A birth mother recounts each stage of the adoption process in this debut memoir.
Baker was 21 years old when she discovered that she was pregnant. The conception of her son was a “college, one-time thing,” and the father’s first reaction to the news was that she should get an abortion. The author was also told by her mom that she “wouldn’t be a good mother.” Deciding against a late-term abortion, Baker began scouring adoption books for prospective parents—finally finding the “holy grail” of an adoptive parent living in California. The author recalls how she briefly relocated from Minnesota to Hollywood to live with her “son’s mother” during her pregnancy. She details the complexities of parting with her son after the birth and the subsequent feelings of loneliness and mourning that led her to alcohol and drug abuse. The uplifting book goes on to examine how Baker rebuilt her life with the intention of demonstrating that “open adoptions can be successful, even if they’re messy at times.” The most striking aspect of Baker’s writing is her directness. Not one to mince words, she writes of the adoption process: “Let me tell you, I was fucking broken. Over and over again, a little more every day.” She also outlines her actions with a selfless clarity: “I knew it was the right decision for my son’s life at the time, even if it didn’t feel best for mine. I did it for him.” The author’s frankness makes for powerful, engaging prose, particularly when she speaks directly to readers: “This shit hurts. Let it. Slowly, you can start to let light in little by little.” This characteristically blunt conversational style occasionally lacks descriptive flair: “The only way I can describe that time was that it was an utter shit show.” But this is more than compensated for by Baker’s contagious, positive attitude that encourages birth mothers to seek self-acceptance and stop perceiving themselves as “irrevocably broken” by stating boldly: “I’m still broken, but I see those cracks as opportunities.” Other books of this type tell of similar odysseys, but few exhibit the lucidity and conviction found here.
A forthright, insightful, and empowering account of a difficult journey.