Updated: Sep 25
It's been a while since my last post, eh? Thank you all so much for sticking with me through this long process! Those who doubted that I would ever finish may have given up on me, but those who subscribe give me hope that there is an audience for my remarkable, crazy, unique story.
So here's the latest update. I think, hope, pray that my memoir is "finished." I've put over 81,000 words into it and depending on the trim size, we're looking at 210-280 pages when all is said and done. I completed a pretty big rewrite a couple of months ago - not so much to the content, but to the organization and sequencing of events. I first thought it would be really engaging for readers if I alternated chapters between my adoptive reality and the history of my biological family. My own family and a few other editors found this approach confusing, so I stopped trying to be cute and I put all of the history of my adoptive family in Part 1. Now, Part 1 is the setup - it is how I developed the worldview that was so radically changed by the later discovery of my genetic identify. Part 2 is the discovery of my biological paternal family. I ordered it this way because I found them first and they fully accepted the conclusive results before I was able to prove the identity of my maternal relatives. Part 3 is now the reconciliation of my early conceptions of my biological mother with the present reality. A lengthy history of America and the world is interwoven in each part for context. There are some pretty remarkable events that all of these people experienced that are necessary in order to understand what made them who they became, and even made me who I have become.
The working title of my memoir is still Spitting Image: A Foundling's Genetic Journey to Truth and Reconciliation. This morning, however, upon entering my office building I had an unexpected conversation with one of our receptionists who shared with me the story of her grandchildren's adoptions. She used a term I'd somehow forgotten. She called one or two of them Baby Moses children. One of my earliest blog posts covered the topic of safe haven laws which were passed to reduce the number of babies being abandoned secretly and left to die by giving at-risk mothers the safer option of bringing their child to a designated safe haven such as a hospital, emergency care facility, firehouse or EMS station without questions or penalty. Today's conversation reminded me that these laws which originated in Texas in 1993 are now on books in most U.S. states, and are more commonly known as Baby Moses laws. For years (I've been at it that long), the preface of my book has included a quote from Exodus 2:1-3, 5-6.
And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an arc of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.
And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him.
When I was born, these laws were not yet on the books, so it was even more perilous for my biological mother to walk into a hospital, give a pseudonym and walk out without any notice to anyone (presumably). It was a crime then, yet she had the courage of her convictions to give me a fair shot at a decent life. So, I'm considering changing the name of my book to Baby Moses: A Foundling's Memoir of Faith and Gratitude. I'm still weeks, maybe months away from actually publishing, but I am hopeful that I'll be able to resolve any corrections from the copyedit without too much consternation. What do you think of the titles? If you saw both on a shelf or endcap next to each other at Barnes and Noble, which one would you reach for first?