Canadian Council of Natural Mothers' Library

Not Remembered, Never Forgotten
An Adoptee's Search for His Birthfamily

Robert Allan Hafetz

Hafetz opens his book with an explanation of why he is searching for his natural mother. He begins by asserting that his adoptive parents were wonderful, but that his adoptive mother and he "would have drawn closer together if we had explored our feelings about this [adoption]." He comments several times on his adoptive mother's fear of talking about his adoption. And yet, on the next page, he asserts that he "couldn't have asked for better parents." As a natural mother, I can't help but think that he could have asked for better parents: those who would have honoured his birth and parentage, while they benefited from his loss and his natural family's loss.

Hafetz writes this book for two purposes:

  • to help those in adoption deal with their loss, and
  • to help those who are not experienced with adoption understand its profound losses.

Read with an open heart, this book can accomplish both purposes.

This book, like many adoption books, is the story of a search for what is lost, and as such, it reads like a mystery story. There are many clues and misdirections, and the reader reads to the end to find out what happened. Will he find his natural mother? What were the circumstances that lead to his loss? Will his family welcome him if he finds them?

The themes of the book--loss and grief, hope and resolution--recur in interesting ways in the search. The author's drive to find his mother shows his resourcefulness and the kindness of strangers in helping him out. Some readers will find avenues for search they may not have previously considered. Ultimately, those who read the book will find the depths of emotion in a man who was adopted and the joy of belonging in his natural family. To say more would be to give away some of the impact of the mystery aspect of the story.

Reading this book as a natural mother, what comes clear is the son's need to know his mother, and that his loyalty to his adoptive mother causes him to lose so much more. There's a double sorrow in this, seeing him wait to search until his adoptive parents are dead.

I would recommend the book for adopted individuals and adoptive families, to help them understand the need to find one's natural family. Natural mothers and family members will find the drive to search interesting and sensitively told. The restrained, clear prose is smooth and allows one to concentrate on the story.

Reviewer: Sandra Falconer

ISBN# 0-9770202-0-7
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