©2007 Celeste Billhartz

I finished The Mothers Project, took it on the road and met people whose stories were exactly like those of the women in TMP. I also met some mothers and adult adoptees who had different experiences — some that were horrific and heartbreaking, especially around the issue of what I call Refused Reunion — when a mother or an adult adoptee refuses to acknowledge or meet or maintain contact with the other. I understand not wanting to maintain contact if there is a safety concern or some other reason that makes sense, but to refuse to meet ... that I do not understand. I have never interviewed a mother or an adult adoptee who has refused to meet the other, but I sure hear from those who are struggling to accept that reality about their own mother or child. I want to understand that decision, that choice not to welcome a child or mother. I struggle to accept it/them. I know I must, or my heart will break with each re-telling of their stories.

©2007 Celeste Billhartz We are -- all -- human
Given to fits of fear
And starts of trust
Kept alive by hope
Held captive by shame
And lifted by love

We all give and we all take
In proportion
Out of proportion
Too much
Not enough
In and out of fear, trust, hope, shame, love

We all need love, kindness, understanding
On good days we say so -- with our words, our smiles, our touch
On bad days we curl ourselves up into prickly things
And dare the kindness to come closer

Let us choose love over fear
And if loving is not possible, is too soon, is asking too much
Then let us choose acceptance because ... we are -- all -- human

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