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Adoption and Child Separation at the Border

On June 1, 2018 Rebekah Henson published an important thread on Twitter critiquing the hashtags #FamiliesBelongTogether and #Ke...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Long Way Out of the Fog: A Review of Split at the Root by Catana Tully


I’ve read numerous opinions lately regarding the concept of adoptees being in "the fog,” referring to those who claim to be unfazed by their adoptions or even happy about being adopted. It’s difficult at times for those of us who’ve struggled from an early age with being adopted to understand such a radically different viewpoint, but Catana Tully’s recently published book, Split at the Root: A Memoir of Love and Lost Identity, describes in exquisite detail how questions of identity can hide deep within and how long it can take to uncover their origin.

Tully was born in 1940, the first daughter of a young, unmarried, native Guatemalan woman named Rosa who worked for a wealthy German family. When she was very young, her mother left her to be raised by Esther and Pablo Doescher. The white, German couple named their new child Catana, but usually called her by the nickname Mohrle, which means “Moor” or “darkie” in German, a reference to the color of her skin.

Mysteriously, Rosa returned time and time again to visit her daughter, but young Catana wanted nothing to do with her black mother, or any black person, for that matter. Mutti (her German mother) raised her to be a refined, European young lady, and Catana grew to think of herself first and foremost as being German. As a young woman, she moved to Germany, and became successful as a model and actress throughout Europe, in part due to the fascination people there had with her exotic look.