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Adoptive Mother's Lament

By Rachel Ventress

Honorable Mention, Poetry, Create | Encounter 2023

Specters of birth ties broken

shimmer as glossy reflections

in pools of brown eyes

Shadows of repudiated biology

in delicate, tapering fingers

remind me

she is theirs before mine

An unnatural severing

A lost limb or amputated nose

that somehow made us–the lucky—


and left her and them


with a gaping, perpetual hole

A small scratch compared to

her first mother’s loss,

the weeping wound of second-best mother

I suffer again and again

as long as I carry her not of my womb

but of my love

Bone of my heart

Flesh of my soul

A bond explained only by the mystery

of deep loss in waves of grief

and this beauty made

from fusing and grafting


of the star-flung meteor

of separation and destruction

that is adoption

Artist Statement:

Since my personal experience with adoption, I've realized that adoption only exists because something is not as it should be; adoption is born of great loss. Children should be with their birth families except in the most exceptional cases. Most infant adoption in the U.S. is coercive and unethical. I don't "recommend" adoption; in fact, I would encourage people to do everything they can to avoid supporting adoption and instead to support families and women in crisis. I also see the beauty in adoption in desperate situations and cases, but I will never stop being sad that my daughter's best option for survival was not her biological family.


Disclaimer: The views presented in the Rehumanize Blog do not necessarily represent the views of all members, contributors, or donors. We exist to present a forum for discussion within the Consistent Life Ethic, to promote discourse and present an opportunity for peer review and dialogue.

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