LOST SON?
A Child's Journey of Hope, Search, Discovery and Healing


***PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS***


This review was published in the Summer 2006 issue of "NVP Pleegcontact Magazine" in The Netherlands.

Dr. Hocksbergen is a recognized world authority on foster care and adoption. He has himself authored a number of books and articles read by the professionals in the field. He is a widely sought after speaker.

He purchased a copy of my book while attending the 2nd World Conference of International Advocates for Children of which I spoke at.

DUTCH:

Lawrence P. Adams (2004). "Lost Son? A Bastard Child’s Journey of Hope, Search, Discovery, and Healing. Baltimore: Publish America. 166 p.

"In de Verenigde Staten verschijnen regelmatig biografieën van adoptiekinderen, van pleegkinderen echter veel minder. Dit boek is een voorbeeld van het laatste.

Lawrence is altijd pleegkind gebleven, hoewel zijn ouders hem graag hadden geadopteerd en de auteur heeft uitgezocht dat er in feite ook niets op tegen was geweest om tot adoptie te komen.

Het systeem van pleegzorg is in de VS anders dan in Nederland. Vroeger althans werd nog sterker benadrukt dat kind en pleegouders geen sterke band met elkaar mochten aangaan. Die emotionele band moest immers voorbehouden blijven aan de biologische ouders. Voor Lawrence blijkt het in menselijk opzicht catastrofaal te zijn geweest dat hij nooit een gezin zijn thuis kon noemen. De kwaliteit van zijn leven is hierdoor ernstig aangetast.

In dit boek beschrijft Lawrence op goed leesbare en beheerst emotionele wijze wat hem vanaf zijn geboorte is overkomen en zijn gevoelens daarbij. Hij verhuisde maar liefst vijftien maal van pleegezin naar pleegezin, naar tehuis, weer terug naar een pleeggezin, etc. Twee adressen karakteriseert hij als een thuis. Boeiend is dat het hierbij gaat om een gezin en een tehuis voor jongens ‘Boys Town’. Het waarom van dit thuisgevoel kan ons aan het denken zetten.

Als hij 36 is heeft hij eerst zijn biologische moeder en vervolgens zijn vader ontmoet. Hij beschrijft beide ontmoetingen en wat hier op volgt gedetailleerd. Het was voor mij een aangrijpend verhaal dat ik geboeid en aan een stuk door heb uitgelezen.

Adoptie-ouders en volwassen geadopteerden zullen veel gedenkwaardigs aantreffen. Het intense verlangen om zich ergens thuis te voelen en de pijn die samengaat met het onvervuld blijven van deze wens, kan ter harte worden genomen.

Je zou dit boek ook een aanklacht kunnen noemen tegen de wijze van pleegzorg in de V.S."
PROF. DR. RENE A.C. HOKSBERGEN Faculty of Social Science, University of Utrecht, Netherlands

ENGLISH:

Lawrence P. Adams (2004). "Lost Son? A Bastard Child’s Journey of Hope, Search, Discovery, and Healing. Baltimore: Publish America. 166 p.

"In the United States biographies of adopted children appear regularly, of foster children however much less. This book is an example of the last.

Lawrence have remained always foster child, although his foster parents had gladly adopted him and the author has selected that in fact also nothing had been against adoption reach.

The system of foster care is in the US different than in the Netherlands. Still more strongly it was in former days at least emphasised that no strong link with each other could child and foster parents contract. That emotional link had reserve to remain to the biological parents. For Lawrence it proves, in human respect, catastrophic that he are never a family at home could call. The quality of his young life was seriously damaged because of this.

In this book Lawrence, in a very readable and in mastery of emotional manner, describes what is was like for him from birth and the feelings that happen thereby. He moved no less than fifteen times of family to family, to an orphanage, to a family, etc. He characterises two addresses as at home. Captivating is that it concerns a foster family and an orphansge for boys `Boys Town. Why this is so for him should make us all pause and think.

At 36 he meets for the firt time his biological mother and later his biological father. He describes both meetings and what resulted in detail.

This book clearly shows the differences in the manner of foster care in the United States and the Netherlands.

Adoptive parents and adult adoptees will find much memorable. The intense desiring to call somewhere home and a family to call one's own, the feelings and the pain which results goes together with them remaining the wish of a lifetime, should be taken heart.

