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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lost Children

So, in case you missed my adoption rant a couple of entries back, I am adopted.  I know, I know… I don’t look adopted.  I seem so normal.  Yeah, I once actually had someone tell me that they were surprised by the fact that I was adopted because I seemed so normal… Oye.

Anyway, I have always known that I was adopted.  It was never a big secret.  It was a closed adoption, which I tend to think are better because there is less confusion for the child.  But, I digress… anyway, I never knew much about my biological family, as the family I grew up with was pretty much all I needed.  But there was always this nagging feeling that I was missing something.  Some important piece of the puzzle. 

When I was younger, I thought that piece would be found with my biological mother.  But the more I thought about it, I realized that I was more interested in meeting my foster family than my biological mother because they were the ones who could tell me all about what I was like as a baby.  She was M.I.A.  But still… it would be nice to know.  I was that kid in school who dreaded the “on the day you were born” assignments, because everyone else got to talk about the weather, where their parents were, how their mom’s water broke, etc.  It made me really uncomfortable because I didn’t know any of that. 

So, a few years ago I sent away for me pre-adoption records, and got a copy of my birth certificate.  I finally knew my biological mother’s name, as well as mine.  Oh, and mine?  Yikes.  I was going to go to the town records in Keene when I was in college there and try to track her down, but ultimately decided I didn’t need to know. 

On Friday, I went out, did some errands, stopped at the post office, and got a letter from the NH Department of Health and Human Services.  “What the??” I muttered to myself as I opened the letter.  As I read it, my eyes widened.  My jaw dropped.  My heart pounded.  Apparently, a 28-year old woman named Crystal was looking for family, and the social worker thought that she was my birth sister.  Well, knock me over with a feather!

I went home, called the social worker, and left her a message.  I didn’t hear back until yesterday, leaving my mind to wander and a million questions surface.  I knew I’d had older siblings, but had no idea there was anyone after me!  Well, when the social worker called and started talking about a whole group of the younger ones, and that there were about 4 of us or something, and my head started spinning.  I have her my email address so Crystal could get in touch. 

When I got off the phone, I just started pacing around the house in a daze, my hands flapping up and down, trying to process what I just learned.  I finally just sat down and started crying.  There were so many emotions going through me that I didn’t know what I thought, or felt.  Part of me was so excited, part of me was completely bewildered, and part of me felt a little terrified.  So, to distract myself, I went back to work on the dresser I was putting together, and consulted with the repairman who came to look at our fridge, and then I checked my email.  Crystal had emailed me.

Turns out, I have eight brothers and sisters.  Eight.  There are nine of us.  Oh.My.God.  I needed to get out of the house.  So, I grabbed my tunes and walked down to the Post Office to check my mail.  On the way, I ran into Mom and Dad who were returning from their vacation.  Mom immediately saw that something was wrong.  I told them we’d talk when I got back from the Post Office. 

When I got home, I pulled out the letter from the social worker and explained the situation.  Mom reminded me that while these people are connected to me biologically, Becky is my #1 sister, which: yes, Mom.  I know that.  I am a Brayman, my family is my family, and I’m also 34 years old.  Not like I’m gonna run away with my “new family”.  They seemed ok with this, although they need time to process it.  I want to be able to share this experience with them.  Dad offered to help me process all of this new information, but I think I need to do it myself.

And now all of the siblings are coming out of the woodwork to talk to me.  It is exciting, yes but incredibly overwhelming and confusing.  I am curious about them, and their lives, but to instantly be all “hey, it’s your sister!” feels off to me.  Yes, we are all connected, and I have a feeling I will be able to bond with them, but my sister lives in Enfield with her fiancĂ©e and daughter.  I know I’ve always said family doesn’t always equal blood.  But now my family does.  I want to know these people, to understand more about where I came from, to fill in all the missing pieces about my biological family.  But I need time.  I can’t just jump into it.  And so far, the siblings I’ve talked to have been very understanding about that.

I am sure I will be writing about this a lot over the next few weeks/months.  I now understand why I didn’t get a job that would take me far away yet – and even though I will still put myself out there for RD positions, I have a feeling nothing’s going to happen just yet – I need to stay local for a little while so I can get to know this new extended family in my life.  All I can say is, I am so glad this didn’t happen when I was still in college – senior year was stressful enough!

So, nine children were once lost to each other.  Now we have found each other.  Stay tuned for the rest of the story!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Potential Light?

So, lately it seems like I’ve just been floating, with no real direction or purpose.  I’m now a supervisor at the movie theatre, which is both exciting and terrifying.  I don’t want to stay there forever, and while I know that isn’t going to be the case, it feels like it could happen.

I checked my email yesterday, and got my daily job search agent email from  Included in the list of openings was a position I had previously submitted my resume for.

See, in March I came across this posting for Wagner College in Staten Island, NY.  I fell in love with their ResLife program, and applied.  About a month later, I got an email from them telling me they had anticipated openings, but nothing for sure, and would I be interested in applying for an assistant RD position?  Unfortunately, I would have to be a current grad school student there to qualify, and they don’t offer the program I was looking for.  So, I politely declined, and was put back in the RD pool.  In May, I contacted them again to inquire about the status of my application.  They didn’t have any openings at that time, either, but told me to check back in June.  Since I didn’t see the listing on pop up in June, I assumed they did not have any openings, and figured I’d apply next year if something comes up.  Well, now something has come up, so I emailed the woman I’d been corresponding with.  She told me to resend my resume so they could add me to the pool, and to do so quickly because they are conducting phone interviews this week.  An hour later, my re-tweaked resume and copy of my original cover letter were on their way to her.  Now, I wait and keep my fingers crossed.

