How it all started

Like any opening liner, it all stated back in 1970………..

I grew up knowing I was adopted. My parents told me I was part Kiowa and Quapaw Indian and that my biological mother looked like an Indian princess. Back in the 70’s they were still trying to integrate Indians into society and I was adopted by white parents. Today the courts try to keep the tribes together to maintain the Indian heritage. It was a culture I sadly missed out on.

Over the years people told me to gI'm caughtet involved with the Indians. Don’t be a stranger, get to know them. Go to powwows’ (powwows’ are dances put on American Indians – some people don’t know that…my daughter didn’t and she’s one of the reason’s I’m writing this blog) anyway, everyone said get involved. Well, I do…to an extend.

Growing up the only Indian for 300 miles or it could have been 30 miles but I don’t know..I never knew any other Indians growing up, it was just me. So I was never part of a culture that knew anything about them. I was not one of them and yet I didn’t feel I was one of the ones around me, they were white and I didn’t look white. No offense, it’s just how I felt at the time. I guess knowing I didn’t even belong to the family I was in made me insecure about everything.

Growing up Indian was like growing up a troll. You never saw any trolls around. You ‘hear’ they lived in Oklahoma or Arizona or some far off state you never visited until one day you do and then you’re like, there they are. And I’m thinking looking at them, looking at their beautiful dark faces and dark skin and brown eyes, these are my people. I should dance, I should sing but I don’t.  They’re Indian and I’m a troll – I just never fit in.

Truthfully, I never wanted to be one of those sad people. You know the ones with blond hair and fair skin wearing buckskin and beads claiming they are Indian, desperately trying to fit in. I shouldn’t be too hard on them because they were walking around with tribal roll numbers and here I am still numberless. Blue eyes are able to prove their Indian ancestry and I can’t prove a thing. I don’t attend powwows’ because I feel like an imposter. I also feel extremely frustrated trying to determine my identity. Oklahoma basically makes it impossible. This is what happened.

I lived fairly comfortable with the life I had made for myself and then things started going wrong. I wasn’t happy in my marriage; I was more indentured slave than wife and work was going great. Why do I list that as a bad thing? Because it ultimately ended my marriage. My ex probably never figured I’d ever amount too much (heck, me neither) but once I entered Federal Service, I was a rock star. I loved it but he didn’t. I was working late, taking on more responsibilities and everyone including me glorified my new position but we started fighting and it all just went downhill. I won’t bore you with those details.

It was during this time the urge to find my family became profound. The urge had always been a small voice I had learned to ignore over the years but the little voice was now shouting and I decided to do something about it.

I wrote Oklahoma’s Department of Family Services and asked for all “non-identifying” information on my family. For those of you who don’t know you can do this you can IF your adoption was state approved. They are required to give you everything they know, everything but names. I received a five-page letter telling me tons of information. I’ll go over it in detail later. Among the many pieces of information I was given, as stated by the social worker who met with my mother over a period of months leading up to my adoption, one piece was that my mother was half Quapaw. My biological father was full-blooded Kiowa.

Armed with this I thought I had quite a bit of convincing material to open my adoption records. I had a leading clue to the ancestry and an Act, the Indian Child Welfare Act (that was established after I was adopted) and proved a useful tool for the courts. I petitioned Oklahoma to open my records but the judge (who shall remain nameless because I might need to petition him again) wrote me a very nice letter back informing me my records were opened but there was nothing in it that verified my claim to being Indian. See? That social worker set me up. Did they completely invent my background, is there some Indian conspiracy at work here?! (you see where my minds goes – I blame that on them too) Anyway along with the letter came several pages; a document correcting my name, a parental relinquishment paper and a document correcting my mother’s name.  Apparently the county clerk was drunk.  Probably not but makes you think, why all the mistakes?

 

It was quite a bit of information and it really answered a lot of my questions and really wish I would have had the information 30 years ago. It would have saved me a LOT of heartache. But those are lessons learned and I’ve had tons of them. My life is a cautionary tale. I’m a cautionary tale. My blog should be named “Deborah, cautionary tale” but I like to think I have more to leave behind than just a tale or two and I’m working on them. I’m an author. Not a well-known or even a very well-written author (can’t afford a good editor) but I’ve written a couple of books. “One Step Closer” details the last five miserable years of my life in a character named Lara Martin. Check her out. She’s not bad.

I am a struggling writer, a struggling mother, a struggling Christian and doing this daily journal (daily blog) I think I’ll find the answers I’m looking for. You’re the couch and I’m the patient and like any good psychology will tell you, ‘all you need to do is talk and I’ll listen’. Well, I’m going to talk and at the end of the day maybe someone will be listening.

