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Books offering support and encouragement...

The Adoption Reader
Birthmothers, Adoptive Mothers and Adoptive Daughters Tell Their Stories

Susan Wadia-Ells, editor
Seal Press Feminist Publications

A collection of stories on adoption, search and reconnection experiences from a variety of female perspectives.

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
Susan Jeffers
Fawcett Books

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A dynamic book with practical solutions for turning passivity into empowerment. Afraid to speak up to authority? We all feel that way ...at first! Learn how to overcome all those bad feelings about yourself and direct your anger and frustration at the proper target (which is not you!) It's really only by standing up for your rights that you can ever begin to heal the wounds. So do it already!

Soul Connection: A Memoir of A Birthmother's Healing Journey
Ann H. Hughes
© 1999
Otter Bay Books
3507 Newland Road
Baltimore, MD 21218-2513

"I was safe at last, on an island of truth that floated
far above the sludge of adoption bureaucracy."

Ann Hughes was a young unmarried woman in 1966. She was also pregnant with a child, conceived during a summer weekend in Paris. In 1966, a young unmarried woman surrendered her baby for adoption. There was no choice.

"When you're grown, I'll come back and find you. First I'll need to somehow find myself, but we will meet again." This double pledge to her infant daughter sets the dual theme for Ann's story. She first must find herself somewhere at the center of a welter of low self-esteem, guilt, buried emotions, insecurity and loss. Only then will she be ready to reunite with her child.

Using a combination of spiritual processes ranging from massage therapy to Gnostic Christian philosophy, to astrology, Ann launches herself on a journey towards personal healing. Her spirituality sustains her through the exhilaration and the crushing disappointment of not one, but two contacts with adoptees who prove to be not the daughter she seeks. Nonetheless, she continues to believe that there are lessons to be learned from these experiences­lessons of patience and empathy for the feelings and needs of others.

Eventually, at the urging of friends, Ann somewhat reluctantly attempts more familiar search strategies to find her daughter. It is these which provide her with the first genuine lead in all her years of stumbling about. Ultimately a reunion does take place, and she finds a kind and sympathetic young woman who understands the decision to surrender and is willing to open a door and permit Ann to become a part of her life. 

Delaware readers will recognize some local references in this book. The author now lives in Baltimore, and she participated in the first annual CERA March as it moved through Chester and Wilmington. But her references to what is obviously an upper middle class life style assume advantages which most searchers do not have. Ann's involvement with the human potential movement, the ease with which she is able to take time from her work to see her astrologer or to just go home and "chill," the fact that she is able to hop a flight to Boston without a second thought about the expense­all these details may make her story seem remote for many. At other times, the very detailed interpretations of Ann's astrological chart or her careful analysis of specific classical music pieces and the emotions these pieces touch in her psyche might, to a reader unfamiliar with the topics, seem tedious. It is possible, however, to skip over these sections without losing the flow of the story, and for those who are more familiar with the specific topics, the passages undoubtedly serve to make the narrative more meaningful.

Birthmothers of all backgrounds will, I believe, recognize the stress, the alienation from self, that characterize this woman's life. Ann was not ready­spiritually, psychologically, emotionally to reunite with her daughter until twenty-four years had passed, although she may have felt ready at some level before that time. Given her accomplishments during that time of separation and healing, one can only wonder what she might have accomplished had the wounds of separation and loss not been inflicted in the first place.


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Last modified: October 19, 2000