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ITHAKA A Daughter's Memoir of Being Found

The voice on the other end of the line was soft yet forthright Sarah my name is Hannah Morgan I think I'm your birth motherThe phone call wholly unexpected instantly turned Sarah Saffian's world upside down threatening her sense of family identity self Adopted as an infant twenty three. Like the author I too was adopted in 1969 Instead of having been found I searched with mixed results I think Saffian does not realize how fortunate she is to have been loved and wanted by both sets of parents adoptive and biological She has no idea how devastating a second rejection can be Although her experience and perspective is very different from my own it was interesting to follow her narrative to see what if anything she had learned how she had changed A good first pass at what it feels like to be adopted that is by no means universal On the other hand I must say if anyone can bemoan being wanted it is Saffian Saffian admits in the afterword that she has been surprised to find that many adoptees consider her attitude toward her birthparents ungrateful While Saffian is not always forgiving or sympathetic towards them she is nevertheless honest about her own experience Just when I nearly gave up on Saffian and her memoir for its myopic tendencies Saffian started seeing a therapist and expanding her horizons and becoming a little self aware and almost yes almost likeable

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Years had passed In spare luminous prose Sarah Saffian crafts a powerful story of self discovery and belonging a deeply personal memoir told with grace elouence and compassion At once heartbreaking and profoundly uplifting Ithaka is sure to touch anyone who has grappled with who they ar. A fascinating memoir about a daughter who receives a phone call in her twenties from her biological mother One of those books that proves that reality truly is stranger and often compelling than fiction

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Years before living happily in New York Sarah had been found by her biological parents despite her reluctance to embrace themIn this searing lyrical memoir Sarah chronicles her painful journey from confusion and anger to acceptance and finally reunion but not until three soul searching. The title of this book is taken from C P Cavafy s poem Ithaka which was read at Jacueline Kennedy s funeral Keep Ithaka always in your mind Arriving there is what you are destined for But do not hurry the journey at all Better if it lasts for years so you are old by the time you reach the island wealthy with all you have gained on the way not expecting Ithaka to make you rich Sarah Saffian recounts her journey over 2 years in getting to know her birth parents Born Susan Morgan to Hannah and Adam an unmarried college student couple she was given for adoption and re named Sarah Saffian When she was 24 years old her birth mother found her this is the story of their budding and growing relationship Sarah grew up in a close family now composed of her adoptive father his second wife whom Sarah calls Mom and her younger brother and sister of this second marriage She isn t sure she wants to meet Adam and Hannah who eventually married had three other children and live in Hanover NH Beautifully written this account tells of the changes in their outlooks and attitudes through two years plus of correspondence before they finally meet


10 thoughts on “ITHAKA A Daughter's Memoir of Being Found

  1. says:

    I wish my birth daughter would read this book This book was helpful for me to be able to understand a little where she is coming from why she doesn't want any contact with me at this point I think all birth parents adoptees should read it

  2. says:

    Although this memoir has all the raw material to be very compelling I can't even tell you how many times I just wanted to shout at the author St

  3. says:

    Like the author I too was adopted in 1969 Instead of having been found I searched with mixed results I think Saffian does not realize how fortunate she is to have been loved and wanted by both sets of parents adoptive and biological She has no idea how devastating a second rejection can be Although her experience and perspective is very different from my own it was interesting to follow her narrative to see what if anything she had learned

  4. says:

    The title of this book is taken from C P Cavafy’s poem “Ithaka” which was read at Jacueline Kennedy’s funeral “Keep Ithaka

  5. says:

    As an adoptee this book was very moving for me I have often wondered how I would react if my birth parents suddenly appea

  6. says:

    If you have experienced or are considering adoption you should read this book It really captures the complexities of being adopted and balancing relationships with birth parents and adoptive parents

  7. says:

    Started off well Very engrossing and interesting But then became repetitive and slow The pay off in the end was too brief and of an epilogue

  8. says:

    Full disclosure I read this through the eyes of an adoptive mother The writing was excellent precise and ample without being too wordy Saffian brings the reader on her journey and invites us to be contemplative about adoptees’birth parents rights in a way I have not considered before We witness her process the trauma of the phone call and how she falls apart and rediscovers who she is Very well done

  9. says:

    A fascinating memoir about a daughter who receives a phone call in her twenties from her biological mother One of those books that proves that reality truly is stranger and often compelling than fiction

  10. says:

    While heartfelt this story was difficult for me to get through because of the style of writing However I would still recommend it to people who are trying to comprehend their personal adoption It's an interesting perspective

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