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My Family

Life Story Club Contributor

July 8, 2020

We became a family through adoption. I struggled with infertility for a number of years. I had a number of in vitro fertilization procedures. I was pregnant once and miscarried. And adoption was never really something that I wanted to explore because I had a lot of preconceived notions in my mind.

So unfortunately, we began the adoption journey with a letter. My ex-husband and I, at the time we were married and we had started the journey with a letter to write to a birth mother. It took a long time for me to write that letter because I couldn’t figure out why I would be a good mother other than just wanting to have a child and that I like children. I loved children. I loved being around children. It really kind of undermined my fears because I couldn’t see beyond the end of my own noses of everything I had to offer a child. So that was the start of overcoming the fear.

It was a long process. From the time we sent the letter to the time we heard that our son was about a year. They were false start because of people who weren’t interested in placing their baby for adoption with us. Searching, sending the letters, and then we… It was really serendipitous. My son’s birth mother had been working with a lawyer in Seattle. He was born in Missouri. And she wanted her child to be outside of the Big West to be along the Pacific Ocean. And so they had found the family in Seattle, and that family backed out when she was two weeks from her due date.

And so then her brother had just moved to San Francisco and so she asked her brother to open the phone book and look for adoption agencies in San Francisco. And the adoption agency we worked with, it’s called Adoption Connection with Jewish Family Services, and they were the first one in the list. She called there. They sent her a bunch of letters and she picked us. And we spoke to her on the phone, and I did everything…because I was so sure…I was so fearful and so sure that my fears would be borne out, that I asked all the questions that you’re not supposed to ask a birth mother, like, “Why didn’t you have an abortion?”

We flew out to meet her a few days later. We met her and the birth father, both. And then, my son Walker was born eight days later and he’s the best thing that ever happened, I mean, he is truly something, someone spectacular. And so it was, had I not overcome the fear, had I not overcome the hardship, had I accepted defeat after the challenges, it’s possible that I wouldn’t have this wonderful person in my life.

World Announcement

Life Story Club Contributor

June 17, 2020

The thing I think that helped me when I actually spent time and acknowledge it, is to say that this too shall pass. And things do move forward. Things do get better. They don’t always get better in a linear fashion, but they just pass. And within that passage, there’s room for growth and room for learning.

You know, I’ve learned the one thing my mother always talked about. She was a survivor of Auschwitz. She was taken off the streets the second week of the war in February of 1939, and she was liberated in Germany from Rome on May 8th, 1945. By fire, war, in camp. And it was her belief and you know she had one word for it – and that was hope. That this too shall pass and that she’ll be there to talk about it.

And she was, and so she talked about it sometimes then with weight and sometimes not the most age appropriate way for her children, but it’s always given me some strength to think back on that. Wear a mask or starve for six years? I’ll wear a mask. Don’t go out for three months or be tortured? I won’t go out. This too shall pass. It might be a little later, but this too shall pass.

My mother talked about it a lot. My mother, you know, had a tattooed number that was very noticeable. My father didn’t talk about his experiences. And I learned a little bit about what happened to him during the war at his funeral, when these men I had never seen before came and eulogized him. And I remember sitting there going, my father did that? So, it was sad that in the end, we don’t really know much about my father.

Change in mindset

Life Story Club Contributor

June 17, 2020

For a very long time, I believed that old adage of “you made your bed, now sleep in it.” Where you made a choice, you made a decision, and that’s just the way it has to stay, that there was no alternative. And I was able to convince myself that I could have an alternative, and it was that convincing that changed my life.

I wound up getting divorced, it was a conscious decision. That rebirth, the conscious vision that I had made to stay with my husband once we had a child, and it was just, it was not the life I wanted. And I started to realize that I could get new sheets.

And so, I really worked at very consciously going through whether or not I had looked at every angle of what I was doing before I did it. That, wouldn’t it be better to just stay in the same situation? Wouldn’t it be better just to stay in the bed I made? Definitely easier, but then I realized it wouldn’t be better. And I think it was that difference, knowing that something was better without being easier that changed my mindset. And from then on, I’ve always looked at things as having that potential to change, that if you turned left and went down on the wrong street, you could turn right. You didn’t have to keep going straight ahead. That’s the mindset change I made.

I realized that even though I was with somebody, I was terribly lonely and that when it was time for a friend, my husband is not the way to turn to. And it was that realization.

And it was complicated by having a young child, but that was also part of the decision because I did not want my child growing up thinking that loving and intimate relationships were cold, or not about liking someone as well as loving someone.


Life Story Club Contributor

June 10, 2020

This synagogue I was a member of in San Francisco, had five Rabbis. It’s the biggest reform synagogue in the entire Bay area. I was very close with one of the Rabbis who left, probably about five years ago, to become the senior Rabbi of the synagogue here in Chappaqua, New York, which is in Westchester County. We kept in touch over the years, and when I moved to New York in February, I had told him I was coming. He was very excited. When I got here, I took the train up to Chappaqua to go see him and go to his service and spend the day with him.

He seemed really concerned about me. I mean, he’s just such a lovely person. His family is so delightful. His wife is delicious. And the nicest thing he did is he keeps calling me. He’s like, “I bought all this plastic stuff. And then I connected it between the back seat and the front seat of my car. So you can sit in the back nice and dry and you won’t be six feet from me, but definitely be three feet. It’s plastic. I’ll take you to the Orthodox synagogue.”

I mean, it’s one of the nicest things anybody has done for me. I don’t know many people here because I’m so new. I do have my brothers in New Jersey, but friends who live on the upper West side are sheltering in place in their home in upstate New York, just because they can. And so to have somebody worry about me in that manner.

And being willing to make the time. He has two small children, well, not small, you know, two middle school daughters and his wife. And he’s like, “We’ll put you in the chair on the backyard.” So it really is probably the nicest thing that has happened to me in a long time. It’s made me feel very special that somebody would go out of their way and frankly endanger themselves, for me.

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