A Man and His
An Adopted Sons
by Tim Green
Harper Collins, 1997
Reviewed by Barbara
book, the first-person story of an adult adoptee, could have been titled
A Man and His Excesses, or A Man and His Grandiosity.
Although the subtitle is An Adopted Sons Search, the book
seems to be less about the actual search and reunion than it is about the
authors life story as a football player, womanizer, excessive drinker,
and his crying.
In his early life, he refuses to think about
the reality of having had any other parents than his adoptive parents. They
have a biological daughter and another adopted son. The other son is younger
than Tim, and nowhere near as compliant or people-pleasing. Tim knows he
doesnt fit in well with his peers, partly because he is bigger, but
also because he does seem to be a compulsive pleaser at home and in school.
His primary reason for studying and trying hard in school is also to please
his parents. When a friend, also adopted, asks him if he ever thinks about
his other parents, he becomes angry, leaves, and drops the friendship
The author sees, in retrospect, that his need
to please, his need to have girlfriends, whom he then treats very shabbily,
is tied into his relinquishment and adoption. He refers to being rejected
at birth frequently, based on no information, since he knows nothing
about his birth parents nor the circumstances of his birth.
As he succeeds at football and attends Syracuse
University on a football scholarship, his drinking and unhealthy relationships
both increase, although he does well academically. Just as he graduates,
he meets a girl who eventually becomes his wife. He is drafted by the Atlanta
Falcons and plays several years, becoming more interested finally in searching
for his birth mother.
Because he was born in New York State, the
search is not easy, although he has access to private detectives and connections
that others might not have, due to his wealth and position. Still, he seems
unaware of the existence of support groups or search intermediaries, although
he does finally find out about ALMA. During this time, he decides to become
a writer, continues to play football, gets married and begins producing babies
as fast as possible.
He does not discuss his search with his adoptive
parents. At one point, he has to have them sign for him to register with
New York States passive registry, but his mother is so angry about
it that they never discuss it again, not even after he is reunited with his
birth mother. He is also busy rescuing the younger brother during this time,
whom the parents have apparently totally disowned. This young man seems to
take no responsibility for his behavior, other than to cry and manipulate
his wife and others through self-pity. Admittedly, this reviewer is a therapist
and notices these characteristics more than other readers might.
The book is pretty well written, and would
be a good one for adoptees in search to read, particularly adult male adoptees.
The reader may not want to follow in this young mans footsteps in the
method of searching, or in the avoidance of dealing with the issues with
his adoptive parents. Oddly enough, although he repeatedly rescues the brother
financially and even physically, he does not encourage or help him when he
wants to search for his own birth parents, deciding it might not he
a good idea in his case. As previously stated, this seems rather grandiose
on his part to decide that he should have the right to search but
someone else shouldnt. He states, more than once, that adoptees rarely
find their birth parents, and that it is even more rare that the story has
a happy ending. We do not know what research these statements are based upon;
we have never heard this in adoption support circles. This seems to be more
evidence of the authors wish to be unique, one of the few who
This book reads fairly fast, and is a good
exploration of the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of one adult male
Excerpted from the July 2000
edition of the Operation Identitiy Newsletter
© 2000 Operation Identity