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6 comments on “How it all started

  1. boy deb, I can understand some of your pain. although mine may not be as strung out as yours but I am with you on whom my father is. I did not know him I was told he was not a good man but this is what everyone tells me and now he is long been passed so I still to this day have no answers. so it would have been nice to get to make an informed decision on my own instead of everyone telling me that he is no good.

    • Thanks for writing. I had an interesting conversation with a good friend last night. She told me that her sister was upset because her children wanted to know their father. Her children are all grown with children of their own but she still held that seed of hatred for their father for what happened between them 45 years ago. I believe in protecting children when they are children. When I’m 30 years old if I want to know my father my mother shouldn’t be standing in my way. My friend’s sister hasn’t moved on and she won’t allow her children to either – that’s sad. Go on a quest to know the man and form your own opinions. No one has to know. It’s your journey and if you want to know him I wish you luck. Good luck, Teresa!

      • Hello Deborah! I was sent your blog by someone that recognized your biological mother’s name, and quickly realized that she knew someone else with the same biological mother…me! Not only do you and I share the same birth mother, 4 others do as well…3 girls and 1 boy! You are the final piece of a puzzle that has been being put together over several years! I’m sure you are full of questions, and would like to get some answers, and we (2 of the puzzle pieces) would be glad to fill you in when and if you are ready to pursue your biological lineage. You may reach us at jrawlins@wtok.org and sridge@freightquote.com if you would like to start working on the puzzle that you are a part of!

  2. Hello Deborah, I’ve been reading all your posts and really getting to know someone I wish I had the opportunity to get to know better long ago. If you remember me and reading aren’t the best of friends but for some reason I can’t or don’t want to stop reading your story. Although I wasn’t, as you put it, abandoned completely as I and my two sisters and one brother still lived with our mother but my father abondoned the family when I was about 5 years old. I was, for many many years, left with only one memory of him and that was of him tickling me in his lazy boy chair just before bed time. Still to this day I only have an hold onto that one memory that I’m not sure was real or just a dream, but none the less its mine. When I was 16 I tried to find him when I inadvertanly found his sister’s name and address in my mother’s address book. Her name is Lavern and she wrote back with the last address she had known for him. My mother received that reply and WAS NOT HAPPY! However, I quickly sent off a letter to him asking all sorts of questions and eagerly waited for a reply, one that never came. Some weeks later I spoke with my oldest sister and forwarded the same address to her and mentioned that I still hadn’t received a reply. Just as I did though, she sent her letter however with slightly differnt results. He not only replied to her letter, he sent her two pictures of himself, informed her that he was now a minister, invited her to his home and offered to perform the ceremony if her and her boyfriend decided to get married. When she told me this I WAS NOT HAPPY! For the second time I felt abandoned and unwanted by my father. Soon my abandoned and unwanted feeling turned into hatered for him and I’m a bit (not completely) sure that the hatered was fulled by my mother’s comments that my father never wanted boys and her refusal to tell me anything more about him. I carried those thoughts and that hatered for him for the next 22 years. When I was 36 my other sister found him through the internet and began corresponsing with him. She tried to get me to talk to him but I refused. She gave his information to my brother and he began to correspond with him and he tried to get me to talk to him, again I refused. Two years later I went to visit my brother on a family vacation and really sat down and talked to him about our father and he said “Brother, you just got to let it go! You’ll never know what really happened until you forgive him and ask him.” It took me another year to think about it and finally called my father. It was on a Wednesday night and he and his new wife were just about to head off to church services when I called. When I told him my name I could just hear the tears in his voice. We talked for nearly 10 hours that night and a year and half later I went to visit him in Arizona. It was a very short but good visit, I found out that he also served as a Military Police officer in the Army. He married Wanda on October 14th, my birthday. Of course he didn’t remember it was my birthday when they decided on that date because it had no real importance to him since we haven’t seen or spoken in nearly 35 years. We don’t speak much but the times we do it’s really nice. I’m looking forward to getting another opportunity to visit him again.
    I’m sorry this got so long, and I’m not really sure why I went into it but reading your story made me think a lot about my own. Thank you for telling me (your couch) your story,I think I’ll call my dad tonight.
    I will look forward to reading the blog you write after meeting with your sisters! Jon

    • Jon, I never knew that or if I did I glossed it over with my feelings b/c back then it was all about me. I’m so glad you ended up forgiving your father and finding out for yourself who he is. I know I’ll follow this through and find the answers I’m looking for but it can’t be at all costs anymore. Connection on all levels is important to me and I know it’s important to you and your family. He was an MP? How crazy is that. You both were. I can’t wait to find the similarities between myself and my mother. I can tell already there are several. I’ll keep writing and I’m very glad for your comment!

      • Back then I was all about you too so I never brought up things from my past. The greatest think I learned from my father’s absence is that I will NEVER abandon my children!

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