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Repost: Book Review: Not Remembered, Never Forgotten by Robert Allan Hafetz

Robert Allan Hafetz
Not Remembered, Never Forgotten: An Adoptees Search for His Birthfamily
Gateway Press, Inc., 2005, 117 pages, $20.00
ISBN: 0-9770202-0-7
(Nonfiction, Memoir)

“Searching involves the risk that the truth might be painful,
and many adoptees refuse to search because what they
might discover could be devastating.”

There are many similarities between my adoption experience
and Robert’s, and even more differences. It was interesting to
follow his path of discovery, meeting the same blocks he met,
and finally meeting up with his birth family.

Hafetz starts out by taking us through the weekly steps he
took in seeking out the necessary information so he could
conduct a search. Like Hafetz’s adoptive mother, mine too, never
gave me the answer to who my birth mother was. Like Robert, my
adoptive family loved me as their own, hugging me, nurturing me,
cherishing me, and keeping me safe from harm. Like Robert says,
“ . . . it doesn’t replace what others have; a name given at birth,
a heritage, and a memory of my mother’s face.”

Hafetz spends quite a bit of time attempting to relay the issue of
loss and grief borne by the adoptee throughout his life. He claims
the difficulty an adoptee has with these issues, that non-adopted
people fail to understand, is that adoptees lack “words and
conscious memories of our loss, we cannot express our grief to
loved ones.” He adds that this state of inability to explain our inner
feelings “prevents us from moving forward and resolving our grief.”

Hafetz’s description of his search process is similar to most others;
they are all emotional roller coasters of highs and lows. The key to
success in an adoption search is, at least for me, preparation,
persistence, and the belief that success is possible. But how do
adoptees feel sustained when they lack the pertinent information
needed to make a connection? One word—hope.

Hafetz’s style is informal, as if he were sitting in front of you telling
his story. This is fine but I would have liked more interactive dialogue
with his adoptive family.

I liked the way he walked through the steps taken and the results of
each, both stumbling blocks and success. What I found most
distracting were editing issues that slowed down my reading. These
included jumping from past to present tense, more passive than active
voice, confusing sentences and so on. Especially his use of “adopted
mother,” made me cringe—did he adopt his mother or did she adopt
him? The correct adjective form is “adoptive.” As a book reviewer, a
writer, and an adoptee, I sense that this book lacks the thorough
editing it should have received prior to publication. Nonetheless, it
still has its place in the literature of the adoption search and reunion
category, and should be read by anyone thinking of searching but
unsure of how to go about it.

Till next time,

Gloria

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