Epic Journeys and Families Meant to Be

Image courtesy of Mel Irvine

My friend Mel is on an epic journey to become a full time mum who is able to live in the country she chooses with her currently, foster, but hopefully to one day be adopted son.

This journey actually began as a reaching out to voluntarily help people in the Philippines after a typhoon, this was motivated by  the experience she had of Cyclone Yasi, something we  share.  Mel and I  met at a song writing workshop provided to help locals process their cyclone experiences and find healing through music.  Mel went to the Philippines to use her skills in music, and business to support the rebuilding after the typhoon.

Mel has shared the journey of meeting Jerry and his personal story on her website. From their first meeting, where  she didn’t know anything about him except that, “He had cut, bleeding feet and no shoes and was crying. He had been following a group of kids she was taking to the beach and couldn’t keep up.”

To the moments where she learnt the full extent of his family, fractured and spread out, and that he had lost his own mother. Very early on Jerry just seemed to know that he wanted Mel to be his mum.

But for Mel it was a slightly longer realization, and not something she took on lightly and when he first asked to live with her she said ‘no.’  She was concerned about her ability to stay in the country with limited personal resources and didn’t want to assume he would not be better off with his own people and country. She did background research to see what his needs were and realized she could do a lot to assist him, but that the biggest assistance of all would to be a continual presence in his life.

Over time, she realized that both she and Jerry truly needed to be a family and she could make a big difference to him in his life by having a long term connection and commitment, and began to be his foster mother.

So despite the many challenges they will face, and already have had to overcome, Mel has given her heart, time and resources to make a difference in someone’s life.  She is doing her best to create a sustainable situation and enable Jerry’s healing of his experiences in his life as well as to educate him.

Importantly she has the support of her family and of Jerry’s that remain (as his mother and father have both passed away) as well as many friends.

Mel is incredibly committed to this goal:

“In order to adopt Jerry I need to live in the Philippines until such time as our expatriate adoption application is accepted, reviewed and processed. Once that happens I can then apply to the Australian government for Jerry to become an Australian citizen. As you can imagine it’s a long and expensive process and is going to take up the next few years of our lives. Being only 8 years old, this is a critical stage of his development and I will not abandon Jerry.”

What can I say but that every time I am able to catch up with my friend Mel, I go away with a sense of the difference I can also make in the world.  She teaches me so much about what to focus on, and is a mentor.

To love someone, who was once a stranger with cut feet, as her own child and to have the commitment to raise that child to have the best of opportunities is something Mel feels she has been called to.  She has gone about this process sensitively and with respect.

I hope that if you feel moved by Mel and Jerry’s story YOU too might find as much as you can to help them become a full time family. Mel is in the process of also setting up sustainable ways of earning an income that are not tied to which country she lives in, and I am sure she will achieve this.  She also spends time assisting with community development of both women and children often on a completely voluntary basis when she is in the Philippines.

The link for their crowd funding campaign is  https://chuffed.org/project/jerry-needs-a-mum#/supporters  and there are just 17 days to go.

For now there is an immediate need for assistance to lessen the time Mel often has to spend away from Jerry to raise more funds back in Australia to sustain living in the Philippines.

another jerry shark
Image – Courtesy of Mel Irvine.

“Mel Irvine is an Australian writer, poet and musician living between the Philippine Western Visayas and Australia. Adopted/Foster mother to Jerry, an 8 year old boy whose parents died tragically, Mel spends her time in the Philippines helping the women and children of Jerry’s home purok (district): a fishing community deeply affected by poverty and seasonal typhoons. She provides free creative activities, art and craft supplies, music lessons and school tuition as time and resources permit. Mel is a freelance copywriter, daily blogger, busker and regular contributor to ABC Open.”

The link for their crowd funding campaign is  https://chuffed.org/project/jerry-needs-a-mum#/supporters  and there are just 17 days to go.

Please share  this post with anyone you think would like to help!


Day 4 PiBoIdMo

Taken by June Perkins – Rocks Riverside Park, recent expedition

Day 4 of PiBoIdMo, hanging out at my keyboard and my online homes, staring at the dragon my daughter made me and thinking about a weekend full of a social catch up and meeting up with Write links- the wonderful writing group for children and young adults I have connected with since moving to Brisbane.

