ITHAKA by Sarah Saffian


A Daughter's Memoir of Being Found
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A vividly realized memoir by an adoptee who was eventually "found" by her birth parents.

Journalist and former New York Daily News reporter Saffian shared a comfortable, upper-middle-class life with a loving, supportive family. Though her adoptive mother died when she was only six years old, within a few years her father remarried; her new mother, too, was thoroughly devoted to her. To her parents' credit, she feels as bonded to them as do her siblings, who are their biological offspring. By the time she was 24 and a graduate of Brown University, Saffian had a comfortable apartment, a caring boyfriend, and an engaging job. But when she was contacted by her natural mother, her entire life was thrust off course. Feeling cheated that she was not the one to conduct the search, she wasn't ready to welcome her birth parents into her life. Even though they were loving and open, Saffian couldn't help but view them as intruders; she was determined to get to know them, yet on her own terms. She questioned, for example, how they could claim to love her before they'd even met her as an adult. During the three-year period leading from her birth mother’s initial phone call to Saffian’s meeting with her birth parents, she involved herself in a painful journey of self-discovery. Sharing letters, memories, and insights, the author takes us with her on this sometimes torturous yet ultimately satisfying trip. Also included here is an appendix listing organizations and support groups for those involved with the adoption process, along with a bibliography of books about adoption.

Saffian’s record is a tribute to both families, who behaved sensitively throughout.

Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 1998
ISBN: 0-465-03618-X
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Basic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1998


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