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Thanks for visiting Tinfoil Magnolia, a blog about my life, times, marriage, friendships and all the strange things that happen to me and with me. I hope you find something here that will encourage you, inspire you or at the least entertain you. And if it doesn't today, check back tomorrow because, my life? honestly...

Saturday, May 7

Truly Chosen

For kids who are adopted, there are two ways to look at it. Either they feel they were chosen by their adoptive parents or they feel abandoned by their birth parents. It seems no matter how their adoptive parents love them or make them feel special and OK with being adopted, there are still some who feel their whole lives as if they weren’t “good” enough for their birth mother.

I am one of those who falls into the first category. I feel chosen, I feel that I ended up where I should be, with my mom and dad, Jack and Geneva Peyton. Yes, I’m adopted.

As the second oldest in a large family, my mom sacrificed a lot of her own childhood to help raise her younger siblings. I am sure she was looking forward to having a large family of her own someday. She was young when she married my father, and they tried for years to make that a reality.

My mom went through a lot of loss while trying to have children. Losses that are all too familiar to many women in the community. Finally, they decided to adopt. And the waiting game began.I have to think about how difficult this decision was back in the 1960s. People weren’t bringing home babies from China back then. Adoption was, quite frankly, not something talked about in social circles. Children filled orphanages and those who adopted them most likely kept it a highly guarded secret. For us, it never was a secret. I have known as long as I remember.

My mom was at the hospital when I was born. She met my birth mother, my aunt and my grandmother while there. She brought me home from the hospital and never let me go again. Which is sometimes a problem. I mean, seriously mom. I’m a 47-year-old married woman. But I digress.

One of the things about being adopted is the fact that you kind of don’t know who you are or what your family history is. When I was in high school, I used to look at families who looked so much like each other with amazement. What would it be like to have a mother, father or sibling who shared your eyes, facial expressions, hair or laugh? I didn’t have that.

My mother is part Cherokee. She has beautiful black hair and very dark skin. She loves working outside in the garden, her skin tans to a beautiful golden brown. She still loves spending time outside. She could handle a gun. She still can.

I always had very fair, freckled skin and red hair. I burned just thinking about going out in the sun. I didn’t (and still don’t) like being out in the heat, working in the yard or gardening. I loved reading, even as a child. I would begin a book and not stop until it was finished. I was a television addict, a true child of the seventies.

We clashed often, yes, after all we were 32 years apart in age. We came from very different eras. She wanted me to put down the books and get outside in the garden. She wanted me, always, to wear ruffles and ribbons and curls when I wanted the latest fashions and crazy hairstyles from MTV. She wanted me to stay in Franklin and live “next door,” but after graduation I left for Nashville and didn’t come back for many years. She wanted me to become a teacher, but I wanted to be a corporate executive and travel the world. (Neither of those worked out). She wanted grandkids and I didn’t want to raise children.

However, for all of our differences, and despite the fact that we don’t share the same DNA, we are alike in so many ways. My mother taught me to be independent and not to rely on others for my own happiness. She taught me to appreciate and even enjoy being alone, and how to be realistic about expectations of life. My mother showed me strength of character and integrity and the value of being honest with yourself and others. We also share the not-so-desirable qualities of being stubborn, unwilling to ask for help, and resistant to change.

Sometimes I lament the fact that she doesn’t “get me.” I’ve come to accept the fact that she probably never will. I don’t like it, but I do accept it, and I realize that it is frustrating not just for me, but for both of us. One thing I know is this: My mom, she loves me. She chose me and no matter what, that will never change.

I think my feelings for my mother are best summed up by the legendary Stevie Wonder.

“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.” ~Stevie Wonder

~This blog is a reprint of a previously published piece from the Franklin Favorite, written in 2012.

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