It for me was a tale that I had been seizingly captivated and I couldn't put it down until I had read to the end.
PROF. DR. RENE A.C. HOKSBERGEN Faculty of Social Science, University of Utrecht, Netherlands

In “Lost Son? A Bastard Child’s Journey of Hope, Search, Discovery, and Healing,” first-time author Lawrence P. Adams recounts his heartbreaking journey from the day he was born and given up for adoption by his 19-year-old unwed mother to numerous foster care placements as a child to graduation day from Boys Town in Nebraska at age 18.

Adams’ describes how the Michigan state foster care system failed him numerous times from missed opportunities for adoption with a loving family to placement in an abusive household. Through Adams’ story, we learn how broken and fractured the foster care system is in the United States, and how miraculously, Adams survived this unsettling childhood managing to find salvation at Boys Town at age 11. During his seven years in this new home, he learned he could amount to something in this world and make a difference. We watch as his feelings of worthlessness dissipate as he finds redemption in participating in such group activities as choir and the debate team.

The second half of the book chronicles Adams’ adult life as he struggles with relationships, his health, and his career. His search for his birth mother and family leads him down a long, heartbreaking but necessary path as he grapples with finding his identity and heritage.

In the end, Adams’ book reveals that what is important in life is not so much how we started out in life or what it even looked like in the middle, but what we have become and what we have done with what we have been given. Adams is a testament to this basic tenet and shows that true compassion and integrity is born from within.
MARISA SALCINES, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, IAC (International Advocates for Children)


Another traumatic yet inspiring story told on the level of David Pelzer's "A Boy Called It." Mr. Adams and David Pelzer should not only shake hands but join together in their efforts to inspire others that anything can be overcome as well as reform the foster care system.

Why do I have this feeling that he will be traveling all over the nation soon? What a noble task to undertake. I admire him. It humbles me to think there are people such as David and he that will tackle such difficult tasks.

One day he will appear on Oprah's show and the rest will fall into place.

His story is incredible and is from the heart. He not only survived, he has accomplished much and have yet more to conquer!

Good luck and God Bless you and your work.
A FELLOW AUTHOR


"Lost Son" is a book for everyone. While it depicts the life of Author, Lawrence P. Adams, it also addresses the flaws in the foster care system in this country and the consequences that befall the children in our country...those who do not have a voice. It is heart-wrenching, yet inspiring and motivational story. You journey through his life story feeling as though you are a part of it...feeling the heartache, the betrayal and the good. Never once does the author portray himself as a victim...but as a survivor who savors life!

Lost Son? takes you through more than one-half century in his life. He was put up for adoption at birth, when his unwed mother was unable to care for him.

From there, he basically "fell through the cracks" of the foster care system. He was institutionalized and moved to numerous foster care homes. One family, with whom he spent six and one-half out of his first eleven years attempted to adopt, but were refused. This included attempts by both the foster parents, and also their oldest married son and his wife.

The Michigan foster care system finally gave up on him at age eleven, and sent him to Boys Town, Nebraska to let them deal with him. He arrived there a terrified, angry young boy. Fortunately, with the guidance of some concerned teachers and Msgr. Wegner, who was at the time in charge, he was able to turn his life around and look to the future...leaving Boys Town with a full college scholarship.

During his college years, he began to question his sexual identity, fearing he might be gay. He eventually met his life partner, with whom he shared 22 years...ending only when his partner proved to be unfaithful.

In his early 30's, he suffered his first heart attack. He was embarrassed that he was not able to provide family history.

Shortly thereafter, while planning a vacation to Greece, and in need of a passport, he realized he needed a copy of his birth certificate. Boys Town was able to provide this, and for the first time, he saw the name of his mother.

He was determined to find her, at first just to obtain medical information. After much searching, they were reunited during an emotional visit she made to New York City, where he then resided.

He was also eventually reunited with his siblings, but that proved to be fruitless.

He also located his birth father, but again, communication was sparse, and only one strained visit was ever held.

Sadly, the rocky relationship with his mother ended 12 years later when she found out he was gay, and wished him dead because of it. All further attempts to contact her were in vain, with phone calls being aborted by hang ups, and letters being returned. She died three years later.

From information gathered from his mother, he was able to find his Polish heritage, and several "leads" that began a journey into his ancestry.

Over the years, he has located and met many extended family members who have welcomed him with open arms and made him feel he is truly a part of their family.

