Updated 10:20 AM ET, Sun May 9, 2021 Lynne Moody in a promotional photo for the ABC TV series “That’s My Mama.”
(CNN)Lisa Wright always knew she was adopted, but had no idea her biological mother was a star on one of her favorite television shows.Now Wright is sharing the story of having been reunited with actress Lynne Moody after 50 years in what reads like the perfect Hollywood ending, according to NBC’s “Today.” “I grew up watching my mother on TV and didn’t even know it,” Wright told the morning show. “‘That’s My Mama’ — that was our must-see TV. We all sat down and watched ‘That’s My Mama’ every week, and who knew? No idea. … And that’s my mama!”
Wright said she knew very little about Moody, who was 18 when she gave birth, and had a closed adoption.
“My (adoptive) mom told me, ‘Your mommy loved you, but she was really young, and she knew she couldn’t take care of you. I wanted the baby so bad, and that’s why your mom let me take care of you,'” Wright said. “You weren’t abandoned. This was just the best thing for you.”More of CNN’s Mother’s Day coverage
But encouraged by her son a few years ago to do genetic testing, Wright first tracked down an uncle who told her the family had been searching for her all these years and who led her to Moody, who, like her daughter, was living in Los Angeles.
Moody called her birth daughter.”A voice on the other end says, ‘Is this my daughter?’ And then I just went, ‘Oh, my God, is this my mother?'” Wright said. “And then she goes, ‘Yes, sweetie, this is your mom.’ It was just the most indescribable feeling.”It was a deep connection for Moody, who never had any other children and never thought she would find her beloved child.”When I found out that she was my daughter, at that moment, it was like I was giving birth,” Moody said. “Because I lost my legs, I was on the floor in a fetal position, screaming and crying. I didn’t know how deep that hole was.”
And the actress best known for roles in the TV series “Roots” and “Knots Landing” had a Mother’s Day message for all.”Life is full of surprises sometimes, so hang in there no matter what your circumstances are,” she said. “Be open to miracles, be open to surprises, and keep the faith.”
I have four adopted grandchildren. This story touched my heart for obvious reasons. On this Mother’s Day, there are many children out there who have been raised by loving adoptive parents. There are many biological parents out there who gave up their child for altruistic reasons. Some of them have located their children and have a happily-ever-after reconnection story. Others have reconnected, but the results were not so glorious. Still others have not tried to find their biological parents (or children) and live with that sense of unknowing, not sure that filling in the blanks would be helpful for anyone.
Whatever the situation, it is always heartwarming to me when I read about these cases of rejoining. It is sweet to know there are cases where the child can find his/her roots – and the parent can fill that empty spot with fresh discovery. I know when it happens and it is positive, God’s hand is involved… and it makes my heart sing.
I am grateful for the mom who gave her child up for adoption because she knew she could not provide a suitable home. I am equally grateful for the family who took the child in – and loved him or her completely – fully embracing him or her as their own.
On this Mother’s Day, may all those adopted children feel a sense of gratitude for the mom who gave them birth – and for the mom who raised them. May they know, whatever the circumstance, they are loved. They are wanted. They are not an accident. God don’t make mistakes!!
Embrace Anticipation! You never know what God has in store for you around the next bend.
I love that old musical from the 1950’s, Annie Get Your Gun. It is an American musical Technicolor comedy film loosely based on the life of sharpshooter Annie Oakley. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer release, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and a screenplay by Sidney Sheldon based on the 1946 stage musical of the same name.
Does hugging come naturally to you? If so, from whom do you think you inherited that quality? Bob and I had that conversation after breakfast this morning. His mom and dad were not huggy folks. Mine were… especially my affectionate daddy.
Bob didn’t learn to be huggy from me. He came that way… and I feel so blessed. Marrying someone who was stand-offish Would have been put me to a terrible test!
Doin’ what comes naturally Isn’t the same for you and me. I reach out and hug strangers – At least ’til this pandemic distanced me.
Bob and I are huggy people We showed our kids the joy of touch But not all children are so blessed Some are abused; some aren’t touched that much.
When our daughter, DeAna’s best friend, Laina, Lost both her adoptive parents at a young age, We were blessed to say, “Come be in our family.” Having a “Daughter #2” was a blessing quite sage!
Our Laina keeps in daily touch. She wrote A message to me yesterday. I asked her if I could share it here. This is what she had to say:
I keep waiting for your blog theme to be “Embrace Hugging” or similar. Technically embrace does mean to hold someone closely in your arms so it’s almost funny to use the 2 words together.
Well here’s my mini blog for the day.
We just don’t hug enough anymore. For one reason, we can’t because of social distancing but also we don’t because we won’t take the time to do something that’s so extremely important.
My genetic nature resisted hugs growing up. I inherited that from Marilyn my Irish born biological grandmother and apparently her daughter my biological mother was the same way. I was adopted by a very different personality.
