Taking Stock in Spring – the September issue

Did you know that the super cheery, crafty, all around ace face Pip Lincolne is a taker of stock? I don’t mean she pinches things, five-finger-discount style, no sirree Bob! Pip is totes upstanding and I’d venture has only ever pinched sweet, chubby babies on the cheeks, and even then, I bet they weren’t random babies in prams, but family babies, sweet babies of friends… pinched in a loving I’m your ace pal Auntie Pip way… anyway, I digress.

Pip does this great thing called Taking Stock and it’s a super helpful exercise if your brain is a bit clogged, or just to see what comes up as you go through her list of helpful prompts. Here’s Pip’s September list, and it’s a beauty. She’s doing lots of ace stuff lately – such a clever clogs lady.

I’ll pop a copy of the list at the bottom of the post, so you can join in too if you like. Feel free to post your own Pip inspired Taking Stock post on a blog you might have, or your Facebook wall, or even in the comments here if you like.

If you use Pip’s list, remember to give her a shout-out, credit where credit is due, it’s easy and nice to do!



So without further ado, here’s my spring stock take, the September issue:

Making : plans for a new online project, it’s a bit daunting, but it’s also exciting.
Cooking : I think I’m going to keep cooking frittatas – I celebrated #FrittataFriday last week, and it was delicious, and it lasted me until today too – super tasty bargain! And I’m baking every Sunday, rockin’ the #sundaybakingsunday hashtag on Instagram, and loving that people are joining in. Yay for baking type people!
Drinking : instant coffee – woe is me! This is because my beloved Nespresso machine has broken down and I can’t afford to fix it.
Reading: blogs, SEEK, and lots of fun and interesting things on Facebook. Haven’t cracked open a book in a while.
Wanting: cheese. And some clarity on the job hunt – I’m just not getting any offers and it is kind of a mystery and a bummer.
Looking: out windows, as I sit in cafes or the library and enjoy free wi-fi. Spring is so beautiful isn’t it?
Playing: the new U2 album, I’m so happy to hear new stuff from them, I think they are a super talented bunch of fellas.
Deciding: which bills to pay first, there isn’t enough money coming in to pay everyone.
Wishing: that $1,200 would fall out of the sky so I could pay those pesky bills. A girl can dream can’t she?
Enjoying: Sunshine, spring, dappled light, blogging, the library. So many things.
Waiting: to see if I can get the project I’d like to start out of my head and into the world, and if anyone wants to be part of it.
Liking: this BabyMac post and the concept of rocking Eden’s world during #fucktober – please consider taking part!
Wondering: just how much mail Eden will get, knowing that the blogging community is awesome and she’s sure to be inundated.
Loving: longer days, kindness, optimism.
Pondering: encouraging bloggers, how to find a job, what’s around the corner.
Considering: writing about hard, very personal topics, like depression and oncoming trains.
Watching: Project Runway: Under The Gunn, The Block, and two very moving episodes of Australian Story about adoption. 
Hoping: that people will talk about their experiences of adoption more as a result of those episodes of Australian Story.
Marvelling: at the fact that I went into the garden yesterday and got the crazy prolific jasmine under control. Who even am I?
Needing: a job, an income, an opportunity, someone to give me a chance.
Smelling: jasmine wafting through the house.
Wearing: my new 17Sundays skirt, which I love. #teamstripes
Following: I’m not much of a follower, other than on social media, where I follow LOTS of great people and blogs.
Noticing: that sunshine makes me happy.
Knowing: that I will find my place in the workforce again. It is just taking longer than I expected.
Thinking: about adoption, how it impacts people for their whole lives, and how the ripples never end.
Admiring: people with get-up-and-go, people forging their own path, people who see the world as a place for adventures.
Sorting: it’s still on to the to-do list, but I’ve got to sort out my budget for the next few months.
Buying: not much at all. Today I bought a coffee, and I really shouldn’t have. But I did, because, coffee.
Getting: buoyed by encouraging words, friends online, positivity.
Bookmarking: the ProBlogger website, I’d like to download some more #pbevent sessions while I can.
Disliking: the political climate of #TeamAustralia, racism, casting people you don’t understand as ‘other’ and therefore suspect.
Opening: the pantry and the fridge, creating meals from things on hand. So satisfying.
Giggling: at the memory of mucking around with bloggy friends at #pbevent – we laughed SO HARD while taking silly photos.
Feeling: happy, good! There may be some challenges, but they don’t overwhelm the fact that I have so much to be thankful for.
Snacking: on crackers and cheese, while I still can! There’s about half a thumb of the block left. Mmmm, cheese.
Coveting: Cheese, cash, a YES – knowing that I will be okay anyway, and that the YES is coming. It is, isn’t it?
Wishing: I could stop thinking about cheese. Is there a support group for that?
Helping: I try and spread positivity and encouragement, I think that helps.
Hearing: The hum of conversation and people’s daily activity – such good sounds.

