For many generations, most discussion of adoption was avoided. Only in recent years have people talked about it openly.
Eighteen adoptees share their moving adoption stories in Who Am I, Really? (General Store Publishing Inc.), a new book by Diane Koven.
An Ottawa author, Koven is a frequent contributor to the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, the Ottawa correspondent for The CJN and a certified financial planner.
The book’s title is the question that most adopted children ask sooner or later, she says.
In her introduction, Koven, who has two adopted children, says, “I believe from what I’ve heard over and over again that no matter how warm and loving the adoptive family is, it can’t completely take the place of a birth family in a person’s heart and mind.”
She adds that it was a great personal relief for her to discover that even in the stories that included happy and successful reunions of both the biological and adopted families, “there seems to have been no damage to the adoptive family relationship.”
The adoptees interviewed in Koven’s book tell gripping stories. They are males and females from different religious backgrounds, from Canada and the United States, who have searched for their biological families or have been searched for by biological families with varying results.
Koven interviewed, among others, an Olympic champion, a nurse, a farmer, a musician, a “black market” baby and a rabbi who was brought up in a German Christian home. At the beginning of each interview, Koven tells how she came to the individual.
Koven, who has been published in two anthologies, recently appeared at a sneak preview reading of her book in Ottawa.
The Toronto launch of Who Am I, Really? takes place on Feb. 28 at the Lipa Green Centre, 4600 Bathurst St. at 8 p.m.
The launch is jointly sponsored by Canadian Young Judaea Alumni and Camp Kadimah. Proceeds from the event will go toward a scholarship to help a child attend Camp Kadimah in Nova Scotia.
Koven’s son, Jeremy, an alumnus of Camp Kadimah, will join his mother at the launch in Toronto to share his story.
Koven told The CJN, “I had a tremendous response to my book in Ottawa, and I have already had to reorder more books. Even people without a direct connection to adoption find the stories compelling.”
Most of the people Koven interviewed for her book and many others she spoke to told her that on hearing the circumstances under which they were adopted, they were grateful.
“Almost everyone who participated and shared their stories told me that by doing so, it was a rewarding and cathartic experience for them,” she says.
Koven says she has always had an interest in the topic of nature versus nurture. “Adoption brings this topic to the forefront,” she notes.
To register for the book launch in Toronto, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To buy the book, visit whoamireally.ca.