The World is our Oyster!

The World is Our Oyster!


Miami Beach;  Golden Beach and Sunny Isles, Florida 


I am so blessed to have grown up as a young girl in such a beautiful environment as these sunny beaches along the Florida coastline. And I am forever grateful that my European parents landed here, after so many travels along their path, from Europe to Shanghai, and from New York to Miami Beach. It became my ‘home sweet home’ in my youth. Every day I count my lucky stars! 

Miami Beach was a haven of natural wonders and every day of my life, I was either in the ocean or on a boat.  Water skiing, surfing, sailing, swimming, diving, fishing, speed boat racing, or just exploring the coastline and the beach, gathering shells that washed ashore the night before.  Some nights I would sit quietly and just listen to the ocean.  It soothed my soul.

Small beach coastal communities connected to bridges that brought you to the mainline…from Golden Beach/Sunny Isles to Surfside and Coral Gables, to Key Biscayne, and to the inland waterways.  You could drive by boat or car from Miami Beach to Ft. Lauderdale, up and down the coastline.  These were my favorite drives as my hair blew wildly in the wind.  On the boat, or with the top down in the car, I felt completely free!  Recently my friend picked me up in Palm Beach and drove down the coast to Ft. Lauderdale.  I loved every moment of it. . . so many memories came flooding back to these precious times of my youth.

I love the Ocean and I’m never far from it.  I’m grateful for the extraordinary gifts it always offers. . . Peace.  Quiet.  Calm. Warm waters to swim in. Crystal clear oceans. Water sports.  Happiness!  I thank God and the heavens for the gift of growing up along these beautiful ocean shores.


Coastline of Miami Beach

The water…always blue, green, and aqua colored, and so clear and clean you can often see small fish in the water beside you.  And sometimes jellyfish that sting!


The piers were always lovely!


The Hotel Pools. . .

From the Deauville to the Fontainebleau Hotels , the Castaways and further north to the Beachcomber and the Golden Nugget, these Collins Avenue hotels were the pools and cabana’s I grew up in and spent most of my summers.  When I met the Beatles at The Deauville one summer, it was quite a spectacular moment in a young girls life! I was quiet at first, and then I squealed like every other young girl did.  


February 1964 – The Beatles taking a swim at The Deauville Hotel. (Photo: Getty Images)


The High Dive – the great risk to do it, or not…and I did to my amazement!

This was the scariest thing of all… besides being in the deep blue sea so many miles off shore, and feeling something in the ocean you were not very sure of.  But on land there were these lovely hotels and motels with high dives and shuffleboards and Tiki bands…everyone danced to Caribbean music and steel drums.  There was also Luau music, Calypso music & Junkanoo: a mix of Afro-Bahamian music and dance. And of course the Limbo. I loved it all!  So many waves of influence from the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago. These were the best days of my youth and my summers in Miami Beach with aunts, uncles, cousins, and European friends.


And then there was this.  The development of high-rises on these beautiful, pristine beaches.  Years later.   


Even though one of my best friends at the time lived in one of these high-rises with her parents not so far from me, I hated visiting her in such a superficial environment.  20+ something floors up from the natural coastline and beach I grew up on.  I thought it was an obstruction of justice, as the environment was destroyed by these high-rise monsters and the natural beauty of what once was…and was now gone. 

And then I left…moving onward with my life to Europe and New York.  I never looked back and I never returned to Miami Beach until my Beloved Father passed away.  It no longer felt like home.

The High-Rises…

and more of the same.

Once upon a time there was this…

And then this…

And this…

The beaches of Bakers Haulover.

There was also Eastern Airlines…once upon a time.

and The Miami Beach Times…


Frank Sinatra & Ava Gardner honeymooned in Sunny Isles – Miami Beach, long before traffic and high-rises appeared on the beach.  Not long after that romantic holiday and celebration, the Press announced their honeymoon on Sunny Isles, and that changed everything.  Within a couple years larger hotels and motels started buying and building on the beach.  Several years later the high-rises came and so did  people from the Northeast, mainly from New York & New Jersey, who started buying condo’s and houses as they desired sunshine, warm weather and a place they could call home during those cold winter months.  It was never the same after that.  Miami Beach lost its true Glamour, its natural beauty, and it sold its soul to large real estate developers who could care less about nature, the natural environment, and preserving the beauty and dignity of a coastal community.  