Writing the book and publicly speaking out is a part of his healing process. Sharing the book may cause some awareness in those of us who take so much in life for granted.

How he has dealt with his pain and suffering, turning those into forgiveness, growth and healing offers a lesson in perspective to all of us.

This is truly a must read and be heard story! It is a story that will touch your heart and soul and will not soon be forgotten!
CAROL GOULET, EDITOR of LOST SON?"


“In Lost Son, Adams takes you on a heart wrenching journey of loss, pain, reunion, and joy. He leaves no stone unturned when he illustrates the horrific inadequacies of the foster care system—which were plentiful. He points out the inadequacies and places blame where blame is due. He recounts his suicide attempt, sexual identity struggles, and reunion joys and nightmares. As a survivor of four institutions and eleven foster homes, Adams is without a doubt an expert to say the least. I was moved by his description of the love he felt (and received) by one foster family and his wonderful experience at the famous Boys Town. When he later found out that this foster family tried to adopt him several times, but was denied without explanation, I was angered. His spirit always shines through regardless of the horrors and loss he has endured in his 50+ years of life. He is never the martyr. The horror hits again when his birth mother, after a twelve-year reunion, rejects Adams for being gay and the relationship abruptly comes to an end. Again, Adams strength and courage shine through as he removes the negative forces of his life and deals with an unfaithful partner after 22 years, and the epidemic of AIDS that has touched his life immeasurably. The message that is loud and clear is that we must accept the circumstances of our childhood’s and move on while at the same time not accept abusive or toxic people in our lives today. He shares with us his lessons in life and how he has worked through the painful parts. Touched by foster care and adoption or not, we can all take heed of his advice. Triad members and mental health professionals need to read this book to learn about the issues that are general to adoption but specific to foster care survivors. Lawrence,your message will not soon be forgotten by this reader for sure.”
KASEY HAMMER, M.S., ADOPTEE IN REUNION, PSYCHOLOGIST, AUTHOR OF "WHOSE CHILD?" AND "ADOPTION FORUM"


Lawrence P. Adams gives us a taste of reality so few of us ever experience. Yet, with so little in common with him, his story reached straight in and grabbed a hold of my heart. Eleven foster homes, Boys Town, college and an impressive career path are all, the backdrop to the search for family and love in this a journal of a life. His struggles and personal growth overcoming a society plagued with red tape and trite deserves more than a brief summary. It deserves to be read.
GAYLEN M. H. SHARP, AUTHOR OF "TIPPLE'S EVE (www.gaylensharp.com)

The casual book shopper may think that anyone who grew up in this country's child welfare system could write a memoir of his or her experiences. It's not that easy.

First, you've got to physically survive the system itself. With the all too common excessive numbers of foster home placements and replacements and the inconsistent quality of physical, emotional and medical care in those homes, that's not easy to do. Stability is a word such kids find in a dictionary, not in their daily lives.

Not all the kids who enter such a system do survive. Too many of those who do are so damaged in one way or another that they wind up in prison or mental hospitals. Of those who do survive their passage through the child welfare system and manage to make something of their lives, many may wish to leave those experiences buried 'way back in some distant corner of memory rather than share them with others. How many would want to recall such difficult experiences and share them with those who may find such accounts incredible and unbelievable? How many would even have the strength to try to share such experiences?

That's why Mr. Adams' willingness to share his life as a bastard child, a newborn infant consigned to the not-always-tender-mercies of Michigan's child welfare system, is so amazing.

His journey through the strange and bewildering world he had entered through no fault of his own has enormous emotional impact. The cost of surviving in such a world was high, very high!

This is a story of great pain and suffering. It's also a story of what one can accomplish when someone has great strength and, every once in a while, discovers that someone may actually care about him. Pain can't be erased, but perhaps one can move beyond it. Sometimes that hope may be enough to survive.

Mr. Adams tells his story with grace and warmth. It is highly readable and filled with a humanity which is all the more surprising in coming from one who experienced so little of it.
ROGER P., FORMER EMPLOYEE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SERVICES



Lost in the foster-care-system, he was NOBODY'S CHILD. Through the turmoil and tears he survived and became strong. Now the one nobody would listen to as a child; found his voice somewhere along his journey in life, and shares his story.

He was no one's son. At birth he became a ward of the state as a foster child. Thus began his eighteen year agonizing journey. It took him to eleven foster homes, three institutions, finally a modern day orphanage...Boys Town, Nebraska.

