Recently I was asked for another family reunion for someone who was put up for adoption as a child. I’m very careful about asking a lot of questions because not every parent who has put up their child for adoption is interested in a surprise family reunion.
Why? They’ve moved on with their lives and put the past behind them. Sure there are a few parents who would like to meet you but “throwing their entire family” into the mix may very well be a potion for disaster. What if the mother who put you for adoption didn’t bother telling her cousins, her aunts & uncles or even her own parents about you?
The reality is that I set out to find my own mother in my 20’s and that meeting didn’t go the way that I had expected. Why? Well, I wanted to ask my mother three or four questions that I had convinced myself to be true that weren’t.
Our mother sold us at 6 years old. Apparently she valued partying & drug use far more than being tied down with four kids. My mother was a heroin addict in the “swinging sixties.” Over the past ten years I’ve visited her with our half sister Tammy, our twins and my twin. Why? Well we were hoping she might one day recognize us.
Our half sister Tammy and my brother Jerry along with my sister and I amounted to a measly $200.00 and although I had several years to wonder why that amount was sufficient and what could have persuaded my mother to go to such lengths, I fabricated excuses most of my life in order to insulate myself from the truth. Why? Because my lies protected me from anyone saying that I was so ugly my own mother left me. I had the most glamorous and exciting reasons for my mother not being around whenever anyone asked about her. I certainly didn’t want anyone knowing the truth. However, I’m older now and carry no guilt for being worth only $50 nor does my sister.
My first meeting as an adult didn’t go anywhere in the direction that I had planned. The answers to my questions were blunt and without emotion. Hours later, high on drugs again, my mother was in a debilitating accident that left her with half of her cognitive ability and blind in one eye. My anger regarding her answers was quickly dissipated due to her condition and the fact that she was not expected to live. Shockingly, she survived the accident and is still alive.
I have a “glass half full” philosophy that has worked well for me and although my mother wasn’t sorry she had sold us or ever wondered about us or even cared what happened to us—I reconnected with our step sister, her children, her husband and her grandmother. Yes, I finally found half of the family that I had spent most of my life wondering about and for me, that was worth the pain of a mother who never should have been a mother that turned out to be my own mother.
Before planning that family reunion, I was direct regarding my reasons for “pulling back a bit” before involving an entire family and suggested meeting with the mother first to see how it goes.
A few years ago, Kimberly Stine reached out for a birthday party that she had never had. I talked to my team about this unusual request and we decided that although the request was unusual-Kimberly’s reason for wanting one were well founded. A week later, we loaded up the birthday cake, the gifts we had purchased, drinks, candles & my family to meet Kimberly and give her the party she had never had but always wanted as this blog details-Kimberly Stine & My Texas Twins Events Team Celebrate With A Party She Had Never Had.
Creative requests for ceremonies are always discussed with my team to ensure we don’t have a scheduling conflict and so everyone is on board with the event. Sometimes it takes a village and my multigenerational team aka Texas Twins Events Team, all bring their own skill sets to a Dream Event.
From our children to grandchildren- my entire family are involved in every aspect of a Dream Event.
I’m often quoted as saying that client meetings are like blind dates. Why? We’ve never met in person and we know very little about each other. Occasionally, the client wants far more than we are willing to give because Dream Events that are sponsored don’t cost the client money–the costs come out of our pockets. When this happens, I make the rules, not the client as this blog details-Dream Events, Desires & Diva’s? Blind Dates & Asking For Too Much Surprise Me Occasionally.
Trying to “teach” people who makes the rules on a sponsored event isn’t easy. But, here’s the deal-if we are doing something to help you when no one else will and paying for everything ourselves, don’t make outrageous demands. Why? Because your Dream Event will be declined. There are far too many people who realize and recognize that we are helping them when no one else will and are honored for our help. I don’t “have” to take on an event for anyone. Sponsored events are charitable and we make the rules, not the client.
A few years ago, we had two requests from two women who wanted baby showers because their friends and families wouldn’t give them one. Ironically, they both knew each other and to keep expenses down since we were providing the baby gifts and the party, I decided to do both showers at the same time as this blog details-The Double Baby Shower Dream Event With The Pawning Planners.
My team and I actually “sweep porches” within our own communities most of the time but since I’m licensed within numerous states as well as licenses to conduct prison weddings within Texas, we also travel. For more information on Texas Prison Weddings With Wendy Wortham, visit this link-Need An Authorized Officiant For Your Inmate Wedding? Wendy Wortham Travels Texas.
Nearly every week, I’m contacted to donate funding to numerous charitable organizations but, we already have a list of affiliates and cannot take on more efforts at this time because we also sponsor numerous events at our own expense when clients have no money to book through Texas Twins Events and no trade to barter with through The Pawning Planners.
If you’re looking for a worthy charity to donate to, I’m going to suggest Stones Of Love. Providing headstones for children when parents can’t afford to provide them on their own, my friend Sherri gives hope to families that no one else will help which is ironically exactly what we do in a different set of circumstances for obvious reasons because our clients need or want an event while Sherri’s clients need or want a headstone. For more information on Stones Of Love, visit this link-Stones Of Love-Headstones For Children & Families Who Cannot Afford To Provide Them.
On occassion, based on the circumstances, I have provided Floral decorations but I’m picky about who and why. After all, I’m not rich and no one is leaving free decorations on my doorstep.
Since this question “comes up” over and over, I’m going to address it today. My inventory was bought and created by me the reason it exists is because I recognized early on that many families cannot afford to provide them on their own. I changed that at great personal expense as a courtesy.
My inventory was an investment for others and I don’t “give things away” often because I would have to replace them. I already donate numerous floral designs to area funeral homes and have for over 7 years because at a funeral one day, the chaplain admiring my silk designs, asked me if they could keep them for other families who could never afford their own flowers. The end result? My designs are used over and over for families with no flowers. Many of you may not even be aware that families struggling to afford a funeral are often too broke to buy flowers. It happens everyday but it doesn’t happen in Fort Worth because of me.
When I was contacted to donate decorations for a cancer remission party by someone who had heard that I donate silk designs to area funeral homes, I quickly packed and mailed the designs for a young girl who wanted a beautiful party because it touched my heart.
When our mini me twins aka The Little Pawners told us many of their friends at Austin Elementary couldn’t afford mums for homecoming, Cindy and I hit my workroom and changed that for them by making the mums ourselves. No one “donated” the supplies. We bought them ourselves. If we believe in something–we sacrifice to make it happen not because we are rich and not because someone else jumped in to help us. We sacrifice to do something for others that they will never forget. Why? Because the people we help know that no one else will help them.
Teaching your children and grandchildren compassion isn’t easy if they have never met a struggling family. If you aren’t teaching your children how to be compassionate, they may never learn on their own.
Our children and grandchildren see firsthand how enriching helping others is because they are often on hand at Appraisal Appointments, Dream Events, Fundraisers and rent parties. They are well aware of the hurdles that Pawning Planners clients face.
As I wait to see how the first meeting with Tommy’s mother goes and hope it goes better than my own meeting went with my mother, my team and I will do whatever we can to make his family reunion a reality even if we need to step in and be the family he has never met. Why? Because we are different. Because we took everything that we had survived ourselves and turned it around for others. The gift of giving other’s a dream event and opportunity to enjoy something special was based entirely on our own experiences and our desires to change things for others.
I answer a lot of questions from folks who don’t get it and may never get it. Why? Because if you have never been hopeless or broke, if you have never struggled to do something with your family that you could never afford, you’re never gonna get it. You will never understand something you can’t relate to…
Wendy M Wortham