Friday, February 26, 2016

Tommy and Clyde and Lola and Mary Ann: Reflections on Adoption by Peter Reum

Last evening, I was surfing on the internet. On a whim, I resumed my search for my birth parents, folks by the names of Thomas and Mary Ann S. You see, I was adopted by my adoptive parents at the age of one day old by Clyde and Lola Reum. I have known my birth parents' names since the age of 18.

The incredible blessing of adoption is the defining event of my life. The generosity shown me is almost beyond understanding. The path I would have walked if I hadn't been adopted would have been being placed in foster care, as my birth parents were in the midst on an acrimonious divorce. My second cousin, Marian Daley, who worked in a hospital as a nurse, and became friends with my birth mother, also a nurse, enabled Marian to help get me adopted.

Due to circumstances that could not be changed, life did not offer an easy method for my birth mother to raise me as a single parent. She had reenlisted in the U.S. Air Force, and was to be deployed to West Germany as soon as I was born. She had discussed driving to Mexico for an abortion, but was persuaded by my second cousin that a couple she was related to through my adoptive father's family would be very happy to adopt me.

I came into this world by Caesarean Section in the 32nd week of the pregnancy, due to my birth mother's strong desire to put her marriage and her life in New Mexico behind her. Given her age, which was 38, and my birth father's age of 47, it was probably inevitable that I would be adopted or placed into foster care.

At the age of 4, my sister Susan was adopted. Her blood line was 100% Indigenous. Our lives were close when growing up. When my sister came into our family, my parents told me they had adopted me. This was more understandable as my sister went through the process and entered our family permanently.
I became the first member of our family to hold my little sister, a memory I love and treasure.

As we grew up in New Mexico in a small town that was 90% Hispanic and Indigenous, we "hueros," a term used for non Indigenous and Hispanic people, were generally welcomed and well treated by our Red and Brown classmates. My dad's insistence on my learning to read and write Spanish helped ease the burden of being the minority in our little valley. I was used to being different, and often hiding my true feelings. In being Caucasian in an area where the term "white privilege" did not apply, I became somewhat aware of what being a minority meant.

Adoption was a riddle wrapped in ambiguity and surrounded by mystery. As I grew up, the questions I had about my birth family multiplied exponentially. As is the case with most people who are adopted, there is that latent yet aching ambiguity I felt that slowly grew like an itch that turns into a huge rash the older I became. Rather than cause pain for my adoptive parents, I held my tongue.
At 18, my parents told me what they knew about my birth parents, and gave me a folder that had everything that they knew.

Because of their efforts to answer the questions honestly as I asked them, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't start a thorough effort to find out what I could about my birth parents until my adoptive parents died. My adoptive parents died in 1985 and 2006. By 2006, the trail leading to my birth parents had gone cold. I knew their full names and that they were divorced around the time I was born from interviewing my second cousin who arranged my adoption, and who was present as a surgical nurse when the Caesarean Section was performed.

When the opportunity presented itself, I tried to find out something about my birth parents. They were my never ending mystery. In the late Nineties, with the support of my late second wife, we tried a few Mormon genealogy center
They did not have any answers for me.

My wife died in 2000. I was a bachelor for 7 years until I met the love of my life and remarried in 2008. The hustle and bustle of having 5 daughters and a son again pushed my search onto the back burner. After all the kids except my youngest daughter and only son left and I retired, the effort to learn more about my birth family could be resumed.

I did a DNA test, and found out that at least 2 second cousins from my birth family also had taken the DNA test. One of them, a kind and friendly teacher in California told me a little about an uncle of hers, named Thomas and pointed the direction to go to answer my questions. Using these methods, I found the grave of my birth father, and, to my surprise, the grave of my birth mother as well. I am investigating details of their lives.

In my dreams, I envisioned myself and both sets of parents sitting over a meal and filling in the questions I had, and that they had. My fond wish, perhaps somewhat egotistical, was that my birth parents, as time marched on perhaps felt that itch and sadness I had felt in never knowing them. As open adoptions have become more popular, my hopes for the next generation of children who were adopted was that they will not have the nagging feelings of rejection and sadness that I have felt. Perhaps they will have more of a feeling of having roots that I did not have. For my adoptive parents, the unconditional love and support they gave me is something for which I am eternally grateful.

To my fathers, Clyde and Thomas, and my mothers, Lola and Mary Ann, I love all of you, and all of you are alive in me...Thank you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Dialogue With a Mother Wolf 🐺 by Peter Reum

The big bad wolf 🐺 shows herself
Late at night in the meadow of dreams
From somewhere in my unconscious mind
The she wolf bares her fangs and I shiver

"Why is she following me?" I whisper to myself
"I have never hunted you for sport or pleasure!"
"I know this, human" she answers impatiently
In a mournful tone that only wolves can create
"How am I hearing you this way?" I ask her

Do you love your children?" she snarls
I answer fearfully with suspicion "Yes I do"
"The Creator made us both, are we not related???" she asks me
"I don't know" I say guiltily
Shaken, not knowing what to say

"You humans once knew,
But you are now unaware" she replies
"You have forgotten who cries with you!"
"We were family once long ago,
living together!" she states
"Family???" I say querulously with fear
"Those old stories are fairy tales for children,
They have no connection to reality" I respond

The she wolf 🐺 howls a response so mournful
That I shiver once again, tingling in my spine
"I came to you in hope, knowing you might not understand!!" she howls in deep grief
"Human, you hunt us and murder our families!
We too were made by the Creator" she growls

"Our children are orphaned, lands we shared with you are yours alone...stolen without forethought, kept without regret!"
"Everywhere we once hunted has been ransacked and ruined!!" she cried
"We never took more than we needed to see
Our children grow up" she continued

"When human hunters stole our territory,
We hunted what we could kill in shrinking ranges and killed your cattle because our
children were dying and our elders starved," The she wolf despaired....
I listened without judgement as the she wolf
spoke her wounded heart, broken irreparably

Stunned, I whimpered "I am only one man...
You expect too much from me"
Beleaguered, she stated " In our past together
You were but few humans
before you spread like ants"  

"Please! Before our home is spoiled for all
Return to the Old Ways that we all may survive
Together as the Creator intended" she implored

We parted, both with heavy hearts,
Hoping Humankind and the Planet
We call home can live together peacefully
Knowing anything else means mass extinction
A once beautiful world now bare of life.....
Waiting for navigators asking
"How did this beautiful world die?"

Monday, February 15, 2016

Unsatiated by Peter Reum

Entropy is contagious
Our bohdisattva is missing
No one answers our calls
Stoned prophets seek comfort
Doing it alone

Wisdom teeth are pulled from asses
Whose boilerplates are a pox
Secular mumblers blown
Worshipping at a paper throne
Their selves daily moan

Our best and brightest
Lured like patsies into searching
Theirs is a fate chasing
The lure of hungry ghosts unknown

Who can comfort a soul distorted
Hungrily fleeing from the elements
That assist the generously inclined
Like a coyote under the moon
Stuck in fear howling at adversaries
Whose addiction is grander...
Their riches lost to fate like O'Keeffe's
Skull and bone

Copyright 2016 by Peter Reum-all rights reserved