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Horowitz, S. (2013). Loss, Insecurity, and Uncertainty: The Impact of Adoption on the Developing Selves of a Birthmother. Psychoanal. Perspect., 10(1):10-19.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 10(1):10-19


Loss, Insecurity, and Uncertainty: The Impact of Adoption on the Developing Selves of a Birthmother

Sharon Horowitz, PhD

The Frame

In September 2007 I was invited by two of my Austin colleagues, JoAnn Ponder, PhD, and Joellen Peters, PhD, to be a discussant for the papers they wanted to present at the 2008 Spring Meeting of the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association. The conference theme was “Knowing, Not-Knowing, and Sort-of-Knowing: Psychoanalysis and the Experience of Uncertainty.” The title of the panel was “The Known, Uncertain, and Fantasized Ties that Bind.” We were an adopted individual, an adoptive parent, and a birthparent, all psychologists and psychotherapists. I wrote this essay as I struggled to write a traditional discussant paper.

The Paper

I have been working and reworking my experience of surrendering a child for adoption for a very long time. I agreed to participate in the above-mentioned panel because it was a great concept, three triad members presenting scholarly papers on their unique position in the triad. But I had secretly hoped the proposal for the panel would be rejected, that I wouldn't have to go through with it. I am the only birthmother I have worked with; the only case I have to present. I didn't know what I could write about. When in doubt, I read. So I started to read. Writing has always been more painful, but I have learned over the years to just do it.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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