Reading, Wondering

Okay, I finally ordered and received my copy of The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler (BRAND NEW hardback listed as “used” on B & N, purchased for less than $5–CHA CHING!). For those of you who haven’t heard of the book, its outlining the history and experiences of those young birthmothers between WWII and Roe v. Wade who “placed their children” through adoption.  I use the ” ” because many were forced to do so in a variety of ways.  Many who were interviewed for the book have never even spoken about it until now, yet it is clear, the grief from that moment in time continues. Anyway, I got all the way to I think the second chapter before I’m weeping in the booth of the restaurant where I’m eating my lunch.  So beware…if you pick it up to read it, know there will be some emotions.

But it also got me thinking…there is nothing different between these women and women in my own family.  I wonder if there are people I know, aunts, cousins, grandparents, who may have had a pregnancy, hidden and ending in adoption, who have lived years just trying to move on, forget and pretend it never happened.   



Filed under adoption, birthparents

9 responses to “Reading, Wondering

  1. That is a gut-wrenching book, isn’t it? I read it several months ago, and I’m still mulling it over now.

  2. Hey, can I borrow it when you are through? I have been wanting to read it as well. Although that might need to be a day when Shawn is around in case I get too upset to function…

  3. I’m reading The Girls Who Went Away, too, and can only read it a couple of stories at a time. The intensity of the pain is simply overwhelming – and if it is for me, I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like for these women and all women who go through the loss of a child.

    The day after I first got the book, and had read the first couple of stories, as I drove to work I kept looking at the women in the cars around me and wondering if they, too, were carrying this pain around with them. And I find myself being far more careful talking about adoption loss with people now, for that very reason.

  4. It’s a good book, an intense book. I so wonder how many, which women are carrying these secrets, wishing they could talk about these things openly.

    How very sad, these losses that they had to, felt and many still feel they have to keep hidden.

  5. I’m waiting to read this book. I’ve read other birth/first mother stories but I hear this one is harder. We have a “girl who went away” in my family and even after she was in reunion (a reunion that didn’t go badly but didn’t go well), no one really talked about it. After Madison was born and I sent the announcement she wrote me and said how happy she was that Jessica was a part of our lives and to send her love and kisses on her behalf. I know she has a special place in her heart for our adoption and for Jessica and it means a lot to me.

  6. Jen

    I haven’t worked up the muster for this one yet. My bleeding heart has enough going on. I know I’ll cry for days, if not weeks, so I’ll need to be in a very good place before I pick this one up.

    It IS, however, on my priority list.

  7. It’s Lainey Paney here.
    I would love if you could/would link the story about Riley to your blog.

    I can’t seem to tell enough people fast enough about keeping our kids safe around cars.

    And, another website that I’ve read is
    It’s a place where parents have come together about their children & car-related deaths/accidents. Things that you would NEVER imagine happening….like the fact that a child died when the automatic seat mechanism moved the front seats even though the car wasn’t on. I never even knew that my car seat would still move as long as the car battery was working properly. I just assumed that the car needed full power–key in the ignition, etc.

    Anyway…I could really go on & on about this topic all day.
    I would be flattered for you to link the story. I will never know if sharing it saves even one life…but I would like to think that we can raise awareness about safety issues that may go overlooked.


  8. I read a story once on a blog about this book, I have to see if I can find it. The blogger had (she thought) no connection to adoption whatsoever but had read the book. She was so moved by it she couldn’t stop talking about it to everyone she knew.

    At a family holiday she said one of her aunts burst into tears as she was talking about the book. It turns out her aunt had surrendered a baby when she was just a teenager in the 60’s and had never told anyone about it ever. She was crying for a lot of things, but she said the biggest thing she was crying over at that point was the outrage and compassion in her niece’s voice as she spoke about the BSE; and the compassion that no one ever showed her. I can’t even imagine.

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