“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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Why I Wrote The Fifth and Final Name

Why I Searched for My Family and My Past

My search was a result of two things: trying to understand the impact of adoption on ME and hearing, from Lillie, that there was a biological grandfather who loved and cared about me. The idea that someone from that family might have cared about me ran in absolute contradiction to my beliefs at that time. I know that I am fairly “normal” in the adoptee arena, in the sense that I felt unwanted and unimportant; a throw-away, a mistake…someone “they” wished hadn’t come along and that had to be dealt with as a “problem.”

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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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