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Unformatted text preview: (M)othering Loss: Telling Adoption Stories, Telling Performativity Stacy Holman Jones This piece explores how telling adoption storiesto and of birth mothers, adoptive mothers, and their childrenperform both the failures of language and the pleasures of repeating and rewriting tales of birth and placement, of the fictions of families. I consider how adoption stories spin not only tales of loss and fractured identities but also open- ended narratives of self and parent-child relationships. I use the languages of adoption, feminist and poststructural theories of subjectivity and performativity, and my own experience of adoption and family to tell and tell on the adoption story. And I wonder an adoption storys potential to (m)other loss and speak other narratives about adoption, its subject(s), and the force and possibility of storytelling. Keywords: Adoption Stories; Subjectivity; Performativity The writing of the origin, the writing that retraces the origin, tracking down the signs of its disappearance, the lost writing of the origin. To write is to have the passion of the origin . (Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference 295) It is an effort to articulate the mothers fantasies, her desire, her stake in that project called motherhood. (Mary Kelly, Post-Partum Document xxi) . . . what happens when a story begins in absence? (Della Pollock, Telling Bodies/Performing Birth 27) Conception These stories begin with loss. They are conceived in abandonment, 1 generated out of emptiness. Wan and fragile, unable to succor their own, they work absence into hope. A twisted birth. ISSN 1046-2937 (print)/ISSN 1479-5760 (online) q 2005 National Communication Association DOI: 10.1080/10462930500122716 Stacy Holman Jones is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of South Florida. Portions of this manuscript were presented at the 2004 National Communication Association Convention in Chicago, Illinois. This essay is inspired by Mary Kellys Post-Partum Document and dedicated to Bernice B. Holman and Noah Jee Min Kim Holman Jones, two adoptees whove taught me not only what is missing but also what is found and felt in the story of adoption. Correspondence to: Stacy Holman Jones, Assistant Professor, University of South Florida, Department of Communication, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, CIS 1040, Tampa, FL 33604, USA. Tel: 813-974-6825; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Text and Performance Quarterly Vol. 25, No. 2, April 2005, pp. 113135 These stories begin with loss. Mothers do the unthinkable. Only mothers could make such plans. Their children are pushed, pulled away by the force of want. For what? Food, money, support. Love. Not enough, never enough to sustain life after, outside. Lack and grief become birthmarks, indelible wounds....
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