We're kicking off our very own BraveLove Book Club this summer, reading through some classic and not-so classic books about adoption. We want you to know what adoption books are good, practical, poignant, or just great page-turners. Here is our first book and a brief review of what we thought... Note: There are no spoilers in this book club!
Reunited: An Investigative Genealogist Unlocks Some of Life's Greatest Family Mysteries by Pamela Slaton
Reviewed by Laura from BraveLove
A friend recommended this book to me, and I devoured it on a flight to and from Atlanta, Georgia. I'll cut to the chase and admit that I loved it. The author Pamela Slaton was adopted and her whole career is now dedicated to search and reunions. Pam helps people find their families, whether it's an adoptee searching for a birth parent, or a birth parent searching for his or her child. She has even been involved with siblings trying to find one another. Her no-nonsense, direct approach combined with her genuine understanding and concern for those who seek is what prompted Oprah to give her a prime-time show on the Oprah Winfrey Network in 2011 called Searching for... I read this in the introduction and immediately had a good feeling about the book:
"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 mothers, 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," Pam said.
Each chapter is a different person's story. You'd think it would be predictable or repetitive, but it wasn't at all. The stories are heart-warming, detailed, and genuinely suspenseful. As the title describes, Pam unlocks some mysteries, but not all are necessarily solved like you'd imagine. She has the ability to find what others could not. What makes these stories even more riveting is how her personal experience enables her to be empathetic towards her clients and the different contacts throughout the search. At times some of her moves seem too direct or aggressive, but she knows the system and balances this approach with wisdom and sensitivity. She prepares her clients for the possibility that not all searches result in the endings you want or imagine. She wants to make sure her clients are emotionally prepared for this potentially life-changing endeavor.
I loved this book because it honors all of those in the adoption triad - birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees. But since I'm not adopted, I kept wondering what would other adoptees be thinking if they read this. Would they be enjoying this as much as I did? Would it be inspiring? Or perhaps even difficult because of their own family's circumstances? I don't have that lens. Same for birth mothers and fathers... would this book be too gut-wrenching to re-read other people's adoption stories? Or on the other hand, would it be encouraging and comforting to know that there are others out there with similar feelings and desires.
Here's the downside - this book is sometimes difficult to find in print. But have no fear, you can always order on Amazon and read the eBook.
Want to join the BraveLove Book Club? It's easy. Here's how.
Read the books we're reading at any time, then leave your comments below on the respective post. So if you've read Reunited, comment below. If you have a good book you'd like to read or review, contact us. We'd love for you to be our next featured book reviewer.
What book is next?
The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade by Ann Fessler. Get the book on Amazon here. We'll be reviewing it in about a month so stay tuned for our next Book Club review!