Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Not Remembered Never Forgotten

Not Remembered Never Forgotten:
An Adoptee's Search for His Birth Family: A True Story

by Robert Hafetz

(BookSurge / 1-419-69258-5 / 978-1-419-69258-1 / April 2008 / 134 pages / $14.99)

Reviewed by Donna Nordmark Aviles for PODBRAM

A beautiful, heartwarming – as well as heart wrenching - true story of loss, longing, and acceptance, Not Remembered Never Forgotten is a book that I will not soon forget. Robert Hafetz is a “sibling of circumstance” with all those who have been a part of the adoption experience. Although there are many books on adoption journeys, Mr. Hafetz’s approach not only covers his search to find his birth mother, her family, and his possible half siblings, he also addresses the almost always overlooked connection between infant and birth mother.

A therapist in the Pennsylvania Mental Health system, Mr. Hafetz explains, from a professional viewpoint yet with clarity for the layperson, the feelings that cannot be put into words when experienced before the infant has the ability to speak or the maturity of mind to comprehend fully. The notion that a newborn will “not remember” is an assumption that has been proven to be false time and again.

Although I am not a member of the adoption triad (birth mother/child/adoptive family), I found myself wondering if this connection that cannot be remembered but likewise is never forgotten, could also hold true with those who have lost their mothers at a very young age through death, divorce, or other permanent separation. I found Mr. Hafetz’s explanations of this pre-cognitive period of human development to be quite fascinating.

Along the way of his compelling search, Mr. Hafetz remarks frequently on the surprise assistance from strangers who have nothing to gain from aiding him in his quest. As one who stands outside the triad, I did not find that surprising at all. Those of us who know our birth mothers have a visceral comprehension of just what Mr. Hafetz is searching for and therefore would almost always be willing to help.

As the adoption process has evolved over the decades, it seems that there is some growing recognition of this early bond as we watch states move away from the secrecy of adoption to a more open and communicative approach. While that change is slow in coming, the access of the adult adoptee to his or her birth records would seem to be a basic right as a citizen that all states should be enforcing.

On a more technical note, the book itself is very well done. The front cover design is amazing both in its symbolism and quality. The back is similarly professional. There are very few interior errors – all of which are easily overlooked by the reader due to the fast paced, “I’m right there with you” storyline. The only thing I might add would be an index since there were several times I tried to go back and find things to read again.
Having only been in publication in paperback since 2008, I would not be at all surprised to find Not Remembered Never Forgotten eventually picked up by a larger publisher for wider distribution.

Editor's Note: This review is of the second edition of Robert Hafetz' self-published book. The first edition was released in 2005 in hardcover only by Gateway Press.

See Also: Donna's Orphan Train Reviews

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