Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Baby Mine: Little Green

Joni Mitchell: Little Green


Back in 1965, before her recording career ever began, Joni Mitchell faced one of the most difficult decisions a woman can ever make: she decided to give her child up for adoption. Mitchell was 20 at the time.

Through the years, this decision plagued her. She wrote “Little Green” about it a few years after the fact. Here Mitchell sends the same kind of wishes to her child as we have heard all week; the difference is that Mitchell sent out these wishes knowing she might never learn if anything came of them. In the early eighties, Mitchell wrote the song “Chinese Cafe”, which included the lines, “my child’s a stranger, I bore her, but I did not raise her.” So I think it’s safe to say that Joni Mitchell always wondered what became of the child, and if she made the right decision. Finally, she decided to find out. But there was a problem. The child was born and adopted in Ontario.

It is difficult for a parent to trace an American child who was put up for adoption; Joni Mitchell learned that under Ontario law, it is impossible. Mitchell put the fact that she was looking for her daughter up on her website, and hoped against hope.

Mitchell often wrote songs about her personal life in the early part of her career. Most of the stories she told ended sadly. But perhaps this would be different. The story in the website did in fact draw a response. A woman of about the right age contacted the website to say that she had been seeking her birth mother. And then another woman reached out. And another. Soon there were dozens, all thinking or hoping that Joni Mitchell might be their mother.

Kilauren Gibb was one of these. She had achieved some small fame of her own, as a model in Canada. The information she sent was enough to establish a match. 31 years after the fact, Joni Mitchell was reunited with her long lost daughter, her “Little Green”. And, as a bonus, Mitchell found out she had a grandson.

blog comments powered by Disqus