Here at Poddler’s Creek the rain is pouring down, the sound of water pouring into tanks is almost deafening. It is music to the ears, long awaited and longed for. The grass is now green, all the brown of Summer gone. A very late bushfire tragically took a house and some outbuildings only this last week not far from here.(http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/how-cfs-saved-the-mccallums-green-oasis-from-cherryville-fire/story-e6frea83-1226641524042) The rains arrived in time to dampen down the smouldering trees and bush, saving the hundreds of voluntary fire fighters some work. Fire fighting units were sent from all surrounding areas, including our own. My Godson’s father was out until 1 a.m on his shift and still yawning at a late breakfast on Mother’s Day morning. Our State is now so organised, with water bombers, volunteers to provide food and drinks and the support services necessary to get through a crisis of this sort. Known arsonists are monitored all Summer and the number of bushfires has reduced dramatically. My afather would have been amazed at the technology, the efficiency and the organisation of a voluntary service he was involved in starting so many decades ago.
In one way or another, it is impossible not to remember those who went before, whether they were related biologically or not. In a community like mine, there are constant reminders of my own history. I live within sight of where I grew up, I can still visit the building I was born in and the building I spent my only time with my mother prior to adoption parting us. Both the houses I grew up in are intact, both looking well kept and loved and I have only to see them or think of them, to be reminded of many scenes of childhood and growing up, many painful, disturbing, curious or hard to believe.
Looking back on a long life, there are so many ways adoption impacted, affected, influenced, skewed, left gaping holes and provided so many unanswered questions, some of which will always remain unanswered. I am luckier than many. At 50 I achieved reunion with my mother, at around 60 with my father’s other children or some of them anyway. I now know all it is possible to know. I know who my ancestors where back to 1700 on one side and for many generations on others. I have a fund of stories about them all, the good, the bad and the very ugly. I have seen the opposites of life – the privileged and the poverty struck, the protected and the unprotected. It has been quite a journey in itself, without considering the rest of my life, which has also been a long and often arduous journey, but never a boring one.
My Daughter and I recalled recently how she had suggested, in her teens, after we came home from the other side of the world where she was born, that my life was rather uneventful, boring even. I explained that I was glad to have some respite, catch my breath and contemplate for a time. It didn’t let up much after that and seems to be the nature of the beast!
Currently I am trying to put together a Submission for the Royal Commission into Child Abuse, on the abuse of my father and his brothers by the Christian Brothers and to put into context how that has affected the next generations of the family, including the adoptions of two into the family, three out and a near miss. The stories of those adoptions alone make tragic reading.
The culture of adoption here in Australia has changed greatly during my lifetime. I could never have anticipated the changes, the recognition of the abuse of adoption, the apologies and the coming out of so many adoptees who are finding the words to speak out about their experiences at last, sometimes against fierce opposition and discouragement, usually by mothers of loss. We press on regardless, speaking our truth as any must do when they are opposed, stifled, uninvited, unrecognised or repressed.
Thanks to Jan for his beautiful and moving photos on Flickr, some of which you’ll find on my Pinterest Board “Tibet, are you still there?”
Please read this excellent post by Lara on endangered cultures, the precious groups of people who enrich this world, but are being systematically destroyed by more dominant ‘cultures’ who exploit their lands, grab their resources and have respect, it seems, only for what can be trucked and shipped away for their own benefit. It is the story of exploiters, grasping manufacturers, governments and people of little humanity or appreciation of diversity. Tragically once these precious cultures, landscapes and resources are exploited, depleted and damaged beyond saving, they are abandoned, thrown away like a used McDonald’s wrapper, a crude piece of cheap Chinese export, an item of trashy, disposable clothing. Every time we embrace the products of that exploitation we support the destruction and loose a bit of our humanity. Davis’ stories remind us that there’s something different out there. The stunning mountains of Tibet serve as a crude face over the history of political domination in a land where 6000 sacred monuments were torn apart and it’s people were imprisoned for daring to question the status quo