Photo credit: LightFieldStudios

We were two months into our search for a baby when a friend of a friend told us how she and her husband had found their daughter a few years before. They’d worked with a facilitator at For Keeps Adoptions in Santa Monica — the facilitator’s name was Carol, she said, and she’d been wonderful.

“We were matched in just two weeks,” the friend of a friend said.

Two weeks?!!! Our lawyer had told us to be prepared to wait one to two years to be matched with a birth mom.

I called Carol the next morning. Her voice was…


Mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer in May of 2020. Her treatment required a large medical team: oncologists, radiology specialists, surgeons, nurses, hospice workers — the list goes on, and of the twenty or so medical professionals working to keep her here, and then eventually to help her let go, only one of them was white.

Dr. Li, the oncologist who told her that she was terminal — and would call me three months after Mom had died just to see how our family was doing — didn’t always want to be a doctor. His parents, originally from Hong Kong…

Growing up, describing the time before they brought me home, Mom had said things like, “A couple took care of you for us.” I imagined myself in a wooden cradle somewhere, with a satin-ribboned sign at the foot (possibly hung by helpful woodland creatures) that read: “Going to Darrell & Virginia Skaggs.”

I knew I’d been six months old when I came home, but the six months before I got to Mom and Dad had never interested me much. It wasn’t until I had kids of my own that I realized those first six months were an important time. Reading…

Like many of you, we canceled our summer vacation, one that would’ve required getting on an airplane, back in April, when it became clear that quarantine wasn’t ending any time soon. In May, after two months of not leaving the house other than for grocery shopping (and sanitizing those groceries once we got home), we started looking for a way we could take the kids — Jack, 12, Kate, 9, Henry, 6 — on a road trip to somewhere we’d be outdoors most of the time. A national park was the obvious answer. We’d been to Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Grand…

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

I was adopted via closed adoption in 1972, and forty years later, my husband and I adopted our son via open adoption. While I would search for, and find, my own biological mom shortly after bringing our son home, I grew up knowing nothing of why I was placed for adoption, my biological family, or my medical history. I wanted my son to grow up differently.

In modern domestic adoption, hopeful adoptive parents are tasked with finding a woman considering placing her baby for adoption. Pete and I searched for six months; obsessively networking, we did it all: Facebook posts…

Denise Massar

Mom, wife, writer. Adoptee/adoptive mom. Author of MATCHED: a Memoir (forthcoming)

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