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Heart Beats

Lucy Kaplansky crafts modern folksongs about adoption and the joys of motherhood.by Amy Rogers Nazarov



Not every mother can capture in song the anticipation of bringing home her child.

Yet, for Lucy Kaplansky, writing tunes about the adoption process and life with her daughter, Molly, is as natural as breathing. In "This Is Home," from her 2004 album, The Red Thread, Kaplansky sings: We won't see her first smile, we won't hear her first word / But ours will be the first hearts she holds in her hands.

Memories of meeting Molly, five years ago, are ever-potent for the New York-based folksinger. "I remember a man bringing Molly out and handing her to my husband, Rick [Litvin]. When we got back to the hotel, and changed her, she laughed and clapped. She was this healthy, tiny, beautiful girl. We were completely in love."

"I am a big believer in 'Write what you know,'" says Kaplansky, who writes much of her material with Litvin. "The biggest experience of my life has been becoming a mom." Listening to her songs yields snippets of Kaplansky's adoption journey, from the perspective of a parent-to-be reflecting on her child's life in an orphanage ("This Is Home" again) or a mom whose priorities have been re-ordered ("Manhattan Moon," from her 2007 release, Over the Hills).

Kaplansky is humbled when fans tell her what her songs have meant to them. At a recent show, a couple in the process of adopting described to her their long wait for their child and the hope her music has offered. "Hearing that," Kaplansky says, "is the most gratifying thing of all."

Amy Rogers Nazarov is a freelance writer in Washington D.C. She contributes to Cooking Light, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion, The Washington Post Express, and other publications.


AF’s iMix
  • “Love Takes the Best of You,” by Catie Curtis (from My Shirt Looks Good on You)
  • “Just Like Me,” by Darryl McDaniels (from Checks, Thugs, and Rock n’ Roll)
  • "Daughters of China," by Tim Chauvin (from Winds of Change)


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