Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self // Book Review

Hello Friends,

It’s been a bit, but I’m back with another book review. I’ve been busy the past two weeks and I feel lucky to have had some time to read, Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self. Spring Break occurred for my town’s school district and I’ve been busy chasing around children while also trying to find time to read. Anyways…

Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self, was an unexpectedly thorough adoption book. The book is categorized as a Psychology book and introduces a fair amount of psychological theory throughout the pages. Though the book was published in 1992, the book’s information is still relevant and helpful to adoptees, over 20 years later. The book is specifically aimed at adoptees. The book’s authors, David Brodoinsky Ph.D., Marshall Scechter, MD, and Robin Henig all provide detailed psychological theory, resources, and research throughout the book as to better help adoptees understand some of the development periods that they will go through in lives.

The book is broken down into several parts. There’s a prologue that provides key information about the authors’ purposes for writing the book, the lens in which they want the information they’ve provided to be viewed through, and personal reasons as to why adoption is such a special topic for them. The book also has three other parts, each, tackling a different growth and development stage of an individual’s life as they age.

Part One, The Adopted Child focuses on the individual from infancy through adolescence in its chapters. Part Two, The Adopted Adult focuses on the psychological growth and development that young adulthood through their late adulthood experience. Part Three, Conclusions helps to tie all the generational information about adoptees together and, helps readers process some of the new information they’ve learned. The authors do a wonderful job writing the book and the language that they use in each of the chapters isn’t too dense or convoluted. This allows readers with no psychology background to understand new terms and theories around adoption and adoptees.

One of the things that I really appreciated as an adoptee reading the book are the real-life examples that the authors provided in the book. Though authors use pseudonyms for their adoptive clients and their families, the real-life scenarios discussed in the book give authentic examples of challenges and successes that adoptees have faced throughout their lifetimes. As an adopted reader, It’s helpful to have examples of positive and negative scenarios that adoptees have gone through as they age. Learning more about how other adoptees work through and react to different stages of psychological development was validating and helpful to read about as an adoptee.

In the book, birth mothers are mentioned much. However, the authors note that often times, adoptees and adoptive families don’t have contact with the birth mother or birth father on a day-to-day basis. This makes an adoptee’s lifespan development more difficult for a birth mother to observe and note. Since the focus of the book is solely on the adoptee’s psychological growth and development as they age, the book mainly focuses on an adoptee and their adoptive parents since they all be able to monitor different stages of development more immediately.

Though this is a shorter review, I’d encourage all adoptees to read this book. I feel this book is an essential piece of adoption literature. Often times, as adoptees, we don’t know our biological history. Though this book can’t provide any answers to our biological questions, it can help adoptees better understand some of the psychological growth that may occur during their lifetimes. From simple questions around ones adoption ranging all the way to better understanding a birth parent or adoptive parent’s death, Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self is a wonderful way to look at generational growth that adoptees will experience and better support them on their adoption journey.

In the next few weeks, I hope to write another set of book notes on what was most meaningful and relevant to me after I finished the book. I really appreciate finding this book and I feel that it will be helpful for me to reference throughout my lifetime as circumstances around my adoption become clearer, and I process more information about my adoption. I’ll also continue recommending this to friends and members in the adoption community. Like Elridges’ book (which you can view here) this adoption book is one that really validates the adoptee’s experiences but also better helps those around them to understand their emotions around adoption better.

Until next time,


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