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swimming to shore

 {detail from "A Sea of Words", in progress}

Life is a savory and fiery mix right now, and the relentless clouds and rain I think are going to be my undoing.  How do people live in Oregon?  This is not good for my restless soul.  I'm craving warmth (even had to turn the heat on it's so cold and raw out), creative sustenance and tangible experiences to offset all the headiness that's set in with the current weather pattern.  Getting ready for three upcoming shows, crushing on Paula Esty's work, making playdough mini waffles, and trips to the library are keeping me sane right now.

As aforementioned, I have been spending a lot of time holding feelings I haven't touched in a long time.  It makes me feel both new and ancient simultaneously, somehow part of a huge history I'm coming to learn that spans so many lives, events and even policies over time.  Yesterday, the rain and slow start to the week inspired me to go wandering through the blogosphere for others on this path too, clicking link after link and reading words that resonate so deeply, at times I felt like I could have written them myself.  I'm grateful for those who have shared their own adoption stories and searches.  There are so many.

Just to get a glimpse of what I'm looking at through the lens of my singular experience, here are some basic facts.  Harry and Bertha Holt, founders of Holt International, began their mission finding homes for orphans of the Korean war in 1955 changing laws in the process and revolutionizing international adoption by breaking barriers of race and culture.  There is estimated to be more than 100,000 Korean adoptions that have occurred in the US since then, and the first study and gathering of adult Korean adoptees (primarily female) occurred in NYC in 1999.  I had no idea.  So many families lost and found. 

It was around that time, ironically, that I read the Journey of the Adopted Self which I remember tentatively plucking from the shelf at a local Barnes & Noble.  The book led me to a well known counseling center for families of the adoption triad, in Cambridge, MA, yet another serendipitous occurrence along my way.  It was my first steps into exploring this part myself, and my visits there were incredibly eye opening and healing thanks to my supremely kind and insightful therapist there. It was the beginning.

Along with the old journals that have come out of my dresser drawer (surely a bad metaphor for keeping my most tender parts hidden), my space is now cluttered with books, notes, a long list of adoption blogs to read, photos of Korea, as I begin to wade my way into this search.  Everything is moving through me and out into the light.  It feels like labor, painful in some moments, a quiet calm of relief in others.  I am birthing something it truly seems, myself maybe.

I keep thinking that I need to move everything into the studio (which I am still in the process of flushing out) and start piecing things together in more solid form.  Big canvases I'm thinking, a vision board or timeline for all the stories pushing to the surface, so many little memories stuffed down that I need to dust off and pin to the wall and look at.  I'm looking forward to creating and inhabiting a physical space for this work.  For now I'm in the in-between, a common thread of emotion in so many adoptee's lives so it seems, vaguely wondering if I'll ever reach the other shore.


  1. love to you
    as you search
    + read +
    birth you.

  2. Your post made me think of this Christopher Columbus quote...“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Baby steps, small doses, little bites, be gentle with can do it and you're not alone! xx Two

    1. thanks so much for the encouragement and the solidarity! it helps so much to know there are others out there...xo


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