BOOK REVIEW, Late Discoveries by Susan Bennett

In her recent book, Late Discoveries, Fithian Press, 2011, Susan Bennett deftly captures her experience discovering her adoption status late in life – a situation more and more common for older adoptees. Each late discovery story is unique, as is hers, yet have universal components of shock, denial, and other elements of dealing with the added trauma of realizing what you have always believed about your identity is a lie. Balancing her feelings of loyalty and gratitude to her adopted mother at her death, coupled with this radical disclosure, is no small feat. Susan is graced with compassion towards her mom yet anger towards the fact she was lied to by her, tackling each feeling in an appropriate time and place. Genuine love and devotion, the struggle to forgive, and victory over one’s negative feelings oozes out between the lines of this compassionate book, which is a great read not only for adoptees but for anyone who would like a deeper understanding of an adoptee’s journey of disclosure as an adult.
Discovering her birth family and dying to the hope of a perfect reunion are also sensitively written. Usually children are only given up in grave, dysfunctional situations. Susan learns her story, piece by piece, and has some very meaningful yet difficult reunions, mostly via phone, with the members of her family of origin, as she comes face-to-face with the details of challenging beginnings. Late Discoveries will find its rightful place in the long line of adoption memoirs, providing an insightful and honest look at Susan’s late discovery and her first year of disclosure and reunion, a successful beginning to integrate her new identity by making peace with her adopted family, her new birth family, and her pre-adoption history.

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2 Responses to “BOOK REVIEW, Late Discoveries by Susan Bennett”

  1. Susan Bennett Says:

    Thank you Susan for your thoughtful expressions! It is so true that we each have our own journey and circumstance, but one thing we can share is compassion for one another. Often LDA’s have no support and we can be that support, the shoulder or ear for the heart break. One of the greatest things in my life is knowing other LDA’s. Honestly, it has made a huge difference!

    Most of us, no matter the level of nurturing, has felt love for our mothers- primarily because we saw it surrounding us. Children love their mothers and so often that’s what we did, because we were supposed to, even if they didn’t do a good job.

    To learn of this deep deception about our core beginning, it is heart breaking. If we didn’t love our mothers, it wouldn’t be. I think I speak for everyone when I say that upon discovery- you feel “less than.”

    I hope that many of our LDA stories are shared so that it stops happening and all children are told of their beginning. Adoptive parents who have children who look like them need to know the importance of honesty, no matter the temptation.

    The truth is best for all involved and most definitely sets you free. Whether its from the beginning or when you’re forty three.

  2. susanmccrea Says:

    Thanks, Susan. I am planning on sharing my LDA (Late Discovery Adoption) story of learning I was adopted when I was 38 in the near future. Completing and publishing your story are inspirations to me! Congratulations for an excellent job!

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