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  • Writer's pictureMary Ellen Gambutti

Memoir-in-Progress 'I Must Have Wandered: An Adopted Air Force Daughter Recalls'

MY MEMOIR is about an infant girl relinquished at birth in Greenville, SC, and adopted by a childless Air Force couple. Writing my stories helps me see the complications of my family's transient lifestyle, with its continued separations.

I write about the child's relinquishment and placement in foster care as a ward of Catholic Charities and the court.

I write about the child's adoption, early childhood, her growing awareness of dissimilarities to family and friends, her loss of original family, and her heritage.

In the telling, I've begun to heal from what I know now as the wound of adoption. I understand it was an injury inflicted at birth in a system that separated me from my mother, as though there were no other options. Especially in those post-war times, the goal was to satisfy a need to make families when nature could not.

For adoptees, the quest for identity is hindered by attitudes of secrecy and shame, and the "sealed record" system in my birth state, South Carolina, and far too many other States.

Infant in Car Bed 1952  Bottle propped
Early Spring 1952 - in the car bed I'd recently travelled in from Phillips Mercy Infant Home, Rock Hill, SC - bottle propped

Adopted baby 1952
Sunning in my new baby carriage March 1952 Sumter, SC

My adoptive mother, Agnes, and me at five months.

Spring 1952 baby
My new dad with me after church at 6 months

taking the bottle 🍼

Adoption, and a transient military lifestyle have given me much to write about--a journey of self-discovery.

Thank you for joining me.

Until Next Time...


Please visit my website pages and my portfolio of published work.

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