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June 12 , 2008

A Life Let Go: A Memoir and Five Birth Mother Stories of Closed Adoption


Closed adoption, heralded as the answer to the problem of unplanned pregnancy, shows its other side in A Life Let Go, A Memoir and Five Birth Mother Stories of Closed Adoption. These women tell how they experienced unplanned pregnancy in the restrictiveness of the last decades of the twentieth century. All gave up a child in closed adoption—the only option—understanding they would never see them again, a dark contract made under great duress.

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The women:

1972: Patricia is not yet 16 when her parents learn she is pregnant. They decide she will stay hidden in the house and give the baby up for adoption.

1983: Nancy, lost and wandering in her early twenties, is anxious to to do the “right thing” when she becomes pregnant.

1964: Evelyn, married only a short time, becomes pregnant. When her husband says he is not ready, she believes she must choose between him and her baby and she gives the child up for adoption. Two months later, she is pregnant again.

1959: Marti, married mother of two, is already struggling to keep from having a nervous breakdown when she learns she is pregnant with her third child.

1969: Dena, a rebellious teen, is pregnant and marries the abusive birth father. After a brutal beating, her family sends her halfway across the country to live with her aunt and physician uncle. Dena loses her fight to keep her child.

1969: Kate, a young unmarried woman from a loving family, is ready to raise her baby and her family will support her decision, but a social worker talks her into placing the baby for adoption.

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