I found myself up until 1 or 2am every night for nearly a week reading this book. When I was not reading it, I was thinking about it. Pamela, an investigative genealogist based in New Jersey, specialises in varied adoption searches, for birth mothers, birth fathers adoptees and birth siblings. This she began doing after her own search for her birth mother went south. She has an impressive find rate, having solved over 3000 of these cases! In this book, Pamela has selected all but a few of her cases to tell us about, all which have varying outcomes where a reunion was concerned. The good and the bad.
What I really like about this book is Pamela’s complete honesty about the process of searching. Her insight into how a search for one’s birth family not only affects the adoptee themselves, but their adoptive families and of course their own immediate family hits the nail on the head. Pamela’s reasoning as to WHY adoptees search, even if their childhoods and adoptive families are wonderful really resonated with me, as up until now, I couldn’t have put it better myself:
“I’ll tell you why we search, and it isn’t necessarily for the reasons you might think. In the decade and a half since I first started in the search business, I’ve solved more than three thousand cases, and for almost every single one of my clients, it’s not a matter of replacing an existing family. They don’t expect to find some love they never had. It’s not some selfish quest for more affection. It’s about acknowledgement. It’s about being able to say to your birth mother, I’m okay. I had a good life. You did the right thing. I hope you moved on with your life. I hope you’re okay too. Searching for one’s origins means nothing less than validating one’s own existence.”
The chance of actually having a relationship with one’s birth family? That’s a bonus. But, Pamela’s explanation of one’s base reasons for searching is perfect.
After each client’s story portrayed within this book, Pamela provides a “Lesson” section on what can be taken away from it. They are extremely relatable and helpful for anyone at any stage of their big search.
This book had me experiencing a full range of emotions as each story played out. I would recommend it to anyone searching for their birth families, as well as adoptive parents and birth parents, as it really pays attention to all aspects of one’s search:
“I have always believed that DNA is a vital part of what we are. But ultimately, it is how we love, respect and nurture one another that makes us who we are. This is what my real family, my adoptive family has taught me.”