Susan Mello Souza shares an intimate look at the heartbreaking time when at 16, she discovers that she is pregnant. An unwed teen mother in the 60's was not an option and Susan is forced to give up her precious child to adoption. After caring for her for eight days while in the maternity ward, Susan says goodbye to her firstborn; but not before she whispers in her ear a promise that she will find her again when she turns 21.
Susan goes on to have three other daughters, Jackie, Kris and Beth, and just days before the time comes for her to fulfill her promise to search, Susan and husband Jay learn that their oldest raised daughter, sixteen-year-old Jackie, has leukemia. We are able to feel the devastation as they watch Jackie fight a courageous battle, and then pass away just 5 months after being diagnosed. After Jackie's death, Susan fights to regain footing; not an easy thing after losing her second child, this time to cancer. When she is sure the time is right, she searches for her sweet Madlyn, now known as Joanne.
Susan and Joanne were reunited in 1999, and have navigated the rollercoaster ride known as adoption reunion. In "The Same Smile" you get to experience the reunion from both sides, as Joanne adds her side of the experience of being found. It's a surprisingly honest account of an emotionally charged time.
"The Triumph of a Mother's Love After Losing Two Daughters"
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About the Author
In 1968, Susan then 17, was made to surrender her first-born daughter to adoption. Her birthmother experience has led Susan to become an active member in various birthmother support groups, while providing her the opportunity to assist several individuals in their reunions.
Born and raised in New Bedford, MA, Susan lived there until 1988 when she and her husband, Jay, moved their family of three girls, Jackie, Kristine and Beth to Acushnet, MA. Susan and Jay winter in Estero,Fl.
Her spirit and resilience has enabled Susan to triumph over life's disappointments. After the death of her sixteen-year-old daughter, Jacqueline, in 1990, she founded the Friends of Jackie Memorial Fund which has raised and distributed over $90,000.00.
She is an inspirational speaker, having lectured at Stonehill College, Salve Regina University, American Business Women's Association, "Strengthening Your Spirit" Reiki Retreat, and the Rotary Club, to mention a few.
Susan's extraordinary life experiences offer an important message to all, proving...
"You can do anything in life you set your mind to, provided it's powered by your heart."
Adopted when she was just three weeks old, Joanne was named after her adoptive parents, Joe and Ann Medeiros. She grew up in Fall River, MA with three younger brothers, who were each a surprise to Joe and Ann since the doctors had informed them of their inability to conceive, hence Joanne's adoption. She attended Fall River public schools, graduating in 1986. Joanne graduated from Umass with a bachelors degree in 1991. She was involved with the marching band and color guard in both high school and college and was an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, a national woman's fraternity at Umass...little did she know that two of her three sisters, Kris and Jackie, shared the same interests in color guard and the marching band.
After graduating from college, Joanne spent several years living and working as a recruiter for Kelly Services in Macon, Georgia then in Boston. After having returned to the Boston Area, she soon began her current career as an executive assistant and event planner for Hewlett Packard in 1996. Her job with Hewlett Packard relocated her and her husband Scott, also an HP employee, to Atlanta in 2004. Today, both Joanne and Scott are able to work from their home offices, allowing them to settle on Cape Cod with their dogs Riley and Casey.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A moving book. As an adoptee, it really helped me to understand what my mother went through as an unwed mother of the 1960s. To watch the honesty that Joanne shares, and the feelings that Susan went through when pregnant, after her baby was gone...and then as she found her was riveting. It gave me hope that no matter what I am dealing with, I can get through it and still be happy. If Susan can lose a daughter to adoption, and then another to childhood cancer and still lead an amazing life, nothing I deal with can break me.