' TIME if we are sisters. In fact, I look more like Charlie than her actual sister. As for Nic, well...let's just say that I have this deep yearning to be Italian. His grandmother is the 80-year-young secretary at my office, and his mother is one of my dearest friends. They are like "second family" to me. I often compare the shape and size of my rear end to Bess' (grandmother/secretary) and insist that they are the same. And yes, I do this in front of coworkers, family, at parties - wherever I can obtain an objective opinion to bolster the case that I am Italian.

It really doesn't matter, though, because I have family all around me. "Adopted" family, if you will - consisting of dear friends that I wouldn't trade for anything. As for "real" family? Well, my parents live on the West Coast. My husband's father lives here in town, as well as his brother and sister. I don't think he has spoken to his brother in over five years (another long story), and we speak to his sister maybe two or three times a year.

OH!! And I took your suggestions, and ran another "heritage" scan, using a photo of me with my hair up. As you can see, the Asian is back.

Again, I don't know some of these folks. I also don't know what bothers me more - the fact that my LAST scan included a reference to Kelly Osbourne, or that THIS one compares me to a dude.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Musical Fluff

You might be surprised to know that I am a classically-trained pianist. Especially when you ride with me in my car. Why? Because my CD collection belies my musical origins.

For example, today I was rediscovering the soundtrack to the Matrix Reloaded, including a great song by Rob Zombie. Yesterday, it was the jazz stylings of Jamie Cullum. The day before? Panic! at the Disco. Songbird, as you might presume, often does not share my musical interests. Granted, I am highly influenced by my daughter - but I'm not complaining. She keeps me up to date.

Yes, today's music CAN be distressing, as I found out again this week. It seems that artists can safely remake songs from the past, and the kids don't know any better. Twice this week, I had to run into the living room, where the daughter was watching FUSETV, to make sure she wasn't tuned into the VH1 Classic channel by mistake. The other night, I heard the "Disturbed" version of Land of Confusion. (That's not a critique, but the name of the band.) I warn you, don't click the link unless you want to see the NEW version. Granted, it IS the right time to remake this song, given its lyrical message - but who could top the video by Genesis and that creepy puppet version of Ronald Reagan?

Then came the musical blasphemy. Seems a band called "Gnarls Barkley" has redone Gone Daddy Gone by the Violent Femmes. THE FEMMES? Well, the new version is decent...but there are some bands that deserve their own place in the sun.
Music Video Codes By Music
But before you think I'm all "high and mighty," judging today's music from the perspective of a girl who grew up in the '80s and is reliving the leggings craze with glee, know that I really DO like some of the new music. And every so often, a song comes along that gets stuck in my head. I call it a Bubble-Pop-Diversion, and if you click the video link above, you'll see what I mean. There's no musical genius here - just a song that makes me want to jump around the house like a preteen. A song like this is musical candy - a sweet little treat with no substance, but providing a giddy sugar high. So, if you dare to get silly with me, play the link above. It's songs like these that make me feel like a kid, all over again.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My Own Little Songbird

Yes, I am a proud mother!! Her first musical audition (for someone OTHER than Songbird or a music teacher from Mena), and she succeeds!! Not that I don't have faith in my little chickadee, but you know how mothers are always a little biased in their opinions of their offsprings' talents. I had heard her practicing her music, trying not to offer TOO much input - and thought she sounded prepared. I suppose I should have listened to Songbird when she told me that my baby had a good voice, but, c'mon. She's my FRIEND. Would you tell your friend if their kid sucked? Then again, I have to remember that my friend is pretty honest. She probably would have told me that.

It was a nerve-wracking day, mostly for me - b/c I get very uptight and competitive about these things. The child? Fairly nonchalant. She said she didn't care if she made it or not - but you know, deep down inside, she really did. She competed against older girls from bigger schools, and still placed 10th! I can't wait to hear the all-region concert - and that will be one more weekend that Songbird will have to put up with me!

Friday, October 13, 2006

What's in a Face?

Like Melissa, I need to start a section called "ideas I totally stole from Marnie". But this was too good for me to pass up!! This face recognition thing on My Heritage is awesomely funny and cool, and something an adoptee like me CANNOT pass up. I urge you to try it! My husband and I have been taking people's photos (after we got bored with our own) and trying them, too. So, here are TWO photos, with TWO results for me!

I have no idea who any of these people are. Except of course, Demi Moore, and I don't think I look a thing like her. Plus, do you see ANYTHING Asian in my features? So, I had to try it again. Here is attempt #2:

What's with all the Asian references? And KELLY FREAKIN' OSBORNE?? Don't see that at all.

For those of you wondering what happened to the fro-like curly hair, just know that I have a love affair with a certain ceramic flattening iron.

