Almost every Thursday (though I sometimes have weeks long gaps or skip a week), I query literary agents for representation of my third revision of my family’s adoption story. I do not intend to revise it again and if I do not succeed, I’ll simply print a copy for my daughter and for my family of today and be done with it. I do not intend to be pessimistic but at this point, I simply go through the motions like it is my “job” – and in a very real way it is. My husband has taken over most of our businesses functions to leave me plenty of time to write and he remains more hopeful about a positive outcome than I do.
Yesterday, I got the quickest rejection yet – like in minutes. Sharlene Martin of LINK> Martin Literary Management sent me this email – “I’m sorry but I recently did Jane Blasio’s book, Taken at Birth, and this would present a conflict of interest for me.” I didn’t know that of course, just sort of got lucky in choosing her (one of the challenges is deciding which literary agent to query). So, I looked into the author and saw that her book was published in July 2021. That is the closest I’ve ever come to finding a literary agent interested in the topic. I don’t know whether to feel encouraged or not at this point.
I was already aware of the story of the Hicks Clinic in McCaysville Georgia before yesterday evening. Dr Hicks was the Georgia Tann of Memphis Tennessee’s compatriot – with similar practices but in a different state, each seeking to grab their share of a lucrative exploitation of babies and hopeful adoptive parents. Adoptive homes are often an expression of secrecy, lies and shame. Everyone living there is living a false reality. Sadly, adoption is often not much different than human trafficking.
LINK> Jane Blasio is not the only adoptee to uncover the truth of their childhood as an adult. It can be quite unsettling for the person who discovers their parents were not the ones they were born to. These adoptees are often referred to as Late Discovery. Dr Thomas Jugarthy Hicks would tell his expectant patient that their newborn child had died at birth and then, sell their baby out the back door of his clinic to the hopeful adoptive parents.
Jane’s own story is that, at the age of six, she learned she was adopted. At fourteen, she first saw her birth certificate. This led her to begin piecing together the true details of her origins. It took decades of personal investigation to discover the truth. Along the way, she identified and reunited other victims of the Hicks Clinic human trafficking scheme. She became an expert in illicit adoptions, telling her story to every major news network that would have her. Her book is a remarkable account of one woman’s tireless quest for truth, justice, and resolution.
I first roughed out my family’s adoption story in November of 2017 using the NaNoWriMo effort to jumpstart it with 50,000 words and the title Lost Chances: Frances Irene Moore’s Georgia Tann Story. In 2021, I submitted a short version of 8,431 words titled With Luck and Persistence (my completed manuscript is 87,815 words) to the Jeffrey E Smith Editor’s Prize with The Missouri Review. This year I am doing a very brief version, less than 1,500 words, for the True Family Stories contest with the Kingdom Writer’s Guild titled Surprised by the Miracle. The prize is nothing to get excited about but my husband long ago suggested I write a version for Christians, so this is that – where I won’t make an issue against adoption – I’ll only focus on the miracle that I didn’t end up adopted as well. All this to say, I can’t say I won’t re-write it in some form again but I won’t revise the long manuscript again or try to shop it if this effort ultimately fails. I still think I have a good story but the challenge is getting anyone else to believe that.