Two Books and a Documentary
Reviewed by Barbara Free,
books and a documentary film by the well-known author and film maker, Jean
A.S. Strauss, are now available in the O.I. Lending Library. Strauss is also
the author of Birthright, and has made several other films concerning
adoption and her own story of multiple searches and reunions. Her latest
film, For the Life of Me, premiered at the 2009 American Adoption
Congress Conference in Cleveland, OH, and is also scheduled to be shown at
the 2010 AAC Conference in Sacramento, CA. It has just been obtained by this
reviewer for the benefit of O.I. members. Strauss, who was adopted as an
infant and has found her birth parents, her birth mothers birth mother,
and her extensive birth family history, was also presented with the 2009
Vilardi Award for her work in adoption reform, and she is a Founding Member
and President of C.A.R.E. (California Adoption Reform Effort).
This book will bring tears of both joy and sadness to many readers, even if theyve read it before. She has an amazing way of expressing the feelings many others have experienced in search and reunion. For those who are early in their search, contemplating a search, or who have become discouraged and given up a search, this book can be a source of encouragement as well as providing some new clues and avenues for search. If you read it more than a year or so ago, read it again! Ms. Strausss new film has just arrived and will be shown at the O.I. meeting in May.
Strauss and her camera traveled to numerous places with adoptees seeking access to their original birth certificates and, in some cases, finding living relatives. In other cases, finding a gravestone and pictures was the best they could do. In each situation, the thoughts and emotions expressed by the searching person are deep and real. Some found that their birth parents had died only a few years, or even a few months, before the searcher found their information.
Several of the people featured in this film are known by this reviewer, while others are not. The documentary was several years in the making, and it was well worth the effort. It is expertly and beautifully filmed and edited. It is easy to see why Strausss works have won awards. Many will want to obtain their own copy, for themselves and for gifts. It is available for only $19.95 plus $2.50 shipping and handling, and may be ordered directly from the film maker at http://www.jeanstrauss.com. We received it in just a few days after ordering.
The book, Beneath a Tall Tree, was first reviewed by Barbara Free in the July 2001 issue of this newsletter.
Excerpted from the April 2010
edition of the Operation Identitiy Newsletter