Guest Author - Karen Ledbetter
In addition to her extensive research, the author includes her family’s closed adoption experience in 1969 and reunion with her daughter’s birth mother approximately 30 years later.
Mrs. Fitzgerald describes her feelings of love and concern for her daughter’s birth mother, as well as her guilty feelings for being so happy at another’s loss, after social workers placed a newborn baby girl in her arms in the driveway of her home (I couldn’t believe the social workers did the placement this way!). Throughout the following years, Mrs. Fitzgerald fantasized about meeting the woman who had given her daughter life.
Reading about the author’s adult daughter’s feelings as she struggled with whether or not to agree to the reunion her birth mother requested, as well as her feelings since the reunion, gave me much to think about as an adoptive mother in an open adoption.
Throughout the book the author strives to dispel adoption myths from the days of shame and secrecy, such as “birth mothers who make adoption plans don’t care about their children, birth mothers forget about their children, and adoptees who search for their birth parents really don’t love their adoptive parents.” Of course, most of us know these are just myths with absolutely no truth to them.
Mrs. Fitzgerald objectively examines studies on American adoption practices and realistically points out the pros and cons of almost any type of adoption arrangement possible. While she expresses her personal preference for semi-open adoption with no identifying information exchanged until the child reaches adulthood, she reiterates that adoption is not a “one-size-fits-all” arrangement. What may work out great for one family may not work for another.
Intertwined with the author’s research and personal experience is the story of a fictional birth mother insisting that a completely open adoption would be in her baby’s best interest and a (fictional) hopeful adoptive mother who feels that a semi-open arrangement would be in the child’s best interest. Both mothers make good points in pleading their cases, and both reiterate their common denominator—an undeniable love for the child.
I cannot say enough about this book. It is well researched and informative. By realistically exploring the adoption options available in America today, the author helps her reader determine which adoption option would best suit him/her. I highly recommend Gisela Fitzgerald’s book to anyone considering domestic infant adoption, as well as adoptive and birth families considering search and reunion.
This book was published by Publish America and can be purchased online at Amazon.com.