Thursday, July 23, 2015

Honeymoon: Excerpt from Kathleen~Cathleen, Part 1

As we work on finishing our draft of Kathleen~Cathleen, we wanted to do something new on the blog. For the first time on the blog, we are sharing excerpts from the memoir's original manuscript with you, our readers. We hope to hear your thoughts, impressions and questions. 

The intent of our memoir is to share the true story of reunion in all its complexities; the heights of its joys, the depths of its sorrows and the perseverance it takes to journey through the thrill of the initial meeting to get to the grips of a real relationship. There are many stories that share the experience of separation and reunion. Our book explains what happens next. 

As we do with the blog, we have written from the unique and contrasting experiences of both the birthmother and the adoptee through our individual viewpoints. The excerpts we are posting here are the only parts of the book that we have shared with each other. While we have an outline that we created together, we have not yet read each other's chapters. We want to keep the purity of our personal recollections and impressions uninfluenced by the other's point of view. 

The result is that it is you, the reader, who brings the stories together, creating something new, something greater than the sum of its parts. 

Over the next few weeks we will share sections from the memoir that highlight crucial turning points in our relationship: Honeymoon, Going Dark, Therapy and Integration. 

Below is my excerpt from the Honeymoon chapter of the memoir (then read Kate's Honeymoon excerpt at mothertone).


“Want a cup of tea before bed?” Kate asked.

“Sure,” I said. Having still more questions than answers, it seemed neither of us were quite ready to let the night end.

Unlike our first meeting, now there were no limitations on our time, no need to leave after our appointment was over. Our conversations felt limitless as well – there was so much to talk about, so much to learn. I recalled how I imagined meeting my birthmother might be, back when I was a teenager. I thought I would learn everything about her in the first meeting and then go back to my life, contented with the knowledge gained.

As I settled into my seat at Kate’s kitchen table, Kate put on the kettle for tea. As she poured the boiling water over a blend of peppermint and camomile cradled in a metal mesh sphere, I realized I'd never had tea other than Lipton's before. Having a pot of herbal tea might seem like a small thing, insignificant; but for me it felt like it was just one of innumerable magical things that I was being introduced to by Kate.

She was a musician, independent, living on her own. She was creative and bright and her home reflected that with its whimsical details - the batik cloth hanging as a separator between the music room and her bedroom, the painting of the pepper that hung in her kitchen, the two small parakeets who kept chorus in the corner of the room. 

In talking with her, it I felt like she understood me instantly, that she could relate to my own, unique way of viewing the world, who understood that world as well, and maybe could even lead me in it. I wasn’t alone. I hadn’t realized how alone I had felt for my entire life until that moment. Having someone understand me in such a complete way that incorporated beliefs, point of view, an understanding made me discover that I could know things without it having been taught.

I wanted to know everything about her, understand who she was, know everything about her life.

I was reminded of Sleeping Beauty, raised by strangers away from who she was, unknowingly being hidden from her home by her own parents for her safety, to protect her from a witch’s curse. My curse of hiding had finally been lifted and I was back to my origins, to a world that I never knew existed, but that I could instantly recognize ... as home.

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to view my birthmother's blog on the same topic, go to mothertone


Thoughts? Reflections? Opinions?

Please comment!


  1. Oh Cathy, my heart instantly felt heavy reading this excerpt. I never had the opportunity to meet my birth mother, much because I choose that to be, and every day I wonder if I will ever regret that decision, but this tiny piece into your lives, into your getting to know one another, into learning who you are is very touching, revealing and as an adoptee I can understand and relate so closely. I loved this excerpt and look forward to reading the entire memoir when it's finally published, Thankyou.

  2. Thanks for your comment Meredith. Searching for your birth family is a deeply complicated, personal experience. One of the hopes is that our story will give a little insight into what the experience is like - the good and the bad - so there's something of a roadmap for others. While everyone's experience is unique, at least there will be one story that tells what it was like from beginning to end (not that there's really an end - another aspect I didn't know when I was getting into it!). Thanks again for your comment!

    1. I love your concept and one that truly needs to be done.

    2. I love your concept and one that truly needs to be done.