Project Progress

September 20, 2009
Started the process of converting the WSP website to blog format.  I am really excited about the new possibilities that this format offers.

September 2007 – August 2009
Two years of personal, family and community crises, large and small.

July 21, 2007
At Robin’s invitation, I attended a “recent alumni” reunion this afternoon at White Shield, where I had a chance to meet with some of the recent residents (and their children!), as well as recent and current staff.  (They are all so young!)  Being able to talk with people who have a real interest and understanding about this project was so encouraging.  It was as though heaven gave me a little push forward today – a little reassurance that I’m on the right path. Many that I talked with seemed very enthusiastic about the project; others, while more reticent, still seemed willing to help: more than half at the reunion provided contact information and agreed to talk with me one-on-one when I begin interviewing individuals.

May 29, 2007
As of today, The White Shield Project has an official web presence!  Woo-hoo!

March 16, 2007 (Website Established)
I’ve been doing some thinking, and I’ve decided that I need to set up a website for this project.  So far, I’ve spoken directly to a couple of birth-moms and WS children, and the one thing they all ask before they will volunteer any information is, “Why are you doing this?”  And I’ve come to understand that, even though this project is about White Shield and I am simply the conduit for it, my personal integrity and motivations are paramount.  And I completely empathize with these concerns: if it was me on the other end of the conversation, I’d want to know too.  And a website is necessary, because the thing is, these early volunteers want to talk to me, and they still need reassurance and encouragement.  Less confident volunteers will need something up front that allows them to get a feel for the project before they even establish contact.

March 14, 2007

Met with Adrianne F. (director of “Working Artists” co-op).  She is writing and planning a dinner fund-raiser to benefit White Shield, based loosely on some of the same info that I am using for research.  The whole experience was so empowering – what a rush it is to be in a room with other creative people who are engaged in an idea!   Adrianne also introduced me to another woman in her artist’s coop, Susan, who offered some really powerful encouragement and practical advice, especially in terms of seeking grants and possible organizations of interest.

February 26, 2007
Met with Robin today.  She is very enthusiastic and supportive of my idea.  Since the early 1920’s, newspaper articles and other non-confidential White Shield-related items have collected in boxes, and carefully stored away.  Now, nearly a century’s worth of fragments are filed (jumbled rather), and stand waiting to be pieced together.  It’s like an old jigsaw puzzle missing the box – it is sure to take some time to put it all together, and I have no idea know what it will look like when it’s put together, or which pieces will turn up missing.  Robin also let me look through the original White Shield log, and I literally got chills holding it – it dates back to 1897 (no, that isn’t a typo.) and records the name and circumstance of every girl who passed through WS until 1916.  The first entry is of one Maggie Coory, age 16, from Chicago. Maggie, like many of the early residents, wasn’t pregnant; she was simply in need of help.  It was amazing, holding all that history in my hands.  I felt it such a privilege and responsibility.

February 16, 2007
Contacted Robin Triest-Carlson about the possibility of compiling a history of White Shield, from its beginnings through present day.  She is sounds very positive about the prospect, and we set up a meeting for next week to discuss the project.

February 12, 2007
I haven’t been able to get White Shield off my mind   I could have spent hours, even days, pouring through all those old copies and pictures and letters.  There’s a book in there, just waiting to be written.    And I know that I’m not the only person ever to leave WS having something very personal and meaningful to say about the experience.  Just think about the historical and social value of compiling a history based on the memories/reflections/impressions of birth mothers, adoptees, and White Shield personnel, past and present; not to mention the opportunity for healing that it could offer to some, both by their contribution to the work, and in the reading of it.  I could really put my heart and soul into making a project like that a reality.

February 9, 2007
Visited White Shield for the first time (or do I call this the second time?  I don’t know.)   See SALVATION

February 5, 2007
Last summer, I wrote a children’s story for my daughters as a way of telling them about my very unexpected, but very welcome, reunion with my birth family.  Now I’m working, together with my [new] sister, to create a photo-book version of the story for our families.  (I’m also thinking about how I could rewrite the story to appeal to a larger audience.)  I’d like to find a picture of the White Shield Center (where I was born) for a page in the photo-book, and so this week I contacted White Shield and spoke with Robin Triest-Carlson, the Executive Director, who said they had some old pictures that might work.  She also suggested that I might like to go on a tour of the place when I come by, which sounds like a good idea to me – it might be interesting to do an historical profile piece on White Shield sometime in the future.  And honestly, I’m more than a little curious for obvious personal reasons as well.  We’re set to meet on Friday at 11am.

One thought on “Project Progress

  1. My name is Denice Renae Curry, I lived and gave birth to Richard Scott Vadelund at White Shield May 25, 1972. I was, from my understanding, the 2nd youngest mother to give birth at WS that they were aware of. The 1st youngest was 9 years old from Hawaii, I was 14. I’m a native Oregonian. In 1971, l972 and 1973, things changed dramatically there at White Shield, and in my personal life that set the course for where I am right now-just like everyone else, time moves forward and things change. I went back to White Shield last year for the first time since Richard was 2 years old, I want(ed)to volunteer my time. Anything, I would do anything for what White Shield did for me-us. Then, I injured my back. Richard is fine, he is married, has a beautiful wife Katie, and most beautiful 3 children in the world, Caleb,12 and twins Faith and Grace-8. God Bless Major Ruth Maynard, Nurse Callaghan and her son Jim, Uncle Albert, the maintenance man, Nurse Jaeger, Mrs. Holloway, the housekeeper, the cook, whose name I can’t recall right now, and I need to apologize to for insulting so many times… God Bless Mary Hanks, a student nurse and Dr. Herschel Lawson, Emanuel Hosp. and especially God Bless all the absolutely beautiful, perfect girls and women I got to share that time of our lives with. There was one volunteer there named Wilma Mann, she sat up all night every night in the downstairs lobby or lounges and was just there, always- it meant everything to me to know they were there-always -all night every night, when things can be very very scary.

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