Synopses & Reviews
”Hello, is Sarah Saffian there?” asks the voice on the other end of the line. ”My name is Hannah Morgan. I think I’m your birth mother.” So begins this powerful memoir by a young woman whose life changes dramatically when she receives a phone call from someone at once a stranger and her most intimate relation. Saffian’s riveting story of painful self-discovery and newfound joy is unique in its reversal of the usual adoption narrative: here, the biological parents seek out the adoptee. Weaving together letters, journal entries, memories and relections, Saffian tells of her adoption, her adoptive mother’s death six years later, and her upbringing in a loving family. She learns that her biological parents ended up marrying and having other children. She is thus faced with an entire family to whom she is genetically linked. Saffian’s boldly honest account reaches a moving climax with their reunion, three years after the first phone call. Along the way, it raises thorny questions: What is a family? Can we have more than one? What is the line between parental concern and intrusion? Is it hypocritical to be a pro-choice adoptee? How do nature and nurture work together to form a person’s identity? By turns earnest and playful, Ithica: A Daughter’s Memoir of Being Found is sure to touch readers everywhere who have grappled with who they are.Sarah Saffian is a former reporter for the New York Daily News and has also written for the Village Voice, Interview, Harper’s Bazaar, and Mirabella. She holds a B.A. from Brown University and an M.F.A. from Columbia University, and lives in her native New York City.
One Friday morning, twenty-three-year-old Sarah Saffian was leaving for work when the phone rang. "Sarah?" a woman's voice asked. "My name is Hannah Morgan. I think I'm your birth mother". We hear many stories about adopted children who seek out their biological mother or father, but very few about the reverse situation: birth parents who seek out their children after years of separation. In this compelling memoir, Sarah Saffian explores the emotional roller coaster of her own unique adoption reunion, from that first phone call to her first meeting with her birth parents three years later.
In touching, lyrical prose, Saffian draws on exchanged letters and her own journal to unveil a powerful story: the loss of her adoptive mother to cancer when she was only six; being raised by a loving adoptive father and stepmother; and the sudden reappearance of her birth mother and father.
Along the way Saffian probes important and universal issues: family and identity, love and abandonment, adoption and parenthood. What is a family? she asks. What are the lines between parental concern, control, and intrusion? How do we define this new kind of relationship? She finishes on a highly dramatic note: the emotionally charged reunion with her birth parents.