Memoir recounts longing, looking for birth mother

Seattle author has roots in area around Littleton


Sara Easterly recently introduced her newly published memoir, “Searching for Mom,” to an audience at Littleton’s Tattered Cover, where the book sold out. Easterly, a Seattle resident for 20 years, says she still has Littleton area connections and memories: Her dad lives in Castle Pines and her sister is in Highlands Ranch.

When we spoke via phone recently, she recalled growing up in the Littleton area: living on Windermere Way and in Centennial (Highlands 460) and attending Powell Middle School, Arapahoe High School and CSU, where she minored in English, as a start on a broadcast journalism career. “I just didn’t do that,” she continued. “You have to start in a small market …”

Instead, she headed west to Seattle, to work in high-speed data processing, which didn’t work out — and met her husband, which did work out ...

“I consider myself a children’s and young adult author,” she said, adding that she’s presently working on a YA novel. She has worked in publicity for books as a career — and always includes Tattered Cover when planning tours for authors.

She started writing as a young girl, she says in this memoir of growing up an adoptee, with a loving home, but still … She was compelled to seek out her birth mother and be reassured about her origins before she could get on with her adult life smoothly. “In adoption circles, there’s a phrase: `living in the fog,’” Easterly said.

“Searching for Mom” opens, sadly, with back-to-back trips for Sara, struggling with her mom’s impending death, searching and finding spiritual help and launching into childhood memories of herself as a 7-year-old, caring for a dying butterfly and discovering her family church and its teachings, as her mother became more involved there … At 9, she was able to express her feeling that her birth mother hadn’t wanted her — “threw her away …”

And her struggle to find that birth mother — and to define “the perfect mother” — stayed with her, despite a loving home and parents who supported her. Her adoptive mother did later give birth to her sister, Amy, who married and had a baby named Kenna, with whom Sara fell in love … and for whom she grieved when a genetic lung disorder took the baby’s life.

Sara married Jeff happily and tried to be a “Perfect Parent” to daughters Violet and Olive, but the search for her mother continued, aided by her loving husband … and an adoption search agency.

It had been a “gray market” adoption, rather than one conducted through an agency, because the mother was only 15 when Sara was born and she was immediately pressured to consider adoption, so conventional search channels did not work. When that mother was finally located, Sara refused to accept her at first, having dreamed up idealized figures resembling Madonna or Rebeca, a psychologist who headed a group counseling program. Here was a woman who looked like her …

And her adoptive mom really wanted nothing to do with finding the birth mom.

“Couldn’t all three hearts be honored?’ Sara wondered. But as she learned of the obstetrician’s pressure on the young mother, Diane, to give the child up for adoption — and societal pressures, she backed off.

The book continues to its last pages as Sara and Amy travel final days with their mom and Sara finds increasing certainty about her faith.

A contributing factor was a genetic predisposition to a lung disorder, which took baby Kenna and eventually, Sara and Amy’s mom. Later, Sara developed lung problems, and survived a double lung transplant. Throughout, her faith carried her through and it enters into her final sentence …

“Searching for Mom” by Sara Easterly is available from bookstores.


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