Note to Self

We’ll keep this one short and sweet. Another piece from the Collection Putting the Pieces Together.  Created in a moment of release, of feeling free, of feeling…….more like me.  Its a reminder…..Love Yourself First and Always to the best of your ability.

Note to Self, 16 x 12 on Canvas mounted on board, in black, reds and silver with signature Ms.Wenderful Cosmic Nuances.

 

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Innovation Starts Here

This piece for me represents a turning point, a spot, a point a place in time in which I started to feel released from grief long enough to think of ideas on how to approve the adoption system.  I have seen several examples of the system being flawed and not allowing mothers the option to not go through with, or change their minds about, placing their children for adoption due to doing nothing wrong, just because they signed a paper, a contract that is irrevocable, under stressful conditions, many times without time or consideration to think, feel, process or have legal representation.  This has the capacity to cause tremendous trauma, pain, stress for all sides of the adoption equation. To me its not very fair to adoptive parents either, being handed newborns to take home and call their own when mothers aren’t really making clear, conscious, fully informed decisions.  It’s not particularity fair to the babies, who grow into children, teenagers and adults either.  It’s certainly not fair to the mothers fathers. Doesn’t everyone deserve to give and receive a true gift, not to be forced to play a game with their lives?

In observing much adoption debate and discussion on social media of mothers begging and fighting for their own children to not be adopted by strangers,  it seems one thing stands out in particular.  It seems like almost all the mothers fighting, hoping, praying, to get their children back in their life, whether getting them back to raise as their own or reopen adoptions that were supposed to be open and then got closed…..it seems almost all of the mothers made adoption choices at nearly the last minute, with practically no warning, under stressful, adverse, and at times down right manipulative conditions.

Read about Baby Elliot, Baby Grayson, and Baby Camden  These are just a few.

So that being said, it seems that a fairly simple solution is available.  Change the adoption laws so that no irrevocable document concerning placing ones own child for adoption should be executed prior to 6 weeks after giving birth.    Time for the mothers mind, soul and body begin to heal, to begin to return to pre-pregnancy state, time for the entire biological process to take place. The time a new mother is usually released from Post Partum Care, 6 weeks.  To this artist it seems like it would be a great dose of preventative maintenance in preventing chaotic adoptions for newborn babies, mothers, fathers and adoptive parents which affect everyone well into the future.

 

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Innovation Starts Here

Innovation Starts Here is 24″ x 18″on canvas hand glued with tidbits of information about the Universe. Cosmic characters from past, present and future in black & white and various shades of pink highlight the nature of light and matter.

This piece is part of the Collection Putting the Pieces Together  shown as part of a group exhibition at World and Eye in Fort Lauderdale,  January 2015

Artist Ramblings & a Thank You

Something that is very hard to convey to those who don’t understand (but perhaps want to) about being an artist, attempting to make your own dreams come true,  earning a living is there is a whole heck of a lot of work involved that goes on behind the scenes.  Much, much more than having fun making art.

First of all, not all art is fun to make, at times is can be healing and excrutingly painful simultaneously.  Some artist process thier own life experiences through thier preferred medium or various mediums.

Secondly, there are what I like to call PLENTY of Office Hours.   Time spent on the computer, researching places to submit ones work that relate to ones own subject matter, medium and style.  Building our own websites, lets face it…..you’ve heard the term starving artist before, so many of us are not paying someone big bucks to handle that kind of stuff, so we teach ourselves, figure it out step by step, and stay in charge of it. Photographing works, titling, writing descriptions that somehow convey feelings, loading the car, unloading car, installing show, being at show, interacting with miscelleneous people, collaborations, organizing events, performers, details……yes there is an awful lot to do. Some artists do a lot of this stuff for no money because they love it.

Thirdly, I notice there seem to be artists focused on getting their name out there, and there seem to be artist who aren’t nearly as interested in getting thier name out there as they are getting thier message out there and lots of styles inbetween. There are artists dedicated to all sorts of charities and causes.  HIV Awareness, Domestic Violence Awareness, Child Abuse and Insest, Feeding Hungry Children, Ecological Awareness, Helping Children have access to Arts and Music, Gay Rights, Black Rights, Consciouness, Enlightment, and a host of other great philanthopic missions.  My mission has evolved its way into creating Awareness about Adoption Practices, helping mothers by supporting Saving Our Sisters, and ideas for ammending newborn adoption laws.

