i wish i had been adopted by someone like brangelina. i think, even as a toddler, i could have managed a smile for the paps and riding in a private plane has got to be better than the planes i have been on lately.
in the alternative, i wish i would have been adopted through the cradle in evanston where my friend heidi bloom, f2fb #123, works. we met for dinner and talked first about some mutual friends. then talked turned to facebook. twice, heidi has been contacted by gentleman callers from the past. a mixed blessing, she has concluded.
then talk turned to my new year’s eve resolution of meeting every one of my facebook friends. i have written a lot about adoption and heidi, who has been following my progress, had something to share.
first, she says the market has changed dramatically from when i was adopted in the sixties. back then, the cradle had nearly sixty babies in its nursery in evanston–and the challenge was asking people to open their homes and their hearts. mrs. florence dahl walrather, the cradle’s founder, encouraged celebrities to adopt (before brangelina, the cradle adoptive parents included bob hope, al jolson, and gale sayres) and she encouraged people to be open about adoption. heidi and i both agreed that kids would often make fun of kids who were known to be adopted and some extended families didn’t welcome the adoption. i think both of the patricks had trouble with explaining adoption to their parents.
these days, the cradle has a handful of babies at a time and there are often more adoptive parents available than babies.
second, heidi says that the cradle doesn’t encourage the erasure of memory and of every vestige of life before adoption. in my case, the patricks shortened my name from arlynn to “our” lynn to lynn–the full switch from “arlynn merrill leiber” to “lynn melody patrick”. i also had to give up my clothes and my stuffed kitty. that last part i remember as being particularly galling. heidi told me the story of a boy given the temporary name of “jerry cradle” after his mother left him with a firehouse–under safe haven rules–and how her group does its best to preserve the memory and the experience for a child.
i wonder if the reason i have so many plush toys in my car is that i’m still looking to replace the stuffed kitten that was my security. here is my trunk, and my plush fiance mr. william clark (f2fb #60) isn’t even packed yet!
i told heidi about my upcoming road trip which will take me through the middle section of the country–i’m looking forward to going through western illinois, iowa, missouri and possibly arkansas. i have bottled water and books on tape. but first, this afternoon, i have to meet with the facebook friend who will map out the itinerary for the next month!
you can learn a lot more about the cradle at http://www.cradle.org —