Violence of Abandonment

towardsWhat a strange week it has been. The weather for one has broken several records here in the South of Australia, “the wide brown land”, an island ‘girt by sea as our Anthem tells us – who uses that word ‘girt’, who ever used that word ‘girt’? It certainly is a brown land at present, in the middle of Summer and the heat became oppressive and humid with the expected rain which arrived today, amid much exclamation and rejoicing. It is such a relief from the string of over 40C days, some of them over 43C, or more. The geese are relishing the wetness, wagging their tails, opening their beaks to the sky and just standing about getting gloriously soaked.
California Cactus Center revisit 7It is the sort of day today when oldies like me who don’t rely on mains water and have only tanks, do all sorts of little jobs that are assisted by rain – repotting plants, washing the dust off woven baskets, refreshing cane furniture etc. I have been succulent wrangling in much the same way I might wrangle an echidna, a porcupine or a hedgehog – with a firm will and a large towel. The echidna who lives here and makes the rounds of the anthills, was sighted this week for the Echidna_AU-resized-600very first time ever;being a lady of the night, she sleeps during the day and works at night, so there was great excitement. Not so exciting, was the repotting of a very spiky succulent, which was once tiny and cute in it’s freshly minted pot and received as a Christmas present. It is now big enough to be heavy and spiky enough to draw blood efficiently and without warning.(Credit here to the photographers of the succulent and the echidna, neither are my photos -far too wet for photography today!)
As with other spiky and spiny things, I grabbed it round the part where the dangerous bits begin and with the flow of the arrangement of protective spines. That worked, but not before it had drawn blood a few times. I wheeled it in the laundry trolley to it’s new home, where fresh compost was waiting, a brand new pot and a plentiful flow of rain to water it in. Looks like the rain is going on all day, tonight and tomorrow. Oh Joy! The tanks will fill up and we should have a supply of water to last the rest of the Summer. The maintenance of life seems precarious at times, but nature always provides, usually in abundance and with great generosity. It is a beautiful thing to be reliant on something out of human control but to know ample provision has been made and that all should be well. There is always an element of doubt which makes life edgy and possible to remain in touch with the seasons. I have always tried to keep that in my life, even when I lived in cities. Sometimes the larger the city the easier it was. Perhaps I made more effort so that it didn’t elude me. I look back fondly to Autumn days in London, the colours, the aromatic piles of leaves and the beauty of the parks and open spaces. I walked a great deal in those days; the only way to really notice the details of life, the tiny changes, the moods and atmospheres, the light and the deliciousness.
I wrote this earlier in the week, before I had my encounter with the bright young Dentist who so expertly dealt with my ‘spiny things’ – a broken tooth which required removal in three stages, one difficult, the other two easy, they were all sharp and looking dangerous. He was delightful. We joked in the way only bright, humorous young men can with old ladies; with sweetness, a twinkle in the eye and a tinkle of laughter, little confessions whispered in the ear about enjoying Chai lattes but to keep it to myself, that sort of thing…….
“I have a strange day ahead of me, one devoted just to me and my needs and requirements in an odd way. I have to travel to the city, ‘the Big Smoke’ to collect some supplies from my Naturopath, the supplements which seem to be helping me gain my equilibrium and ultimately I hope, my health. I am now in the detox phase of my treatment and my body is giving it the all! As well as having a hugely swollen belly, I now have a painful and large abscess on it – a pimple on a pumpkin! My thumb has swollen and carries a large and painful split cuticle making it painful and awkward to do anything, particularly in the kitchen. Surprising how painful something so small can be and when it’s added to the usual load, can just tip the scales into what I call “Bon Jovi at 10′ mode. Oh! Life! You sure can pick the most challenging pathways. I’ll be carrying my abscess to the city with me, hoping not to bump or knock it or challenge it in any way, while I have a tooth extraction. What perfect timing, at least one set of pain meds should cover the lot!” Well it did and all was well. I even managed a Chai latte at one of my favourite places. I adore this city, now judged, I believe, to be the most livable in the world! We’ll keep quiet about that, our Federal Government is making sure no more asylum seekers will ever know those joys, experience the safety and settle, to contribute to life making it a rich and diverse community. Mr Rabbit you are making a grave mistake!
Those of us who have suffered the violence of abandonment and all adoptees have in their own way, because the involuntary or even intentional parting of mother and baby/child can never be without pain, intense loss, grief and the ‘unreality’ of something so ‘unnatural’, so wrong and against the ‘natural laws’ of life will see the sense in this quote – Those who have the luxury of place and a branching family tree that goes back for generations do not have the right to tell an adopted child to “get over it”.
Why? Because it is to reduce the violence of abandonment to a non-occurrence; and the child’s history to nothing. It invalidates and annihilates not just the child, but his progenitors. I use the word “violent” because I know more about our truths as adoptees than I care to and I dare you to suffer knowing what I know. The act of abandoning a child is not a simple bureaucratic procedure. It is thus not right to deny the mirror side of adoption its due weight and focus. It is wrong to see only one side, and to deny the rights of the child, the mother, the community from which a child comes from. It is a political statement; the silencing of adoptees who speak out a political act.

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– Daniel Ibn Zayd

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