Our Vision Quest in August resulted in so many lovely insights for Jess, who is still processing all that he encountered.  He’s still working on the videos (he’s in school and working part time, so is a busy fellow, and doing very well, thank you very much!)

I had an unexpected gift from our Vision Quest, too.  New parents.

My aunt and uncle live in Tucson; we planned to go there (where Jess was born) to do some important work to initiate the vision quest for him.  His brain injury in March brought to our attention that he’d suffered head trauma during his birth, and shamanically speaking, we needed to go back to ground zero to reclaim his energy and heal this trauma.  We would begin in Tucson, do the work needed, wander to other locations in the desert southwest as guided, and finish the trip back in Tucson if there were any loose ends to tie up.

My aunt is my mother’s sister, and has always taken an interest in me that was more maternal; she seemed to “see” me, whereas I felt either rejected or invisible to my mother.  My husband and children have loved her from the moment they met her.

When we left Tucson with the promise to return, there was a feeling of closeness and we couldn’t wait to come back.  As we wandered through northern New Mexico, we encountered soul family, friends that we’d met during our family vision quest from 2003-2010, true heart family.  It was such a wonderful revelation for me to understand this connection and appreciate the good times with these true heart friends. I’d written years and years before about “Trust is Thicker than Blood”, and enjoyed the love and connection with people who really saw me for who I am.  I’d always felt it and understood this concept, but I guess that Jess’ injury really cracked my heart open to another level, and I was able to feel and receive the love of these friends.  I noticed that Jess was not the only one getting a vision quest…that I was being shown that true loving family is not necessarily the one we are born into.

On our second visit to Tucson at the end of the vision quest, we were happy to be back in my aunt and uncle’s house…it felt so welcoming and familiar.  One night, as we all sat together in the living room, they said they wanted to ask me something.  They’d been talking since our last visit, and seeing as how we already felt very close and that my aunt had already treated me in a more motherly fashion, they wondered if it might be alright if they adopted me.  It was apparently my uncle’s idea first, and the more they talked about it, the more they felt it was right to ask me if they could adopt me.  I sat stunned for a moment….”Adopt me?”  They said, “Yes, we want you to be our daughter.”

In my mind, a few split-second things occurred….that they might be talking about ceremonial adoption (similar to the kind I had already experienced through indigenous friends/family, which would be sweet)…wondering if adults could be adopted…and finally, shock and disbelief that they wanted me.

We clarified quickly that their intention was to legally adopt me, making me their daughter, not just in thought and heart, but in clear, irrefutable black and white terms.    They were not just saying they loved me, they wanted to go to great lengths to prove it.  I was stunned. It had never occurred to me that this was a possibility…it had never crossed my mind.

I still sat in disbelief until I felt my son, who was sitting behind me, making motions with his body.  I turned to see him grinning like the Cheshire Cat, emphatically nodding his head and jumping up and down in his chair.  He looked me in the eyes and said, “Say YES!”  I turned back to these amazing people who had just offered me and my family the greatest gift that anyone could offer…and then felt something occur in my body that was nothing less than a miracle.

In the short moment of turning from Jess’ enthusiastic approval back towards these people who had just declared their wish and intention to take me into their family, I felt a seismic shift occur.  It was as if I became aware of the community of 50 trillion cells that comprise my body simultaneously, and I felt them, as a whole.  I felt that I (and my inner community of cells) had been peering into the darkness of a deep cavern my entire life, longing for love to come out into the light where I stood waiting…48 years of standing there wanting desperately for the love to come out to me, to no avail…all that emerged from that yawning maw was an invitation into more darkness.

And as I turned toward my aunt and uncle in their living room in Tucson, I suddenly knew where the love was, and it was like THE SUN.  The light of it was so profound and so warming, and such a contrast to the darkness I’d been trying to draw the love from through my will, through my 25 years of therapy and inner work to understand what was so wrong with me that my own parents did not love me.  I felt my cells, as a community, make a decisive turn away from the dark and towards the light.  And I experienced such a profound depth of happiness in that moment that I understood what I had been missing my whole life….the feeling of being wanted, of belonging.  I have not turned back toward the darkness since that moment.

Into the Arms for web

Into the Arms, collage by Licia Berry 2010 in my Illumined Arts Inner Tribe Healing series, where I lead others in rewriting their story through the visual, written, shamanic and healing arts through the lens of the hero’s journey. www.liciaberry.com/mentor

And my happiness has been all pervasive since.  Everyone notices something different about me, a lightness, a joy…my husband says my feet land on the ground in a different way.  It feels absolutely remarkable to be chosen, to be accepted and affirmed.  IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO BE A WANTED DAUGHTER.

The adoption hearing was October 29, made legal right in between “rebirth” eclipses!  The response has been almost universally over-the-top positive and celebratory for us.  And the kind of tug at the heart people feel (especially women?) who know me and are deeply committed to health and wellness when they hear the news causes me to pause.  There are a LOT of motherless daughters (as well as fatherless sons) out there, and it underscores even more firmly that I must finish the book I’m writing now about mothering yourself (now with a surprise happy ending!)  Stay posted!

VIDEO of yet another wonderful mother in the world: