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June 22, 1997

Elizabeth Mehren's thought-provoking discussion on the future of motherhood in this era of high-tech reproduction, surrogacy and adoption included a declaration that it doesn't matter how kids get here ("The Future of Motherhood," May 11). While that may be admirably egalitarian from an adult's perspective, it precludes any possibility for that adult's child to be concerned with how he or she got here.

Children do instinctively care deeply about how they got into this life and a particular family. Children love to hear about the time in their mother's belly, the day they were born and the day they came home. For them, it helps to lay a foundation of connectedness--to a family, to this earth. It grounds them.

As an adoptee and an adoption educator, I'm exquisitely familiar with the experience of those of us who didn't get to hear those stories--after all, it didn't matter how we got there, just that we were there--and who always felt vaguely not of this earth, not grounded, as if we hadn't actually been born like other children but instead hatched from a very special, top-secret file.

Marcy Wineman Axness



"Maternal Instincts" (Style, May 11) brought back poignant memories of my '50s boyhood. Of the children in my class, I was the only one with a mother who worked outside of the home; she was a career woman, a banker.

I remember her wearing gray flannel or taupe tweed suits as she picked me up after school, a contrast to the other mothers in their housecoats or, worse, slacks.

However, my proudest moments were being with her at the grocery store on Saturdays, when she wore toreador pants and high heels, or at Mass on Sundays, when she always wore snappy little hats, and hearing a friend say, "Gosh, Johnson, I wish my mom would dress like yours."

I sure miss her.

Tom Johnson


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