Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

NATIONAL ADOPTION AWARENESS MONTH: “It’s A Boy!”

November 8, 2012

I’m a little behind schedule calendar-wise, however when it comes to and from the heart it’s always in and on time. My blogfor the month of November is dedicated to National Adoption Awareness Month.

You may or may not know that I am an adoptive parent, and worked as an Adoption Social Worker almost 30 years ago! (Sounds ancient doesn’t it?)

I have chronicled much of my experience in my memoir:

           “It’s Heart Work: Being The Village That Raises A Child”

This month’s blog will be comprised of excerpts from my book. I hope your enjoyment will pique your interest in purchasing your own copy today, whether in

Paperback http://www.hearttalkpublications.com/Products.html                                                      OR

E-book:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/54353 

Proceeds from all sales benefit For A Child’s H.E.A.R.T., Inc. , the non-profit organization which I founded to provide services to current, former and transitioning foster and adoptive youth.

So enjoy your first look at “It’s Heart Work:…” 

                               Is He Talking To Me? – It’s A Boy!

“Mom!”, “Mom!!”, the young voice called out again as I patiently waited my turn in the cashier’s line at Toys ‘R Us in Monterey,  California.

“Is he talking to me?”  I heard myself say.  I turned my head just in time to see the familiar little brown face, with wide-eyed excitement, peering right at me, and waving a toy in the air.   I don’t remember any details of that toy or if we even bought it.  What I do remember, however, is that my heart leaped to a whole new dimension at the recognition of its new role: “Mom.”  And my heart hasn’t been the same since.

That was on the first day of Bryant’s and my very first face-to-face meeting.  We actually spent the entire weekend together .   Prior to that, we’d only seen pictures of and read about each other. We finally got to talk on the phone the night before meeting. I was thirty-one years old at the time, he was nine, and we both wanted a family – badly.   

During my own childhood, I was an only child until age eleven. As long as I can remember, I always loved children. People even told my mother to watch out for me, because they knew I would have a house full of children one day, and would perhaps get an early start at it. Others commented that I would probably be like my godmother, who loved and cared for tons of children but never had any biological children of her own.

From a young age, I sensed deep within that I would one day adopt children. However, in my plan, there were to be adoptive AND biological children. Well, to those people’s dismay, and mine, at age thirty-one I adored and cherished four precious godchildren, but none yet to call my own, either by birth or adoption. Even after working for two adoption programs, my friends and colleagues teased me over the fact that I’d managed to leave the agencies without “stealing one of those kids.” 

One day, while chatting with one of the therapists where I worked, she remarked, “Evelyn, you need some children.” Amazingly, less than 30 minutes after that conversation, I received a phone call from a former co-worker and friend who still worked for the county adoption agency I’d left in Monterey a little more than a year before. She told me there was a little boy on her caseload whom she was seeking a placement for, and that she and the staff instantly thought about me. I couldn’t believe it – especially since I hadn’t submitted any application for adoption. She then went on to say, “He even looks like you.” My response to that was, “Yeah, right. He’s a little Black boy, I’m a Black woman; of course we look alike.” (She and the rest of the staff were Caucasian). We laughed. 

In August 1988, I began my intimate journey into a nine year old’s heart. Then, on that beautiful, warm October day in 1988, in that Toys ‘R Us store, Bryant’s heart and mine officially entered a mother-son bond, evidenced by Bryant’s special term of endearment towards me.

Little did we know that that weekend would prove symbolic of our lives together in the years to come. It included a day of calm play and laughter at the ocean in Pacific Grove, as well as the thunderous, and sometimes scary, adventures of the Blue Angels’ air show at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. 

I stopped at See’s Candy store on the way to work that Monday morning, and reported to work with candy suckers which exclaimed, “It’s A Boy!”

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Always A Daddy’s Girl

June 19, 2011

 Today has been bittersweet day for me; and I’ve been giving it my best shot to dwell on the sweet. I was blessed to have had my biological father, Travis aka “Buddy Boy” in my life during the early years of my life. This year marks 40 years since his passing, one month after turning 50, an age which at this phase of my life, I now consider to be young. Although he and my mother separated prior to my starting Kindergarten we continued to have a very close relationship, spending time together most weekends, and speaking on the phone whenever we felt like it. Some of my earliest and most fond memories with him are:

1. Me waking up in the morning smelling coffee and bacon in the kitchen, tip-toeing to the closed kitchen door in my footed pajamas and knocking as I opened it and him saying “Who that coming through that door” and my response “Mee!” “Me Who?” “Meeee!” as I peeked then swung the door open ran in the kitchen into his arms for a hug and a kiss. I sat down to the plate of biscuits and Karo syrup, scrambled eggs and bacon he prepared for me as he poured his coffee from his cup into the saucer and sipped it, and we would “chat” until it was time for him to get ready for work. He carried me in his arms downstairs to my godparent’s apartment to stay until my mother would get in from her graveyard shift at the hospital and get some rest.