So that’s the state of play in my world.

Life is GOOD. Not without a few challenges, but there’s no hall pass for dealing with reality is there? Well maybe there is (for a time) if you’re a squillionaire, but we all still lay down at the end of the day, alone with our thoughts, and we all look at ourselves in the mirror everyday. I can honestly say I like the girl I see looking back at me. She’s a glass-half-full person, she’s smart and kind and funny and resourceful, and she is now going to stop referring to herself in the third person.

So, here’s a blank list for you to fill in if you want to. It’s a great exercise! It might surprise you…

Making :
Cooking :
Drinking :

Cheers for now,

Annette x

What’s in a name?

I have been dipping in and out of Claire Hewitt’s daily May blogging challenge and today’s prompt caught my eye – First Names.

For most people, their baby’s name is discussed over a long period, and during pregnancy. There are favourites. And names that are immediately discarded as too common, too strange, too much a reminder of that annoying kid from school and the list ebbs and flows. Opinions are sought and discarded and sometimes the poor kid causes arguments before they even come into the world.

I don’t really have any idea about how I got either of my names.

I have had two first names.

One was given to me by my 17 year old mother, prior to my adoption, and one was given to me upon my adoption. So which one am I? Does a name define a person?

Am I Sara, daughter of Andrea, my teenaged mother, who I know precious little about? (I don’t know anything identifying about my father.)

Or am I Annette, daughter of Brian and Dale, who didn’t have their own biological children until after they adopted two babies?

I don’t usually use different terms for my mothers and fathers, because I don’t want to – and I think labels have the tendency to compartmentalise or diminish significant roles in my life. This will confuse, or even rile some folks. Tough luck. These are my people, and the language I use about them is my choice. I have two mothers, and I have two fathers. I will not allow anyone’s discomfort with that to impact me. It’s the truth about who I am.

The interesting thing is that both my names have something in common.

Sara is a diminutive of Sarah, which has Hebrew origins and means lady or princess. Sarah was the wife of Abraham, the Old Testament prophet. She became a mother at 90. No thank you.

Annette is a diminutive of Anne if you prefer the French lineage, or Hannah for the Greek fans. Either way, the meaning is gracious, merciful or favour, grace. And Hannah was the mother of an Old Testament prophet.

So, which one am I? Who am I? According to my names, I’m a merciful lady, and on a good day I might brush past these characteristics. A very good day!

I can tell you that my thoughts about my names have changed over the years. I actually really like both my names, and in recent years I have toyed with the notion of making Sara more a part of who I am now. Perhaps a small tattoo? It’s only four letters. I hold the world record for weakest stomach/lowest threshold of pain, so no tattoo yet – it’s not something I need to rush into.

Inevitably, some of you will be thinking, “but how will that make your parents feel?” You may find the notion of me wanting to honour my first first name disloyal or even wrong. Adoptees spend a lot of time answering questions about how everyone else feels – their adoptive parents, their ‘birth/biological’ family, their siblings. Tip: ask adoptees how they feel please.

It’s so strange to be telling someone your story and have them seem more interested in the other characters in it than in the person standing in front of them. As an adoptee, often the role people see us in is of the grateful “orphan” or rescued wretch. This isn’t a musical! There are a million posts I could write about being an adoptee – I’ll try and stay on track with first names for today.

So, I’m Annette – one of five children that share family history, parents and our surname, yet we don’t all share physical characteristics or DNA. Most importantly, “they” all love vanilla slices and I find then gross!! Ergo, vanilla slice loving is 80% genetic.

My dad calls me Nett – you may not. My good friends call me Nettie – you may become someone who shares that level of friendship. I’ll tell you if you overstep. I’ve done it before! Mostly, people know me as Annette. That’s who I am.

I am also Sara, a woman with no idea about my origins, or family history. I have no clue whose blue eyes I have, who I might laugh like, or frown like, or LOOK like. I don’t look like my favourite aunt or my gorgeous sisters (I’m still super cute!). I know my mother’s name, and her mother’s name. I know that Andrea’s birthday almost coincides with my parents’ wedding anniversary.

And whatever you call me, I know myself pretty well.

So, what’s in a name? Plenty. Echoes of my mothers’ desires for my life perhaps, or their feelings about and hopes for me.

Names don’t belong to our parents for long, they may choose them, but we grow into them. I intend to keep growing into both of mine for a good while yet.

Thanks for reading. If you’ve got a question about adoption, please feel free to ask!


