Monday, December 31, 2007



©2007 Celeste Billhartz

I abhor  injustice

The false imprisonment 

Of wrongly-accused, wrongly-charged, wrongly-sentenced men and women

I implore the civilians, officials, professionals -- 

Who put them there and keep them there 

Who refuse to release them --

How dare you refuse to right the wrongs? 

Your wrongs, Sir or Madam ... your wrongs ... :-( 

Sunday, December 30, 2007


My computer crashed ... I bought a new one ... I wrote a long piece about it, but can't figure out how to post it. So, here's a poem that sums up much of my recent experience. CB


©2007 Celeste Billhartz

In the aftermath of loss, came fear

And sudden, necessary change

So, I rebuilt my perceptions --

Who I am, now

What I value, now

I thought my past was decades old

It isn't. It is yesterday

And every moment matters

There are so few certainties, now

I see my world has limits

Thus, I treasure moments more

Friday, December 28, 2007

Listening and The Listener


©2007 Celeste Billhartz

I know listening when I hear it

Foremost, it does not interrupt

It doesn't change the focus from thee to me

From your exasperation to my solution

Listening is a learned skill, an art

Or, it is born of compassion

From having not been heard


The Listener

©2007 Celeste Billhartz

The impatient one speaks harshly

Another is kind

Yet, in the midst of my expressions of fear and confusion

The impatient one listened, and listened, and listened ... 

And  I found my way to acceptance and a new bravery

The kind one stopped me short 

Told me what and when and how she solved her problem ...

And I vowed never to reveal myself to her, again

Less and Less and Less

Less and Less and Less

©2007 Celeste Billhartz

There's something missing in our country. I've been feeling that way for quite some time, but I never talk about it much. Yesterday I sat with an older gentleman  in the customer waiting area at our local car repair shop. I asked  if he minded my turning up the volume on the TV. He didn't mind. Soon, we were chatting about the annoyingly-loud and too-frequent commercials that interrupted the show. 

"Greed," he said. "It's all about money."

We both listed numerous examples of  how  money  influences politics, war, daily life. He fears for his grandkids' debt-saturated lives. We abhor the seeming loss of honesty in government, the horror  of our country losing so many young people in Iraq. The horror of Iraq. The answers neither of us has.

A little girl was playing with blocks at the children's table, so we spoke in soft,  abbreviated, cryptic ways so as not to frighten her. 

Just then, her  30-something father came in to help her finish a game and put the blocks away. He heard us mention Iraq ... and he barely contained his sadness. His cousin just died in the war. He said he has lost all respect for President Bush "He's probably a decent guy, you know, but I no longer trust him or his administration."

I looked at the older gentleman, who, by his appearance and fine features, surely votes Republican ...:) "I voted for him, twice," he said ... and shook his head.

The young fellow helped his daughter with her coat, nodded and smiled, and they left.

Commercial after commercial charred the air. The manager stepped in for a cup of coffee and told us we could change the channel. "Thanks," I said. We just kept staring at the television. 

"Do you feel like things are missing?" I asked.

"Yes," he said.

We sat in silence for a long time, both sad, both wishing we had answers .. and proven good deeds from politicians who hadn't sold their souls. 

"We need Harry S. Truman," he said.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thank you, God

Thank you, God ...
©2007 Celeste Billhartz

The blessing of showers ... that's what I am thankful for. I thank God, each time I am blessed with a hot shower, my favorite soap, shampoo, conditioner, fluffy towels, warm bathroom, comb, a barrette for my hair.

I thank God for clean clothing -- my favorite t-shirts, jeans, and the sox I love to wear with my favorite shoes.

Each day I haul my old frame into the tub, turn on the water and feel so blessed to have a hot shower I say, "Thank you, God ... thank you."

And, each time, I wonder who is blessing homeless old women with hot showers and shampoo, with soft towels and clean clothes?

I envision portable showers and donated soaps and shampoos and towels and clothing. Surely, some group or other does that for the homeless. I hope so, because there is some measure of peace and healing .. a blessing ... in showers.

If I were homeless, that's what I would appreciate most, I think -- a safe place to go for a hot shower and some clean clothes. They wouldn't have to match or be the right size; just some clean clothes ... and maybe, a barrette for my hair.


©2007 Celeste Billhartz

There was a news story on TV about an old circus elephant shackled and displayed in a small zoo that closed. She was sent to a larger zoo where she saw another elephant ... for the first time in 20 years.

The two of them called to each other, so loudly, so persistently, that the zookeepers finally opend the gate and allowed them to touch each other. Turns out, records show that they knew each other. Years ago, they were in the same circus.