So, who do YOU think I look like? Feel free to guess at my genealogy and ethnicity. And feel for me tomorrow, as I will be accompanying Songbird and 20 middle school students on a bus at 5:30AM to all-region choir auditions! Wish us all luck!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Blame Marnie

It's all her fault that you aren't getting another "story" post today. Her and her little TAG! Just kidding, Marnie; you are one of my favorite bloggers!

The hardest part of the tag was narrowing my Most Famous Oddities down to just five (I can hear the rattling of Songbird's head in agreement). But here goes (and I'll leave the obvious "story" out of it - that would be too easy):

1. I can grab my uvula with my fingers, yank on it, and no gag reflex. Same for my epiglottis, though it is a little tougher to reach - and I tend to just touch it, not yank on it.

2. I'm only half as good as Marnie, because I am legally blind in one eye, with absolutely perfect vision in the other.

3. I have a very dark mole that resembles New Jersey. It is placed in an intimate spot which has forced me to reassure my past loves (and my OB/GYN) that I do, indeed, wipe thoroughly.

4. I have one leg that is about an inch longer than the other. (Dang, I said I wouldn't use the "story," but I guess since you don't know that part yet, it's okay.)

5. I can type and talk on the phone (about something completely different) or talk to someone standing in front of me at the same time. And by "type," I don't mean looking at a document and typing it word for word. I mean typing personal correspondence or something off the top of my head while carrying on another conversation. I can also say the alphabet backwards.

Okay - not all that odd, but I've completed my assignment for the day!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

So...What's in a Name?

An inquisitive child, I wanted to know everything about my abandonment. I harassed my parents, needled them, and finally got a “story.” According to the “story,” a nurse had been leaving her hospital shift in the wee hours of the morning and thought she heard the soft mews of a kitten. A cat-lover, she had to stop and check the bushes from whence the cries came. Voila – she found me, covered in ant bites, but none the worse for the wear. This “story” became part of my life-treasure, and I carried it always – along with a special place in my heart for that nurse. I even spoke about it in a college speech class. The “story” was neat and tidy – I was found in a safe location (hospital grounds) and meant for discovery.

After learning the truth, I tentatively asked my mother if she remembered any details about my abandonment. Nope. Nothing. She never mentioned the “story.” I guess it had also been abandoned, since it hadn’t been needed in many years. I brought up “remembering a story about a hospital bush…or something,” and I was emphatically told that I must have “made that up.” I was never TOLD that, you see.

I knew differently, but it is better to be kind than right.

I still haven’t shared the truth with her, b/c when I asked if it were possible to find out – would she want to know – the answer was an emphatic, “NO.” Plus, I was again lectured about the foolishness of such an exploration. ‘Nuff said.
But what’s funny is my nickname. Years ago, after hearing my “story,” my husband thought it would be cute to call me “Lawn Baby” – in reference to being found on a hospital lawn. It sounded better than “Bush Baby” – and, well, you get the picture. So non-id posed a REAL PROBLEM. What was he going to call me now?

Okay – let’s get back to the phone conversation with the social-worker-I’m-trying-to-convince-I’m-not-insane. So, I tell his lady that I’m living a great life – I’m very successful, a mother, etc….but my husband and I have a problem. Then I tell her the “Lawn Baby” thing – just to convince her that I’M NOT CRAZY and I’m WELL-ADJUSTED. I just want to know what he should call me now. Dumpster Baby? Curbside Baby? Trash-Can Baby? Alley Baby? Could she at LEAST tell me WHERE I was found??? There was a long pause, as I think she had never encountered THIS type of problem on the job. She asked me to sit down. That’s when she said (with a measure of complete dread in her voice), “You were found in the restroom of a filling station. The truck merely pulled away, and the police case was closed.”

I guess “filling station” sounds better than “gas station.” When I told my husband, he was appalled. “She didn’t tell you what BRAND??? Well, NOW what am I gonna call you?? Shell Baby? Exxon Baby? Mobil Baby?”

We haven’t done all the research as to what gas stations would have been around at the time in California. But we like to think it was one of those with the cute green dinosaurs.

You can call me “Sinclair Baby.” He does.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Getting Information - or "Non"-Information

Okay - enough of the hotties. Let's get back to the story.

I started poking around online, and found dozens of web sites dealing with adoptees in California. Who knew? But the first step was getting what is called "non-identifying" information, which according to Tina's page, is the only thing available. However, "in the case of adoptions occurring before 1984 - contact between an adoptee and birth parent may be arranged if the adoptee, birth parents and adoptive parents have filed waivers of confidentiality with the Department or agency." If I had been adopted after 1984, I wouldn't need anything from my adoptive parents. How ironically non-Orwellian.

