This is the fourth book that I have finished for the Adoption Reading Challenge that Jenna is hosting at The Chronicles of Munchkinland. Be sure to follow the link through to read other people's book reviews.
Hunting Shadows is a great book written by an online acquaintance of mine, Dan Sandifer. Dan is both an adoptee and a birth father, so this fictional story rings very true. It is the story of a 14 year old boy, Hunter, who finds out he is adopted when he has to work on a genetics project for science class. The story reminded me of my own issues with that same genetics project. The only difference was that I already knew that I was adopted.
Hunting Shadows takes us through the young boys journey of trying to find his birth parents. From the uncooperative adoption agency that seems to just want to take his money, to the problem of sealed birth records, Hunter encounters one road block after another. Hunter does have the love and support of his adoptive parents who are willing to do whatever they can to help Hunter find his past. While I was reading the book I did find that this part of the story line seemed a bit over the top. Even my own parents who had always claimed to be open and willing to help me search when I was ready, were nowhere near as open and enthusiastic as Hunter’s. Dan acknowledges this in the afterward of the book, letting the readers know that the characters of the parents were very much based on his own experiences growing up. It warmed my heart to know that there are adoptive parents out there willing to go that extra mile for their child and set aside their own fears.
The book has several characters in it that really give the reader as sense of the different ways people can react to adoption. The librarian, an adoptee in reunion herself, who is willing to help Hunter and even meet with his Mom to help calm her fears about losing Hunter to his birth mother. The temp Librarian who is an adoptive mother and feels that adoptees should be grateful for their luck and forget all about the horrible, loose, druggy parents that gave them away. The hospital clerk who is ready to give Hunter his original birth certificate until she finds out he was adopted and then tells him all the records were destroyed in a fire. As an adoptee, I have encountered all of these types of people, and some even more extreme in their convictions.
Hunting Shadows also deals with the emotional roller coaster that is searching and ultimately reunion - pain an adoptee can go through when their birth parent doesn’t want to meet them; the effects on siblings – both birth and adoptive; fear and uncertainty. For such a short book, it covers a lot of ground!
I would highly recommend Hunting Shadows for everyone in the adoption triad. It is a heartfelt firsthand account of what an adoptee goes through during search and reunion, and makes a great case for access to birth records, not keeping secrets and how open adoption could avoid a lot of the problems of reunion