Publication Date: October 15,
Narrators: Ellen Davis
Publisher: Between the
Length: 6 hours
Buy: Kindle | Audio
In the late 1960s, at the age of eighteen and living far from home amidst
the thriving counterculture of Ottawa, Marilyn Churley got pregnant. Like
thousands of other women of the time she kept the event a secret. Faced
with few options, she gave the baby up for adoption.
Over twenty years later, as the Ontario NDP government’s minister
responsible for all birth, death, and adoption records, including those of
her own child, Churley found herself in a surprising and powerful
position–fully engaged in the long and difficult battle to reform adoption
disclosure laws and find her son.
Both a personal and political story, Shameless is a powerful memoir about a mother’s struggle with loss, love,
secrets, and lies–and an adoption system shrouded in shame.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through
netgalley.com. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
As the Executive Director of an adoption agency this spoke to me.
The struggle of adoptees to obtain a copy of their original birth
certificates is still going on. Although many states have now
allowed this there are many that have not. With the new normal of
open adoption this isn't as much of an issue for this new generation but
there are hundreds of people who have no medical history and no
understanding of their roots. Some aren't even sure what race they
Marilyn Churley's honest and gripping tale of being a pregnant woman during
a time when this was not considered acceptable could be any woman's story.
She wasn't special or different than any of the other however her
ambition did take her to a place where she could make a difference.
And through years of struggle and fighting she finally helped pass
adoption disclosure laws in Canada and found her biological son that she
placed for adoption.
Marilyn Churley shines a light on the struggles so many women at that time
faced and her fight in the legislature helped so many be able to reunite,
discover their medical background and openly grieve for the losses they
This is a wonderful book, the narration is excellent and it really opens the
doors to practices that were barbaric, unhealthy and filled with shame and
judgement. The judgement still remains but practices are much different
now and more empowering to the women who choose adoption.
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