This week we present my 2012 conversation with Meredith Hall about her pregnancy at age 16. Meredith describes being shunned by her family and school and forced to give the child up for adoption. The experience was never acknowledged, and this silence left her alone and afraid for many years. Her memoir Without a Map explores how silence can be such an impediment to healing.
This week we revisit a 2015 conversation with Sandy White Hawk, one of five commissioners of Maine’s historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Sandy is Sicangu Lakota and an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, who was separated from her family and heritage and adopted at 18 months old by a white family. She talks about the trauma of adoption and racism, and about the healing she found by reclaiming her identity.
An interview with public school teacher, poet and blogger, Catherine Anderson about adopting her son Sam. Catherine describes her decision to adopt and how she thought she understood racism before parenting. She describes her experience of those “grocery store moments” when she has to respond to other people’s surprise and inappropriate comments in front of her son. She speaks movingly about her relationship with Sam’s birth mom and how strong the pull is to keep proving to her that she is doing a good job. She describes the ways that she talks to Sam about race, and the ways that she, as a white woman, feels she can and cannot prepare him to be a black man in Maine. Catherine reads her beautiful poem, Black Enough to open and close the interview. You can find her blog at mamacandtheboys.com
An interview with Deb Gallagher about her experience creating a family through “the messy miracle of international adoption.” Deb first talks about the degree of homophobia she encountered as a lesbian seeking to adopt a child both domestically and internationally. She describes the way she had to enter the closet for the first time since age 15 in order to have the chance to adopt a child. She describes her grief at bringing a child away from her home culture and language to a country that is so racist. She observes the many ways that her daughter’s experience of being in this culture is so different from her own as a white person.
An interview with clinical social worker and birth mother, Marilyn Bronzi about giving up her child for adoption. Marilyn describes the sense of secrecy and shame that surrounded out of wedlock pregnancy in 1966. “It was like having a relative in jail.” She describes her process of making the decision and making peace with it in different ways over the years. Marilyn describes not talking to anyone about the loss for 23 years for fear of judgment. She also describes the experience of reunification with her daughter Lisa, and the ways that she and Lisa’s family have been able to come together. Marilyn affirms that giving up her child was an expression of loving her child, and wanting her to have the best life she could have.