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Touched By Adoption

Edited by Nancy A. Robinson. Green River Press; $19.95.

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Every adoption is both a love story and a journey. In Touched by Adoption, Nancy A. Robinson has compiled an anthology of more than 100 stories, letters, and poems that reflect this dual experience. "A Long Distance Chat," by the Cambridge poet John Hildebidle, expresses the longing that is at the heart of so many of the vignettes: come here, come home/ to let us begin/ this test of the heart, /of its gift of tongues.

Many of the authors play variations on the theme "this test of the heart." There is Oregon writer Floyd Skloot's achingly beautiful tribute to his son Isaac's basketball skills and to the gentle heart that lives in his tall boy from Romania. In the exquisitely crafted poems of another Oregon writer, Karen Braucher, the passage to China and back for a daughter draws the mother to reflect that this baby girl may grow to have a place in her that is desolate/a land I can never reach. The adoption narrative is an emotional minefield. There are the child's fears of another abandonment; the birthmother's longings and the chaos of conflicted feelings; children searching for birthparents; and adoptive mothers writing thank-you letters to birthmothers. And, in the end, there is the simplicity of the adoptive parent's reaching out to the risk of parenthood, captured in Norbert Krapf's lyrical poem, "When the Call Came": When the call came / the white blossoms / of the wild cherry at the edge / of the woods were fluttering / on black boughs / / Yes, we / accept her, I said. Yes.

Love, not expediency, makes the journey possible, these writers say.

By Helen Marie Casey, a poet and essayist in Sudbury, Massachusetts.  Casey is the mother of four children, three by birth and one by adoption.

Copyright 2001 Adoptive Families magazine. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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