I recently read Second-Chance Mother, by Denise Roessle. The book describes Roessle’s experience of putting her son up for adoption in 1969, and then reuniting with him many years later. Roessle’s story is very powerful, and anyone who reads it realizes that adoption is not an easy decision for anyone involved. Second-Chance Mother is currently the #1 title in the adoption section at Amazon. Over Mother’s Day weekend, over 12,000 readers downloaded a copy of the book.
I caught up with Denise Roessle to ask her a few questions about Second-Chance Mother. When you read what she has to say, I know you’ll have a lot of things to marinate in your brain.
1. What was your motivation for writing Second-Chance Mother?
My initial plan was to write a guide to adoption search and reunion for mothers. After four years in reunion, attending support groups and reading others’ stories, I realized that mothers like me needed help navigating the rough course of reunion. What I had in mind was a book with specifics, real information and advice, not just personal stories, that would help mothers (and possibly adoptees) figure out how to handle things like initial contact, the first meeting, how to deal with adoptive parents’ reactions, etc. Of course I didn’t have all the answers, but I knew where to get them and was planning to research: consulting searchers, adoption therapists, mothers and adoptees who were long into reunion. I had a detailed proposal for the book with a table of contents and sample chapters, which I pitched to various agents and publishers at a writing conference in 2000. I couldn’t convince anyone that this book was viable and needed, even though there were/are six million birthmothers in the U.S. alone. Everyone I talked to, especially after hearing my multi-generational adoption story, said, “write the memoir.” So I began.
My motivation was the same as it was at the beginning: to help other mothers get through this difficult process. As it turned out, in writing the memoir, I helped myself. It was cathartic, working through painful memories and coming to terms with the past. [Read more...]