Before Listening

When a woman has an unplanned pregnancy, she may face difficult choices – choices that will affect people’s lives for years to come.

In 1980 Carol, a young, unmarried woman, chose to give her baby boy up for adoption. Twenty years later her son, now a young man, decided to try and find her.

Keep these questions in mind as you listen:

  1. Why did Carol give her baby up for adoption?
  2. Why did Joel decide to find her?
  3. How might one try to find one’s biological parents?
  4. How might a mother react to meeting her adult child for the first time?
  5. What might they say and what might they do at their first meeting?

Joel and Carol tell us about their first meeting in a style that’s typical for telling stories in American English. Listen for these “filler expressions” that often don’t add to the meaning, but are very common in conversation:

  • sort of (often pronounced “sorta”)
  • kind of (often pronounced “kinda”)
  • like

Native speakers try to avoid these expressions in formal situations. Students of English should not try to use them too much, but it’s important to recognize and understand them.