Memoir of a Birth Mother

There are many books written by and for adoptive parents and adoptees, but what about the birth parents? Their experiences are often shrouded in mystery and, yes, suspicion. Lynn Franklin, a well-known literary agent, published her memoir, May the Circle Be Unbroken: An Intimate Journey into the Heart of Adoption, hoping that her story would help provide new insights into the lives and struggles of birth parents and other members of the "adoption triad." In a note written to Parent Soup members, she says, "As we open our hearts to a deeper understanding of one another's reality, we overcome our fears and experience a richer dimension of life."

Here, in this excerpt from her book, she recalls the days shortly after the birth of her son, who was about to be placed with an adoptive family

When I first saw him, feeling poured over me that I never could have anticipated while I was pregnant, never truly believing that a perfect person in miniature would miraculously appear from inside my womb. There was another teen in the bed next to me, and we sat together on our beds, holding the infants that would soon go home with someone else. We talked about their toes, their eyelashes, and their button mouths hollering for food. My mother and I both thought (my son) Andrew looked like my father.

When the nurse brought the babies back each morning, I continued to marvel at this new life. I held him close, I talked to him and told him how much I loved him. I tried to memorize his features and looked for distinguishing marks that I might recognize later. In the course of the five days I spent with Andrew, I did make one decision that made me, even for the briefest of moments, indisputably his mother. It was routine in the hospital to ask parents if they wanted their sons circumcised, and when I made this decision for Andrew, I began to realize the enormity of the loss that lay ahead for me.

Andrew was nestled in my arms one afternoon when my ward mate pulled a camera out of her bag and took a picture of us. I still wonder what became of that photograph, that single memento of a time that has long passed of the two of us, child and mother together, before time put so many years between us. With that picture went my youthful spark and some of my trust and hope for the future.

I had five days in the hospital to shower upon my baby all the maternal love I would be allowed for the next twenty-seven years. I knew that we would soon be parted, and I was shattered. Perhaps it was then that I began to draw on my experience as a military child, one who was always having to let go, never able to hold on to anyone for too long before saying good-bye. Already conditioned to these feelings, I summoned my strength to bid Andrew farewell.

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