And then there was this… John F. Kennedy at The Deauville Hotel


And this…

The Beatles at The Eden Rock Hotel. . . rehearsing for the Ed Sullivan show.

I was the lucky one who met them at the swimming pool…


A magical mystery tour of my youth…

The Deauville, The Eden Roc and the Fontainebleau were the most significant hotels along the coastline in Miami Beach where all the best of the best musicians, rock stars and politicians came to visit, speak, and perform.  The energy along this Florida coastline and Sunny Isles was magnetic.  You could feel it in the air.  

Across the street, on the inland waterway of Miami Beach were docks that housed beautiful houseboats.  It was there that my father would take me for a chat.  One of his friends owned a 3-story houseboat that was magnificent.  I loved the setting …much more quiet than across the street on Collins Avenue.  I still remember that precious night with my father, across the street from the Deauville Hotel.  Precious memories indeed.

Yes!  The world is our oyster!  And sometimes our most beautiful memories are those held inside the oyster shell of our youth.  This is one of mine.  



Biscayne Bay – Summer 2017

Who would have thought that Biscayne Bay would be the location of a recent photo shoot with a high style collection of beautiful products by India Hicks?  What a lovely surprise!  

Only 8 miles wide and 35 miles long, Biscayne Bay is a lagoon that lies between Miami Beach barrier island and the mainland.  The old wooden Collins Bridge was renamed the Venetian Causeway that crosses Biscayne Bay between Miami and Miami Beach.  Fisher Island is a tiny little island that sits across Biscayne Bay, where my father used to deliver newspapers as a very young boy.  

I find it charming that today India Hicks introduces her new collection with the name Biscayne Bay.  It reminds me of my childhood in Miami Beach and all the many islands I used to live and play water sports growing up.

Take a peek at these gorgeous new Collections here:

India Hicks Summer ’17 

Summer 2017 on Biscayne Bay 


My parents had a high winged light pink convertible Cadillac in the early 1960’s.  It reminds me of this gorgeous white one with India in the driver’s seat.


The Biscayne Bay Tote Bag & the Baby Biscayne Bag.  Sand & Navy with Neon leather handles.


The Hook Bracelet on a perfect sandy beach.  Navy or Flamingo. Love the toenail paint!

The Hook & the Fin – Bracelets & Earrings that remind us of a Dorsal Fin. Love those Dolphins!


Sea Cord Necklaces & the Catch Necklace.  Flamingo, Storm Cloud, or Navy. So unique and lovely!


Looking Gorgeous in Biscayne Bay!


The Insta Pouches:  India Hicks style….totally unique!  Natural leather with rope handles.  Images from India’s Instagram posts of her home in Harbour Island, the Bahamas.  Very cool!


British – Bahamian and the coolest of them all… India Hicks with her Instagram Pouch.  Beautiful, unique, and always in her inimitable style.  The image is from India’s Instagram post of her dock in Harbour Island. 


 The Madly Deeply large tote Bag.  In Navy Blue Duchess fabric.  Large enough to stuff everything in for a long weekend, a day at the beach, or a long plane ride. Serious travel accessory bag!


The Royal Navy Collection of Bags; The Madly Deeply, the Duchess of Windsor, & the Baby Duchess.  Best of the Best!



The Baby Duchess;  for all your make-up, jewelry, computer cords, and essentials.  Waterproof interior.  Lovely details with IH logo in leather.


Totally cool Key Fob:  “Turn Me On”  or  “Harassed Mum”.  Perfect for the main key in your life.  Home Sweet Home.  

The Biscayne Bay Collection from India Hicks.  So many Gorgeous Goodies for Summer to choose from.  Have fun shopping and curating your very own collection here:  India Hicks Sumer ’17 



Extraordinary Lives by India Hicks & “39 Years of Silence” by Rita Tanos


Rita Tanos  _J7A2651

Rita Tanos:  Extraordinary Lives!   by India Hicks  –    ’39 Years of Silence’


I am honored and deeply grateful to India Hicks for sharing my story with the world.

This is the fist time in four decades of my life that I have openly shared my story of loss, grief, and transformation.  While it is heartbreaking, it is also heartwarming.  


“Rita is one unstoppable gal. Her courage, resilience, tenacity and imagination bowl me over. She proves just how strong and capable we all can be – even when faced with the most terrible misfortune.”

