It’s hard to believe that less than forty years ago, pregnancy out of wedlock was so taboo that young women were locked away and hidden for the duration of their pregnancy and the infant was then given up for adoption as families had reputations to uphold, despite the long term mental anguish endured by not only the unwed mother and child, but also by other members of the family.
Carole Ann was but five months old in 1968 when she was adopted by a loving adoptive family who never kept it a secret from her. Her adoptive father’s job had them frequently moving throughout Canada and she struggled with abandonment issues anytime her adoptive parents would leave town for work. Despite having a great childhood, with wonderful parents and three older brothers, she always felt a deep connection to her biological family. With her adoption records unsealed at the age of eighteen, it wasn’t until the age of thirty she decided to go forth and try and find her birth family and find the missing puzzle piece that would make her whole.
I never wished Pam had made a different decision.
Unspeakable Gift is a heartfelt and endearing personal journey that author Carol Lauweryssen has graciously shared with the world, whether you have been adopted, have given a child up for adoption, or just in search of a slice of humble pie. Carole’s perfectly blissful happy ending isn’t the norm for most adopted children and her repetitious reminders of her flawless perfect reunification from page to page might feel unrealistic at times to readers. She never includes any probable roadblocks or struggles despite spanning a twenty-seven year gap since her adoption records were unsealed. She vaguely skims over how her adoptive family drifted apart, excusing their actions as if finding new love interests after their divorce lowered her importance in their lives. But did it? Or was her adoptive family, like so many other typical families, where children become adults, new families are made, moves put distance between them, and requires energy from all sides to stay in contact?
As Carole points out in Unspeakable Gift when talking about her now husband Glen’s family, she yearned for a tight knit family, such as his, that spent valuable time together with old fashioned values and while her adoptive mom was a stay at home mom for the most part, she just didn’t have this familial bond she so desperately craved and had found while with Glen’s family. Could it be possible that this yearning is genetic? When Carole finally meets her birth parents, she again is presented a family who also shares that tight familial bond resulting in a book of memories of unbelievable bliss.
Carole’s memoir is empowering, a true life fairy tale that shows there doesn’t have to be a dark traumatizing experience before finding the light at the end of the tunnel and living happily forever after. It’s refreshing, reassures faith in humanity, and readers will find themselves sympathetic of the circumstances many women before us faced and endured under the scrutiny of an often unscrupulous society. Her story is not just hers, but the story of hundreds of thousands of children and adoptive parents, and provides a voice, a reminder that it is never too late and you’re never too old to take that step into uncertainty, even if only to gain a historical snapshot of a medical history or to uncover your genealogical timeline.
A worthy book indeed, Unspeakable Gift is a splendid afternoon read that will undoubtedly fill you with energizing positivity leaving you thankful for having picked it up and is one of those books that makes a perfect gift to anyone going through difficult times or who just thoroughly enjoys a happy ending!