Adoption is one of those topics that no one wants to talk about. When the word comes up, people tend to shy away from it. Stacy Moses, on the other hand, wants her story to be told to the Cree Nation.
Stacy, now 32, was adopted at the age of 3 from the Plains Cree reserve of Piapot in Saskatchewan. It wasn’t until she moved out from her adopted parents’ home in Waskaganish with her husband that she began to search for her biological parents in earnest.
“It took me over a year to find them,” said Stacy. “I finally got a phone call one day and it was the social worker in Regina. She told me that my dad was on the other line, so we did three-way calling. That was in 1990.”
As joyous as the telephone reunion was, it also came with sad news. Her mother had passed away a few years before, the result of living on the street for the latter part of her life.
“He said that she was living on the street and that she died of a drug overdose. He tried to get her off drugs, but she wanted to be on the street so he left her,” she said.
“When I first talked to my dad, I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t want to believe it. I thought it was just a phone call and that maybe somebody was trying to play a prank on me. But when he finally said my name and my brother’s name, I believed him.”
She has only seen one photo of her dad and has no idea what her mom looked like.
“I wanted to visit him so I wrote a letter to the band for financial support for me and my family to go out there and visit. But it was refused. That was last year. I wanted to go visit my mom’s resting place and I wanted to see my relatives. You never know what can happen. I could pass away tomorrow.”
Even though she found her father after so many years, Stacy wishes there could be a little more interaction.
“I wish that he would be more in contact with me. Right now we only speak once a month, and I find that he doesn’t really care. He’s my dad and I searched for him for over a year and I was so thrilled to talk to him over the phone. We talked almost every week and then it slowed down. I want him to see his grandchildren.”
Stacy said that one of the reasons her father can’t visit is because they live so far away from each other. She also notes that her dad is a drifter, moving from place to place with little thought for what he leaves behind.
“I found out I was adopted when I moved to Waskaganish. I was about 7 or 8. I knew because people started to tease me. They’d say ‘those aren’t your real parents; they’re just taking care of you.’ I never questioned my adoptive parents but I knew that they weren’t my real parents.”
Stacy said she wasn’t really bothered by knowing she was adopted. She did however catch herself thinking about what might have been.
“It didn’t really affect me that much. I wonder now where I’d be if they didn’t adopt me. Would I be the same as my mom was, living on the street? Where would I be if I wasn’t here? Would I still be alive? That’s what I think about.”
One thing that’s been hard, she says, is being accepted by the community, even after living there for almost 25 years.
“I feel a bit left out from the community sometimes. I’m not working and don’t have a full-time job. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I’m not from this town,” she said.
Stacy and her husband Kirby struggle at times to raise their five children, ranging in age from 2 to 14. His job as a carpenter is dictated by the season.
Despite this, she said she would entertain the idea of adopting. “Sometimes I think that I’d like to adopt. I spoke to social services about the process and they explained to me the steps we have to go through. I’m sure my kids will accept a child no matter where it’s from.”
Stacy told the Nation that it’s hard being adopted, despite the love she felt from her parents. “My adoptive parents made sure it was a loving household and they took care of us and loved us like their own kids,” she said.
“But it’s hard being adopted. Sometimes I feel suicidal, that I don’t want to be here. But I stop because of my kids and my family. They need me. What’s going to happen if I wasn’t here?
“I see a counselor about these issues. I also talk to my husband because he understands me. I tell him that ‘I’m glad I married you because you’re there to understand me.’”
In all, Stacy has four siblings. Adopted along with Stacy was her biological brother Donnie. Two of her other siblings, Andrew and Christa, were adopted from North Battleford, Saskatchewan. John Paul is the only one who was not adopted.
“Someday I wish that I could go to the reserve where I’m from and visit there to see my aunts, uncles and relatives. They said when I come that they’ll have a big ceremony for me. I can picture it in my mind and I think to myself am I going to cry? Am I going to break down?
“I just want to bring my family there before something happens to them or to me. I’d also like to see my mother’s resting place. I haven’t even seen a picture of her. Sometimes it hits me and I wish she was here to hug or to talk to. I miss her.”