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Birthmothers presents intimate and stirring accounts of more than seventy women who surrendered babies for adoption. It follows their lives long-term, from discovery of their pregnancies through the present, and identifies the Birthmother Syndrome—a pattern of behavior and emotions resulting from surrender. With heartwarming candor, Birthmothers reveals the stories of the invisible side of the adoption triangle, and touches everyone involved in adoption, as well as anyone interested in motherhood, family, and women in our society.
Closed adoption, heralded as an answer to unplanned pregnancy, shows its other side in A Life Let Go... In the restrictiveness of the last decades of the twentieth century, these women relinquished a child in closed adoption-the only option-understanding they would never see them again, a dark contract made under great duress.
In this deeply moving and myth-shattering work, Ann Fessler brings out into the open for the first time the astonishing untold history of the million and a half women who surrendered children for adoption due to enormous family and social pressure in the decades before Roe v. Wade. An adoptee who was herself surrendered during those years and recently made contact with her mother, Ann Fessler brilliantly brings to life the voices of more than a hundred women, as well as the spirit of those times, allowing the women to tell their stories in gripping and intimate detail.
Generations of adults who were adopted as children have been kept in the dark about their original identities. The law sealing birth records, passed in 1935 in California during the Great Depression, swept adoptions emotional complexities under the rug and made it possible to keep adoption itself a secret. Reflecting extensive archival research and written for general audiences as well as professionals, Growing in the Dark: Adoption Secrecy and Its Consequences takes you through Californias early adoption laws, the sealing of records in the era of baby seller Georgia Tann, and the various consequences of this policy as they unfolded throughout the 20th century. WHAT REVIEWERS HAVE SAID: "...articulate, easy to read, and filled with real facts concerning sealed records." - Jean Brown, adoptee "If you work or live with adoption, you cannot afford to skip this book. Everyone seeking to reverse outdated sealed records laws should also provide a copy of the slim paperback to their legislatures." - Mirah Riben, author "...full of fascinating information...you wont be able to put it down." - Anita Field, Bastard Nation "Janine Baer, who was adopted in California, focuses on the California law enacted in 1935 sealing original birth certificates. Contrary to the popular perception, the intent of this law was not to protect the privacy of birthmothers. Rather, these records were sealed to protect children from the stigma of illegitimacy, to protect adoptive parents from intrusions by birthparents, to allow adoptive parents to keep the childs adoptive status a secret, to create the illusion that the birthparents did not exist, and to prevent adoptees from finding their birthfamilies. ...This is an excellent book for birthparents, adoptees, and adoptive parents who want to know how we got to where we are." - Jane Edwards, Portland, Oregon "Growing in the Dark, by virtue of its modest length and accessibility, can be used to educate people both within and outside of the adoption reform movement about the effects of sealed records and the faulty premises used to support them." - Barbara Busharis, American Adoption Congress "Decree" "Extensive notes and bibliographic information make it an excellent resource for those arguing for open records." - Sandra Falconer Pace, Canadian Council of Natural Mothers Note on price: Nonprofit organizations and resellers get 40% off. Call Xlibris for these orders: 1-888-795-4274.
The Imprint of Another Life: Adoption Narratives and Human Possibility addresses a series of questions about common beliefs about adoption. Underlying these beliefs is the assumption that human qualities are innate and intrinsic, an assumption often held by adoptees and their families, sometimes at great emotional cost. This book explores representations of adoption—transracial, transnational, and domestic same-race adoption—that reimagine human possibility by questioning this assumption and conceiving of alternatives. Literary scholar Margaret Homans examines fiction making’s special relationship to themes of adoption, an “as if” form of family making, fabricated or fictional instead of biological or “real.” Adoption has tended to generate stories rather than uncover bedrock truths. Adoptive families are made, not born; in the words of novelist Jeanette Winterson, “adopted children are self-invented because we have to be.” In attempting to recover their lost histories and identities, adoptees create new stories about themselves. While some believe that adoptees cannot be whole unless they reconnect with their origins, others believe that privileging biology reaffirms hierarchies (such as those of race) that harm societies and individuals. Adoption is lived and represented through an irresolvable tension between belief in the innate nature of human traits and belief in their constructedness, contingency, and changeability. The book shows some of the ways in which literary creation, and a concept of adoption as a form of creativity, manages this tension. The texts examined include fiction (e.g., classic novels such as Silas Marner, What Maisie Knew, and Beloved); memoirs by adoptees, adoptive parents, and birthmothers; drama, documentary films, advice manuals, social science writing; and published interviews with adoptees, parents, and birth parents. Along the way the book tracks the quests of adoptees who, whether or not they meet their original families, must construct their own stories rather than finding them; follows transnational adoptees as they return, hopes held high, to Korea and China; looks over the shoulders of a generation of girls adopted from China as they watch Disney’s iconic Mulan, with its alluring story of destiny written on the skin; and listens to birthmothers as they struggle to tell painful secrets held for decades. This book engages in debates within adoption studies, women’s and gender studies, transnational studies, and ethnic studies; it will appeal to literary scholars and critics, including specialists in memoir or narrative theory, and to general readers interested in adoption and in race.
Do parents with adoptive children see themselves as similar to or different from nonadoptive parents? Is the stigma attached to adoption lessening? Does open communication about adoption contribute to the family's well-being? How successful are adoptive adults at putting their adolescent turmoil behind them? These and many other important and complex questions are addressed in Families and Adoption, an informative guidebook that shows you how adoption is both a condition and a lifelong process. Families and Adoption discusses legislation that can serve the needs of various members of the adoptive experience to deepen your understanding of the key legal issues associated with consent and openness. It also provides you with detailed coverage of changes in adoption law, open adoption research results, transracial and transethnic adoption, and the consequences of placing versus parenting for unmarried, teenage women who give birth. Graduate students, social workers, adoption professionals, members of adoptive families, and couples wishing to adopt will find there isn't a rock that Families and Adoption leaves unturned. It presents you with vital information on the following topics: the developmental stages of reunion between an adoptive child and birth parent notions of adoption, parenthood, and kinship and how these notions are challenged after a reunion has taken place the institution of adoption as it has existed for decades in American society international adoption respecting the bonds children have and helping them develop critical attachment skills those who “accept” open-adoption and those who “embrace” it flexible parenting styles and their positive effect on developmentally vulnerable adoptees A skillful blend of personal adoption experiences and research studies, Families and Adoption explores the special issues adoption presents and how all parties involved can work together to improve placement decisions, ensure that a woman is confident in her decision to relinquish her child, and help families select the most appropriate adoption arrangement. The book's main strength is that it doesn't just look at the initial considerations of adoption; it prepares you for the issues that will arise along the way.

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