He got use to the unfamiliar, to switching schools, leaving behind friends and struggling to make new ones. He called foster parents "mom" and "dad," as he felt it was expected of him. Most of them were nice enough. They provided the basics and did the best they could.

Arrival at Boys Town helped him to chart a new path for his young life. By then, he already realized that he had to take care of himself, because nobody else would. He was only eleven years old!

"Instead of becoming jaded and bitter," he hoped to see the world full of opportunities to make a difference.

Yet, he would always carry the burden of his past.

He shares the years after foster care. His journey goes through his accomplishments, his struggles with himself, the search for his biological family and finally the healing that was necessary for him to be made whole.

"Some wounds of the past will never completely heal," but he shows how they can be overcome.

Reading his story has truly been a journey of hope, search, discovery and healing. It is a story that should be read by all within the foster-care-system and anyone who cares about children.

Mr. Adams has a wonderful way of capturing his reader. I believe part of that charismatic catch comes from his honesty and sincerity. His emotions and feelings ring so real and true. His words have a way of gently tugging at one's heart-strings. When one begins reading this book, you won't be able to put it down.

This book will touch your every human emotion.It's impact will have a real healing effect on many. It could also bring about the beginning of change within the foster-care-system.

I highly recommend it!
SHARON, A THIRTY YEAR FOSTER PARENT, OHIO

***THOUGHTS OF OTHER READERS***


These are just a few of the hundreds of public comments left at my web site over the past year. I have kept private postings and personal e mails private. Each inspired me to write my book and gave me the courage to submit it to a publisher. Thank you, not only to those I am sharing but, to all who have left such positive comments.


Susan, Michigan:
I am sitting here numb and angry with the foster care system all over again, as your story penetrates my brain. The journal of your life is exceptionally well written, emotionally overpowering and remarkably inspiring. I was engrossed in each chapter which evoked a multitude of feelings. I am so proud of your fervent passion and dedication to this cause. Your book should be made mandatory for every foster care worker to read. It would be excellent reading material for social study classes. I can't wait for the book to hit the shelves! Three cheers to you Larry, for all you've endured and overcome and for the new found peace you're experiencing as a result of your search. The progress you've made is SOOOOOO exciting! You are an inspiration and a success story for sooooo many people!!!!!!!!

Donna Marie:
Larry, Just want to say what a great story. I was glued to it for hours. Quite unusual for me to read for that long. God Bless you. All I can say is your story is soul stirring.

Faith, Virginia:
Larry, I spent the last two days reading your story. You definitely should have it published. It could reach so many more people and would be recommended reading for foster parents. Your story is so inspirational! I pray that my children grow up to be adults with the integrity that you have. I hope they are able to overcome their harsh beginnings. I hope I am able to show them how important they are to me, the world and our family. I am part of a grassroots movement that is hoping to make a change to the way foster care is right now. We hope to force the states to truly put the children's best interests first. I hope to prevent the children from moving from foster home to foster home as you did, and to make it easier for the foster parents to adopt the children and give them permanence. God's blessings to you Larry and thank you so much for sharing your life journey.

Terry, Georgia:
Larry, I read your whole life history. I hurt when you hurt, cried when you cried, and became whole as you became whole. This story needs to be printed in book form and you also need to tell your story to young people all over the world in hopes that it will open their eyes to what they can become when they are determined. I am co-owner of Mending Our Broken Wings and read your story from cover to cover after your post to the group. God Bless and thank you for sharing with us.

Kali, California:
I'm still soaking this all in, trying to type through the tears in my eyes. I was in foster care, only for a few months as an infant though. I was adopted, and last year, I searched and found my family. I just wanted to tell you, thank you for putting this all together, getting it out there for people to see, read, and learn from. May you always have strength, hope, and warmth. You are an incredible author, perhaps one day you WILL have this published. Good luck to you.

Johanna, Kelowna BC Canada :
Larry......this was the most beautiful, heart warming story I have ever read. I am in search of my birth father and have been for 2 years now. It has been very emotional and I hope in the end it will be rewarding. Reading everything has helped me keep the urge and strength to carry on in my search no matter what the outcome may be. Reading what I have read this morning, I have realized you are a strong, determined and awesome man and I wish you all the best with all the future has to hold for you. God Bless.

