May the Circle Be Unbroken: An Intimate Journey Into the Heart of Adoption

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9780517707555: May the Circle Be Unbroken: An Intimate Journey Into the Heart of Adoption
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May the Circle Be Unbroken is both a poignant memoir of a woman who reunited with a child she gave up for adoption and a no-nonsense book that gives readers an intelligent and well-informed approach to adoption. The two are woven seamlessly into a complex and engaging story that is, in fact, many stories from many people that form a complete picture of the varied and often fulfilling experience of adoption.

In the 1960s, when she was an unmarried college sophomore, Lynn Franklin surrendered her newborn son for adoption. Using her own story as a point of departure, Franklin examines the changing face of adoption and explores the uncertainties and emotions that surround it with rare honesty and perception.

Moving and enlightened, May the Circle Be Unbroken will prove invaluable for readers concerned with the practical, emotional, and legal aspects of adoption, whether they are thinking of making an adoption plan for their child or hoping to be chosen as suitable parents for someone else's child. Franklin demystifies adoption and offers essential comfort to those who have felt, firsthand, the impact of adoption on their lives. She has dialogues with children of adoption who discuss the struggle to come to terms with their feelings of loss and abandonment and the difficulty of forging an identity without knowing their biological heritage. She gives equal time to those who became parents through an abundance of human affection rather than by biology, by audition rather than chance.

Franklin covers the changing face of adoption and virtually every possible form of adoption, but, perhaps most important, she speaks to adoptees wondering if they should search for their mothers and to women who have relinquished a child and are wondering if they are emotionally able to reconnect. While her own powerful story anchors the book, it is her voice as a birth mother that will distinguish this book from others on the subject. It will also resonate emotionally for people who have no individual experience of adoption, but who, like any of us, struggle with the universal issues of loss, identity, and personal reconciliation.

Since finding her son, Franklin has come to know his wife and children, who also have become an important part of her life. In so doing, she has closed one of life's most precious circles.

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Review:

Lynn C. Franklin's memoir of giving a child up for adoption and the relationship she developed with her son later in life examines the complexities of the adoption process--which seems to be lifelong. Franklin, who spoke to her son's father only once after the birth, was a typical unmarried mother of the 1960s. Her son, Andrew, approached her in 1993 and they met a scant month after their first contact. In her book, Franklin uses her feelings about and relationship to Andrew as particular examples in a larger survey of adoption.

While Andrew firmly informed Franklin that he considered his mother to be the woman who raised him, a central point of the book is that adoptive families--like many families in a world where divorce and remarriage are common--are flexible, elastic institutions. Franklin, who is the only birth parent on the board of directors of an adoption agency, values her contact with adoptive parents on the board (as well as with Andrew's father and mother) because it helps all of them understand others' perspectives and break through the barriers of fear and ignorance that can isolate members of the "adoption triad." Franklin uses many excerpts from interviews with and writings by birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents. Ably assisted by freelance writer Elizabeth Ferber, she organizes these varied voices into a unified narrative that leads readers through each phase of the adoption process, which evolves over the lifetime of all the participants.

From the Back Cover:

"This is a wonderful guide for anyone interested in either side of the adoption triad. A beautiful book, a moving book, a healing book."
--Jamie Lee Curtis

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