Thank You, Son, For Finding Me:
A Birth Mother’s Story
by Beth Kane
Aslan Publishing, 1999

     Beth Kane’s story is told in a straightforward, conversational manner. She relinquished a son in 1947, which makes her story unusual among published books. She went on to marry and have two daughters. Her husband knew about her son, as did a few family members; but for the most part, she kept his existence a secret for forty-five years, until her found her. The story of their reunion and the growth of the relationships among all of the family, including her son’s adoptive parents, is fascinating. The author also became active in adoption reform, even though she had not previously considered it. This book is not long or difficult to read, but has some profound insights. For older birth mothers, and older adult adoptees, it offers an important picture of the way society was in 1947, far different from today’s climate with open adoptions and support for keeping a child as a single parent. The author’s thoughts and feelings, from the past and from the present, are important for all members of the adoption triad to know. The on-going story of the reunion is joyful and uplifting, and the chapters written by Beth’s husband and son help round out the picture. This book is highly recommended to anyone with adoption connections.

— Barbara Free

 

The Gift Wrapped In Sorrow:
A Mother’s Quest For Healing
by Jane Guttman
JMJ Publishing, 1999

     Jane Guttman’s story is far different from Beth Kane’s. Jane relinquished a child, under pressure, in 1963, a generation later than Beth, but still in the era when relinquishment was far more common than keeping one’s child. Her family was not able to be supportive of her emotionally, and could not deal with the situation. Jane also went on with her life, married and had two more children, but never forgot her first son. When she finally decided to search for him, she found his name and location very quickly, before she had time to really process the emotional and practical possibilities of what search and reunion hold. The story in her book is largely about what has followed her finding her son, who has so far not been willing to meet her in person, for reasons he has not made clear. Jane’s story is about how she has managed to keep herself intact despite that great disappointment. She writes eloquently of her thoughts and feelings, and of the practical things she does to maintain her equilibrium. She discovers that joy and sorrow are mixed together in life’s journey. Even as the book ends, we see that her story has not ended, and we find ourselves hoping that her son will soon find his way to being open to true reunion, so that both can heal further.

— Barbara Free

Excerpted from the April 2000 edition of the Operation Identitiy Newsletter
© 2000 Operation Identity