Friday, March 9, 2012

Book Review: Jessica Lost

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Today I’m reviewing “Jessica Lost: A Story of Birth, Adoption, & The Meaning of Motherhood.”  It’s a well-written memoir by Bunny Crumpacker & J.S. Picariello about the events that led them to reunion and afterward.  I found this book on by putting in the search term of adoption.  I was surprised to see that this book came up toward the top of the list.  I figured I’d have to scroll through a lot of books geared toward hopeful adoptive parents and providing tips for successful adoptions.

The book is very logical and well planned.  It starts from the point of view of Bunny, and then the two women alternate chapters.  Bunny (or Faith, her given name) is the birth mom, and Jessica (or Jill, as her adoptive parents named her) is the adopted child, now an adult.  Their reunion doesn’t happen until Jill is 42, or as Bunny says, “Before she found me, the last time I had seen my daughter was when she was four days old. When she found me, she was 15,391 days old – just over 42.”

The expected heartbreak of both is there, as well as brief mentions of the women finding out that both the agency involved and Jill’s parents lied.  Bunny is married when she conceives Jill and Jill’s birth parents divorce soon after Jill’s birth.  They both make an adoption plan together, though it’s found out later that Jill’s birth father is not Bunny’s ex-husband, but the product of an affair.  When Jill finds out that the man she thinks is her birth father is not, she confronts him and asks why he’s been carrying on a relationship with her if she’s really not his biological daughter.  He says, “I’ve thought a lot about that.  I think it’s because I behaved so damn badly back then.  I want to take responsibility.  I want to be the grown-up I couldn’t be then.”

Jill then states, “It made sense to me, all of it: the drama, the responsibility, the stupidity of these young people who made a baby and messed up their lives and didn’t even know who did it.  I understood what they did, and even why they did it.  In my head it made sense, but in my stomach it was an ache, a pain.  They messed up their lives and messed up my life and really, deep down, I didn’t understand it at all.”  That quote I’m sure resonates strongly with every adoptee in a closed adoption.  I’m certain a large majority of people reading this have come into contact with at least one adoptee that feels this way – feels the logic of the reasons and the agony of the emotions colliding.

Toward the end of the book, Jill loses both Faith and her mom to death.  She says of the loss of Faith, “I know how fortunate I am to have found Faith – not just to have found this missing piece of my life, but to have found this particular person, this remarkable connection, this warm and enriching relationship.”  I think that all birthmothers who are still awaiting reunion want to be thought of by their children this way.

All in all, a wonderful book and an easy read.  The stories told by the women are engaging and engrossing.  I would highly recommend this book.  It gave me still more insights into the world of adoption in general.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad this story is out there. What I've discovered, even as a hopeful adoptive parent, is that understanding a situation intellectually is so different from being able to make emotional peace with it.