I would feel myself stiffen up and become uncomfortable when someone hugged me. My (adoptive) mom was very loving and caring. She was a hugger and I reflect back on those hugs and feel bad for my involuntary reaction. I would squiggle (squirm+wiggle) away as fast as I possibly could leaving her unfulfilled. Being a teenager and young adult I was too self-absorbed to notice the sadness on her face or to recognize her need for physical contact. If only I could go back in time and have a “do over”! I would give her a proper hug. It would be a long squeeze and I wouldn’t let go until SHE squirmed to get free. Knowing her, she wouldn’t ever squirm! we’d still be hugging! Hugs instantly boost OxyContin levels. It’s scientifically proven. Hugs help to heal feelings of loneliness and isolation and anger. An extended hug increases serotonin levels and increases good mood. It strengthens the immune system. So why don’t we do it more? We need to do it more! I guess I can’t tell you to hug a stranger because they might smack you or scream but definitely hug those you love whenever they are near… I can’t wait to give you both long hugs in person. I promise I won’t squirm away.
That picture of me with Laina is one of my favorites. I often use it as the “sign off” photo on my blog – edited to just be me. I had forgotten that it was taken on the occasion of my 80th birthday when Laina came to be with us and help us prepare for and carry out a party that included about 50 of our best MT friends. Laina lives in Maryland – and her trip here was such a gift. Helping us was for her, “Doin’ what comes naturally.”
Hugs may not come naturally to all of us. But it is something we can learn… and enjoy… and realize how important that intimacy is.
Yesterday our grandson, DeAna’s youngest son, Chris, went to Vissoie to have dinner at his parents’ restaurant and to give them a long overdue hug. It had been over a month since he had made the trip up the mountain to see them. I wrote to him afterward and said, “Thank you for going to be with your parents and for giving your mom great big, heart-felt hugs. We all need them.“
This morning he wrote back and said, “Oh! It was my pleasure! It’s been too long since I saw them, I needed to squeeze their booooooones. Can’t wait to squeeze yours, too!”
(Chrissy got that expression, “Squeeze yer bones!” from his GrampyBob… It’s one of his favorites.)
Whose bones do you need to squeeze today? Go do it! Go and make hugging one of those things that is “Doin’ what comes naturally!”
Thank you, blogging friends, for visiting JanBeek today. Hugs to you! See ya tomorrow.
As the “Black Lives Matter” protests gain less and less news coverage and the reason for the demonstrations that are still happening become obscured in the face of violence, looting, burning of buildings, and disjointed opinions, let’s revisit the subject!
Black Lives Matter
A chilling thought flashed into Isaiah McKinnon’s mind the first time he watched the Minneapolis video seen around the world of George Floyd’s death.
“George Floyd could have been me,” the former Detroit police chief wrote at the start of a Free Press guest column.
McKinnon joined the Detroit city’s force in the summer of 1965, four years after graduating from Cass Tech High School and entering the Air Force. He served as chief from 1993-98 and was deputy mayor from 2014-16.
Isaiah ‘Ike’ McKinnon asked: “What were they willing to do to Black civilians?” (Photo: Facebook/2014)
A Personal Account
In Isaiah McKinnon’s vivid commentary, the 76-year-old retiree — still a Detroiter — recalled blatant racism when he entered law enforcement five and a half decades ago:
“As a rookie officer, I encountered overt and casual bigotry and routine denigration and brutality. Many white officers refused to ride alongside Black officers. Some made cardboard dividers in patrol cars — designating the ‘white’ section from the ‘colored.’ Others used Lysol to ‘disinfect’ seats where Black officers sat. Some of my white colleagues refused to speak with me during shifts, dared not eat near or with me, and frequently used the ‘N-word’ to describe me and the African American citizens they were sworn to protect.
Two years later, I felt the sting of betrayal as an officer during the 1967 rebellion. One night, after a grueling shift, two white DPD officers pulled me over. I was still in uniform, badge affixed to my chest, and a #2 pin on my collar, indicating that I worked in the 2nd Precinct. I identified myself as a fellow officer, thinking they would see me as an equal. Instead, one pointed his gun at me and said, ‘tonight you’re going to die, N….’ before discharging his weapon. I dove back into my vehicle and miraculously managed to escape. I realized then that not even our shared uniform could save me from their racism. And I wondered if they were willing to shoot and kill a Black police officer, what were they willing to do to Black civilians?
As a supervisor a few years later, I stopped a group of officers from beating three Black teens. I was finally in a position to hold them accountable for their excessive use of force. But my precinct commander yelled at me for attempting to ‘ruin the lives of those good officers.’
I witnessed this kind of complicity repeatedly. When other officers reported abuse, as they should, they were ostracized, transferred to lesser assignments and treated so poorly that many quit.”
