Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MAY THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN by Lynn C. Franklin

MAY THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN

An Intimate Journey into the Heart of Adoption

By Lynn C. Franklin (Author) , Elizabeth Ferber (Author)

Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 1998
ISBN: 0-517-70755-1
Publisher: Harmony

An absorbing memoir of one birth mother’s experiences, interspersed with an array of narratives, musings, facts, and statistics on the theme of adoption. When Franklin, a literary agent (and a member of the board of directors of the Spence-Chapin adoption agency), became pregnant in 1965, she was a 19-year-old unwed college sophomore. Her family shuffled her off from her home in Virginia to a maternity home in New York City, where relinquishing her baby to adoption was the only option offered her. “We wanted to make right our wrongs and go home,” she writes, but when she gave birth to her son, she was instantly overcome with maternal feelings for him. For years afterward, she suffered feelings of shame, isolation, sadness, and poor self-esteem. The secrecy and silence that cloaked the adoption, contends Franklin, are largely responsible for these feelings. Much of May the Circle Be Unbroken is, in fact, a plea to open adoption records in the US so that searches and reunions between birth parents and adopted children can be facilitated. Searching for and reuniting with their birth parents, states Franklin, helps adoptees attain a sense of wholeness, no matter how well adjusted they are in their adoptive families. Only when Franklin was reunited with her son 27 years later could she begin to recover from the initial trauma or “primal wound” of losing him. Reunion itself, though, is often “an emotional roller coaster” that begins to take on a life of its own. In addition to delicately navigating her relationship with her son, Franklin cautiously establishes a relationship with his adoptive parents, who divorced when he was nine. And Franklin must come to terms with the realization that, although she is her son’s birth mother, the two cannot have the lifelong parenting bond that exists between him and the woman who raised him. A thorough, provocative discourse on just about every aspect of the joys and sorrows of all those involved in the adoption process. (For a look at adoption from the adoptee’s point of view, see Sarah Saffian, Ithaka: A Daughter’s Memoir of Being Found, p. 1365.)