Both Sides Now- Joni Mitchell is a birthmother

Sometimes my emotions run so deep that words, written, or said verbally, cannot even begin to touch the depth. And in those moments I turn to music, and have been known to listen to the same song (or set of songs) again-and again-and again, until something changes or I cannot cry anymore.

I can’t write more about it. My heart is hurting too much, so I’m sharing my go-to song to express the depth of emotions that I am feeling at the news of a sweet 4 year old being ripped from her tribe, her daddy, her sister and extended family, and thrust into the confusing world of being raised by genetic strangers with a reality that doesn’t match the reality that you know in your heart.

This is a song I grew up with. My dad sang it to me as a little girl, because I loved the imagery of bows and flows of angels hair. I listened to it a thousand times before I knew that Joni Mitchell was a birthmother in reunion with her daughter. And while we may dicker about whether it was really written with adoption or reunion in mind, I’ll say that it cuts to my very soul and makes me feel the complexity of life and confusion seeing the world from the perspective of innocence, and the eyes of the ‘old soul’ who has witnessed far too much in such a short amount of time.

And so, this song is for Veronica.

Both Sides Now
-Joni Mitchell
Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that wayBut now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my wayI’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way

But now it’s just another show
You leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

Oh but now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost but something’s gained
In living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From WIN and LOSE and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

What music can you listen to repeatedly? Any mood music (sad/happy/angry/depressed) that is your go to? 

Adoption Themes in Young Adult Literature

As an adult I can look back on my childhood and think, “wow, yeah, I was dealing with adoption related trauma,” as evidenced by the hours and hours spent playing two different games with my siblings: Lost Kids (a game where we were some version of shipwrecked and lose our parents and have to fend for ourselves in the wild on an island) and Orphans (usually orphans that had escaped an orphanage and were running from kidnappers). The literature I read, too, was full of adoptee themes…from Anne of Green Gables to The Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew. All were dealing with some sort of adoption or loss-of-mother/father-theme.

But no book was as horrifying and made me question everything I had ever known, as the book The Face on the Milk Carton. The girl in the book knows she’s adopted by her grandparents. They are raising her as their own, but then one day she sees her face staring back on a Missing picture on a school milk carton. Turns out her ‘mom’ had kidnapped her and given to her ‘grandparents’ to raise. The girl in the story was about 3-4 when the kidnapping happened. Of course this memory has been sparked by the Veronica Brown case, as so many media outlets are stating that Dusten Brown (Veronica’s father) had ‘kidnapped’ her (which is media spin, since everyone has known Dusten has had custody of her for the last 19 months). I remember reading this book and thinking, “oh my gosh, what if my parents have been lying to me? What if they really kidnapped me? What if I wasn’t supposed to be adopted?”

Of course that wasn’t true, as I found out later, but the restless feelings inside me were hard to deal with…and not something that I could even give voice to at my tender age. I remember, years later, having a talk about that book with my a-cousin and she said, “oh yeah, that was the scariest book, I was worried that I would get kidnapped!” And the look of shock on her face was priceless, when I said, “well, I was always afraid that I had ALREADY BEEN kidnapped, since I’m adopted.”

What books were you obsessed with as a kid? Any looking back and thinking, “hmm, I must have been dealing with some things?”

Please Sign this Petition

Dear Readers,

Please sign this petition:

“Baby Girl” Veronica Brown is a three year old Cherokee child who has lived with her biological Cherokee father Dusten Brown and his family for 19 months in Oklahoma. Matt and Melanie Capobianco from South Carolina are trying to adopt and a remove Baby Girl from a loving and safe Native American family. The South Carolina Supreme Court has granted the adoption without due process or a hearing to determine what is in her best interest. She will be removed from a fit Native parent, a loving Native family and Native community in which she has thrived. Dusten Brown has been denied a fair hearing. This is an example of destruction of tribes and against the Indian Child Welfare Act.

I have been following this case closely, and am appalled by what has been happening. When I am less emotional I want to write more about this case, but for now, I implore you to sign the petition to keep the sanctity of the ICWA and allow Veronica Brown to remain living with her biological dad, sisters, stepmom, grandparents and connected to her Cherokee roots. As an adoptee I am shocked and angered by the vicious attacks on the character of the biological father, the blatant disregard for ethics and what is really in the ‘best interest’ of this child. It has become a game where money=power and adoptive couples with money are bullying the system in order to raise a child who does not need a new home.