Sanjana, with her grandfather
“They didn't want to adopt - they needed to adopt.
I was named after my grandfather, Laurence Joseph. On the day of his wake, my parents received a call that they were getting a baby. People told them that baby was a blessing, a miracle...a gift. That baby was me. My parents did their best to create a safe space for my brother and I to talk about our adoptions - to ask questions. But they never had any real answers. The more questions I asked, the more it seemed to me that we were the solution to a problem. After all, adopting was the only way my parents were going to become parents. They didn't want to adopt - they needed to adopt. And so, I became determined to find someone who truly wanted me.
As a result, I found myself in physically and emotionally abusive relationships, unable to separate myself from toxic people. I didn't know these behaviors were the result of the trauma of infant separation, common in adoptees. In many ways, writing allowed me to work through my pain and confusion. I realize that being an adoptee doesn't mean your value is pre-determined by the actions of your biological parents or your adoptive parents. I am an adoptee, but my adoption no longer defines who I am.
The lowest part of my journey was the first time I called my adoption agency for information. I was sixteen and had found the phone number in my mother's room. The woman on the other end of the phone told me most of these decisions were poverty-driven and that rich people didn't give up their kids for adoption. She also suggested I write a letter to my biological mother - that they would keep in my file - to let her know I was okay in case she came looking for me. It was then I realized that in sixteen years, she had not once looked for me.
Today, I am currently working on a new novel, which I hope will feature three vastly different adoption narratives. Additionally, in an effort to create a platform for other relinquished individuals to share their work, I've created an online, literary and arts journal called “The Relinquished Review”, which is open for submissions until September 1, 2019.”
(New York, NY, USA)
Lauren J. currently lives in New York. Her debut novel, Inconvenient Daughter, is forthcoming from Kaylie Jones Books in 2020. Keep with Lauren on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram @theljsharks, and online at ljsharks.com.