Handbags, Books...Whatever

Handbags, Books...Whatever (http://www.vickibatman.blogspot.com) is the website of Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction. Handbag lover. Avid Jazzerciser. Mah jong player. Yoga practioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Choc-aholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Sisters Born, Sisters Found-chat with contributor Paige Strickland on #adoption #anthology #MFRWorg #RLFblog

Today, I am featuring something quite different than my usual #handbag Monday. Last year, I  submitted my essay, "Sister Act," to the Sisters Born, Sisters Found anthology. I wanted to share more about the anthology by introducing you to Paige Strickland, contributor of "We Have Today." 

And all commentors shall be entered into a drawing for a copy of the book.

Sisters Born, Sisters Found embraces the notion that some women you meet are connected to you even though they don’t share your DNA. A group of 75 writers representing every continent except Antarctica contributed to the anthology.

Hi, Paige, and welcome to Handbags, Books...Whatever. Let's chat about you and your essay in the anthology:

What gave you the itch to look for your birth mother?  (Do you have 5 hours to hear the whole story?  Ha!)  Here is the very quick version:  I went through YEARS of denial.  I hated being “the adopted girl”.  I tried like mad to forget it.  Of course, I was always honest with my husband, and usually he honored my wishes and just forgot about adoption most of the time like me.  Then one day, we saw a preview/ad for a local TV talk show. The hosts were doing a story about adoption and people who were searching for missing family members in Cincinnati.  We decided to record it while we were at work.  I came home and watched it. For years, I was told that my adoption records were sealed and that it was impossible to find out who my birth family members were.  My adoptive parents believed this to be true.  I never knew differently, but according to this show, I learned that I could legally access my original birth certificate in the state of Ohio since I was born and adopted before 1964.  I figured, “This is my right!” I decided that summer when school let out--I’m a teacher-- that I would research as much as I could. Lucky for me, since we were all from the same town and lived within 20 minutes from one another, without even knowing it, it was easy for me to locate my birth family.

How did your adopted family feel when you decided to pursue this journey? My adoptive dad felt very insecure.  He blamed my parents’ divorce on my “need” to do this search. I tried to convince him, “No, It’s because of a TV show and learning of my legal rights.”  He had a hard time accepting this.  My adoptive mom, on the other hand, was very accepting.  Her response was, “I was wondering what took you so long.”  The only thing that took me so long was being unaware of the law / my legal rights in the state of Ohio.

I always wanted a brother, and you always wanted a sister--are we crazy?  Haha!  I wanted the Brady Bunch for a family!  I wanted kids all over the place!  My childhood was too quiet and controlled!  My own children now currently have about 30 cousins. Guess I solved that problem!

Why did you submit your story to the Sisters Born, Sisters Found anthology?  I found out about this anthology project because of a post on Linkedin last winter.  I composed my piece in one day.  I have five sisters, which I found after doing my adoption search.  They are all very different but equally wonderful people.  I am so thankful for their presence in my life. Four of them attended my daughter’s wedding in 2012, and I had the photographer take a picture of the five of us together. I felt very motivated to write about this because I think the world of them.  Of course, I am also always looking for ways to promote my adoption memoir book, and this writing event helped with that, but honestly, even if I hadn’t ever written a book about growing up adopted, I would have wanted to find a way to celebrate the fact that I now have sisters.  Two live locally and two live on the west coast.

Have you always been a writer? In many ways, yes.  I was that “weird” kid in school who loved essays and other writing assignments.  (I HATE taking A-B-C-D tests!)  I just want to write and explain my thinking.  In 4th grade, my Language Arts teacher was very encouraging and motivating for me.  She seemed to love the stories I turned in.  That kept me wanting to write more. The more books I read, the more I wanted to write myself.

What lies in your future? I am working on a follow up memoir/sequel to my adoption memoir, Akin to the Truth: A Memoir of Adoption and Identity.  (no title yet) The second book focuses more on adult life as an adoptee instead of all the growth and development and coming of age adoption issues I faced.  It also will feature more about how my search and reunion has played out in the past 25+ years.  I am also working on a memoir about my life as a teacher and aide to special needs students over 30+ years in the profession.

Here's a bit from We Have Today: "Paige, this is Tammy." I'd waited twenty-six years to hear those words. After searching for ten months, I finallty found my birth mother's oldest daughter, and now I had something I'd wished for all my life: Sisters! I found an older sister and a younger sister. My older sister was Tammy, and we connected first.