McKinnon, known widely as “Ike,” wrapped up his account with a call for “a change at all levels.”
“Now is the time to get to the heart of the matter: There must be a major effort to fundamentally restructure police departments so that they actually do what they promise: serve and protect all people.“
Listen to the Ones Who Know
McKinnon knows what he’s talking about! He is credible. He has lived the scenes of discrimination and experienced the violence first-hand. “Ike” has met six U.S. Presidents and Nelson Mandela, and has appeared on the “Today Show”, “Good Morning America”, “Oprah”, and “The History Channel.” He is a national motivational/inspirational speaker to Fortune 500 companies and schools.
Ike began his five decade career in public service as an officer with the Detroit Police Department in 1965. He held more than ten different positions in the department including patrol operations and various supervisory, administrative, command, and executive roles, before retiring as an Inspector to start his own security firm. In 1993, McKinnon returned to the Detroit Police Department to serve as Chief. Under his five years of leadership, hundreds of police officers were directed to go into city neighborhoods and introduce themselves to residents in an effort to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community. In addition to shifting the focus of the department to community-driven policing, he advocated for and implemented training programs for officers responding to domestic violence.
What to Do Now
Let’s continue the leadership McKinnon demonstrated during his tenure with the Detroit Police Dept. Let’s make sure we engage across the USA in some of the practices that will help:
Send police officers into neighborhoods to bridge the gap between the law enforcement and the community
Shift the focus of the departments to community-driven policing
Continue funding our police departments as we train officers to respond in appropriate ways to various needs
Advocate for and implement training programs for officers responding to domestic violence
Hire officers who demonstrate compassion – and fire those who do not!
Oh, and do not forget about ME! I am part of the problem if I do not check my “White Privilege” at the door – and examine my own heart and actions. Am I guilty of prejudice unintentionally? If so, how? And what can I do about it in my own life??
No more needless deaths! No more hatred! No more discrimination!
Reach out in love Call Unity into Action. Just LOVE ONE ANOTHER!! Be the change you want to see in the world!
I want to walk down A new and different path – A better way – A more compassionate road – An avenue that’s better for our planet and for us.
I want the whole world to enjoy what I do: the blue skies and the clean water, the promises of a brighter tomorrow, and a sure hope for the future of our planet.
Let’s let the sun set On this troublesome time, And let’s help our world Usher in a wiser, more loving, Beautiful, sustainable tomorrow.
There never has been a time when more possibilities, when more opportunities were so obviously apparent. We don’t want to go back to what was. We WANT a “new normal.” Let’s take advantage of this time …
What’s your plan for what to do differently once we are able to emerge from this COVID-19 challenge?
Sometimes this COVID-19 feels like we’re walking through the “Valley of the Shadow of Death,” especially when we see the staggering statistics from Italy and realize how quickly the virus is spreading in places like New York City.
A friend told me today he feels we’re living in a period akin to the Great Depression or the Dust Bowl era. Songs are being composed about it. There are thoughtful essays being written. Scientists are creating impressive graphs showing the statistics of known contagions to death tolls and analyzing the relationships to age and climate. Novels will be written that will be classics in the decades to come.
How do we live through this “Valley of the Shadow of Death” without fear?
There are the usual responses: pray, sequester and meditate, have faith, bury your head…
But, while I do believe in the power of our Maker, and I pray daily for the Source of all comfort to bring us healing and peace, there are a few other ways I keep myself FROM feeling the gloom that seems to be enveloping so many. You probably have a list of ways, too. I’d love to have you share yours with me.
Here are my four favorite remedies for avoiding the paralysis of fear:
Music – sing, play, or listen to uplifting songs on YouTube or XM Radio. I love seeing those folks on their balconies in Italy making joyful music together, don’t you? I just listened to Bono and Will.i.am singing a song they wrote for/to the Italians. Google it! Music soothes the soul and uplifts the spirit.
Write – as a blogger, you know how therapeutic it is to put words on paper, in a journal, on a card to a friend, or here on WordPress. Write about what keeps you positive and passionate.
Connect – on the internet or by phone, through a window or across a fence. I just installed a new app on my phone and iPad. It’s called ZOOM. Do you know it? The basic version is free. It’s like FaceTime, but it works on other platforms besides Apple products. My friends in California and Bob & I had a great conversation. It was like sitting across the table from our friends who are 1200 miles away from us. We miss them and it lifted our spirits to see and reconnect with them.
Walk – when the weather permits, go for a walk with your dog or a friend or both. I did that yesterday in our Lion’s Club Park. Yes, we practiced social distancing, but we could chat and laugh and encourage one another. It’s good for body and soul. And TazE loved it, too.
Do tell your dog he’s gotta walk, too!
Tell me, what ways do you avoid walking in the “Valley of the Shadow of Death” these days?