Friday, June 16, 2006

Appalachian Heritage

3 summers ago I reunited with my birthparents. I found them after searching from start to finish in only three months.

I did most of the searching via the internet. Thank God, how convenient it all was. I used the adoptee’s secret weapon, the State of Ohio Birth Index. You see, every birth, even of babies that were surrendered, is registered in this index. It cost me something like $20, it came on CD-ROM. I bought every year available.

So you enter your birthdate, search the database for just your county, and pop! Up comes all of the births in that county for that date. I got more specific, and looked at the year. For my year it just so happened that there was only one birth on that day, what happened to be Thanksgiving Day; “no name baby Napier”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“No name” babies are almost always babies that were born to mothers planning to surrender the baby. It had to be me! So that’s how I discovered my birthmother’s (probable) last name.

I had certain facts, what the social worker called “non-identifying information”, such as; the ages of my birthmother and birthfather when I was born; my birthmother’s and birthfather’s hair colour, body shape, eye colour; the fact that my birthmother has a sister 2 years younger; facts about my birth, such as that I was a breech, along with certain health facts about my birthmom; and many other non-identifying details about her parents, etc.

So, I proceeded to search the birth index again only this time for a girl with last name “Napier” in Butler county Ohio who would have been 14 in the year I was born, with one sister who is two years younger.

Only one girl came up with that specification, so I wrote her and every “Napier” I could find an address for in Bulter County Ohio (I used online public domain property records to find these addresses)!

I sent a simple story, that I was searching for my birthmother, for medical reasons, and if anyone knew of a girl who had surrendered a baby in the year I was born to please help me connect. Well, about a month later SHE wrote me ! She confirmed that she was in fact my birthmother ( I sent details about my birth that only the right woman would know). She was shocked but elated to hear from me. She said it took her a month to write me because she had had to summon up the courage to tell her three daughters (yes I have three half sisters from my mom!) that when she was 14 she had had sex and gotten pregnant the first time and had had a baby and had surrendered her for adoption, and that now that baby is grown and has contacted her and that they have a long lost sister!

So, we sent each other pictures, etc. She also supplied me with my birthfather’s name! So I searched property records for everyone with his last name of Bolden, and poof! About 2 weeks after I sent my searching letter he emailed me! Apparently everyone I had sent the letters to was his family! They had no idea he had gotten a girl pregnant when he was 13! So there he was at age 42 having to tell his family about what happened (kinda bad), while also telling them what is happening now,(kinda good), getting his daughter in his life. Insane, huh?

So about a month after I found him, I traveled back to Ohio and met both of them. I met my dad first. We spent a looooong lovely summer day picnicking at Houston’s Woods State Park. I had both of my kids (only two at the time), we pitched a tent and brought food and drinks. My birthdad had a dog, and my son just ran and chased the dog all day.

It was great to just talk to him and get to know him a little. I finally know now where I get my musical talent from! My dad! Both he and his father my Grampa are folk musicians! Yay!

I also got to meet my sister (my bdad’s daughter) Brandy and her son, Davin. Finally, I see where I get my toes from! Where I get my teeth from! And we have suuuuch similar personalities, me and my dad! In many ways looking at him is like looking in the mirror. I really do look like him. Finally, to know.

I met my mom and my other sisters a few days later (separately from my dad, of course). We had a great time looking at her old photo albums, she told me lots of stories about her mom, my Grama who passed just a couple of years before, and I got to get to know my sisters a little bit.

My birthmom was definitely more freaked out than my birth dad. I could tell she was a bit apprehensive, or perhaps it was that she was simply in shock. We all were, but I wasn’t very aware of how in shock I was until months after the fact.

The really crazy thing is that my birthdad and birthmom, as well as my adopted Dad, all were born in southeastern rural Kentucky; APPALACHIA (and so does my Adopted Dad! What a trip!). So I very well may be “my own Grampa”, even more than I ever realized.
My birthdad’s Grandmother was a pure Blackfoot Indian. My adopted dad’s Grandmother was also Indian, although they aren’t sure which tribe! So all these years I’ve been saying that I am part Native, and it has actually been true, not an adopted fabrication!

It’s so great, at last, to know.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

If I Were....
If I were a month, I would be: October

If I were a day of the week, I would be: Friday night!

