||In this unusual memoir, Karen McElmurray looks back on her decision at 16 to give up her baby for adoption. As she explores her actions and their implications, she also provides a chilling picture of the highly eccentric family in which she grew up, with an unloving mother so obsessed with filth that she made everyone shower (in the garage) before they entered the house, and a negligent father who, despite everything, begged her to keep her child.
||Surrendered Child is Karen Salyer McElmurray's raw, poignant account of her journey from her teen years, when she put her newborn child up for adoption, to adulthood and a desperate search for the son she never knew. In a patchwork narrative interwoven with dark memories from her childhood, McElmurray deftly treads where few dare--into a gritty, honest exploration of the loss a birth mother experiences.The year was 1973, a time of social upheaval, even in small-town Kentucky, where McElmurray grew up. More than a story of time and place, however, this is about a girl who, at the age of sixteen, relinquished her son at birth. Twenty-five years would pass before McElmurray began sharing this part of her past with others and actively looking for her son.McElmurray's own troubled upbringing and her quest after a now-fully-grown son are the heart of her story. With unflinching honesty, McElmurray recounts both the painful surrendering and the surprise rediscovery of her son, juxtaposed with her portrayal of her own mother, who could not provide the love she needed. The dramatic result is a story of birthright lost and found--and an exploration of the meaning of motherhood itself.