I carry you with me
2010 Copper, Tree Moss, Cherry Wood.
A tribute to Ari’s birth mother and all of the suffering mothers of Africa. In Africa and other places in the world, a starving woman is not likely to survive a pregnancy and birth, so many terminate the pregnancy without any help from a doctor. I honor, love, and respect those who take a leap of faith and TRY to hold on. That is true true love right there.
I admire artists who can evoke visceral reactions and tell stories through imagery. In this piece, Tess O’Day beautifully juxtaposes starvation and new life, and reminds us of the choices that women in impoverished nations face every day.
As an adoptive parent, Tess’ art reminds me this Thanksgiving week of the birth families that came before us.
Tess’ piece moved me. I want others to see it and be moved. I want others to know that adoption isn’t so simple. Poverty isn’t so simple.
This is Societal
Many children in orphanages are “social orphans,” children who have living parents. Parents who, for whatever reason, aren’t able to care for their kids. Parents who, for whatever reason, are separated from their children forever.
True, allowing their children to be adopted to the United States gives that child choices that they never would have had if they stayed. But at what cost?
Each and every one of these women has a story–a circumstance that I could never imagine from my warm, dry house with its stocked pantry. The choices each one makes to survive and to ensure the survival of their child are ones I could never begin to make.
This is a complicated topic, and every adoptee has a unique, private story. Each family processes this differently. But I firmly believe that the foundation of handling it well lies in respect and gratitude and love and grace for the birth mother.
This is Personal
As adoptive parents, we put a shiny happy face on our new families, and so often we discount the loss that our children feel for their birth families. And the older our kids are, the more they remember those families.
Here in the warmth and safety of our homes, they struggle with the balance, with how to still love and respect their birth family, to forgive the past, and to discover that they have room in their hearts for everyone–their first family members and their new ones.
So this Thanksgiving, I want to honor two mothers, Sveta and Yulia, who gave my girls the greatest gift I could ever imagine. Thank you.
* Tess O’Day: Tess’ work has been exhibited in many juried shows in the Midwest. She recently received ‘best in show’ at the Colfax Center in South Bend, Indiana in a juried show titled ‘Art & Social Justice’. Tess has dedicated the purpose of her artwork to raising awareness for issues that she considers to be of significant importance. Using primarily copper and pewter, she creates sculptures with themes of tragedy, injustice, poverty, rebellion, heroism, and remembrance. Her online store, MidWestMetals, features hand-crafted jewelry that is made to order.