Lorraine, Michigan:
Your story touched me deeply! It was awesomely written! I was also adopted and I found my biological mother when I was 19. She is still part of my life, and our 13 year old daughter thinks it is too cool to have an *extra* grandmother! Just wanted to say I thought it was a beautiful story!

Mary:
Larry we are so blessed to have you at Mending because you give of your heart to others so freely. Your story will touch many people and somewhere out there is another person who needs to hear what you have to say to be able to start to heal themselves. Your book will be a huge hit Larry. Thank you so much for allowing us to share your life my friend.

Sherry, Georgia:
This is an amazing story. ;-)) I cannot possibly begin to understand how those early years must have felt to you. I can only relate to how much the system needs reform even today. I still have not finished reading, but needed to let you know you are not alone.

Cindy, Canada:
I am a birth sibling--united w/ my sister nearly four years ago. I also searched and united with my daddy who sadly passed away four months after are reunion.. I am active in helping others involved in adoption searches where I can.. I read many stories dealing with the issues we face.. YOUR story is truly touching. You should be proud--You learned and became a better person--Rather then spending a lifetime blaming others and destroying yourself. It is rare to see the honesty and self assurance you share in your writings.

Gillian, United Kingdom:
Having shared a post with you on adoption forums I clicked on your link and have just spent the last hour reading your story. It captivated me. I am adopted also, but have not endured any of what you have in your life. However, I believe that I am and always will be one of the lost children. Thank you for taking the time to share your story with everyone.

Stan, Boys Town, Nebraska...fellow alumni:

I have very much enjoyed reading your story; so much that I wish that there was more. Your story reflects how genuine and caring you are. You are a gifted and a special person. Thank you for publishing your story.

Sheila, Nebraska:
I came upon your story as I was surfing the net for info about adoption from foster care. I am a Boys Town alumni who spent time in foster care and I also have a birth mother whom I met four years ago. It was inspiring to see how you overcame adversity and I relate very well to some of your feelings and experiences. Thanks for the great story!

Brenda, Ontario, Canada:
You have had such a journey Larry, and I'm sure it will continue. We are the sum of our experiences and you have used your life to find greater knowledge and peace within your soul. Bless you as you continue on your way, life is not about the end result, but the journey we embark upon while here.

Lisa, Ohio:
Just finished reading your Lost Son pages and want to say..thank you for being you and becoming the person you have become. I am so glad you have found your birth family and have worked your way through all the adversities in your life. may you always be blessed with good health(my husband is 51 and has had three heart attacks also!)good friends..love and laughter in your life..thank you for sharing a part of you with the world..God Bless you.

John, South Carolina:
It's good to read a story where someone takes responsibility for themselves and can remain positive under such circumstances. It gives me hope as an adoptee, who is in 'limbo' with my birth family reunion, that life will go on -and can be good if I choose - regardless of the cards that I have been dealt.

April, Oklahoma:
WOW....I just finished reading your the Her Story chapter, What a brave and caring person you are. I helped a dear friend find his siblings but we have never found his birth mother. In doing this I have found such pain for the little children lost into the system. I am so glad you have Risen above the Pain.

Josh, Canada:
Visited because of a link in one of your posts on the Foster Parents forum. Thanks for your views and insights from the other side of the fence. Your book will be required reading for foster teens in our home.

Gabby, Washington:
I stayed up reading your book and guest book until about 3:00 A.M. and had my coffee w/you this morning I feel I know you now that I have seen into your spirit. Your story is a great tool for the world to use to heal and to also change the way the 'system' has treated children like us who were born into dysfunctional families and eventually began to feel it was somehow our fault. We are flawed as all humans are. Our life here is to learn to love and serve our Maker, accept ourselves and life on life's terms. And also to use the gifts He has given us and the lessons we have learned to change the world and help others learn their value. You are doing that, my friend. I am so grateful you learned the valuable lesson that forgiveness is for us and our relationship w/our Heavenly Father, not for the ones who abused, neglected and rejected us. I, also was in foster care as a child.

Christina, Oregon:
As a 25 year old straight Christian woman I have absolutely nothing in common with you; however I read the story of your life and am completely moved by your passion and commitment to who you are. You have overcome so much in your lifetime. I am a foster parent or 2 little girls whom I love deeply, and after reading your story I am going to go give them both a huge hug and love on them. Your story is inspiring and I am proud of you!



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