What is the song you will leave behind?

“What is the song you will leave behind? A song that others will sing long after you are gone?” This was the challenging question put out by Dan Blank on the Writer Unboxed Blog recently.

To me this means will you leave something of value that will live on after you, something that will have a life of it’s own.

My song began when at ten years old I was told, “That man is not your Daddy”. I didn’t begin to write about it until I was sixty-two. I hope the song I’m singing inspires compassion and urges others to action. We all deserve the same rights in this world regardless of race, color, gender or parentage. I hope that as a result of my words others will also take a stand so that more and more of us will be allowed to exercise all of our rights with out having to fight for them. I’m committed to those who are searching for their birth rights, they are among the disenfranchised. Refused access to their original birth certificates (OBC) most don’t know where they came from, don’t know who their parents are or their grandparents, their sisters, brothers – basically their extended family – their genealogy. And that is not all – often with out their OBC they cannot get a drivers license, cannot vote, cannot get a passport, cannot exercise their rights as citizens of this wonderful country. Today in the United States of America, the land of the free, there are only six states that allow adopted adults to access their original birth certificates. Adoption is higher now than ever and we are perpetuating this problem.

I was one of the lucky ones. I was able to get my original birth certificate when I was 21 years old. What I experienced, starting when I was ten and culminating when my first grandchild was born, was life altering each step of the way. I relive my life each time I edit my work and I have learned as much about myself as I did about my extended family. Eventually I began to forgive each of those who had rejected me, all those involved in the process of keeping secrets from me as a child. But that is not enough, unless others understand the feelings of loss, the hurt involved in this process. I’ll keep singing my song in hope that I will be heard by enough people to make a difference.

1 thought on “What is the song you will leave behind?

  1. Karen

    I hope Mary Lou that your song will reach out to many. For people who have not been personally touched by these issues, understanding is difficult. Perhaps expecting this understanding is a little unrealistic but there can’t be many families who don’t know someone going through these issues. My wish is that at least the ‘powers that be’ acknowledge that all children have the right to know their parentage and that public attitudes start to support this more. Even in the UK today there are many orphans, children from broken marriages with missing fathers and children born as a result of affairs. It is so important for these children to have an understanding of their birth parents and not to grow up being fed lies to so called ‘protect them’ or left with just no information. It is a basic human need to want to know, whatever the outcome. Sing loud and clear!


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