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Book details
  • SubGenre:Personal Memoirs
  • Language:English
  • Pages:262
  • eBook ISBN:9781623094119

360 Square

A Memoir of Adoption and Identity

by Carol Lillieqvist Welsh

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360 Square is Carol Lillieqvist Welsh’s story of spirited resilience in the face of unrelenting adversity. Adopted at the age of 6 months by what seemed like model parents, her childhood became harsher and more cruel with each passing year. Thrown out of her house at 16, her life became a roller coaster of temporary homes, fleeting relationships, and an unwanted pregnancy. Yet she never gives up on herself or her desire to understand her fiery passion for life. In her search to trace her roots she finds the true meaning of family and identity.
The adoption process is a complex one even in the best of circumstances. Stories of adopted children, birth parents and adoptive parents reveal the challenges, fears, and triumphs of those involved in this most emotional of human relationships. Rarely has one person seen the story from all perspectives. What perplexed Carol was how she got here, how she got anywhere, and what, or who, had a hand in it? To what or whom did she owe a fire within; an independent, curious, risk-taking, fearless spirit? Nature: Nurture? Having uniquely lived the full circle of adoption, as an adopted child, a birth mother, and an adoptive parent, her puzzlement was understandable; only by taking risks, seeking answers, and squaring with herself and history, would she ever know for sure who she was. Given up for adoption as an infant in December of 1945, Carol was adopted by a loving family from a wealthy suburb of New York City who turned abusive as she approached grade school. Her father and she were like bulls in rut, always butting heads over something—a love-hate relationship. On the other hand her mother wanted a perfect little angel—that wasn’t who she was, and they had a warden-prisoner relationship. Carol tested her parents by getting dirty, defying their authority, and in anger even attempting suicide wanting someone to take notice and rescue her. In 1962, while still in high school, her father physically kicked her out. Tapping into her mettle, Carol sets out to avenge the adopted family’s karma guided by a woman who came to her in a dream. Finding herself pregnant, unwed and alone, a shameful situation to be in in 1964, and seeking abortion she discovered she didn’t have the guts to go though with it. Adoption and a failed attempt at reconciliation with her estranged parents was her next option. Relinquishing the child, she was now disowned, by her adopted family. It was time for plan B, however, her father’s condemnation would follow her for a long time. Carol traveled the county in a hippy-gypsy style hooking up with married men, rubbing elbows with racecar drivers and Hollywood celebs, driving a hearse, and experiencing life in her own way. Fortunately, neighbors from her childhood stepped in offering a Pollyanna opportunity to become their adopted daughter. Encouraged to find her purpose in life and a viable career, Carol flew off to England to become a nurse and hopefully redeem herself. Nursing provided status, respectability, and much needed financial security. Within two years of returning home she fell head over heels in love. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Carol with a baby carriage. This time she was ‘struttin’ her stuff, No shame this time. Family life was fulfilling and in 1984 they adopted a daughter who would be a catalyst for healing, and one of the keys to her elusive identity. “Living the American dream my internal fire burned bright.” A husband, a career and two children, it seemed she’d squared with her shameful past. However, something still eluded her. Deciding to search for information on her first family, she held onto hopes of finding the keys to what was still missing.
About the author
Carol Lillieqvist Welsh is an unusual author. Having experienced the adoption constellation from all perspectives she offers unique insight into the complexities of adoption and foster care. Carol is an adventuresome, fearless, risk taker who loves a challenge and is passionate about life. She holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Masters in Human Relations. As a Registered Nurse she currently works in obstetrics at her local hospital in Western Maine. For the past ten years Carol has also attended to the medical needs of staff and campers at a residential boys camp in Waterford, Maine during the summers and each August makes time to provide tender loving nursing care to siblings who have been separated by foster care oradoption at Camp To Belong Maine where they re-unite with each other for a week of supervised fabulous fun. A member of the Maine Writers and Publisher Alliance and the American Adoption Congress, as well as creator of the 360 Square Jewelry collection designed especially for those touched by adoption, she is a successful professional, educator and business owner. Carol’s life is a testament to walking your own true path, setting goals and trusting in the ability to make dreams come true while rising above adversity. An avid traveler and devoted mother and grandmother, she lives in Norway, Maine.