…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 Madlyn turns 21.
Susan goes on to have three other daughters, Jackie, Kris and Beth, and just days before the times comes to tell 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 childhood 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.