|Jane and Lorraine, summer 1982|
I can hardly believe it--I mean I can, that is a figure of speech. But after so many years of writing and rewriting, of acceptance by a small adoption publishing house and then a contract I wouldn't sign, after almost a Lifetime TV movie (a script writer was already blocking out scenes), after agents calling to say they loved the writing, after hearing from editors at the usual publishing houses that "there wasn't a big enough audience for this story--but good luck with placing it elsewhere"--it does feel amazing to finally have Hole In My Heart in print and out there for the world to read.
I'm a little scared of course--what if? It just goes quietly into that good night and that's it?
Someone asked me about a week ago about what I hoped to accomplish with this book and I immediately answered before thinking: I want to change the way people think about adoption.
You're not supposed to tell the ending of the story, but regular readers here know how my story basically turns out, and here is an excerpt from the last chapter that sums up what I feel about adoption and why I had to write Hole In My Heart:
"The celebratory way adoption is portrayed today—on television, in the movies, in magazines, by the growing list of celebrities who adopt—largely ignores that behind every happy adoption is another mother missing her child, and another family mourning the missing link in their family tree. And there is a child who, no matter how successful and content, or how open the adoption, will one day wonder: Why didn’t she keep me? What was wrong with me?
"Life is messy and children often end up paying the price, and there will always be adoptions. Undoubtedly a need exists for families to raise the children of addicts and felons, yet in America the adoption of infants by the middle and upper class is largely a cultural phenomenon, not a necessity. The industry recruits, vulnerable teens and poor mothers provide, and babies end up being transferred in what is ultimately a cash transaction, even though the money does not go to the mother. The lawyers, the agencies, the social workers employed by the agencies, all must be paid. If the mothers could provide, almost all would keep their children—as they do in some parts of the world. Far too many adoptions in America are based largely on class and money, and are the unnecessary product of a billion-dollar industry selling adoption as: a good thing. Adoption is many things, but an unencumbered Good Thing it is not.
"After Jane [my daughter] and I reunited, we built a relationship, and despite everything, we did reach rapprochement as well as had some wonderful times together. I do have good memories. But nothing was ever as if she had not been relinquished, as if I had kept her, as if she did not have another family, as if we had grown together rather than apart for so many years.
"Nothing could ever erase her sense of abandonment, nor my sense of knowing not keeping her was wrong. No matter what closeness we came to at times, we would always have this break to overcome, and we would never be able to bridge it completely. That was a given once I signed the relinquishment papers."How I got to this end, is of course the guts of the book. As the Amazon link above indicates, it's both a memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption. I am internally too much the journalist to make this book simply a memoir; I include five sections, as well as weave research material into the story line, from many many sources--that's why there are over a hundred footnotes, and that is why it's not available as a Kindle yet. We are having trouble figuring out how to make the footnotes work for the reader without a lot of trouble going back to the main body of the book. In truth, most readers will find the paperback easier to read. Some of the footnotes are further explanations that I wanted to include, rather than sources.
What is my deepest wish? I hope many of you will read and tell others about it. "Word of mouth" is truly how most books make an impact. Reviews at Amazon or anywhere are MOST WELCOME. I'm going to be doing everything I can to get the word out--if I seem pushy to some, please understand right now I am a one-woman band. If you want to change the world, you have to start someplace. This is my someplace.--lorraine
For some reason, Amazon is being funky, and I'm not able to include the cover here as we do for other books, so it's a sidebar. Oh yeah--I hope you like it. Of course I do. Now to work: Prepare to send out copies to the people who generously contributed to the Kickstarter (I don't have an actual copy of the book myself yet--only saw a proof I made corrections in!); contact local media; write a press release, etc.
Previous posts from FMF
Why I wrote Hole in my Heart
What not to say to a natural mother
Getting to Know You: Good Times with first mother leads to guilt about (adoptive) Mom
A first mother brings her daughter 'home' to meet 'Grandma'