2. Waiting for him to get home from work to see what he he’d brought me home in his black lunch pail—usually a bag of Cheetoes.  Then sitting on his lap after dinner as he sat on the couch watching television, and rocked me singing “Go to Sleepy Little Baby” and my saying “do it again; do it again” then after several rounds him saying “Baby, Daddy’s tired” as he was about to doze off himself.

3. Being carried to the car before daylight on a Saturday morning for an all day fishing trip during which I’d sleep, eat, drink, play and listen to music all day long, and occasionally catch a fish.

Even with my parents not being together, there was my godfather, Mr. Moore, who lived downstairs and whom I spent a lot of time with. This was a gentle giant of a man whom, on some weekday evenings and Saturdays I followed around the apartment building as he did the landscaping and made repairs inside the apartment units. I learned a lot from hanging out with him, not knowing that one day those lessons would be prove to be vital to my survival in a life of singleness. On Sunday mornings we walked to Sunday school, stopping by the store on the way, to buy Lifesavers. After Sunday School I’d sit between him and my godmother and he and I would share Lifesavers and finger games during church service (his hands were the biggest hands I’d ever seen in my life). Sometimes my godmother would give us a disapproving but loving eye to let us know that our “playing” in Church was getting out of hand–literally . On Sunday nights we ate ice cream together and listened to church services on the radio.

At one point I was blessed to have yet even a third father in my life, as my younger sister’s father became a very loving and positive presence in my life. Strangely enough both he and my father were unwavering in their demonstration of pure love for both me and my sister. I was proud to boast that we shared the same first and middle initials “E.L.”; and He gave me my nickname “Swee’Pea”. He also gave me my very first camera, record player and albums!  (Three things which remain an integral part of my life today—wow, hadn’t even thought about that before now).

During adolescence I lost two of these fathers–one to death and one to marriage to a woman other than my mother. Shortly after my father’s passing I met my best friend in Jr. High School and her father immediately became a father role in my life, always encouraging and expecting the best of me academically and character-wise. He always remembered my birthday and special accomplishments, each one being acknowledged with cards with a little “spending money” inside.

 Unfortunately, in my mid twenties I also lost both of my “godfathers” within a relatively short period of time. Having taken time off work to attend my godfathers’ funerals a co-worker jokingly told me “Your godfather must be a cat with nine lives” 

 As I look back on it, I realize that it was some time after that I began to experience bouts of depression, through which I didn’t began to break through until I was prompted by a very sweet and effective therapist that I’d not yet grieved my father’s death or more appropriately, fathers’ deaths.

Until I was about 40 years old, I would find myself feeling strangely “not well” on Fathers’ Day. Even then it took some time for me to become conscious of what was really going on—wow. It was about this time that I “adopted” my pastor’s father, Ed “Dad” Huddleston (which I share in detail in my memoir). Interestingly it turns out he was also known by some as “Buddy Boy”.

I now had a “Dad” again. He lived out of town, and I didn’t see him often. However when he showed up at church unexpected one Fathers’ Day I squealed in delight and cried like a BABY! Although he had seven children (including three daughters) of his own I felt as loved as if I had been his own. Calling him on the phone, I loved hearing the voice on the other end always answer “God bless you”. I’d say “Hey Papa” to which he’d respond “Is this my daughter?” to which I’d respond “Yes”, feeling like that three year old at the kitchen door.

We’d laugh and talk about anything and everything, but most of all the love of God. This was the most loving, loveable, wise and wittiest men I’ve known. The first week of this year would be the last time “Daddy’s Girl” would hear that voice as “Dad” too passed away on January 8th. When I start to feel sad at the loss of my dads I also look at how I’ve been blessed many times over in my life with such caring, loving, protective men who never once abused me verbally, physically, sexually or emotionally, and taught me my self worth—something that not many women can profess.

I also realize how having caring father figures in my life have enabled me to establish and maintain a loving and trusting relationship with my spiritual Father. I’m so grateful to not know any better than to think that my Father will feed and nurture me, carry me, rock me, give me the desires of my heart, laugh and talk with me, bless me, and be proud of me being His Girl. Although I sorely miss each one of my “Daddys” and I have now joined the village of “elders” myself, I can honestly say and believe that I am still and will always be “Daddy’s Girl”

 

[Check back for pictures posted later]

What’s It All About…?

March 6, 2011

At the closing of another “more than half a century” celebration of life on this planet, I began to reflect upon my day, and ponder this journey called “life”.  Being a music lover, songs usually pop into my mind as quickly as thoughts do.  This time the words “What’s it all abou Alfie” came to mind and I decided to look up the lyrics.  The last stanza in particular caught my attention:

Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
Until you find the love you’ve missed you’re nothing, Alfie.
When you walk let your heart lead the way
and you’ll find love any day, Alfie, Alfie.

