Many believe that the most important people in our lives are our parents. After all, our parents are part of the close knit pack that we refer to as our family. Parents don’t have to be related to us. A parent is not defined by flesh and blood. They are the individuals that care for us, and treat us like they had given birth to us themselves. Approximately 120,000 children are adopted in the United States each year, and most of these children never know the difference. Many people that adopt cannot conceive a child of his or her own for whatever reason, and treat the adopted children the same way that a parent who had given birth to the child would. But adoption is not the only alternative. Some people may seem like parents even if they aren’t legal guardians. In Michael Dorris’s, A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, we follow the journey of Rayona, a young girl that knows the identities of her parents, but looks for love elsewhere, and she finds it in unexpected places.
One of the first characters that we are introduced to in the novel is Christine, Rayona’s birth mother. She seems crazy, laying in the hospital bed and letting the doctors fix her illness when there seems to be nothing wrong with her. Rayona is made to stay in the hospital with her mother, and act like the two of them have an actual relationship. Maybe the reader believes that it’s true, that the two of them actually interact and have a real mother-daughter relationship. But, this isn’t the case. Christine is willing to commit suicide in the place that Rayona was conceived just to get back at her husband. A mother doesn’t do that to her child, no matter how hard it may be to live each day. Rayona should mean the world to Christine. As we reach Christine’s part of the book, we see that Christine had to give birth to Rayona alone. She wanted to raise her better than Ida raised Christine, but it was hard to do with the on and off again nature of Christine’s relationship with Elgin. But the fact is that...
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