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Hole in My Heart: Love and Loss in the Fault Lines of Adoption
Tekijä: Lorraine Dusky
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Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.Hole in My Heart: Love and Loss in the Fault Lines of Adoption by Lorraine Dusky is a powerful and thought-provoking memoir. Dusky illuminates how traumatic adoption can be, for all involved. She references countless studies and educates on the many ways adoption may affect one's life. Ways that I would have never thought of. Dusky is a skilled storyteller, as painful as telling her story must have been. When I received this book, I looked forward to learning about something I knew nothing about. I was emotionally invested and learned through the entire book. I appreciate Grand Canyon Press and Lorraine Dusky for the LibraryThing giveaways copy. ( )
It's probably hard for the youngest generation to understand the incredible stigma of having a baby out of wedlock, since they are lucky enough to grow up in a time where this is not the case. Dusky makes it understandable by telling her story with a lot of concrete detail. She got pregnant at a moment in time where women were supposed to now be sexually liberated but still basically had no access to birth control, and abortion was illegal, and being an unwed mother would bring shame on your whole family. (She explains that this period of time is called the Baby Scoop era and was the peak of infant adoption in the US. And that it mainly involved white mothers as African-American mothers were better at not placing their babies for adoption and keeping them within the birth family.)
Dusky was a hotshot young reporter who was breaking the glass ceiling for women in journalism. She got swept up in a romantic affair with a fellow reporter who was a married man. She thought she might be pregnant, but had a negative pregnancy test and was examined by a doctor who told her she was not pregnant and put her on the Pill. She eventually realized she was indeed pregnant and got herself to—I think it was Mexico—where she asked around the cab drivers and so forth where she could get an abortion. But the abortionist told her it was too late; she was too far along. Back at home, Dusky abruptly quit her job and hid in her apartment so no one would see she was pregnant, not telling any family or friends, hoping that her married boyfriend would decide to leave his wife and marry her so she could keep the baby, which he did not do. When she surrendered her daughter, she was advised to move on with her life and forget all about her baby, but instead she was filled with lifelong regret and grief. For me, one of the most interesting parts of the story was how Dusky changed from someone who kept this as her dark secret to someone who was able to tell her mother and the entire world that she was a birth mother. (She talks in the book about how unsatisfactory a term "birth mother" is, which I had never thought about before.) Dusky became an activist and a spokesperson and was dead set on finding her daughter someday, despite the fact that the records were 10000% sealed.
I feel fairly au fait about adoption but the one thing that really surprised me about this memoir was the vitriol and abuse from the public, and even just socially, that Dusky had to deal with simply for being a birth mother and for saying publicly that she wanted to find her daughter. This has gotten better--I think?! I've never heard anyone say anything negative about birth parents either in general or specifically (like about their adopted kids' birth mothers.) Maybe these cruel things are now said behind closed doors instead of publicly, but it seems pretty clear to me that Dusky was a prime mover behind the change in societal attitude. I realized that I've read lots of memoirs by adoptees and adoptive parents, but this is the first one I ever read by a birth mother, and that says something. (Novels--that's a different story. So many of the '70s/'80s YA problem novels I read as a kid were about pregnant teens--He's My Baby Now, Unwed Mother, etc. They drove me up the wall because they all had the same ending, the teen parents placed the baby for adoption because they decided they weren't good enough parents. Even in I Want to Keep My Baby! An example of how novels for teens represent societal attitudes and in turn can be propaganda.) Spoilers ahead...
Dusky does end up finding her daughter. At that time there were anonymous searchers that the birth moms could pay a pile of money to and be given the information. Not like the angels today who do it as a public service. Who were these anonymous people? Judges or clerks or others who had access to this secret information. It turns out that while Dusky had been looking for her daughter, her daughter’s adoptive mom had also been looking for her to see if Dusky had any family history information that could shed light on her daughter’s seizure disorder. (She didn’t.)
This section of the book, where Dusky and her teenaged daughter are first getting to know each other, is very sweet and poignant. In the end, however, it’s a very sad story because her daughter always struggled with depression. She herself placed a newborn daughter for adoption. And ultimately died by suicide. Dusky always saw her daughter’s troubles as caused by the adoption and by the birth control pills Dusky unwittingly took while she was pregnant. The adoptive mom saw her daughter’s troubles as caused by her seizure disorder. Just reading the story, I speculated that her troubles were caused by being sexually abused as a child by someone in the family circle and then her adoptive mom did not believe her for some time. You could look at this story through any number of lenses, but part of the sadness of this kind of tragedy is never really knowing why, or if things could have been different. Dusky was very resilient and managed to maintain a good life with her husband despite the death of her only daughter. But who wants to be so resilient? Why can’t humans just have plain happiness? They just can’t.
The one part of the story that Dusky glosses over, in about one sentence, is the death of her mother, who was such a big figure, and when in fact the whole memoir is about mother-daughter relationships. The story of Dusky’s relationship with her granddaughter (who was also adopted) seems like one that is not yet tied up. Overall, I found this memoir to be very thoughtful and affecting.
A couple little things. While I was reading the book, my brother mentioned that his friend Suzanne Bachner, the playwright, knows Lorraine Dusky. Towards the end of the book I turned the page and there was a big picture of Dusky with Suzanne Bachner and her actor husband Bob Brader! They were all in Albany together fighting for New York State to unseal original birth certificates so that adult adoptees could have access to information about their own births. (This law actually was passed in 2020, and this is only the law in a fistful of states.) Also, Dusky talks about reviewing the New York City Ballet’s opening season every night in Saratoga in 1966 for the newspaper she was working for. She should find those reviews and publish them because she witnessed a golden era. I would love to read her fresh eye on Suzanne Farrell, Violette Verdy, Eddie Villella, Karin von Aroldingen, Jacques D’Amboise, Patty McBride, and Patricia Neary. Imagine seeing them night after night—I know they did Midsummer Night’s Dream that season but I don’t know what else—and then getting to describe it to the world, or at least to Albany! I gratefully received a copy of this book via Librarything’s Early Review program.
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 18) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
In the days before Roe v. Wade, an ambitious young journalist from the Midwest is abandoned by her Michigan beau. Instead of wallowing, she dusts herself off and lands a dream job on the city desk of a Rochester, New York newspaper. Burned once, she's eager for love, but as the only Girl in the newsroom, she needs to find allies and make friends. When a new leading man appears, she recognizes a kindred spirit. Soon, her bylined stories claim front-page space; however, when she becomes pregnant, she must switch her attention from deadlines to decisions. With adoption on the horizon, she pushes her man to make a commitment. Sadly, he wants her, but not their daughter. Will Dusky ever find the little girl she longed to raise, and if she does, what will be the fallout from their years apart? In Hole in My Heart, the author uses her skills as a journalist to report on the social history and long-term consequences of family separation. If you like true stories with strong women narrators, you'll love Lorraine Dusky's timely and heart-rending memoir about motherhood, identity and love. Written by a leader in the movement to reform adoption practices and the first to come out of a bygone era's closet of shame. With footnotes, bibliography, and index.
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LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum
Lorraine Dusky's book Hole in My Heart: Love and Loss in the Fault Lines of Adoption was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)362.734Social sciences Social problems and services; associations Social problems of & services to groups of people Child welfare Adoption
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