Wow..for as many years and as many times as I’ve heard this song I don’t recall hearing those words, but I guess my heart did and that’s why it brought them to consciousness.

There have been many days when I’ve really felt like I was just existing, then  I received that call, visit or invite from someone who took the time to let me know that they loved me and that my existence and presence was important to them. 

A friend and colleague jokingly says that I came into the world expecting it to be a “love fest” and have spent my  years healing from the disappointment.  I tend to agree with him; and although I have my days, I’m basically still perplexed, hurt and angered by the general “unloving” words and acts of behavior by and towards others and often feel like an alien.

 Growing up, I was told by my mother that I was too sensitive and needed to stop wearing my feelings on my sleeves.  As an adult, I’ve often wondered “is it just me?” as my heart has cringed listening to and  watching  the world stressfully move about focusing on things they “have to do” and superficially or callously rushing past or over one another with little or no acknowledgement- -not to mention the treatment towards our children, youth and elderly.

After hearing many references made to the book “5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, I finally read it a couple of weeks ago.  In doing so, I learned a few things about myself and the discrepancies in my expressive and receptive languages of love, which if not monitored, can easily “overdraw” my love bank account.

 However, as I realize and acknowledge who I can truly “bank on” I am assured that through the secured loan and “overdraft protection” of God’s love, that my love account won’t ever be permanently closed out- -just a few “Insufficient Funds” notices here and there between deposits.

Today, the balance in my love bank has compounded interest from deposits in all five of the love languages, and it feels good to know that at least today I can “pay it  forward”  in fulfilling my life purpose, because THAT’s what it’s all about Alfie–  LOVE!   ♥

 

 

Heart to “HEART Talk” with Ms. E!

October 9, 2010
It is exciting, enlightening and encouraging meeting and interviewing guests for the television Talk Show “Visions For A Child’s Heart” (c).    It also has become an increasing challenge, time-wise, and financially; and with the wide-spread connections made globally via internet, it’s a stretch geographically, to reach the many wonderful people whose stories and messages we’d  love to share on our program.
So until  television broadcasting resources are expanded, allowing us to become nation/world-wide,  I have decided to do a revised version of our former radio talk show Voices For A Child’s Heart (c) (which aired locally in 2006,) in a new & improved Internet Radio  format,  called “HEART Talk” which can be accessed via internet throughout the world!

HEART Talk”Radio(c) like theTelevision Program, “Visions For A Child’s Heart” , will be  dedicated to nurturing and healing the body, mind, and spirit connection of those whose lives impact and are impacted by, foster care, kinship and  adoptive placement.
Just some of the initial guests who have been invited and/or confirmed include:
Kevin Brown, Les Brown, Jonathan Burkett, Chris Kazi Rolle,  George Fraser, Kandee G, Nakia Lashaul, Shay Oliviarra, Michael Pritchard, Sunday Taylor, Regina Louise, Alfonzo Tucker, Iyanla Vanzant, Kimberly West, and Terrie Williams.
 
Programming will be live on Wednesday evenings 6-6:30 PM PacificTime (8PM Central/9PM Eastern) on Blog Talk Radio.   Interviews will be in 15 and 30 minute segments and will allow room at the end for listener interaction.
 
 
 

 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hearttalkwithmse

 

 
It’s time to have a Heart to “HEART Talk” with Ms. E! 
 So….Will you join ME?   Talk To M.E. !     

 

BREAK THE SILENCE: We’ve Been Quiet Too Long

September 29, 2010

There’s currently a lot of conversation and expressed opinion regarding the allegations of inappropriate sexual activity and/or sexual abuse by young men under the leadership of a prominent U.S. pastor.

Unfortunately, most of the conversation surrounding the topic is the very reason most people who are subjected to such behaviors don’t speak up!

 As a child/youth advocate and therapist I believe that a lot of the rage, violence and substance abuse we see in our young people- -especially young males- – is related to the silence of being a victim/survivor of sexual abuse.

It seems to be our human nature when we witness or hear something we are not prepared to face, to immediately jump to conclusions, become defensive,  take sides, point fingers, and pass judgment. 

How could someone who has been emotionally and physically violated, and probably already in a state of disbelief  and conflict, self-blame and confusion , reach out for help knowing that he/she or the person  in whom their trust has already been betrayed may be further damaged.

“Break The Silence” is a 2-DVD set of an interview between myself and Dan Smith, Author and Motivational Speaker who discloses his experience of abuse and the impact it has had in his life.

 Dan shares how refusing to remain silent can empower survivors of childhood trauma (emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse) can begin to break through feelings of confusion, guilt and shame, and tap into and develop one’s inner strengths, enabling them to walk in fulfillment of their life’s purpose.purchase your copy today visit:  http://www.forachildsheart.org/Products.html


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