Not Remembered Never Forgotten
by Robert Allan Hafetz
Gateway Press, 2005

Reviewed by Barbara Free

     The subtitle of this new book is “An Adoptee’s Search for His Birth family, a True Story.” It is not a long book, consisting of only 118 pages of widely spaced lines, and can be read in a short time. Yet it is not just another search and reunion story. Mr. Hafetz, born Marvin Lee Klein, starts his search only after his adoptive parents are deceased, a common happening. With only his amended birth certificate, his adoptive mother’s information that his original first name was Marvin, and the assumption that his birth date was correct, he starts to search for his birth mother on his own, only to find that he needs a lot of help from others, including agency caseworkers, a support group, and even a psychic and a cantor. He was already 52 when he began to search, so he knew that he might not find his birth mother alive. He also had some unusual health concerns that prompted his search.
     As with many adoptees contemplating search, he had always felt something missing deep within himself, and had the feelings of loss even though he had no conscious memory of his birth family, and no real information to go on. He also had hesitated to search because he knew his adoptive mother would be hurt, because whenever he asked about his adoption and birth family, she grew silent and/or changed the subject, transmitting a message of shame and guilt. When he finally did begin the search, he encountered the stone wall of closed records in New Jersey, and later discovered that the agency his adoptive mother had always told him was the one that handled his adoption had no connection to him at all.
     The story of how the author was able to find his birth family, and the many surprises involved, both happy and sad, are told in a very straightforward manner. He does not wallow in emotions, but describes them eloquently. One hopes that he continues his search for his paternal birth family.
     One reviewer said, “This would be a great book to put in the hands of a legislator who wants to understand more about what it is like to be cut off from one’s family of origin.” This would be a good book for anyone to read, but might particularly appeal to male adoptees who are searching or who are newly contemplating search.
     The only drawback is trying to obtain the book. Because it is self-published, it is not in bookstores. This writer, after seeing the book reviewed in other newsletters, obtained it through the Internet. Inside the book, it says “Please direct all correspondence and book orders to Robert Allan Hafetz, 1014 Surrey Lane, Warrington, PA 18976.” It is worth the effort. It is also now available through O.I.’s lending library, we recommend reading it and possibly obtaining your own copy to lend in turn, or to keep.
     Editor's Note: Since this review first appeared, the author has reissued the book through Booksurge, a division of Amazon.com.

Excerpted from the October 2006 edition of the Operation Identitiy Newsletter
© 2006 Operation Identity