We were all very inspired by our guest speaker, Nicholas Lochel,who shared the journey with his sister to self publish, market and sell the  – Zarkora series.  His presentation was packed with practical advice such as how to self publish and about the joy of going to conventions with a stand to publicise their book.  The first step is to create a product you are proud of in terms of content, and physical look of the book.  Writelinks Professional and Development sessions this year have been great for teaching us the ins and outs of writing and publishing. We’ve had guests who judge literary competitions and presentations from members who know a lot about pitching to publishers as well.  They all have such wisdom to generously share.  Another wonderful aspect meetings is the sharing of news of when people make a breakthrough with their writing or publishing and the critique groups.

My daughter checking out the Lochel’s portfolio – Write links Meeting Nov 2014

My son is playing some blues and country on his guitar and his Dad told him someone from the high school who is a gifted guitarist wants to meet him and play some guitar. When he sings, he sounds like Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. His voice has that country feel to it, even though it might not be his most favourite genre to sing. He does like the man in black, Mr Cash though.  I think I could create lots of characters who have a passion for music,  with a central challenge of how to make a living out of it to be able to do it full time.

It’s a colder morning, which means wearing a light cardigan and drinking a cup of warm Earl Gray tea (which I always put a drop of milk into.) I had a good nights sleep last night, the first in a week.  I love soothing cups of tea and keeping myself hydrated whilst I write.

Today, I am serene in that my children have found their life passions, things they can do either professionally or in their spare time, but which will sustain their joy in life. One is into music and social conscience, another art and graphic novels and another sport and movies. I feel like all the sacrifices made for them to be the best mother I can be are starting to show fruit.  Cross fingers, it continues.  Most of all I am proud of their values. They aren’t clones of me, by any means, but they’re their own people, with a strong core of values from Mum and Dad.

I am excited about writing this morning.  A chapter book I was struggling to start, but for which setting and character have been quite clear in my head for ages, has finally taken off. As soon as I leave this blog today I will be back onto writing it. I love that although I have an outline dynamic things are happening where the characters are also dictating the action. Other writing projects I am editing, are progressing.  I feel more confident they are closer to completion and sharing time.

I am searching for some part time or full-time paid work, or wanting to create project work to bring in some more income for the family and to be able to build a more secure future.  So happy to have writing to continue whatever else happens in this regard.  As for PiBoIdMo  loving the online community inspiring each other to generate ideas and develop them.  My inspiration today might be real life stories of heroes and heroines in everyday life, that haven’t had much shared about them but who would be great subjects for children’s books.

All the best, especially to other creative parents in my position.

aka June, Gumbootspearlz

Note: we are a day ahead of American readers, so it is indeed day 4 PiBoIdMo

Firelight Sing-a-long

A memory triggered by a photograph of music by the firelight.

Following the Crow Song

2012-08-18 2012-09-08 001 113 (2) Firelight Singer – By June Perkins

By the firelight we singalong.  We’ve asked eldest to bring out his guitar and he’s become our karoke machine.  He knows so many songs.  But he doesn’t sing aloud with us yet.

Hubby sings the loudest, to the beat of his own drum, daughter and youngest sing louder to help him sing with their tuning.

I sing if I know the lyrics to the songs they have chosen.

We sing to the moonlit cane.

Once we even see a horde of runaway rats in the trees once the cane provides no more shelter.  Perhaps they have come to hear us sing, and we need to employ eldest like a pied guitarist to take them back into the fields.

Eldest’s voice has been breaking, and he’s kept it a secret.  We have no idea what it sounds like yet.

Sometimes I think I hear him…

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Teaspoons in the Garden

Tea In The Park
Paradise Circus -Flickr Creative Commons

One less teaspoon in the drawer
one more in the garden beds
one more beneath
my children’s favourite tree.

I know this for sure
they’re not anywhere near
my beloved teapot
& searching’s become a daily chore.

For the rest of this poem please go to Ripple Poetry

Notes on Creativity
This poem began as the start of a memory story about my early motherhood days. It ran out of puff and sat in my notebook gathering dust. But poetry gave it new life and here it is.

A note to all new readers

I’d like to acknowledge all the new visitors and followers of this blog. Thanks to those of you beginning to leave comments.