A New Year's Story for All

If you are looking for a great holiday story (that has nothing to do with New Years or crime but a lot to do with social injustice) with a fabulously happy ending, look no further than Memories Shrouded in Doubt in today's LA Times about two women, Regina Louise and Jeanne Kerr Taylor. I could not stop reading it, but clearly, I'm not alone. Not only is it today's most e-mailed article on the LA Times website, but yesterday, Regina Louise's 2003 memoir, Somebody's Someone, was #171,759 on Amazon. Today it is # 5,046. From a book review:

Regina Louise was poor, black, illegitimate, and abandoned by her mother to the care of an elderly woman, Big Mama, more concerned with getting to heaven than the health and welfare of her charge. Writing in the idiomatic voice of her childhood self, the author brings her fear, pain, stubbornness, and intelligence up close as she describes her struggles to find someone to love who will love her back. After a brutal beating at the hands of Big Mama's grown foster child, Regina is shuffled from one home to another, angry, uncooperative, vulnerable, finding solace first in fantasies that her mother will rescue her, then in the dream that she will be taken in by a family like those she sees on television.

It's supremely ironic that the woman who truly loves her happens to be white and is barred from fostering her. This is a harsh, often brutal, but always compelling memoir, and its very existence is proof of the author's personal triumph in the face of enormous odds.

Now read the LA Times' article for the happy ending, one that occurred after the book was published.

If you want to buy the book, here's the link:

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  • Re: A New Year's Story for All (none / 0) (#1)
    by The Heretik on Fri Dec 30, 2005 at 09:39:53 PM EST
    Now and again we are reminded love alone matters.

    Re: A New Year's Story for All (none / 0) (#2)
    by aw on Sat Dec 31, 2005 at 05:56:12 AM EST
    I agree, love is what counts. Why can't they come up with some programs to make sure black adoptees don't lose their cultural roots. The alternative for non-adoptees is they get neither roots nor culture.

    Re: A New Year's Story for All (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 31, 2005 at 12:23:20 PM EST
    Sounds like the almost unbelievable story behind "Antwone Fisher", the film directed by Denzel Washington a few years back (he also played the therapist). Has a similar, equally amazing happy kind of ending. And on a personal note, that movie really changed my life. When Denzel Washington's character gave Antwone a book that he hoped would help him understand the abuse he came from, it was like, BOOM, the title of the book alone did it for me, explained by one of my stepfathers was such and abusive, angry guy. Art, it seems, can still heal.

    Re: A New Year's Story for All (none / 0) (#4)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 31, 2005 at 12:24:10 PM EST
    damn wrong button, that shoulda read "explained WHY one of my stepfathers..."

    Re: A New Year's Story for All (none / 0) (#5)
    by Johnny on Sat Dec 31, 2005 at 06:08:34 PM EST
    Oh aw, cultural do not matter one whit. If the black cultural roots were anything to brag about, they would not have been destroyed and subjuagted by the white man, coming from a far better background! Just ask any of the wrong-wingers on here-they wikk agree that whicking people away from their culture and forcing them into a different way of life should only benefit them!

    Re: A New Year's Story for All (none / 0) (#6)
    by Johnny on Sat Dec 31, 2005 at 06:10:05 PM EST
    *happy new year* (hic!)

    Re: A New Year's Story for All (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jan 15, 2006 at 10:29:57 AM EST
    The issues that Regina Louise's saga raises merit the attention of every person concerned with equality and justice. The unthinkable--and supremely unforgivable--suffering, loss, and injustice that Ms. Louise and her adoptive mother suffered by being denied their right to form a family in the 1970s seems to have stemmed largely from the misguided--and racist--philosophy and policy of "racial matching" expounded by the National Association of Black Social Workers and many within this country's child "welfare" "system" for many years. Shame on them! I'd love to ask them all before the world to read this article and read Ms. Louise's book, and then ask them to answer me openly: "Proud of yourselves?" While it was, is, and always will be important to seek and recruit more foster and adoptive parents of color, the policy of "racial matching," as I've proudly dared to note quite publicly since the 1970s, has often meant that countless children of color have had to languish for years in foster care, with all its instability and trauma, rather than--horror of horrors!--be adopted by a loving family if that family--gasp!--is of a different skin color than the child's. In light of the ratification of the 13th Amendment, the supporters of "racial matching," many of whose supporters have spouted such nonsense as "Black children belong to the black community," should know better. Ms. Louise's case puts human faces on the suffering that has resulted over many decades from such "thinking." Children do not "belong" to any adults, nor to any racial, cultural, or other group; they belong only to themselves. Treating children as political pawns--as the NABSW has--is not, to use the favorite catchphrase in the system's parlance, in their best interests. Indeed, "racial matching" ultimately means that certain children, because of their skin color, are to be denied as strong a chance for adoption and its permanency and stability as other children in foster care or similar situations might have. To make such an edict, to make assumptions about people based upon their skin color, is the very definition of racism. [remainder deleted due to length]