Poetry: it inevitably relates to -- among others -- identity, history, culture, class, race, community, economics, politics, power, loss, health, desire, regret, language, form and genre disruption, love ... as well as the absences thereofs. The same may be said about Adoption.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

KAREN G. JOHNSTON

WHAT IS YOUR ADOPTION EXPERIENCE?

I am the adoptive parent of two children whom I had formerly fostered. My son, now 17, was officially adopted when he was five years old and my daughter, now 15, was adopted when she was seven years old. There was a lot of pain at the start because there was back and forth and the system, in my opinion, wasn't working with their best interest at heart. We have an open adoption with their birth mother and both kids have contact with their larger birth extended family. This has made their lives better. It has made mine more complicated. All of it is welcome.


Karen and her daughter



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HOW HAS THE ADOPTION EXPERIENCE AFFECTED YOUR POETRY?

When observable themes have emerged in my writing, parenting is a huge one, but specifically parenting as an adoptive parent shines within that category. It is where I find much of my inspiration throughout the day, everyday, whether I am writing or not—as well as many opportunities for humility. That crossroad of inspiration and humility—of any kind—is a rich source of writing for me.


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PLEASE SHARE A SAMPLE POEM(S) ADDRESSING (IN PART) ADOPTION:


New Same Grief



She does not yet
share my curves.
Nor will she ever.

Another woman’s bodystory
best guesses when first blood
will engorge, trickle, then seep.
She will wear the echo
of some other woman’s body.
Its reverberation is the one
that chimes my daughter’s bodyclock
of egg drop, of bud burst.

It is the new same grief.
Like when I couldn’t name her,
she who came to me
two days past two
and quite already
the whole of her given name.

It is the new same grief.
Like when I had to reply
I don’t know
What was my first word?
When did I learn to walk?

I don’t know how come
she couldn’t be a live-with mommy?


Blood. Bone. Body.
These bounded things
that wither away.

My solace—
large enough,
and more:
though body
may forever
be mystery,
not she.
Not her love.


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ABOUT THE POET:

Karen G. Johnston is a social worker by vocation, a Unitarian-Universalist-with-Buddhist-tendencies by faith, a mother by choice, a socialist by inclination, a lay preacher by gift, and a poet by avocation. Her poems have been published in Concise Delight, Equinox, Silkworm, the Naugatuck River Review, Red Weather, and in the anthology, Women.Period (SpinsterInk, 2008). She lives in Western Massachusetts with her two teenage children, her soon-to-be husband, two dogs, a cat, and a growing vegetable patch.




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1 comment:

EILEEN said...

Karen,
I appreciate how your experience and related mediations on the topic surfaces humility. Thank you,
Eileen