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Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother
By Jana Wolff

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Review by Allison and Rick Martin

Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother chronicles author Jana Wolff's reactions to her domestic adoption. It reads like a diary or perhaps a gritty reality TV screenplay. Although written for the world to read, Wolff expresses her thoughts and feelings that might otherwise be hidden and unacknowledged. Her "secret thoughts" run the gamut of wry, humorous, and thoughtful to self absorbed and occaisionally startling. These are not the mellow reflections of someone whose motherhood experience has matured; these are the raw emotions of a first time mother-to-be who struggles with infertility and is impatient and uneasy with the unfolding emotional rollercoaster of a domestic adoption.

Wolff and her husband began to pursue an open adoption after a struggle with infertility. In a relatively short time, they are chosen by a birthmother and adopt a new born baby boy. Secret Thoughts follows their process - physically and emotionally - from their early thoughts of adopting, to the composition of the "Dear Birthmother" letter, the uncertain agony of waiting and the birth of her son, and ending with the blossoming of her child and a meeting with his birthmother once again.

Wolff tackles some tough topics in her book - racism, biological determinism, uncertainties of adoption, and the building of a long-term relationship with the birthmother- as well as the normal worries of all parents. Her book is divided into short chapters, each covering an aspect of the process in chronological order. While the reader may not resonate with every thought in this book, overall it is a revealing and honest testament by this first time adoptive mother of her reponse to the challenges of infertility and domestic adoption.

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