~ India Hicks


Extraordinary Lives: Rita Tanos


’39 Years of Silence’ is an important book about adoption, the right to life, and the right to know the Truth about oneself.  This book will serve to enlighten and educate people with regard to the complexities and implications of adoption.  It will also become a guide to law makers, attorneys, counselors, and students of the adoption process.  Most importantly, ’39 Years of Silence’ will serve to heal millions of Birthmothers and Adopted Children who have experienced this sort of loss, and shed light and truth to everyone touched by adoption.  And I believe it will change legislation in States like Florida that are still ‘closed’ States, where birth records remain sealed under lock and key, hidden away by an antiqued belief system that forbids children and mothers to know each other, or their medical history.  


’39 Years of Silence’ is a book that reflects the lives of millions of silenced birthmother’s and their adopted children around the world during these dark ages of adoption.  Today in 2016, there are more than 6 million birthmothers and adopted children in the U.S. alone who remain silenced by the shame and secrecy of giving up their child to adoption. 


As an unwed pregnant mother in 1969, I was coerced into silence and surrendering my child and placing her for adoption.  Ostracized by society’s moral compass, it was forbidden to keep your baby and raise them.  Motherhood was synonymous with marriage.  The moral code and social ethics of the day gave Birthmothers one of two choices:  either kill and abort your baby illegally, or give them up for adoption.  To this very day in 2016, State records remain sealed, hidden and locked away by shame, silence, and secrecy in an antiquated and dark belief system that prevents Birthmothers and their Adopted Children from connecting with each other.  Even health records are sealed in the State of Florida, where I gave birth to my daughter.  After many years of searching, I finally wrote a letter to then Governor Jeb Bush, asking him to open up the sealed files so my child and I could finally find each other.  He said no.  And his letter is in my book. 


While laws have changed over the years in many States, these dark ages of adoption still hold these antiquated belief systems in place, where records remain sealed and locked away with deep scars, and silenced secrets for millions of children and mothers around the world.  Their voice is longing to be heard.  


I was forced into hiding and thrown into the outcast role with my choiceless choice,  silenced by shame and secrecy.  I became the “nameless, faceless, voiceless mother” who was not allowed to keep my baby.  As a young Birthmother I was silenced by the most traumatic event in my life. . . giving birth to my beautiful baby and then being asked to surrender her at birth.  How does a mother separate from her own child?  


It left a hole in my heart that pierced by very existence.  Like two atoms splitting in half, I was split in two, hiding from my own feelings so well that I could not find myself.  My unprocessed emotional pain and loss became hidden from my conscious awareness.  Even the grief of losing my own child was not allowed to be expressed, and she was alive, living somewhere else, without me.  


Four decades of silence later, after finding my daughter and committing to a path of self-transformation, I finally gave way to the divinity of my powerlessness to change anything.  I entered into the mysterious domain of being transformed in desolation, though my darkest hours.  The healing balm of forgiveness and acceptance became the portal to deep transformation in the midst of my greatest struggle.  I learned to trust again.  I learned to love again.  I learned to live again, even after losing my child a second time.


Millions of Birthmother’s from the 1960’s to present day have suffered in silence, shame and secrecy, without ever uttering a single word about the depths of their heartbreak and sacrifice.  They’ve buried their story somewhere in the deepest, darkest night of secrets, feeling terribly alone, unworthy, and silenced by shame.  Their ‘secret’ became the event in their life that defined them, and it also silenced them.  I am one of these women.  But I am one of the lucky ones who found my child and had a three year relationship with her.  Through every obstacle I forged ahead.  I never gave up.  Something deep within me knew it was possible to find my child and have a relationship with her.  Thank God I did!


My transformation of consciousness arrived in the form of an epiphany while on spiritual retreat in Santa Barbara, just days before the third attempt to meet my daughter.  When her cancellation came, once again in the eleventh hour, instead of breakdown, it lead to breakthrough and an extraordinary peace that surpasses all understanding.   There are no words to describe this extraordinary peace and the power of Love, but I know for sure that my daughter felt it too.  A year before she passed through the veils she told me that she had never known or felt such unconditional love in her life until she found me.  Thank God she felt my love for her.  In her heart of hearts, she knew the power of this love.


’39 Years of Silence’ is a profound book that is ready to find a leading New York Publisher and Documentary Film Maker.  It is my living Legacy and I’m certain it has the power to heal millions of lives affected by adoption. 