Fourth, not all artists are trying to be rich and famous or are even that comfortable with public attention.  For me, as previously mentioned I started humbly trying to sell my photography on line as a way to earn extra money to be able to afford to go see my children.  Well its 5 years later, five long, wild, weird, and actually when I look at my artist resume, include great accomplishments.  Yet, still I have not been able to save to see my children.

Art is a lifestyle, an honor to create, to share, a tool to communication, yes, it’s lovely when someone connects with a piece and wants to give you some money and take it home, but art keeps me alive, money in my life seems to come and go for various expenses (sometimes before I even feel it in my hands) I’m pretty used to it, some people say I’ve had a hard life, I just figure its life, I have had some fun along the way. I don’t always have the best attitude, I don’t always have the worst,  I do my best to keep my chin up…..and putting my chin up, with the encouragement of some friends I decided to make a GoFundMe page to raise some money to change my own situation and cross one very imporant thing off my to do list, which has been on the to do list way to long.  Go see my children in Virginia and maybe solve a few other tiny details that could enhance my life experience.    You can always help directly by buying my art.  One of the most imporant things to me when I first began this little dream was to have affordable art for everybody.  We all deserve pretty things to enhance our lives. Affordable art by Ms. Wenderful is found here.

I put the gofundme up yesterday and have already had my first donor. Thank you dear friend Tracey.  Thank you for being number one donor and being a friend who encourages and supports me in what I wish to accomplish.  Your art piece Sony U-Matic (OMG the Instruction video for it  is Brilliant, Epic and soooo Hilarious watch it) shall be delievered in person this Sunday at Yellow Green Farmers Market where hopefully I will be setting my own shop up soon!

Tracys art pic

 

Women Not Machines

Women Not a Machines is part of the series “Putting the Pieces Together”.  I find it challenging to discuss issues that women face and have feelings and or concerns about without being labeled a feminist.  Why does it seem at times that we must always try to shove people into boxes and put labels on them?  Isn’t compassionate human being good enough?

Women Not Machines was inspired through my  own independent research via internet and in face to face discussions with people about general perceptions of adoption. Sometimes it seems those perceptions are all over the place…..and many incorrect.  I find it encouraging that people seem shocked that mothers can sign away their rights mere hours after giving birth (hope for the human race yet?) .   I also find it encouraging that some people are quite surprised that in some states there is no grace period, signatures are irrevocable and permanent the moment they are executed under any condition. Consents can be executed from hospital beds, in parking lots and over the telephone. The laws on the books seem pretty darn old, pretty inhumane and perhaps, in need of an update.

I also find that when I share my personal experience, people sometimes want to believe I am the exception, I am one of the few nice ones who surrendered and subsequently lost their baby unecessarily, who did not feel they made a clear, conscious choice.  I find it somewhat disappointing that some of society has a view of mothers who place their babies for adoption as homeless, drug addicts, incapable, or unworthy of, straight up don’t want to even try being a mother, already have enough children therefore have “one to spare” or worse yet that it was Gods plan for them.

That one, Gods Plan,  always make me just want to shake me head and say…..Did it ever occur to you that whatever it is that you believe God is judging the woman for and forcing her to surrender her baby for (according to the Gods plan perspective) is actually a set beliefs you are trying to force on her?  Ever considered the possiblity that God put you in the expectant mothers path not to discourage her but to encourage and help her and her baby along the way?  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but giving a new mother time to choose and not be rushed seems like a good idea to me.  I figure if it is Gods Plan she will make the choice God wants her to make whether rushed in mere hours (potentially causing shock and trauma)  or given time to begin to heal, process her own feelings and thought, and begin to recover from childbirth, say 6 weeks after birth, the time a mother is released from Post Partum care (time to feel things out, heal, ask questions, get answers, go through the biological process and make informed choices) Right?

Here’s some interesting information on the  Endocrine system and hormonal shifts that may also help those who have never been through pregnancy, labor, childbirth and post partum understand the process better.

“After giving birth, estrogen and progesterone, which are released by the endocrine system, significantly lower. During pregnancy, the body produces these hormones in abundance. It takes around three days for hormonal levels to return to their pre-pregnancy state. The body experiences a shock with the sudden change in hormones, impacting the mother’s mood, body functions, digestion, and ability to sleep” ….Read More of Article Here…. 

Women Not Machines
Women Not Machines 2014

 

Pondering Converting Book to Art

Picked up this book in New York during summer 2013. Pondering turning it into art this morning. Books are treasures to me, I feel like I should collect and save them for my future grandchildren, particularly in today’s digital age.  Will hard copy books even be made anymore by the time they are born, grow and come of age?

