Only rarely does a memoir come along that taps into the heart of the human condition. The Sound of Hope is such a story, told by Anne Bauer, an adoptee who cannot forget that she had another life and another family before being adopted.
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The Sound of Hope, A True Story of an Adoptee's Quest for Her Origins
Much of Anne's childhood was spent wondering about her other mother. She desperately wanted to know where she was, what she looked like and most importantly, why she placed her for adoption. Living in the closed adoption system, her questions were met with a wall of silence. This aura of secrecy only intensified Anne's quest to eventually discover her own story. Faced with anger and contempt, secrets and revelations, Anne sets out to uncover the truth. This powerful memoir traverses family and relationships and carries the unforgettable message that nobody should be cut off from their origins.
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The Sound of Hope: A True Story of an Adoptee's Quest for her Origins
Reviewed by Jeneke Lesak for RebeccasReads (1/09)
Wow! What an amazing and inspiring story!
In “The Sound of Hope,” Anne Bauer writes an emotionally captivating autobiography about her life as an adoptee, born in an era when records of adopted children were sealed, making it virtually impossible for any questions to be answered about their birth history or their natural parents. From a young age, Bauer possessed an innate desire to find the woman who gave birth to her, someone she knew she had a strong connection to, even if they had never met. This desire never went away, even though her adoptive parents had a difficult time with her need to know the truth of her origins.
Not only does this book discuss important issues of adoption, but it fabulously written, honest and straightforward, sprinkled with cultural anecdotes to set the tone, as one Jewish proverb reads: “Not to have felt pain is not to have been human.” The reader grows with Bauer in each stage of her life, from the time she was adopted as an infant, through childhood, then adolescence on to adulthood. Right along side her, we feel her yearning to know her birth mother and her frustration of being kept in the dark; we sympathize as she endures the many confrontations and lack of support of her adoptive family when she is finally able to make strides in her search. We ride this emotional rollercoaster and the entire time root for the accomplishment of her dream.
Even with all of the difficulty and resistance she meets in her search, Bauer emanates strength and sincerity. She holds true to her belief in herself and what she can achieve. She is consistently considerate, respectful, and kind, but completely honest in representing those who played a part in her life. We can all learn much from Bauer’s strength and benevolence that she exhibited in her life’s journey.
This book is an inspiration to other adoptees that have that need to seek out their birth parents. It is also an excellent resource for adoptive parents and others who know an adoptee. By reading this in-depth life story, the reader can be more sympathetic and have a better understanding of what this person may feel about his/her identity and situation. Bauer also includes an appendix with helpful information concerning adoption.
Adoption is a subject I was previously not familiar with, as I myself am not adopted. I feel so fortunate to have been introduced to this book, this genuine new writer, and a subject of which I now have a greater compassion and understanding.
Reviewed by: Liz Dederich
Anne Bauer learned at a young age that she was adopted. She also learned her two brothers were adopted. A constant feeling of incompleteness defined her life in one way or another. She knew she needed to know why, how, who. She also needed to find these answers without sacrificing her relationships with her established family.
I found this story to be fascinating on two different levels. I am a mother. I can't imagine how horrible it would be to give away a child. How would this affect the child? Are they happy? Are they looking for me? Have I done the right thing for the child? Anne gives the answers bluntly. She writes of her longing, her feeling of maybe not really belonging anywhere. On a different level, I am the sibling of an adopted child. I have witnessed first hand these questions being asked and how they are received by the adopted parents. There is this constant fear on all sides. What if the mother wants her back? What if the mother rejects her? Why is my love not enough when I chose to bring you into my home? I can almost feel Anne's feet tingling and her palms sweating as she waits for someone to answer the phone at her birth mother's house for the first time. She has no way of knowing what is going to happen and if she's maybe made a horrible mistake.
We spend our childhoods believing in the happy ever after. As adults, we learn very quickly that there really is no such thing. Our expectations rarely survive in the cold light of day. I have often wondered what happens after the adrenaline of the tearful reunion dissipates. What would you say? What would you ask? Is nature the same as nurture? How does everyone fit together?
Anne Bauer has done a nice job answering all these questions. I realize that she is only one of hundreds of thousands of such stories, but I just really enjoyed hers.
Reviewed By Heather Slocumb
“…it’s a good boat that tries to find the harbor it left…but be careful: don’t go looking for someone who might not want to be found.”
This poignant remark, made by her sage grandmother, perfectly sums up the internal conflict driving young Anne Marie Willoughby. By all accounts, Anne has lived her life in rather normal fashion: she has a healthy childhood, she does well in school, and she ultimately falls deeply in love with a wonderful, caring, compassionate man. Of course, her upbringing is not completely idyllic (early poverty and an emotionally abusive father are a couple dark spots), but by and large she has little to truly complain about.
However normal it may seem, though, there is something a bit different about Anne’s life: when she’s five years old, she learns that she was actually adopted, rescued from a maternity home when she was only ten days old. Furthermore, the family that adopted her also adopted her two brothers, Thomas and Brian, and has raised all three of them as their own ever since. Once this seed is planted in Anne’s mind, it becomes impossible for her ever to forget, and her curiosity about her real origins only grows stronger over the ensuing years.
Her inquisitiveness finally gets the best of her when she turns twenty-two, and she soon launches an all-out campaign to discover the true identity of her birth mother. Despite a series of temporary dead ends, her resolve remains strong, and her tenacity ultimately pays off when she makes finally contact with the woman who brought her into this world. Her reaction, naturally, is mixed – but it hardly compares to the fallout that comes from her parents, brothers – and even her fiancé – as they struggle to understand the motives behind her actions. As a result, Anne is forced to reconcile both sides of the emotional tug-of-war left in the wake of her quest – and it proves to be quite the daunting task.
Taut and compelling, The Sound Of Hope is the kind of rare story that comes along every so often that is able to pull at the heartstrings in a variety of equally impactful ways. Anyone who has ever struggled with issues of personal identity or self-awareness will certainly relate to Anne’s internal struggle, but parallel to her dilemma is that of her family members, who, after having cared greatly for her her entire life, are suddenly confronted with feelings of inadequacy, envy - and even rejection - in the face of her actions. Add to all this the emergent shock of her birth mother who, twenty-two years later, must face the resurrected ghosts of a past that she was convinced would never again resurface, and you have the makings an understandably volatile, emotionally explosive situation.
Despite the potentially disastrous repercussions, though, Anne and her family – both adopted and biological – manage to navigate their collective way through the circumstances, however rocky it may be. Made possible by the very real love that they all share for one another, such a sacrifice stems from the strength of proven bonds that have been forged over the years – and, curiously, even the natural bond that Anne shares with her birth mother, despite the fact that it has never been nurtured. Regardless of how clichéd it may sound, in her stirring true-life tale Bauer does a commendable job of showing just how effectively the power of real love can weather any storm – emotional, spiritual, or otherwise.
A riveting story with a timely, memorable message, The Sound Of Hope is recommended reading for many a jaded heart in these seemingly hopeless, cynical times – most especially those who remain unconvinced of the indomitable power of love.
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Reader Reviews for "The Sound of Hope"
|Reviewed by John Domino
|I honor you Anne for proividing "The sound of Hope" to others.
Hope - this is one ingredient that the world needs now.
God Bless You!
John Michael Domino