LVPL’s Life Stories Program is an event that hosts a group of volunteer panelists with personal experience regarding a designated topic. A panel of community members will share their unique stories and satisfy your curiosity. The Life Stories program was created as a place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered. Programs are based on community members’ experiences relevant to their designated topic and facilitated in a question and answer format. Our first Life Series program will be on November 4th at 2:00pm. The topic focus is “National Adoption Month: sharing a variet of experiences with adoption”. For more information, please contact Mitze at (719) 742-3572 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tony Masinton’s adoption story: Although there have been Masintons in La Veta for 100 years, I’ve only lived here for the past seven. I was born in Boulder, Colorado but grew up all over Colorado and, for three years, in Alaska. Before moving to La Veta, my family and I lived in England for twelve years.
I was adopted in a “closed” arrangement at the age of 13 months. Apparently, I had been through two foster homes and weighed less than 20 pounds when my parents adopted me. Seems like it must have been a rough time, but I don’t remember any of that and now weigh considerably more! My parents never kept my adoption a secret, so I feel like I have always known about it. Because I have always accepted my parents, I have not felt the strong urge to track down my birth parents – despite this being a huge personal mystery. My adopted parents’ honesty, openness, generosity, and natural parenting skills have never made me feel like I’m missing something by not knowing about my birth parents.
Mitzi Keairns’ adoption story: I was born in Denver, in 1954 at a home for unwed mothers and then moved to the Catholic Charity Orphanage shortly after. Charlie and Lola had been on the adoption wait list for many years, and they were notified and as soon as I weighed 5 pounds I was available to be adopted. I was able to come “home” to them in October when I was 3 weeks old. They lived in La Veta and had 2 sons ages 15 and 16.
I had a wonderful life in La Veta. My dad had the grocery store and mom worked some for him at the store, but mainly stayed at home with me until I started school. I loved the store and got to “work” there from an early age. I learned that I was adopted when I was 6 years old and still remember that event very vividly. I can recall being sad at first, but my mom and dad were so fantastic and made it known how much I was loved and wanted. They made adoption feel like a special gift.
I graduated from La Veta HIgh School and later the University of Northern Colorado. I married and went on to be a teacher for a few years before moving to Rhode Island where my 4 children were born. I later moved to New Jersey and then in 1999 back to La Veta to help my 84 year dad with running Charlie’s Market.
I had such wonderful parents that I never really was interested in finding out about my birth parents. My youngest daughter has a blood clotting disorder that she inherited from both my husband and I, who was also adopted. Since we passed on the gene for this rare condition without having the disease itself, she thought that by looking on 23 and me, she might find someone distantly related who also had the condition and could talk to her about it. Long story short, she found my half brother and sister and my 82 year old birth mother who gave me up for adoption. They all live in California and it’s been a very nice experience getting to know some very special people.
Suzi Brokaw’s adoption story: From personal experience, foreign adoptions are not easy, as there are a variety of different hoops to jump through. In 1990, I adopted two children from Romania. I personally have three biological children of my own who were already adults by this time. I adopted a 6 year old boy and a 3 year old girl. The first almost 6 years of my son’s life was in an orphanage where he experienced different forms of abuse. My daughter had a similar traumatic story as well. Although there were great difficulties with both the process of foreign adoption, as well as their personal stories, I am so glad that I had this opportunity to adopt. I truly believe it gave them both a chance at a quality life.
Cherie Lowenberg’s adoption story: I am a native Coloradan born at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver, Colorado. I was adopted from the orphanage at Denver Children’s Home when I was 19 days old. The circumstances of my “handoff” from the orphanage to my new parents have always seemed a bit surprising to me, especially since social work has been my career. They made the decision to adopt me one afternoon, and they were allowed to take me home with them on that same day! The good news is that I survived and happily thrived as I grew up, being a child of the forest and streams, hayfields and berry patches, doing a lot of enraptured exploration of the natural world around me. In 2004, I decided it was time to do a search for my biological family. Just 4 years ago through Ancestry there popped up a DNA match that led me to meet a half-brother and half-sister on my biological father’s side! I feel truly blessed to get to know these people in this later chapter of my journey. To all of these new people in my life I am known as “The Big Surprise.” I am happy to say that the positive level of acceptance from my biological family members has been beyond my expectations, and in the process I have acquired some precious new siblings/friends in California, New Mexico, and here in Colorado.
Don Keairns’ adoption story: I was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa. My family moved to Des Moines when was high school. After graduation from high school and college I took my first real job in Newport, Rhode Island. It is there that I met Mitzi and after living in Rhode Island and later in New Jersey, in 1999 we moved back to LaVeta to help her dad run Charlie’s Market for 13 years, and even after selling it, we have chosen to remain in LaVeta.
My adoption story might not be the most exciting, but it certainly was good for me. My dad was born into an Irish family living in Sioux City, Iowa. He was the oldest with 16 brothers and sisters. He married my mom and after a stint in the Navy, he returned to Sioux City. Although they loved children and fostered many, they were unable to have any of their own and began to consider adoption. Even thought it was not nearly as expensive as it is today he had to sell his beloved car to afford the adoption fees. Later mom and dad adopted a baby girl and we all had a great life together. I can remember knowing that I was adopted from an early age but everyone accepted this blue eyed blond kid and there were no problems. My dad passed away when I was just 26 years old. I had never thought too much about finding my birth parents, but with the dawn of 23 and Me, I did a bit of investigating just mainly because I was curious about siblings. I do think that I tracked down my birth mother’s family and she is still living but that is a chapter that she does not wish to open, so I am going to leave it at that and be thankful for the great life I was given.
Roger Greene’s adoption story: I retired two and a half years ago, but continue to work part time for Huerfano and Las Animas Counties. I became the single adoptive father of an 11-year-old boy way back in 1987. I didn’t plunge headfirst into adoption. I first signed up to be a big brother with the YMCA. I had a great time with the 10 year old little booger I got. When he moved away to Nebraska at age 13, I had an empty space in my heart and thought I had enough experience to become a real father. My innocent looking little boy though was hell on wheels: arson, burglary, auto theft, general destruction. He was locked up more than he was home with me. We fought a lot. But we also laughed a lot. Still, I had been a failure at the one thing I had really wanted to do in this world. Eight years passed before I re-met my adoptive son. We both accepted full responsibility for the failure and started over – unsure how we could ever trust one another again. Then one day when we were working on a project together, he looked at me and said, “You’re my dad.” My little boy is now 45 years old and nothing less than a miracle. The other side of my adoption story is that sometimes a kid adopts a parent.