Susan Van Sleet

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Susan Van Sleet is a reunited birthmother. For nearly twenty-six years, she purged her inner shame through paintings and writings. After she and her daughter met, she realized that the adoption decision which burdened her heart for so long was indeed a good choice. Susan is an adoption advocate and promotes total honesty surrounding this life option. In addition, through a support effort, she has directed healing seminars and continues to offer advice to struggling triad members.



Mary...Beyond the Canvas PortraitsThey met as women ...and suddenly their estrangement, which had transcended twenty-six years, was ending. In 1965, an all-too-brief "physical connect [more]

Pretty Ribbons

Beyond the Canvas is a compilation of photograph and painting comparisons with poetry, depicting a little girl placed for adoption in 1966 ... who grew up on canvas. Pretty Ribbons is the second in a... [more]

Was There a Kitten?

Was there a kitten For "Mary" to hold When days were grayAnd nights were cold Was there a kittenIn "Mary's" armsThat felt the comfortsOf her charmsWas there a k [more]

Overgrown Bangs

I believe I cut my hair that dayMy bangs had grown too longAnd as I trimmed my own fair strandsMy thoughts of you were strongAs I gazed into the mirrorAnd studied my own faceI th [more]

Christmas Doll

Most certainly there was a doll Which every Miss did need And rightly so at Christmastime It was tucked beneath the tree A baby doll that slept and cried Could [more]

Susan's Reunion

An explanation was due her, and I knew she would ask. The question she would pose, I prepared myself, would most likely be indirect. She would want to know the reason for her placement, and of course... [more]

A Birthmother's Book of Poetry

A Birthmother's Book of Poetry by Susan Van SleetPost Adoption Susan's Reunion StoryA Birthmother's Book of PoetryWritten [more]

Self Portrait

At age eighteen in sixty-sixHer alter persona was masking a mixA fledgling artist, on canvas, portrayedThe words of the secret She could not sayThe person she p [more]

Sands of Time

... nearly two years since my daughter's birth and placement. In the spring of 1968, while on vacation in California, Susan took time for a day of beach combing ...and kept one handful of the... [more]

A Mother Somewhere

As a birthmother who placed her child through adoption in 1966, Susan continued using art therapy while processing her stifled emotions. For nearly three years she silently sketched and painted her... [more]

Christmas...A Blessed Reconnection

It was a hot summer evening. Tammy was attending her son's soccer game. She was seated in the bleachers next to a woman who was anticipating the upcoming adoption of a long awaited child. Race,... [more]


by artist/author Susan Van Sleet from Beyond the CanvasThe following poem & painting titled "Daisy" is from a book called Canvas Emotions ...The Art of Therapy. "Daisy" is the first [more]

Kindergarten Picture

"Kindergarten Picture"from ...Beyond the Canvas by Susan Van Sleet Author, Artist, Birthmother Author of Beyond the Canvas Lace around the collarOn embr [more]

Lavender Blue

By 1969, Susan was skillfully using pen and ink with pastel wash as she continued to process her post-adoption secret. A series of soul-searching introspective sketches captured a more passive side... [more]

Frozen Emotions

During the period that followed her daughter's birth and relinquishment in 1966, birthmother Susan Van Sleet portrayed what she describes as "gut-sensing" artworks. Numerous portraits depict her own... [more]

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