Coming Apart Together: Fragments from an Adoption
Coming Apart Together recounts the stories that are necessarily part of any adoption and birth-parent reunion experience, and meditates on what those stories mean (or don’t mean). It is also an imaginative exploration of what it may feel like to adopt a child, to be an adopted child, and to give up a child for adoption. More
This memoir tells the story of two teenagers of different classes and ethnic backgrounds who meet by chance, fall in love, find their parents will not allow them to marry, and go off to college only to discover that they are going to have a child. She is spirited away to a home for unwed mothers, gives birth, signs the relinquishment papers, goes home. In four years, when they are old enough to marry despite their parents, they do. In the next twenty-five years, they have five more children together. Their first child, adopted at three months old, grows up in the knowledge of being different because she is adopted, and as an adult begins the search when her father dies. She discontinues it out of fear, then begins it again in 1998. In the same month, July of 1998, they all find the New York State adoption registry and are reunited in February of 1999. This reunion is the impetus of the story, the cataclysm that begins it and ends it both.
Coming Apart Together recounts the stories that are necessarily part of any reunion experience, and meditates on what those stories mean (or don’t mean). It is also an imaginative exploration of what it may feel like to adopt a child, to be an adopted child, to give up a child for adoption, what it might be like to be another mother, to find other relatives, to have a strange adult show up on the doorstep one day, claiming kin. Though the plot creates interest, the real beauty of the text is its language and its capacity for conveying the difficult emotional paths of the birth parents, of their parents and grandparents, of the adoptive mother and father, and the adopted daughter at parting, in living apart, and in reunion.
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