20160128_110917Will I or won’t I find a moment of inspiration worthy of taking scissors to this book…..or maybe get photo copies of segments….argh….but that is not the same. Perhaps I will begin with a layer of paint and take from there.

The Book is called Sri Isopanisad this a video I found on youtube that quietly chants the mantras to music and displays them in English on the screen, its quite relaxing.

 

 

A Break in the Adoption Chatter

I certainly don’t wish you to believe I am all about adoption, trauma and drama.  I figured I’d take a moment to let you know I am mostly a pretty happy person. I stay positive and appreciate  blessings in day to day things.  Blessings are  pretty much everywhere when we choose to see them that way.

Recently I have been blessed with my home being totally updated.  A friend of mine made a big move to another state and rather than drag a house full of belongings along with him, his living room furniture and bedroom set became a fantastic update for myself and my family.  Just this afternoon my oldest son was asking my thoughts on how to stream from the computer to the TV so that we can enjoy the living room furiture that will now accomodate all of us for family movie nights!

Another friend with a truck helped make this blessing possible! Thats another blessing in itself.  They multiply, start counting them instead of troubles and you just might see pretty amazing results in your attitude and life experience.

I even feel blessed to talk about the adoption stuff, I feel grateful that I am strong enough now ( I wasn’t for the first couple years after it happened) to help educate and hopefully through education, prevent unneccessary adoption separation.  A little love and compassion can go a LOOOOOOONG way for an overwhelmed, stressed out expectant mother.  End hate and judgement, be love or move on.

Be blessed in all you do.

 

 

 

How Did I Let this Happen

While doing this research I began to realize that not only was I accepting responsibilty for my actions, I was accepting responsibility for others actions as well.  It seems to be the way the great american adoption system is set up, blame the mother, blame the mother, blame the mother even if she was no where near her right mental capacities when making life altering choices and those around her may have known it.

I researched the effects of pregancy and hormones on the body during pregnancy, labor, birth and post partum and discovered that oxytocin (known as the love hormone) can also create feelings of trust and along with that, trusting people you ordinarily wouldn’t.  Oxytocin can also cause feelings of fear.

I researched natural endorphins and discovered they have morphine like effects on the body.   I researched sleep deprivation, (“Judgment is affected, memory is impaired, there is deterioration in decision making, and a decline in eye-hand coordination,” Cralle said. “You’re more emotional, attention is decreased, hearing is impaired, and there is an increase in your risk of death from a fatal accident.” )  stress hormones (Levels of cortisol and norepinephrine increase in response to stress; these hormones also influence thought processes) and  adrenaline and its fight or flight response and started coming to the realization that being filled with oxytocin, natural endorphins, being sleep deprived, physically exhausted from giving birth and pumped full of adrenaline doesn’t leave much room for fleeing or fighting or even realizing that one might need to fight or to flee.

This research led to me doing an artshow with 6 mixed media works created during my healing process, to bring awareness about pregnancy, labor, childbirth and adoption practices titled Putting the Pieces Together with this artist statement:
“Putting the Pieces Together explores a mothers love and bond with her children. This show was inspired by the artists own personal experience with adoption and has led the artist to shed light on the way we think about adoption in this country.

Over the past several years she has taken the time to research the effects of pregnancy and hormones on the body and discovered that Oxytocin, known as the love hormone also creates feelings of trust, and along with that allows for trusting people one ordinarily wouldn’t. It can also cause feelings of fear.
She researched natural endorphins and found out they can have similar effects on the body as morphine and heroin. She read about adrenaline and its fight or flight response. It would seem obvious being sleep deprived, filled with oxytocin and natural endorphins doesn’t leave much room for fighting or fleeing or even realizing that one might need too. She looked up information on stress hormones and found out this ” “Levels of cortisol and norephinephrine increase in response to stress; these hormones also influence thought processes”. In the State of Florida a woman can sign away her maternal rights in as little as 7 hours after giving birth ( as experienced by the artist) The artist asks, “If those who stand to profit financially or emotionally through gaining a newborn baby to call their own are so sure the mother has made a choice then What is the Rush?

The First Piece created in the Putting the Pieces Together series is titled “Stargazing One” a cosmic interpretation of myself, his father and our biological son.  It is NOT FOR SALE. It belongs to our son when we are reunited in the future.  God speed little one.