Even famous people like Oprah have been affected by adoption.  Her mother was silenced by shame afer giving up her child to adoption and only recently revealed the truth to Oprah.  She never knew she had a sister.    

Louise Hay, the well known publishing giant of self-help books gave up her baby to adoption when she was a teenager.  So many women have had to bear this kind of loss and grief in utter secrecy.  Why?  The social stigma and the shame of giving up your own child to adoption, no matter what the circumstances, leave a deep inner scar inside the soul of every woman who has surrendered their baby.  

It’s 2016!  It’s time to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  There is work to be done and adoption reform has a long way to go.  There are still closed States where records remain sealed and hidden.  It’s the law. . . and these antiquated belief systems keep these records sealed.  Every child has the right to know the Truth about themselves, who their real mother and father is, and what their medical history records contain.  It may save their life one day.  


’39 Years of Silence’ invites us to look deep inside our own hearts and inner knowing of the soul, as we walk this path of transformation to bring forth our own higher potential and our greatest contributions to the world…as women, as mothers, as daughters and sons, and as enlightened spiritual beings, living a human experience.  I invite Birthmother’s everywhere to stand tall and proud, and to find the courage within your own hearts to speak the Truth, in your own voice that has been hidden, silenced, and held hostage for far too many decades.  My personal mission is to heal and empower Birthmothers and Adopted Children globally to speak out and tell the Truth about their wounds, so they may transform their decades of silence, pain, and suffering into a new decade of liberation, joy, freedom and discovery of their highest self.  

~ ~ ~


India Hicks post about my story:

“Rita is one unstoppable gal. Her courage, resilience, tenacity and imagination bowl me over. She proves just how strong and capable we all can be – even when faced with the most terrible misfortune.”


(photo credit:


The Sands of Time…

Taking a peek back while looking forward…


Dancing in the Sun - 2016 Photo Credit: Andrea Domjan Photography

(Photo: Andrea Domjan)


Sometimes in our lives there is a moment of surprise that takes our breath away.  We recognize the beauty all around us, in this present moment, even through sadness and loss.  The beginning of 2016 was like this for me.  Another Beloved family member had passed through the veils and all I could do was take a deep breath of life, feel gratitude for this present moment, and get on a plane to honor my Uncle Ted’s life with other close family members.  Many of them I had not seen since the passing of my Uncle Sandy at our last family gathering at Arlington National Cemetery. 


There was a feeling of peace within me, going home to Florida this time.  I felt such gratitude for my youth and the family and parents I grew up with.  I felt grateful for these beautiful white sandy beaches, and the many years I had spent walking them, often alone, trying to figure out my path and the next steps along my path.  Every day was a day of adventure in the ocean . . . swimming, water-skiing, diving, fishing, and just cruising on boats.  I felt such joy and happiness, just being alive.  All the boats and trips to the Bahamas and Caribbean were a plus, but it was here, in this place and along these white sandy beaches that I felt most at home as a child.


I checked in a day early to sit in silence and just feel the environment of my youth once again.  It was raining when I arrived and the decks and walkways leading out to the beach were full of gray mist.  I loved it.  Even in the soft gray of a storm passing, it was beautiful.  Young surfers come out to find a wave which reminded me of my youth on these Florida beaches.  As a young teenage girl I was often hanging out on the end of a surfboard, waiting for the next wave to ride, or the next boat to catch.  Such sweet memories!  Such Golden Moments to cherish and remember.


Home Sweet Home - Florida

Home Sweet Home – Florida


Florida Sands

Florida Sands


There is much to be Grateful for, as I remember these decades that have passed and all the family members that have gone before me.  They are all a Blessing in my life, and I know for sure that each of them is shining their light upon me from the heavens above.   I feel your Love.  I feel your Light.  I feel your Grace.   


Walking ahead...welcoming in the new!

Walking ahead…welcoming in the new!  (Photo: Andrea Domjan)


The Ebb and the Flow…

Florida Beaches - A Hole in the Sand...

Florida Beaches – A Hole in the Sand… This is how it is when a Tribe Member leaves you…like a hole in the sand of your lifetime,  it is suddenly gone forever, and the precious time you once shared together is suspended, into another Universe.  All that is left  is the Love inside your Heart that will continue to live on, inside of eternity.  Love is like this.  Love is like that.  It always continues on.