Healing my life through art & walking down memory lane

Posted on January 6, 2008. Filed under: Adoption emotions, My Adoption Story |

By Joy A. Kennelly

I wrote this October 10, 2007 for my other blog, Pure, Unadulterated Joy. I’m planning to visit A Window Between Worlds again on January 19, 2008. They’re offering a vision board session and I love creating them! I have such visions for my life. Now if they all come true… Watch out!

Okay, here’s what I wrote then…

I ended up driving by a building that houses A Window Between Worlds. This non-profit teaches women and children in battered women’s shelters art as a healing tool. They’re all over country now which is great!

I had volunteered there while pregnant and just had to see if they were still around. When I rang the bell, it was indeed the same place. They welcomed me to join them even though they were all at lunch.

Walking up the stairs to the main office area brought back a wave of emotions. I had volunteered there 9 years ago. It was there that I surrendered to the decision that since I couldn’t find a family I liked well enough to raise my son that maybe God wanted me to raise him myself. I would be a single parent.

It wasn’t what I wanted at all to do, but felt I had to just resign myself to that fate. The epiphany came while I had been participating as a “model” for A Window Between World’s TV news coverage they had arranged to showcase how the guided art programs are run and help women. All of sudden, during the demonstration I burst into tears and began sobbing.

It was like a huge dam had broken and all the sorrow, pain, and heartache of this entire pregnancy just came gushing forth. Cathy, the director, was very kind and gentle with me and lead me to a quiet place to journal my thoughts and feelings to gain composure. I don’t know if they ever ran that news cast or not, but I was amazed at how the art lesson had been so healing to me personally.

As I journaled I just turned over all my pain and confusion about my son and just accepted that God’s will might be for me to raise my son after all. At the time I didn’t know I was having a boy, but I did know I wanted my child to grow up with all the benefits of a two-parent, stable household which I didn’t feel I would be able to provide at that time.

Many women are single parents and I admire them. I just know for me, it wasn’t a path I was ready or able to travel down. That day, after surrendering my will to God’s will, I walked back to Harvest Home and there was a package waiting for me from the couple I would ultimately choose to adopt and raise my son.

All the women living in the maternity home with me were all involved in my search process by this time because I’d been looking for almost six months. When I opened the package, there was the soon-to-be adoptive couple’s application, lots of pictures, and a video they had created to introduce themselves to me.

All the women clamored for me to watch it so we gathered in the living room and began to watch together. I think that day I wished I had more privacy because everyone kept telling me this couples the one, they’re perfect for you. I didn’t want to believe it. I was prepared now to raise my child and now the idea of adoption seemed real scary.

However, I knew this couple was the one when I spoke to them both on the phone and they answered all my list of questions. And as a journalism minor in college, I had a long list of questions. I asked to speak to references and spoke to them too. I spoke to the adoptive mom’s family members.

I then called a very good friend at the time and asked her advice. She prayed with me and encouraged me to accept this as a reality. I knew it needed to be done, but it was hard now that it was so close to Eli being born.

I found this couple one month before Eli was born. It’s a miracle that they passed the home inspection in such a short time. That’s why when people are so amazed that celebrities seem to dash right through adoption issues, I know it can be done. The couple who adopted my son weren’t wealthy, just good people who would be loving, honest, caring parents.

I think people who judge adoptive parent’s suitability for this role can sense when the situation is right. God moves too! When I first began searching for adoptive parents, I sent letters out to all the adoptive agencies I knew around the country asking them for parents who would fit the criteria of what I was looking for.

When I had exhausted that route, I sent out letters to all my friends at various churches around the country asking them to refer good people to my attorney for consideration. It was through one of those letters that a couple attending my friend’s church in Texas remembered Amy & Jeff, my adoptive couple, from a Bible Study they had attended with them years back.

They contacted Amy and told her about me. She called Jeff who was doing military duty in Florida and said, “How’d you like to adopt a child?” Now they were content with being childless, but there was always a part of them that had wanted a child. They knew that when the time was right, God would bring them a child.

There was nothing physically wrong with either of them, they just weren’t able to conceive naturally. Rather than go through in vitro, they just waited on God. Jeff is a tall, handsome African-American man, and Amy is a petite, attractive blonde woman. I had had a vision of both of them (faceless, but their other physical characteristics very vivid in my head) when I was sending out letters around the country which I normally never have.

However, I do have very vivid dreams! This morning I dreamt that a very handsome, dark almost Italian looking man gave me the best bear hug ever when he saw me. It was hard to wake up after that dream!

Back to my story. Okay, so Amy and Jeff are contacted out of the blue to adopt a child they’ve never met and have never prepared for. That’s what is so amazing to me! There were so many couples I read their profiles whose whole lives revolved around wanting children in their lives. Amy & Jeff were content either way which I really liked that about them.

I didn’t want a couple who would idealize my child because that puts a lot of pressure on a child. I also wanted an inter-racial couple because I knew Eli would have an easier time of it if he didn’t feel even more out of place in a family that really didn’t look like him. What’s so weird is that Eli looks so much like Amy and Jeff people never even think to ask if he’s adopted which I think is great!

I really couldn’t ask for better adoptive parents. They’re secure in our relationship and their relationship with Eli. We get along really well. I love them and am so happy I found them. God is good!

That’s why going back to Harvest Home this past weekend and seeing what my life was like only 9 years ago; then finding A Window Between Worlds again after all the time; driving down my old street and looking for places there was so mind-blowing. It’s like God feels I’m ready to deal with all this emotion and can move beyond it now.

What was so interesting about visiting A Window Between Worlds yesterday is that the walls are covered with art and now I represent Gali Rotstein, a fine artist! Never in a million years would I ever have said my life would lead to art, but here I am.

I guess working with Gali is another way to heal because she appreciates and respects my work when some others haven’t in the past. That is important to me with the people I choose to work with. I need to feel like they will ultimately become friends because I look at each relationship in a long-term fashion and I only like working with friends!

I’ve tried working for people who don’t want to be friends and it’s just too disheartening and defeating. I can’t do it. My work is part of my life and my life is part of my work so it has to mesh. So, there you have it.

I need to run, but thanks for stopping by…

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    Emotions I feel surrounding my adoption, books I read and other experiences in life

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