My mother died when I was born. I spent my first five years in foster care and was officially adopted at 7. I have been a foster parent and even foster /adoption worker for three years.
HOW HAS THE ADOPTION EXPERIENCE AFFECTED YOUR POETRY?
Even as an adult there lingers a longing and question that I can only locate in my identity as an orphan. I often write from that place.
PLEASE SHARE A SAMPLE POEM(S) ADDRESSING (IN PART) ADOPTION:
For Waiting Children
Why am I hanging still---on---
Hanging singing that same ole song
from the days of love long gone
momma, daddy-- so shady
for the love of and want of the like of me--maybe
so here i am just hanging on
To love as a thought as a concept
sometimes touch and hug and nothing less
than second or third
you look at self and your wealth
and your own health
while I still hang
out the window of hope do you see me dangling
umbilical cord I'm wrangling
away from my neck like a rope
choking like smoke
my throat my soul
fingertip and heart string cold
from hanging here
waiting to be chosen
thawed un frozen
by hands, blood, veins
the change from smiling grinning
with you prophesying and lying
trying to wax eloquent
when God really sent you to
for leaving me hanging
ABOUT THE POET:
Rev. Denise Kingdom Grier is a native of New York City. Her mother, a single parent, died shortly after giving birth, leaving both Denise and her older brother permanent wards of the New York City court. She spent five years in foster care after which time she was adopted by a childless couple. Rev. Grier moved to North Carolina as a teen and endured many emotional struggles, which fueled her desire to help struggling children. She went on to attend Shaw University in Raleigh, NC where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Shortly after graduating from college she worked as a Habilitation Technician for children with severe disabilities. She later went on to become a Housing Supervisor and Case Manager for homeless women and children. In 1998 she moved to Michigan where she was a child welfare specialist at Bethany Christian Services in Holland. Her job included foster care, adoptions, licensing, foster parent training and post adoption support services. Since leaving Bethany she has completed her Master of Divinity and has been ordained and installed as senior pastor at Maple Avenue Church and Ministries in Holland, MI.
Denise and her husband Chris are licensed foster parents with the state of Michigan where they specialize in older children and permanent state wards. In their thirteen years of marriage they have parented 13 children ,most of which were non-foster care placements. Denise is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., a mentor and community advocate for parents and children, as well as the biological mother of two biological children ages 6 and 9.