So I send off and get the letter back. It's so weird - I remember opening it at my office, surrounded by coworkers who had been encouraging me all this time. Here is what it said, in part:

"You were abandoned on September 10, 1968 in Anaheim, California. You were dressed appropriately and wrapped in a pink receiving blanket. You were taken to the hospital and it was estimated that you were about five days old. You weighed five pounds, four and three-fourths ounces and were 18 1/2 inches long. You were described as an attractive baby with a nicely shaped head and small features. You had dark brown hair, blue eyes and fair skin. You seemed alert."

Nicely shaped head! Attractive! Wow! Now, maybe it's just me - but if this had said "weird-shaped head, wrinkly face - bald," I could have seen more reason for the abandonment. I sound like a baby-hottie!! But, I digress.

Reading this stuff about myself was kinda bizarre - like the blank pages of the first nine months of my life, starting to fill in. I have to skip some of the letter here, b/c that's going to have to be a whole different post. But here's more:

"The authorities had been trying to identify and locate your birth parents. Someone had seen a pick-up truck leaving the area where you were found with two people in it. The man who was driving had blonde hair. The local hospitals were checked to see if you possibly had been delivered locally. However, your birth parents could not be identified or located. Eventually, the Court determined that you could be adopted."

Okay...a blonde man? I finally worked up the courage to CALL the lady who sent the letter. I had to know more details. When I spoke to her (which will most likely bleed over into tomorrow's post), she was VERY hesitant to tell me any details over the phone. I had to reassure her that I was not a lunatic, but I had to know - was there any CERTAINTY that these people were the ones who left me? She told me that it was DEFINITELY those people, that in fact, the witness said it was DEFINITELY the blonde man who left me there - and that I was DEFINITELY meant to be found.

I harrassed this woman into telling me MORE! MORE! on the phone, including sending me more details, without sounding like a spastic mental patient. But you'll have to wait until tomorrow!

Friday, October 06, 2006

August in October

HAWT. This is the autographed birthday-present-for-the-birthday-that-has-a-date-I'm-not-sure-of mentioned here. I can't wait to watch some football this weekend. And here is August, just in time for Fall Cuddling Season.

I promise that I will release some more exciting details of the abandonment/adoption story that began here. Including the tale of my first baby steps in the search (contacting the adoption agency), the whirlwind of interest from the online adoption community that led me to abandon (ha! ha!) that avenue of the search, my husband's new nickname for me, and the story of my first Christmas - which actually explains why I can't walk down a steep slope without holding onto someone, sliding down on my butt, or just tumbling down willy-nilly.

Thanks to all of you for reading along and making such supportive comments. They are greatly appreciated. I'm always amazed at others' fascination with my story. I usually don't immediately share it with people (as referenced by Mugsy); he has known me since grade school, and yet "never knew." I've found this process to be cathartic and experienced some feelings in the past few weeks that I realize it is TIME to feel. So thank you for the encouragement! I will return soon. And hopefully, you'll get a laugh out it all, as repayment for the therapy you are providing.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Satiating Songbird

Okay, so now some funnier things about being adopted! See that beautiful Southern California woman in this photo? That's my mom. When she would proudly show me off to strangers, the normal comment was, "Oh! She must look a lot like her father!" My mother, getting her own private giggle out of it, would usually just reply, "Well, I suppose she does!" We made a strange-looking pair - the tall, blonde, blue-eyed goddess and the plump, knappy-headed street baby.

That curly hair? Well, it got MUCH curlier as I aged. I'll have to dig up some photos (now that I have a working scanner) of JUST how curly it got. I literally had an afro when I was about 18 months old. And my skin just got darker. To manage the hair, mom started parting it and braiding it - sometimes leaving it in braids when I went to bed. But my hair as a youth will have to wait for a different post, b/c that is an odd tale all by its lonesome. This photo to the right is one of my favorites of us - I had it blown up for her on Mother's Day one year. It shows the typical mother-daughter relationship. Me causing havoc, and Mom having to clean up after me.

Now for the story that Songbird mentioned. I live in a very rural part of Arkansas, in a town of 5,600 folks; the county population nears 20,000. At the time I got pregnant with the kiddo, I believe there may have been one black person in town. And I had heard stories of hangings in the late 1960's of the very few people of color that had dared make any attempt to reside here. At some point during my pregnancy, it just hit me. As Songbird so eloquently recalls, "It was just so hilarious because your panic happened so suddenly. It was like one day you woke up and this thought sprang into your mind. 'Holy Crap!!!! I could have a black child!!!!' Then, in typical Tiffany fashion, you couldn't shut up about it. You obsessed for the rest of your pregnancy about having a black child." Which is true. I was panicked. Terrified. I literally asked my husband how he would feel if, indeed, this child turned out to be noticeably black. Who knows what genetics could be lurking in my background? We were ready to move out of town, if need be. It became this worry, all through my pregnancy.

