Tuesday, March 1, 2011
About a month ago I was asked to preview this soon-to-be released book, Inconceivable, by Carolyn and Sean Savage. It's no exaggeration to say I, anxiously, checked the mailbox every day until it came. My contact did not tell me of their decision to fight or relinquish rights, only that they had one shot at IVF and were implanted with another woman's embryo. Such a thought is shockingly, jaw-dropping.
My walk-away from Inconceivable is strange in that I, confidently, say, with conviction - It is a must read for all prospective adoptive parents, while at the same time, admitting it's not the best-written book I've ever read. This book is compelling on so many levels and I want to spend a majority of this review exploring those points, but I need to be honest in my feedback. I found myself gripped by the Savages courageous story, but their written words left me wanting more. Does that make sense? I skimmed through some of the chapters, quickly, and found the swapping of perspectives, between Carolyn and Sean, a bit repetitive and somewhat disjointed. Overall, their, horrendously, pain-filled story was relayed in a methodical way that didn't maximize the intensity of the emotions described.
That being said, I must reiterate, every prospective adoptive couple should read this story. There are so few resources available, in the adoption community, that realistically portray the birthing mother's devastation. As an adoptive mother, I related to Carolyn's pain on so many levels - the desolation of infertility, the world's callous reaction to her predicament, the heart-squeezing bond that developed between her and Sean, and the spiritual overhaul that knocked her to her knees.
Sean and Carolyn's darkness, coupled with the distancing behaviors of the genetic (relative to adoptive) parents, is enough to make you want to spit in the face of adoption and pray to God for another way. Even in the most loving scenarios, the birthing mother loses. I had to stifle sobs when Carolyn wrote, "the truth was that I felt gutted." Gutted. The gruesomeness of that word has replayed in my mind over and over again.
I found myself advocating for the Savages in such a big way, willing the genetic parents to open their hearts wider...to see the pain their coldness caused. One of Carolyn's closing remarks is in response to the birth announcement she receives from the family raising the baby she carried. Carolyn says, "Shannon had sent me a birth announcement for Logan at the same time and in the same way that she had announced him to her extended family and distant friends. This was what stabbed at my soul. I was now and forever more a bystander in his life."
I'm not sure any adoptive parent could read these words and not be challenged by their weight. In the opening chapters of Inconceivable, Carolyn and Sean describe the legal aspects of their case and Carolyn's words are haunting: "This baby could not survive without me, but judges had ruled repeatedly that my contribution to this life was irrelevant...I desperately wanted to read something that said I mattered."
Whether tied to adoption or not, I hope you'll allow the Savage's story to inspire and challenge you to love bigger. For more information please visit Sean & Carolyn's blog.
at 11:18 PM