by Mary Ellis
Turn on a made-for-TV movie or one of those “reality” shows about adoption and you’ll find adult children in serious angst over being given up. Everyone seems to be frantically searching for natural mothers and birth siblings. Invariably during the program’s second segment, after the commercial break, the viewer meets the long-suffering mother. Apparently she never stopped loving, worrying about, and searching for the baby taken from her or surrendered during a momentary lapse of judgment. These stories have always rung false for me, or at least overly “Hollywood” dramatic.
Do I believe such situations exist in real life? Yes, indeed. But are they the norm as the producers would have us believe? Not by a long shot, in my opinion. I’ve known too many adopted friends and siblings who suffered disappointments or faced disaster after discovering their “roots.” Personally, I hold no grudge or latent hostility for the woman who gave me up, but I also possess no buried affection either. She is a stranger. Throughout my life I’ve been offended by the predictable question: Don’t you want to know who your real mom is? I’ve always replied, “No, because I know who my real mother is-she’s the one who wiped my runny nose, fixed my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and put up with my sassy mouth as a teenager.
As a writer adopted from Children’s Services as an infant, I chose to explore this issue from another viewpoint…as the woman who gave up her child. In Always in my Heart, my novella from An Amish Miracle, Hope Bowman believes God has punished her for giving up her firstborn son. And she’s hidden this secret from her husband. Although Hope is thankful for three daughters, she still prays for a son. But instead of a new baby, God sends her the fifteen-year-old boy she abandoned.
Writing this novella turned out to be therapeutic, even though I’m well beyond the normal age for therapy. Tackling a sensitive and personal issue from another angle allowed me to come full circle. I experienced a bit of catharsis at my fictional story’s conclusion. My adoptive parents were the only parents I ever wished to know and were as “real” as any birth parents. But I hope you’ll enjoy my tale about a young man who chose a different path than mine.
Mary Ellis has written ten bestselling novels set among the Amish. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Living in Harmony, won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction. Her debut Christian book, A Widow’s Hope, was a finalist for the ACFW Carol Awards. Always in my Heart, from An Amish Miracle anthology from Harper Collins Christian Publishing is her eleventh novel.