Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Sonia's birthmother, Jane, was 19 when Sonia was born. When Sonia was 19 she was visiting her father who adopted her when he asked if she would like to meet Jane.

It had not occurred to Sonia that this was a possibility. The adoption, however, had been privately arranged. Sonia's parents and birthmother were known to the pastor and the lawyer who had brokered the adoption.

Without impinging on Jane's privacy, a letter Sonia wrote was forwarded to the woman who had given birth to her. After some communication back and forth, Jane and Sonia finally met.

She had always thought she might hear from Sonia, Jane said. She was glad Sonia had contacted her. For her part, Sonia was amazed to look, for the first time, at someone whose face hers resembled. They spoke for hours. Though strangers, they shared the most intimate bond. Jane had carried Sonia for nine months. Hers was the first voice Sonia had ever heard, before she was even born.

For her part, Jane saw a beautiful young woman who had received a full scholarship to one of the country's most competitive universities. Sonia was majoring in the most difficult field of study she could find. She was about to leave for a year of study abroad.

There was no template for their relationship, just as Jane had not known exactly how she might broach Sonia's existence with her own children. A lifetime of secrecy was about to catch up with both of them.