“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.
Thanks to those who took the time to chose the names and give me their opinions on the names of the characters. A special thank you to Valerie who has edited and supported me this past six months with her enthusiasm and encouragement.
Joan B, Mary P, Andrew M
Karen M, Deb B, Kathy D
Jen C, Sue B, Lynn J
There is a large cast of characters but three will be named by me. You, the readers will help pick the names of the others. If you chose the most popular one your name will be put in a drawing for a signed copy of the book when it comes out next year.
Three characters are already named – Tom, Anna and Mary Lou.
Tom – a short good looking man, who had an eye for the ladies. He was in his 30th year in 1941 when he married his 1st wife Anna, who was eight years younger.
Anna – the beautiful country girl who carved out a career for herself in the city, teaching injured veterans – typing and general book keeping- to help them re-enter the work force.
Mary Lou aka ML– the author and Tom’s daughter from his 1st marriage to Anna. The daughter who was always looking for her knight in shining armor to sweep in to save her.
Sign up to be notified by email when it’s time to name the next three characters.
Did it hit a cord?
Or did you wonder what all the fuss was about?
I laughed and cried my way through the whole thing. I saw myself, my sister, brother….. it made me feel good. I’m not so unusual after all.
My daughter-in-law has helped me with my writing by proofing and giving suggestions. She now knows the players well . Every time something happened that she recognized as similar to my experience, she would nudge me enthusiastically and say things like, “Mom, that’s his second wife!” Being there with my son, his wife and my husband and having them all understand how I felt was cathartic. For many years only my husband understood how I felt about my family history.
If this movie hit a cord with you let us know your thoughts.
My goal is to draw attention to our rights as individuals. I lean toward the child having the rights to their history- regardless of age. But of course that is because I am one of those children. I want to hear what you feel and how would you justify the opposing view of always keeping the information a secret.
Question: Who has the right to the biological and genealogical history of an individual – child or parent?