I hear the mountain birds

The sound of rivers singing

A song I've often heard

It flows through me now

So clear and so loud

I stand where I am and forever

I'm dreaming of home

I feel so alone

I'm dreaming of home

It's carried in the air

The breeze of early morning

I see a land so fair

My heart opens wide

There's sadness inside

I stand where I am and forever

I'm dreaming of home

I feel so alone

I'm dreaming of home

This is no foreign sky

I see no foreign light

But far away I am

From some peaceful land

I'm longing to stand

A hand in my hand


I'm dreaming of home

I feel so alone

I'm dreaming of home.

 -- ‘Hymne des Fraternises (I’m Dreaming of Home)’ by Philippe Rombi

Home (noun): a place of origin. (Merriam-Webster.com)

Home often seems so elusive to me. And perhaps never more so with the passing of those those who’ve shared and shaped my childhood.

As I consider them, today, inspired by the 70th birthday of my sister, Laura, where do I put her, and where do I put them? Where have they gone? They exist in my mind’s eye, certainly, and take bows in the swirl of emotions and memories that clamber in, vieing for attention, like so many dancers waltzing across the floor. Have they gone ‘home’? Where, in fact, is home if you were relinquished in a closed adoption?

Top: Laura circa 1958. Right: Laura, circa 1982. Below, Laura and 'Jerry Boy,' circa 1963. All photos from Regan family archives

Here, today, engendering my tears, is Laura, my only sibling, who died at age 40 thirty years next December. She was a companion in my early years, a playmate and foil for any temptation I may have had to feel forlorn. But then as she entered puberty she lost interest in being a little brother, and was no longer a playful presence, as she provoked a steady stream of conflicts with my parents. She seemed cruel, and yet so brave to me, in those shouting matches that rocked my world. Lacking access to the truth of her origins and undermined by my mom’s drinking, Laura struggled to articulate what she wanted, what she needed, which were the very things I craved -- honesty, love and consistency. (Continued below.)

Above selection from Concierto: "Voices for Peace" (Músicos Solidarios) 2013 Auditorio Nacional de Música de Madrid Madrid, March 10, 2013, Director: Miguel Roa

Unlike me, Laura never learned the identity of her first parents, though we came to learn the outlines of their story after she died, many years after she died. Her mother was a nurse just like Laura, and like Laura’s daughter. Laura’s mother, a woman with the surname Brook, made love with a physician, became pregnant by him, and then she relinquished Laura. My parents adopted Laura and I, separately, four years apart. We are bound forever by a distant vision of home, achingly and only partly realized.

Today, I now find myself admiring Laura’s feistiness, and understanding her restiveness. Like me, I believe, she wanted to understand ‘home.’ She yearned for truth, not the “lost and found” fairy tales we received about adoption. The hard-earned truth, which I have come to find inscribed in my heart, is this: Our pair of closed adoptions were not about “lost and found” but loss and found.

When Laura died, after years of struggle with anxiety and addictions, I found myself benumbed by my anger, fear and frustration. It has taken me these many years after her death to rediscover the love I felt for her. I'm dreaming of home, and finding her there once more. Ger

Views: 587

Tags: adoption, family history, memoir, motherhood, relinquishment

Comment by Fran Reddy on March 13, 2019 at 4:42pm

Wonderful story Ger. Finding the love and happiness in your memories is priceless - hang on to it tight!

Comment by Gerry Regan on March 14, 2019 at 12:39am

Thank you for the affirmation, Fran. I've come to increasingly say, "It's not the destination in life, but the journey that matters most!"

Comment by Gerry Regan on March 28, 2019 at 6:36am
I encountered this letter to me from my Mom a year ago while going through our extensive family archives. It's dated March 10, 1977. It affected me deeply when I found it and does again today. I refer here to my adoptive mother, and she suffered from alcoholism. When sober, which was blessedly most of the time, she was gracious and kind and nurturing. I loved her dearly, though I hated her bouts of intoxication, when she would hide from us. She died in 2004 at the age of 84. Here Mom is contemplating a dying, once glorious tree in the backyard of our house in New Hyde Park, on Long Island.
"Dear Jerry,
Another note to tell you about spring in N.Y. Or should I say the approach of spring. Yesterday was warm, today is going to be in the 60s. I'm looking at our back yard. It looks nice. The maple tree looks good. However, the dogwood in front of the dining room window does not look as well as it should. I planted that tree 20 years ago, and now it is on its last legs. I really hate to see it cut down. You were four or five years old, and, in your eyes this tree was always there. But I remember an apple tree that was there before. I must be getting old. Memories of yesterday keep coming back. I think I will put in another Dogwood. This is how life is, one after another.
"Miss you and that little boy when our dogwood was young and so were you. -- Mom"
Comment by Gerry Regan on March 28, 2019 at 6:38am

My Mom and I, circa 1958, in my childhood home in New Hyde Park, N.Y.


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