“Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother” was chosen as the first selection of the Adoption STAR Book Club. Here are Jana’s answers to readers’ questions (part 1):
Q: Do you still agree with everything that you wrote in the book?
JW: Because it started as a diary, I wrote with brutal honesty—without the constraints of thinking that I had to be politically correct or act like an authority on adoption. I’m not sure whether it was naïveté or courage that allowed me to be so revealing … but it seemed to validate the feelings of many other adoptive parents.
I do not agree with everything I wrote in the book (see next question), but I still think it accurately captures the anxiety and ambivalence that are commonly felt early on in the adoption process.
Q: Was there any part of the book, such as your version of the birth mother letter, which you thought of leaving out?
JW: That unsent version of the birth mother’s letter, which I wince at now, came from feeling utterly powerless and also indignant that we couldn’t have a family in the “normal” way. That letter—with its gross generalizations about birth mothers—is a much more scathing reflection on me than on birth mothers.
I hope that the insensitivity I let readers see at the beginning of the book with the imagined letter is moderated by the dawning enlightenment I show once I’ve had the chance to get to know and like a real live birth mother (namely, my son’s).
I’ve been slammed for that letter, but it underscored the strong ambivalence I felt at the time. Leaving it out would make me look better, but then I wouldn’t be sharing secret thoughts, I’d be sharing sugar-coated ones.
Bottom line, I would not have allowed the book to be published without the blessing of my son’s birth mother, who felt it was a hard but important and honest story to tell. Read More