If I were a time of day, I would be: Early morning

If I were a sea animal, I would be: a dolphin

If I were a direction, I would be: North

If I were a sin, I would be: Gluttony

If I were a historical figure I would be: Annie Oakley

If I were a planet, I would be: Earth

If I were a liquid, I would be: Sauterne

If I were a stone, I would be: Diamond

If I were a tree, I would be: a Bodhi

If I were a bird, I would be: a Falcon

If I were a flower/plant, I would be: a rose

If I were a kind of weather, I'd be: a brisk fall evening

If I were a mythical creature, I'd be: a shapeshifter

If I were a musical instrument, I would be: a viola

If I were an animal, I would be: a wild mustang

If I were an emotion, I would be: melodramatic

If I were a vegetable, I would be: butternut squash baked in butter

If I were a sound, I would be: rain

If I were an element, I would be: Fire

If I were a song, I would be: Amazing grace

If I were a movie, I would be: Cinema Paradiso

If I were a book, I'd be: Like water for Chocolate

If I were a food, I would be: Sushi

If I were a place, I would be: Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park

If I were a taste, I would be: sweet n sour

If I were a scent, I would be: lavender

If I were a religion, I would be: universalist

If I were a word, I would be: antidisestablishmentarianism

If I were a body part, I would be: the nape of a woman's neck

If I were a facial expression, I would be: mouth open wide laughing

If I were a subject in school, I would be: literature

If I were a cartoon character, I'd be: Mulan

If I were a shape, I would be: indescribable

If I were a number, I would be: a bajillion!

If I were a piece of jewelery, I would be: a 2-carat diamond set in platinum

If I were a piece of furniture, I would be: clawfoot bathtub

If I were a car, I would be: 1960's era VW Bus
If I were an item of clothing, I'd be: Columbia Sportswear hiking pants with those cool pockets and zippers


I have officially entered the realm of Chaos.

My husband's father is apparently dying; we are in the middle of moving out of Qatar (an international move); we are scheduled to leave in a week and three days, and still haven't sold our car; my housemaid won't accept any of the (great) people we have found to sponsor her.....AGH!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

An "Open Visa" for a Housemaid in Qatar???

We're supposed to leave Qatar for good in 2 weeks, plus about 4 days. Besides packing up our stuff, we have some business to settle. Gotta sell the car, as well as figure out what to do with our housemaid. We're facing a very unpleasant dilemma.

We wanted to help her immmigrate to the States, but she was denied a visa. Apparently she doesn't meet the qualifications of "being rooted" enough in Qatar to get a visit visa, nor the criteria required to officially get an immigrant visa. She hasn't worked for us long enough (at least one year) to accompany us as our housemaid from Qatar. Bummer!

SO; we have been trying to accommodate her wishes for her next job. It's her life after all! However, it's a complicated situation… She has been saying she wants to work for Westerners like us…but only if they're muslim too. No Western Christians etc. She also says she doesn't want to work for an Arabic family, even if the madam of the house is western and the man is Arabic.

So…who exacally is left? Finding a couple like my husband and myself is like finding a needle in a haystack. We are rare birds.

NOW the big idea she is proposing is that we write her a release paper from immigration and find her someone who will sponsor her on an "open visa". She says they want HER to pay THEM QR4,000 for this "open visa".

Well, contacted my little friend whose hubby works at immigration, and turns out this "open visa" thing is illegal. Yep, apparently there are folks out there accepting bribes from "khadamas" (housemaids) and letting them work illegally out on the economy.

You can't legally be sponsored by one person as a housemaid and work for other people. These folks know it too, that's why they're asking for QR4,000 as bribes.

What troubles me is;

1. That my housemaid thinks working illegally like this is a good idea. If they'll exploit one rule, what is stopping them from exploiting her in other ways. Effectively, she has no legal rights if she working illegally. She would have no legitimate channel for recourse if she is exploited.

2. That I can't give her what she wants because it's illegal (the "open visa"). I really like this girl, my kids love her like an auntie or something, leaving her here is really going to be tough.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Main Type
Overall Self
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

OK. let me say that this seems totally like me! Wow, one of the first of these tests that sounds right. -RH

Friday, June 02, 2006

Christians Cover their Hair too, mashallah

Just found great stuff regarding Christians who cover their hair and believe in modest dress. Mashallah!

I didn't realize that this movement goes beyound the Amish/Mennonite communities.

I have a lot of anxiety about returning to the States to live. Thoughts like, "what will I wear?"..."I will be singled out as a terrorist if I wear hijab.." "How will I make any friends, (especially since it looks like we're going to live in Ohio)?"... "Everyone will think I'm a FREAK!!!".

The truth is, I love wearing hijab. Now, this includes the headscarf as well as modest clothing, ie clothes that don't reveal your figure. I love wearing the arabic "jelabiyya", a non-form-fitting dress, kinda like what nuns used to wear back when they all wore habits.

Ok, so wearing a jelabiyya would be fine. Wearing "shalwar kameez", the indian national dress which is basically just a long shirt with pants, is fine. But as soon as you cover your hair everyone suddenly is terrified of you. Heck, I could be standing on the beach in a bikini, but if I am wearing a headscarf suddenly there's a problem!