Wagner was the school I really, really wanted to work for.  Their ResLife program is incredible, the campus is lovely (from what I’ve seen on the website and heard from people who have been there), and the proximity to NYC can’t be beat.  I am excited and terrified about the prospect of an interview.  This is an incredible opportunity, so I don’t want to completely blow it in the interview.  So, please send some positive energy this way – I would give anything to be headed to NY in the next few weeks! 

Friday, July 6, 2012


Yesterday, the incoming class of 2016 at Keene State College found out where they will be living this year.  I randomly started crying over this fact, because I miss it.  I miss the anticipation of finding out who my residents are, I miss being able to giggle with my fellow RAs at how adorably clueless the Freshmen are, I miss ResLife.  I applied for another job, and really hope something comes through for me.  If not, I am looking for grad school again.  Because this is my path.  I miss being in a college setting, being a mentor and role model for college students.  I miss being a part of something big and special. 

The movie theatre is fun and all, but it lacks the meaning a career in student affairs can give me.  I got all excited at the prospect of organizing a staff bonding activity (like Cosmic Bowling or something), and joked around that I really need to find a ResLife job, but I was only half joking.  I know I’ve been questioning my future and my path, but it was right here all along.  I know the path, I just need to know how to get there, I guess. 

So, I will pick back up on my grad school searching, and really take advantage of my resources.  It is overwhelming, but at least I will be able to focus on the grad school applications without any distractions this time. 


ACUHO-I STARS College Class of 2011.  These are my people, and I can't wait to join them in the field!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Adopted Point of View

Confession: I will roll my eyes, and say “it’s none of our business” over celebrity gossip, but secretly I love to read about it on the internet.  Maybe it’s because my own life is so blessedly drama-free, I feel the need to enjoy some drama from afar.  Or because I’m bored with my life.  Either way, I will click on link after link and read all about the lives of people I do not know personally, nor will I ever.  I always feel a little guilty speculating on their lives, as it is a little judgmental of me, but hey – they chose a life in the public eye.

So, this morning, I click on a link about the ongoing Katie Holmes/Tom Cruise divorce saga.  It’s about how Katie Holmes is basically going to single-handedly bring Scientology down.  Which I doubt will happen, but if it does: you go, girl.  They are nuts.

However, what really stuck with me in this article (which can be found here, by the way), was that every time they referred to Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s children, they always made a point to say “adopted children”.  It isn’t exactly news that one factor of the demise of their relationship was the fact that they were unable to conceive, and went the adoption route, for which I applaud them.  So, why, after all these years, does the press feel the need to bring it up in every single sentence written about them?  Why not just call them their children?

I was adopted, and my parents never referred to me and my sister (who was also adopted) as their “adopted children”.  We never called them “adopted parents”.  We are their children, and they are our parents.  Plain and simple.  I mean, if a couple opts for artificial reproductive technology methods, you don’t refer to their children as their “in-vitro children” or their “surrogate-born children”.  Why is being adopted any different?

Family is family, regardless of how that family comes together.  You don’t need to be blood-bound - you don’t even have to be legally bound.  I met my best friend Shey on a vacation at Disney World.  She came to visit one year for a week in the summer, and by the end of the trip, she was family, plain and simple.  My extended family includes the people at my church.  I am an Auntie to my friend Val’s children, and Shey is an Auntie to my niece.  Family is what you decide it to be, not society’s norms.

If a couple uses someone else’s sperm to help create their baby, is it still theirs?  It only shares DNA with one parent.  Why aren’t those kids singled out and have a stigma slapped on them?  Biology.

As long as a couple is doing something biological in nature to obtain their children, it is still considered theirs.  But to just take someone out of foster care and sign some papers and take them legally into their family means that, for some reason, they don’t really belong to you.  Which is total bullshit.  I have had people look at me with disbelief upon hearing that I was adopted – I am a lot like my parents, especially my dad.  We sing together – people from church who didn’t know that I was adopted assumed it was a family trait that was passed down.  Nope.  Just the right people being brought together to make a family. 

So, next time you start to refer to someone as an “adopted child” (mostly looking at you, media journalists everywhere!) remember that you are doing a great disservice by perpetuating the stigma that if a child is adopted, they are not really part of their family.  Oh, and fuck you.

Also?  I really hope Katie Holmes manages to help bring this fake “religion” down.  Religions, at their core, are not about control, exclusion and money.  Those are cults.  Yes, there is a difference.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


I know I've been dormant lately - been super busy/had writer's block like woah.  But I wanted to wish y'all a happy Fourth of July.  Here is a silly little song by a silly little Canadian (well, it was Canada Day a few days ago, so there) which is about a love for a truck called "America".   Nice little metaphor there, Rick...

And to be a little more historical, here is an ode to my favourite founding father, George Washington...