Annette, and Sara xx

Why I can’t feel the love for LoveChild

We Aussies love a TV series, especially a home-grown one. This year’s breakout smash seems to be LoveChild – and it’s the stuff of a television producer’s dreams. I can almost hear the pitch now ‘Imagine this, a show set in an era that evokes nostalgia for more than one key demographic of our audience, with awesome music and vibrant fashions, it will be a visual feast. We’ll have a really sexy cast – we might even lure that Rafters girl back from the US. And there will be romance and drama played out in an iconic Australian location, all set against the backdrop of huge social upheaval – and the cherry on top, evolving storylines surrounding unbelievable adoption practices. People will lap it up! It will be a smash, a ratings bonanza.’

And so it is. It is also my story, and the story of thousands and thousands of other Australians, those who were adopted, or who relinquished their babies, those who gratefully became parents via adoption, and those who had their potential parenthood ripped away from them, and of the people who allowed these things to happen.

Since the teasers started last year, I’d been wondering what LoveChild would be like – would it be true to the times, would it show the reality of what happened, would people want to watch that…. and I think it’s doing a pretty good job of being great television, which nods towards some of the ugly reality of what happened, but keeps the audience from feeling it too deeply – with great costumes, a feel-good soundtrack and other story lines that bring relief to the heaviness of the adoption aspects of the show.

I watched the first two episodes, and I really wanted to like it. I thought it might be a great way to bring the topic of adoption to a wider audience and give people opportunities to talk about their experiences – perhaps for the first time in decades, or ever.

I coped pretty well with it, until Annie was giving birth and they put that sheet up so she wouldn’t be able to see her baby. When that nurse rushed out of the room with Annie’s baby girl, and she couldn’t even catch a glimpse of her – well, I don’t mind telling you – I broke out in an instantaneous, head to toe, hot and cold sweat. I don’t expect people to understand that reaction fully, heck I don’t understand it fully, but what it proved to me, again, is that my adoption, which happened almost 46 years ago, still has a profound impact on me, at a cellular level. So much for the ‘clean break’ theory, or ‘getting over it’.

Sometimes when adoptees speak about adoption, people are quick to rush to the defence (perhaps unwittingly) of everyone but the adoptee – I can’t tell you how many adopted people have recounted stories about being asked how their desire to discuss their adoption openly, or search for their families, or express anger at past practices, is met with ‘oh but how will your (adoptive) parents feel about that?’ Then there’s the old ‘well darling, there was no single mother’s pension at the time, so your mother did the best she could for you and gave you up’. How the fuck would you know what my 17-year-old mother was feeling at the time? Seriously. The knee-jerk cliché thing is NOT HELPING anyone. If you don’t know what to say, say that – simply say, ‘I don’t know what to say’, and keep listening. And I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for those teenage girls, now in their sixties, to open up about having their babies taken, to be listened to and not shooshed or told ‘it’s all in the past’. It isn’t, it can’t be left behind.

Here’s what they didn’t know about adoption then, that is being realised and felt across the country, and the world – adoption has life-long ramifications. These are felt by adoptees, natural/birth/original parents and their extended families, adoptive parents, siblings, partners and children of adoptees. Perhaps one of the saddest, most heartbreaking revelations is that sincere, deep love for adoptive children actually hasn’t been enough to make adoption a once-in-time, impact free event.

It pains me to say it, but love isn’t all we need. We need to accept reality, we need to face up to the impact that the past has had, and is still having, on hundreds of thousands of lives here in Australia. We need to have a frank, open, continuing dialogue about adoption, and the commodifying of children, which is ongoing. We need not to be swayed by movie stars who have made intercountry adoption ‘trendy’, nor by politicians who will do anything to make themselves appealing to the electorate. We need to listen to the stories of adoptees, of those mini-skirted teenagers of the 1960s (and their counterparts from surrounding decades), we need to undo the myths around adoption and open our eyes to the ways in which similar mistakes are still being made.


This is the extent of my family tree. This document wasn’t even typed until I was almost 10 years old. I guess the authorities hoped they’d never need to type it. All babies have families of origin, to deny that is utterly destructive.

For my then 17-year-old mother, who is now 62, I wonder if you’re watching LoveChild and thinking of me….. I wonder if I will ever muster the courage to search for you, and if you would welcome that, or if it would be too heartbreaking for you to face it….  I wonder.

I won’t be watching LoveChild anymore, I don’t need to watch it, I’m living it.


For anyone tempted to comment about how I haven’t told the full story, to take me to task because not all adoptees feel the same way, of course I haven’t, and I know that, but this is part of my story, and nobody can ‘shoosh’ me or judge my experience. Nothing I’ve written here makes me ‘ungrateful’ or disloyal to my family. This happened to me, and if that makes you uncomfortable, there’s nothing I can do about that. I welcome your thoughtful questions and comments. 

If this post raises any issues for you, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14.