The Day 33 prompt is: What is/will be the subject of your next book?
My next book is Helping the Birth Mother You Know. It’s my second book about adoption, and is written for birth mothers, their families, and friends.
When I first started working in adoption in 1979, I went to the Tucson Public Library and looked in their card catalogue for books on adoption. There were three. Today, a quick inspection of Tucson Public Library’s online books that reference adoption yields over 475. After subtracting the ones on animal adoptions (dogs and cats to rabbits, bats, penguins and parrots), adoption of governmental regulations and adoption of business practices in troubled times, I estimate there are 380 books on adoption.
Many are picture books for preschool children explaining adoption in simple language. Some of these are specifically written for the child adopted from another country and a few address transracial adoption, usually from the foster care system.
There are fictional YA books that have adoptee protagonists who search for birth parents. Most of these books seem, from the synopses, to be warnings that a search could have horrible endings!
Adoption is based on loss, and this can’t be ignored when writing for or to birth parents. How one handles grief – both immediate and long term – will be an important a part of the book. The adoptive parents (in most cases) have lost the ability to have a child. The adoptee loses the connection to the original family and is without genetic role models. And birth parents, their losses seem to me to be the hardest.
Some of the newer books are written from the perspective of the birth parent. Lorraine Dusky’s gripping books: Birthmark (published in 1979, but I didn’t find it until much later), and Hole in My Heart, published earlier this year, tell the story as only a birth mother can. Other birth mother memoirs include Southern Arizona author Denise Roessle (Second Chance Mother) and actress Kate Mulgrew’s Born with Teeth, both memoirs that I’ve read this year.
Ann Fessler’s The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade, written in 2006, quickly became a classic. The book and movie Philomena brought the plight of birth mothers to the screen and thus, to a larger audience.
I’m eager to get busy writing this new book, Helping the Birth Mother You Know.