Jeanette Yoffe shares Celia Center Arts Festival beginnings…

Being adopted, I had a strong desire to know and understand what happened to my first mother and it just so happens that my full biological sibling, who grew up in the Bronx, was also curious. He searched for five years and found me in 1996. We had a reunion on top of the Empire State Building and decided together to search for our mother.

After seven years we found her, Celia Barbosa in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We were shocked and stunned to learn, she was a native and prominent dancer and an artist in the Buenos Aires community, who came to the United States to live the American dream of becoming a dancer, however her psychosis led her to return home and now live in a women’s psychiatric facility in Buenos Aires. We flew to meet her there and found out we had another sibling, a sister, named Silvina. We learned more about our Argentinean heritage, culture, and the reason we could not live with Celia, due to her struggles with mental illness.

After coming back to the states, I had another newfound understanding now of my first mothers’ experience, “it’s not that she wouldn’t, she couldn’t” parent. She told me she always loved me. Now I wanted to erase the negative stigma of a first mothers experience and shine a light on the lifelong process of pursuing wholeness for the adopted person that begins with understanding the “primal wound” of maternal separation.

I wanted to connect the arts and adoption to transform healing for all members of the adoption and foster care constellation. Thus Celia Center Arts Festival began in 2016.

Here are the only photos I have of my mother dancing in Buenos Aires and New York City.

Jeanette Yoffe Mother [/caption]




Celia Barbosa has been cited in both of these books working with prominent directors and artists in Buenos Aires, Argentina.