As the narrator ended the story, I whispered, "Oh, my God!" and I cried. I cried because I knew that ADOPTING is a circus and we are the elephants, separated from our herd, sent far away, dressed up and taught to perform on cue.

And I thought about the circus audiences who are thrilled to see the elephants! They don't think about them having been taken from their families, forced to learn tricks, forced to perform for them. They would protest, I'm sure ... if they thought the elephants were mistreated, but they are well-trained and well-fed. So, the show goes on.

Most adoptive mothers are good women who mean no harm in their adopting an infant. They don't see the mother/family from whom the child was taken. They don't see the incalculable losses, all around.

The adopters, their families and friends see only the "circus" baby dressed up, re-named and taught to twirl and dance on cue.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Adoption Reality

Adoption Reality
©2007 Celeste Billhartz

A few months ago I got a photograph from a mother who visited with her daughter, in a hospital room. In the photo she is showing her the beautiful little christening gown she had saved, all these 40-some years, to show her daughter that she never wanted to "give her up" for adoption. The daughter blinked, "Yes" in acknowledgment ... her body frozen by ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease. My friend's other daughter took the photo and another daughter stood, nearby. They had come to say, Goodbye.

Not in the photo, but standing "guard" in the room, was the adoptive mother, who would not allow them a precious few moments of privacy.

Four months later, my friend's daughter died. At the funeral service none of the adoptive family, and none of their eulogies, acknowledged this natural family, sitting there, grieving ... and not one person offered condolences on their loss.

The lies in adoption are many. We all tell them, every day. It's all we know, all we have been told to say, all that is allowed. We pretend our sisters, brothers, cousins are, really, ours; they are not. We pretend we have traits inherent in our adoptive families; they are not our traits.

And, all our lives, we protect our adoptive families from the truth: We have our own natural families, our own sisters, brothers, cousins ... our own trails of traits, somewhere, reaching back to the ancients in our souls.

And, our natural mothers ... we wonder where are they, who they are, why did they "give" us away?? Not having answers, not "awake" to the reality of adoption coercion, many of us pretend. We believe they didn't want us or wanted something else more -- school, a job, etc.

And, so, we make new lives among the strangers -- not of our skin, not of our hearts. We doze; we pretend. All our adoptive lives, we pretend. And, because we believe we are lucky to have been adopted/wanted, we protect ourselves with happy faces and words of gratitude.

Eventually, we are old enough to be more curious than content, so we ask about our origins. The good strangers -- and there are many -- tell us what they know, show us the original papers with the original names we must see, offer any help we may need to find our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles. How odd; we are strangers to our kin and we love our strangers.

Still, we must reunite. First, for our mothers, and then for ourselves. We both are owed nothing less.

Unfortunately, some adoptive mothers refuse to help adoptees reunite with their natural families and refuse to be gracious, helpful and respectful to natural mothers.

The adoption world has convinced adoptive mothers -- and most civilians -- that Amoms are the saviours of millions of babies/toddlers whose own mothers/families couldn't or wouldn't care for them as well as Amoms can and that natural mothers don't deserve to care for them as much as Amoms do.


Lawyers, doctors and adoption workers (many of them unmarried women who never had babies) have always taken advantage of young mothers instead of helping them. In closed adoptions of yesterday and open adoptions of today, all the players take advantage of scared young mothers. They count on their agreeing to "do what's best for the baby" well before the young women give birth, well before they know the powerful, undeniable, life-changing love they will feel for these little beings who slipped from their wombs and are, forever theirs, no matter what pre-birth agreements were signed.

These mothers -- millions of them -- are now "awake" ... and they know they were used by the indu$try to supply millions of infertile women (and today, single women) with babies.

Most of society doesn't know how devastating adopting is to young mothers. Most don't want to know, because they can't imagine being forced/schmoozed to surrender their own babies. They cannot imagine anyone daring to do that! They want to believe adopting is always -- and only -- in the best interests of the babies.

Truth is, adopting is a bu$iness.

When women stop paying big bucks to buy infants and toddlers, and when pregnant women are supported in keeping their babies, the bu$iness in adopting will dwindle, and babies will stay with their own families ... where they belong.

OK, you're an adoptive mother who is "waking up" -- now what?

• Help your adopted son or daughter know about his/her natural family. It isn't only a mother lost, but a whole tribe, a whole lineage, sides of two families, personality traits, physical traits, habits, health, quirks and talents. No more secrets. No more lies.

• If mother and child are planning to spend time together, don't stand in their way. Step aside. This is not about you.

• Let your conscience be your guide. You know right from wrong. Most of all, you know injustice when you see it.

In The Mothers Project, I tell the stories of the girl/mothers who lost their babies to adoption in past generations. The coercion continues. Adopting is woman's inhumanity to woman.