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The Search – A Review

The Search is an intriguing semi-autobiographical story that chronicles the lives of three strong women and the effects a ‘closed’ adoption had on all their lives. At the time the birth mother decides to place her child with an adoptive family, “closed” adoptions almost always were the norm. In a closed adoption the birth mother did not have any contact with the family who was accepting the baby. And the child would never know who his or her birth parents were. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. (Open adoptions, with the adoptive parents and their child knowing the birth mother – and sometimes the father – are most common today.) 

The stories of Maeve, Celia, and Nicole are shared with a candor that one could only expect from an author who has found herself after a long “journey to self-discovery,” the book’s subtitle. Each woman has her unique story to tell and the author, Dawn Nicoli, tells each woman’s tale with honesty and an understanding heart as a child of adoption herself. 

These women are not idealized or judged. The narrative throughout is shared in an objective, though personal, manner. The women do not excuse their actions or try to hide any of their motivations or actions that are germane to the telling of their stories. Interestingly, none are looking for sympathy or approval from the reader. This is just what happened and what they experienced and felt along their journeys.

The lives of the three women entwine because of Nicole, the daughter who has the desire and the drive to find her birth mother. In the end, it is this meeting that leads to the youngest woman, the one who is searching, over most of her life really, to discover the part of her that is missing. “What is the rest of the story?” It’s a natural question to which any inquisitive mind wants an answer. It seems to give her the closure she needs. 

Nicole is content and even grateful to find and meet her birth mother. But she is also thankful for her real mother, the woman who brought home that tiny baby and made a place for her in her home and, just as importantly or probably more so, in her heart. 

The Search is a rare glimpse into the minds and hearts of the three main characters in any adoption story. Yes, there are fathers, too, but in this scenario, the birth father is not in the picture long enough to matter and the adoptive father arguably hurts as much as he helps.

This is a woman’s story, or rather three women’s stories, who are inextricably linked though they don’t know each other for most of their lives. But both mothers helped make Nicole who she is, and she takes us along on her journey of self-discovery as well as the journeys of the two most crucial women in her life. Each finds out a lot about themselves by story’s end. 

Without both mothers, who would Nicole have been? Without Celia’s willingness to make her part of her family, she may have had a very different life without parents and a brother and may not have had the advantages she was given to make her way in the world. And without Maeve’s selfless decision to carry her baby place her in adoption, Nicole would not have been at all. 

You can find the Kindle version of The Search on Amazon at 

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