A Child in the Middle

The Well

Need. Crave. Fear. Lovely monosyllabic verbs which perch like hungry gulls on top of the iceberg floating in a cold sea.”

Adoption is a complex, challenging business. For birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptees, its emotional ramifications run deep.  A skilled professional who works with vulnerable children and sits on adoption panels, Catherine is herself adopted. At the age of fifty, armed with decades of understanding and experience, she embarks on her own emotionally-charged journey to find her birth mother. And so begins a detective story of false starts, hopeful leads and blind alleys as she travels to Ireland and Canada.

Case notes, historical documents, poems, and poignant correspondence sit alongside lyrical memories of moments of great joy and others of profound loss, whilst insightful analysis guides the reader through the social, legal, political and cultural spaces in which adoption exists.

Interleaved, chapter by chapter, season by season, are delicate vignettes capturing Catherine’s thoughts as she walks and works the beautiful landscape where she lives and reflects on what nature has to teach us about resilience, roots and revival.

This book is for everyone interested in or touched by adoption.  It speaks to you all from a base of acknowledgement, wisdom, and honesty.

A Child in the Middle is available from the The Linen Press Bookshop

Some pre-publication reviews

‘A remarkable investigation of what family truly means.’ – James Hawes, Sunday Times best-selling author

‘In Catherine Chanter’s sure hands, the bureaucratic facts surrounding adoption are rendered into poetry. A Child in the Middle is as much a book about policy as it is about family, about loss as it is about discovery.’

– Jing Jing Lee, author of How We Disappeared, long listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020