Growing up with a secret is never easy. While mine seems innocuous now, it caused me a lot of pain in 1978. As an adoptee from the closed system where secrecy ruled, I felt adopted but never born. So when my birth father called me out of the blue at 18 years old, I was instantly traumatized. The call sets in motion a decades long journey of truth seeking, to search for the pieces of my past that were denied me but I also feared knowing. After gaining the courage to meet my birth parents, two people who experienced traumas of their own but survived, I built a wall around myself. I needed to protect myself from the feelings of confusion, sadness, anger and guilt. But by the strange and eventually healing coincidences of life, my call to volunteer with foster children at a residential treatment center who had been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect, landed me in my own realization: that I did not have to fear going back to my own beginnings. I was finally ready to make peace with my past. My time there brought new understandings of the lives of children in foster care and unexpected surprises. Found and Lost: An Adoption, An Agency and A Search for Self, is a a memoir about the power of family secrets, the complications that adoption can bring in spite of the best of intentions, and how truth seeking and acceptance can set us free.

Adoptee Author: Suzette J. Brownstein

Publication Year: 2017

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