A Transatlantic Adoption Tale

You don’t need to be interested in adoption per se to appreciate this superb book which has something for everyone: international intrigue, stonewalling bureaucracies, perturbed characters who will fight tooth and nail to keep their secrets nailed firmly shut lest their psyches crumble…and even a number of eerily prophetic seers and finally a catharsis of sorts.

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Why read the book? It challenged my notions about the current policies surrounding the adoption process. I will speak up sooner and advocate more energetically on behalf of adoptees’ rights. A very good reason to read the book.

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Wow, what a read!

Wow, what a read! After my own career spanning 28 years in the social service profession, advocating for youth, many of which are adoptees or separated from their birth family, I was enthralled by this account of perseverance to seek out the “truth” in Ms Noonan’s life.

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“Should be Hailed by All Adopted Americans” says Dr. Elliot Engel

Part memoir and part detective story, Rhonda Noonan’s Fifth and Final Name is a fascinating coming-of-age story that should be hailed by all adopted Americans. Actually, Noonan’s final name is not Churchill— it’s Persistence—and that’s her first name, too. The book brilliantly personifies her grandfather’s famous quotation: ‘Never, never, never give up!’ And there is an honest, earnest, informal charm in her tone that will make all readers root for her through her astonishing journey from curiosity through frustration to richly deserved self-knowledge.

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Never, Never, Never, Never Gave Up

When the end is reached, you will not doubt the validity of her claims, for she has inherited the DNA strain that was so obvious in her famous grandfather; she never, never, never, never, gave up. While Rhonda wins out in the end, The Fifth and Final Name illustrates the injustice in the closed record system while providing a strong primer of adoption truth and adoptee understanding that the non adoption affected can understand.

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Cathy Chalmers, founding member of ATTACh, says…

Noonan’s quest for the answer to ‘where I came from’ echoes for adoptees who, if not allowed their birthright to information, live part time in their present circumstances as well as in the shadows of their past genetic heritage. Her story illustrates how openness liberates an adoptee to grow towards an integrated sense of self. The Fifth and Final Name is a wonderful work of mystery, facts turned fiction, and finally, truths that bring her story full circle.

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