Book Review by Barbara Free

Sharon FiekerThis book, written by a reunited birth mother, is decidedly religious in orientation, yet tells a compelling story that goes beyond that, and it is worthwhile reading, even for those who normally avoid “Christian” writing. The author was a presenter at the 2004 American Adoption Congress Conference in Kansas City, along with her birth daughter. She was an engaging speaker and is a competent writer.

Her personal story is not unusual in many ways—she became pregnant in what she thought was a committed relationship, which turned out not to be on the father’s part; she hid the pregnancy, birth and relinquishment of her daughter from most of her family and friends, was heavily medicated at the time of the birth and several days thereafter, and she continued for many years to hide the fact that she was a birth mother. For a young woman in those days in a small town in Southwest Missouri, that was an all-too-common story. She did not marry and always carried her grief inside. She talks of feeling like a turtle, hiding her true self under a shell, protecting her secret.


Nevertheless, she was thrilled and overwhelmed when her daughter found her in 1995. At that point, she began to really come out of her shell. She uses the turtle analogy several times, and says she had collected turtles (such as ceramic ones) for many years. After her reunion, she was able to use that in writing and speaking about her life, as she completed a college degree at Drury University.

In one of the most moving parts of the book, Fieker tells of being in church on Mother’s Day when the minister asked that all the mothers stand and be recognized. She sat in her seat, crying inside, unable to acknowledge that she was a mother. The next year on Mother’s Day, after her reunion, she stood proudly to be acknowledged.

Even today, in a small town in her part of the country, it takes a great deal of courage to stand up and tell one’s story of being a birth mother. Countless thousands of women can remember similar painful times of not being able to let others know they had a child, and many reunited birth mothers have had such joyous times as that next Mother’s Day when they were free to let the world know they were mothers.

She also describes how she handled attending her daughter’s wedding, and her developing relationship with her daughter’s adoptive mother, as well as the birth of grandchildren. Many people in reunion can benefit from her experiences. Ms Fieker has been reunited since 1995, so she has a long-term perspective on reunion. At the end of the book she has a final surprise readers will enjoy.

Although some of her beliefs may be different from some readers’, this is a book well worth reading. The author has done a remarkable job of working through her own thoughts and feelings, transforming her experiences into something very positive. It is probably unfortunate that a better-known publisher did not pick up this book, because it is much better written, and is a deeper story, than many others. It could offer hope to many birth mothers, and provide understanding for a lot of other people.

Excerpted from the April 2007 edition of the Operation Identity Newsletter
© 2007 Operation Identity


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