NOT MINE TO KEEP/women's fiction; 85,000 words
The nurse placed a bundle in my arms. “It's a girl.”
I had no idea. They hadn't told me.
“You have half-an-hour,” she said, closing the door behind her.
An I Love Lucy episode. A quiz show. The six o'clock news.
I never expected to hold my child. The girls at the convent said it wasn't allowed. They scared me witless with their stories, the rumors they'd heard. We'd be blindfolded, they said, so we wouldn't see our babies when they were born. We'd have to wear earplugs to shut out the crying, and our arms would be strapped to the table because the nuns didn't want us contaminating our children with our touch.
(your hook starts here)
Maddy never told anyone about the baby she gave away thirty-five years ago. Back then, unwed mothers were told to forget their children and never, ever to search for them. But when her husband abandons their childless marriage for his pregnant girlfriend, Maddy decides to break her silence--and the law--by searching for her daughter.
She takes a job, caring for a prickly teenager and her shy, five-year-old sister who challenge Maddy's dormant mothering skills and remind her of what she's been missing. Frustrated by red tape and false leads, Maddy attends an adoption support meeting and falls afoul of an angry adoptee whose bitterness toward all birthmothers forces Maddy to face the very real possibility her own daughter might not even want to be found.
You've got the start of the story here. We need to know what the stakes are. If she can't come to terms with not looking for her child? If she does and she breaks the law is she going to jail?
(And if this is your story, written as fiction therapy, and you placed your child for adoption, well, simply, thank you. Many among the extended Snarkastrians are here by choice rather than biology. We love them beyond measure, as you did, and do. )