However, all my fears were laid to rest. Unfortunately, blogger is not cooperating with me on this last photo, but as you can see here, I didn't have a black baby. I was not run out of town, nor hung from the gallows.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Quick Update for the Bloodthirsty

You guys crack me UP!!! Frothing at the mouth, waiting for more details...

There are some good ones ahead, so be patient with me. You must know two very important things before I proceed much further:

1) My parents (adoptive, but parents nonetheless) know NOTHING of this blog.
2) My parents would be absolutely HORRIFIED if they knew I had done any research AT ALL concerning my birthmother.

I seriously can't tell you why. What I can tell you is that all my life, my mother has insisted that my birthmother must be akin to the devil for leaving me. I have heard all sorts of negativity about this woman, including that she must have been a drug-addicted, slovenly, disgusting vile creature. I agree, it seems an abhorrent thing to do to a tiny baby. But...this concept of her being some horrific beast is hard for me to fully accept. I am so amazingly different than my parents, and my traits must stem partially from my biology. I have always given my birthmother the benefit of the doubt and can imagine a variety of scenarios that could have led to my abandonment.

I will tell more very soon. However, know one more sad thing. The state of California is what they call an "open records" state. What this means is that if my birthmother came into the adoption agency and volunteered her information, I would have the right to obtain such information. EXCEPT FOR ONE KEY CONDITION: My adoptive parents would have to give consent. I fully explored this when I applied to receive my "non-identifying" information (the minimum you can receive after the age of 21 without such consent). EVEN IF MY ADOPTIVE PARENTS BOTH BECOME DECEASED - I still can't get the information. Isn't that just f*&#ing crazy?

Yes, I thought of approaching them and asking for this consent. After working up the courage and having my first tentative conversation with them, I was met with extreme hurt and rage as to why I would even consider embarking on this adventure. (This happened when I was 26 years old.) So, being a good daughter (and knowing that it probably wouldn't be a fruitful endeavor), I elected not to pursue this avenue.

I am me. That will never change. And knowing that I have one little relative in this world, into whose little face I can see some semblance of my own, has been worth more to me than any knowledge I gained or will gain in the future.

Monday, October 02, 2006

MORE...but not the REST of the story...

You know, when you live with something all your life, it becomes ordinary. Forgetting the potential shock value, the subject of my last post was supposed to be a mere commentary on how weird it is for me to do those 'birthday' things. I even read my horoscope with a jaded eye.

There's a lot more to the abandonment/adoption story - mostly concerning the 9 months between the time I was found and the day I went home with my adoptive parents. But you'll have to wait for that. I think I've already freaked some of you out - and not intentionally! So I'll give you another part of the story that is more light-hearted than those tragic first nine months of my life.

We're flashing WAY forward, to around 1999. I saw one of those "Unsolved Mysteries" programs - which I NEVER watch. They had found the body of a young girl at some point in the mid-1970's and couldn't determine her identity. A sheriff in this particular area of Florida decided to reopen the case, as it had haunted him since her discovery. He commissioned an age-regression study - figuring she might be some type of runaway. He was in hopes that a formar teacher, classmate, minister, etc., might recognize her. As the regression was displayed on the television, I started feeling panicky, pacing the room. As the girl was portrayed as a younger and younger person, she became the spitting image of myself as a teen, then a pre-adolescent, then as a child. Buck-teeth and all. At the end of the segment, the host (Robert Stack, pictured here) looked directly into the television with one final clue: "The woman apparently had given birth to a child in the last few years." My jaw dropped.

I consulted with my husband; I had never been on a mad search for my birth mother - but this was too big to ignore. Even though I had been found in California, it didn't mean that my birth mother stayed in the state. I wrote down all the details I could remember, and then called the sheriff's department that had been featured on the show. They were clueless. I spoke with several people at the department, and since I couldn't remember the officer's name - no luck. All I wanted to know is if they could perform some sort of DNA analysis to compare mine with hers...and you can imagine how far that got me. When I finally found someone who could recall something about the case, they commented that the officer I needed to speak with had retired. On to contacting "Unsolved Mysteries." After several unsuccessful attempts to phone the show, I finally emailed them through their contact screen on the web site. What did I get for my efforts? A nice letter, acknowledging my contact, and a promise to let me know if anything further developed in the case.

As silly as it may sound, I still think that woman could have been my mother. Her image is still in my mind. It was that year that I decided to take more practical steps in order to discover the true story of my abandonment.