The roller-coaster story of a late discovery adoptee’s search for truth

When Susan Bennett’s mother, Glenys, was dying, Susan, who had long suspected that she might have been adopted, sent samples away for a DNA test. The results confirmed what Susan’s mother had never admitted: that Glenys and Susan were not biologically related. By this time it was too late for questions. All Susan could do was hold her mother's hand and say goodbye with love.

A mystery had been solved, only to open up other mysteries. Who was Susan’s birth mother? Was she still alive? Did Susan have siblings? Why was she given up for adoption? The search was on, and it proved to be frustrating over and over. “I quickly learned that the laws in Arizona protect the privacy of both the birth mother and the adoptive parents,” she writes. “However, they completely ignore the primary person in the adoption triad, the child.”

Susan hired a confidential intermediary (CI), who was pushy, rude, and mercenary, and who was not allowed to relay any information about Susan’s birth mother, or any other information found on Susan’s birth certificate, to which Susan had no legal access. Eventually the CI put Susan in touch with her half-sister, from whom Susan learned that her birth mother, Kathy, had come from a dysfunctional family, had married an abusive man and had children, and had died at the age of fifty-three. With the help of the adoption agency and reports filed by social workers, Susan learned more about her birth in Tucson and her adoption by the Westbys. From nurses’ notes she learned how heartsick Kathy had been to part with her newborn baby.

Susan Bennett’s book, Late Discoveries, is the tale of her search for two mothers. It ends with the discovery of how very much Susan was wanted and loved by both of them. This quest for truth was frequently frustrating but ultimately rewarding, and it changed Susan's life dramatically. She now is an involved member of adoptees’ rights organizations, whose goal is to change laws so that every adoptee in every state may have access to their original birth certificate.

Susan Bennett is the national secretary and on the board of directors of American Adoption Congress, as well as the Southwest Regional Director of the organization and editor of the The Beacon. She is also a board member and librarian for Search Triad, Inc., in Arizona and a producer on the documentary film project, denied. She lives in Gilbert, Arizona with her husband, Mike.

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Late Discoveries
An Adoptee's Quest
Susan Bennett
ISBN 978-156474-513-2
176 pages, paperback, $14.95

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