Stargazing One

 

Why Adoption was a Last Resort

Adoption was a last resort because I know a thing or two about adoption, family separation, and grief  through empiricism, direct felt experience and have had to watch my children go through it also.

em·pir·i·cism
əmˈpirəˌsizəm/

noun

PHILOSOPHY
  1. the theory that all knowledge is derived from sense-experience. Stimulated by the rise of experimental science, it developed in the 17th and 18th centuries, expounded in particular by John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume.

I have first hand experience with what it FEELS like to be adopted.  I am, what I refer to as, half adopted.  I was raised by my biological natural real mother who grew me in her uterus and gave birth to me, and an adopted father.  Of course I did not know this growing up.  It was a big family secret.  Somewhere around the age of 12 I began to start figuring it out for myself.  Feelings I had my whole life, but couldn’t really put a finger on started making sense.  I didn’t really look like any of my (half) siblings.  I didn’t have any features of my “father”.  I never really felt like I fit in at any extended family gatherings.  Its a strange sort of knowing that is very complicated to put words on so I will not even make an effort except perhaps that it is an internal knowing, an intution.

Please don’t get me wrong, my Dad, as I refer to him, is a great guy.  I am appreciative of all he has done for me and accepting me into his life, and my children also.  I’m not angry, I totally get that it was the 70’s, times were different, and everyone completely believed they were doing the best thing.  I can not be angry at that for any reason but we are pretty darn different people.   It was the lying that reaked the havok.  Being forced to continue to try to pretend that everything was as I had been led to believe my whole life was still true, when it wasn’t.  I tried to be ok with it, but deep down inside I wasn’t.  Its hard as heck when you suddenly realize you don’t trust the people you are supposed to depend on to be there  and trust no matter what, anymore.  Its hard when you feel like your whole life has been a lie.

I also have 4 older children, born in 1989, 1992, 1997, and 1998 respectively.  Sadly they too have experienced the grief and loss of being disconnected from family.   My oldest two sons and I live together now.  My daughter and son live with their father in another state. Yes, different fathers are involved.  When my second husband and I were divorced I was not present in the courtroom.  I didn’t know about the hearing.  I can say why I didn’t get the notice, I just didn’t get it.  People like to judge me for it, no one ever seems to observe that hey…..he could have said my soon to be ex wife isn’t here, can we continue it or call her?  I found out I was divorced via mail when the divorce decree arrived.  He had been given custody separating siblings, even though he was in the military and subject to duty transfers.  I suppose maybe they thought I didn’t care since I wasnt’ there, to me it feels like a fast one was pulled.

Its been a slow road in hell at times ever since then.   A road of working,  paying child support while also qualifying for and receiving food stamps.  A road of siblings separated, not understanding, missing each other,  a road of feeling like all of society thinks I am a dead beat parent because I haven’t seen my 3rd and 4th child in more years than I care to mention because I simply can’t afford to. (When they moved from the state we all used to live in together, I moved as close as I could where I had a friend I could stay with until getting myself going,  thinking I’d just start again over here on the east coast and it would be a closer drive when I could afford to go see them)  A road of knowing they must imagine that I am a complete piece of shit, when really all I want to do is be part of thier life again.  How do you explain to your children that it takes 2 adults to make things work out for the children without making their father out to be an asshole?  I’m not really intersted in that, it causes more damage so I am here being interpreted in ways I don’t even want to imagine still trying to find away to make my own living that doesn’t involve half of my paycheck being immediately taken out for child support.

I’ve waited tables most of my life, now I’m 43, its taken a toll on my body but kept some of the money I earn in my pocket.   No one wants to think it, but alot of employers don’t want to deal with the paperwork involved in garnishing paychecks, so sometimes I feel like I’ve been over looked and discharged from employment in favor of someone that wasn’t so much work to hire.   I started trying to sell my art online in 2011 as an affordable attempt to fill thefinancial gap and try to raise some money to go see my children.  I like the platform of the online gallery service as it cost me nothing, made it easy to upload, they did the printing and shipping….and yes, I only would make a commission, but as I like to say in life, some is better than none.

So yes I’ve seen some damage, seen damage to my children,  been part of it, and been accused of being the only one causing it.  So 14 years later, older, wiser, and having learned from my experiences, challenges, mistakes, and achievements sure as hell did not want to inflict any trauma on this new little baby I was carrying, I wanted to be there for him, and with him, as a stay at home mother. I wanted to protect him from the pain of separation and make his life as joyous as possible.

It took over a year after his adoption for me to start answering the question I asked myself time and time again while accepting responsibilty for my actions, how did I let this happen?  I started researching on the internet and found some interesting answers.