I grew up as an adoptee in a small family. I had one brother who was six years younger, and no cousins my age. It seemed every girlfriend I had had a sister or two, and I always admired how my friends and their sisters looked so much alike, traded clothes, and shared girl-talk. My brother was a great guy, but our relationship could never be like that.

Find Sisters Born, Sisters Found at: Amazon

Thank you, Paige, for sharing your sister story with me today!


Cathy McElhaney said...

Sounds very interesting! I am not adopted, but my cousin's husband is and his tale is AMAZING on how he reconnected with his birth family! He was adopted in England in 1959 by an American in the Navy, but his birth parents were from Italy. All he knew about them is they were very young and unmarried. He lived a privileged life and only had a passing interest in finding his birth family. Then a "God thing" happened and to make a long story short, he connected with his parents and sisters in Italy! His birth parents went on to marry (and stayed married!), but were told that their baby had died a birth...so they were VERY surprised to be contacted!

vicki batman said...

Hi Cathy! That is a very interesting story. And so sad the parents were lied to. Reminded me of the movie I reviewed and watched recently, Philomena.

Thanks for posting on this icy day.

Eve Mardis said...

I have one cousin that I'm close to that was adopted (I used to babysit her) ... I often forget that she isn't "blood", she is and always will be mine in my heart.

I grew up with siblings (2 bros and a sister) ... but my sister was 11 years older than I and so we didn't have that "sisters" relationship. So I've gathered my own "sisters" through the years. I have only 1 brother left and I treasure him so very much.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Eve! I grew up with 3 sisters and many friends have said they wish they had sisters. I offer to give one of mine away. LOL. These friends have become sisters of my heart and hope they always will be. Thank you for visiting.

Sylvia said...

I guess I'm the bad egg here. I have an adopted sister and let's just say that the adoption has not been good for my family. It's made me a firm believer that DNA plays a huge role in who we are as people. That even with good parents, we can sometimes be predestined to have issues. Just like children who are not adopted can have issues even with the best parenting.

I wanted a sister. I wish I had more brothers and sisters. I love to hear tales of adoptions that went well and of adoptees that found their birth parents, who now have two families.

We were told by a judge that my sisters file is sealed. We also believe in the semi-small town where she was born, that the judge possibly knew her mother and father. After he saw my sisters rap sheet, is protecting her birth family. I also think she was probably a drug or alcohol baby.

I'm so glad that you have both a good adoptive family and birth family. And finding your sisters is such a wonderful experience. Enjoy and love them. You're blessed and you're story is amazing.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Sylvia! I'm sure there are just as many good for bad stories there and yours is certainly sad and been hard on your family. I guess there are no guarantees as even non-adoptive families have problems.

I'm happy to know that now, your parents are safe. And you are my writing sister!

florence cronin said...

Page, I love this story. I am not adopted ... although my evil middle brother tried to convince me that I was.

I have always wanted sisters. Had two older brothers who were not young enough in age to be true siblings. So I often felt like an only child. The only girl, the baby of the family.

No sisters to confide in, no one to share clothes or confidences. I was so jealous of schoolmates who had sisters. My older brother's wife became the closest I would come to until I was retirement age.

Then I met a woman who became my non-DNA sister. After all these years, I finally have someone who can relate, who shares and who has pulled me into her large, loud family.

You are truly blessed to find your birth family. As a friend (who was adopted) told me. "I have two mothers and two fathers and lots of siblings I never knew I had."

Good for you that you have found your other family :)

vicki batman said...

Hi, Florence! I always wanted brothers. And look what happened--I got sons. No daughters until my eldest married. I truly believe long-time friends can and do know one like a true sister. Hugs.

Angela Adams said...

Interesting post, thanks for sharing...

vicki batman said...

Hi, Angela! I love how this book has introduced me to new authors. Thanks for visiting with me today.

P. Strickland said...

Vicki, Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog! Philomena was a sad but beautiful movie...very authentic to the times. Sometimes adoptions work out, sometimes not, just like in non-adopted families there can be one child who is just "different". Knowing why and from where it comes is helpful. @ Florence, Yes, It is quite a fine blessing! Paige

Melissa Keir said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I also feel that sometimes we find sisters of our hearts, not necessarily our DNA. I have four sisters who would like nothing to do with me. They don't understand me and while they are all very close with each other, I'm often the odd man out.

I've found other sisters in my life. They are supportive of me and are wonderful. I couldn't do what I do without them! Women supporting women, sisters helping each other... all are vital to success!

vicki batman said...

Hi, Melissa! My whole younger life I felt the odd man out. Growing up was hard. But I had my other best friends, good books, to help me through. Thank you for coming by today. Hugs.

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