Spotlight, Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: Finding Sisters by Rebecca Daniels

Book Blurb & Info

Where does she come from?

Who are her genetic parents?

Who is she?

Does she even want to know?

With almost no information of her genetic heritage, adoptee Rebecca Daniels follows limited clues and uses DNA testing, genealogical research, thoughtful letter writing, and a willingness to make awkward phone calls with strangers to finally find her birth parents.

But along the way, she finds much more.

Two half-sisters.

A slew of cousins on both sides.

A family waiting to be discovered.

With the assistance of a distant cousin in Sweden and several other DNA angels on the internet, Daniels finally comes face to face with her birth mother just months before her passing. Join in on this author’s discovery of family and self in ‘Finding Sisters: How One Adoptee Used DNA Testing and Determination to Uncover Family Secrets and Find Her Birth Family.’

Buy Links

Toot's Review by Betty Bee

A perfect blend of factual information and personal memoir, Rebecca Daniels' book, 'Finding Sisters,' begins with a simple question: “Who am I?”

As a baby, Daniels was given up for adoption by her birth parents for reasons unknown to her for most of her life. Although she ended up with a loving, supportive family and parents she adored, she still had that burning question.

This, of course, is a question that many formerly adopted children share, but Daniels' took it upon herself to discover the real answer by sending some of her DNA to a website that matches people with others that share their genes. However, it did take some convincing of a friend who was looking for answers herself, to start the process.

Soon, she was given some matches, but none that were close relatives. However, she was eventually contacted by a distant cousin, Thomas, living in Sweden who, being a lover of ancestry and genetics, decided to help her look into her past and find out more about her origins. Daniels soon began corresponding regularly with this man, who she refers to as her 'Swedish Cousin' and between the sparse clues that she was able to remember and her cousins' diligent work, they were able to piece together the puzzle of Daniels' family. Soon, she discovered that she still had living relatives, including two half-sisters and even her birth mother.

Daniels' story was not only fascinating from a scientific standpoint, but incredibly touching. This look at her journey in life and her reconnection with the woman that gave her up for adoption is enough to engage and inspire any reader who picks up the book.

I think the blurb for this book is best delivered by a friend who Daniels' quotes in the book as saying: “These are your people; this is your tribe.”

A heartwarming memoir that you won't soon forget, 'Finding Sisters' is a five-star read with enough soul to go around!

Guest Post

Why I was hesitant to look for my birth family
by Rebecca Daniels

When one is going through a stormy adolescence (is there any other kind?), I imagine even kids who know exactly who their parents are—and know their parents’ parents and their ancestors for generations back in time—sometimes feel like they were born into the wrong family. And for adopted kids, that can be an even stronger pull as we try to determine our own identities as young adults without knowing where we come from. It’s easy for teenagers to say, “I don’t belong with these people; they don’t understand me at all.” But once the drama of adolescence has passed and we’ve come into our own as young adults, most people accept their families, however idiosyncratic and however they were formed, as normal and natural, even if they aren’t related by blood. That’s certainly how it worked for me.

However, I’ve heard that some adoptees, even those with good adoptive families, and many more who did not have an ideal adoption experience, feel a distinct lack of something important in their lives, something they feel they need to find in order to feel whole. That sense of something missing did not happen to me. Once I was out of my teens and finished with college, I stopped pulling away from my family and started having a fairly normal relationship with them. In fact, my mother and I, who had often clashed when I was younger, became quite close beginning when I was in my 30s. Like many in his generation who had fought in WWII, my father had died in his 50s, when I was only 23 years old, so in spite of being a Daddy’s girl when I was younger, I never really got to know my dad as an adult. He was the parent I missed, not the unknown fellow who had fathered me, biologically speaking, on a teenager he had been dating back in the late 1940s. Further, I had created a mythology for myself about the woman who birthed me and then gave me up because she was, for some unknown reason, unable to care for me. I believed that she did it for love and that I was better off because of it. Was that a coping strategy? Perhaps. But it worked, and I believed it wholeheartedly.

Of course, there’s also the loyalty factor. If one’s adoption is a good one like mine, it can feel disloyal to want to know more about your birth parents, even if the adoptive parents are perfectly willing to talk about it. However, they rarely have any real information, especially if the adoption was closed, which they were when I was an infant. These days, open adoptions are more common, so many adoptees already know their birth parents, and some even have ongoing relationships with them. But for those of us who went through a closed adoption process, the institutions involved made it really hard, sometimes almost impossible, to know anything about your birth parents. Further, older birth certificates didn’t include the name of the father if the couple wasn’t married. Apparently unplanned pregnancies were all the woman’s doing, and those birth certificates needed to be kept private, even from those whose birth they documented. So, it felt like society frowned on sharing information about birth families, and it seemed that the privacy of the birth parents was more important to the social order than the emotional needs of the child. And I let that social order define my own thinking about finding my birth parents because it didn’t feel emotionally urgent to me at the time.

While I felt no strong emotional pull to find my birth parents, I did start thinking about genetic testing when I was diagnosed with a hereditary eye disease in my mid-20s. In fact, while I was in my child-bearing years and married to my first husband, I was strongly advised to get DNA testing for both of us if we ever wanted to have children, because the eye problem I had was a rare one where both parents had to carry the genetic marker before the disease was passed along to the child. But those considerations were medical and really had nothing to do with actually finding my birth parents, just making sure my partner didn’t have the same disease marker that I had so our child would not be born blind. It turned out that husband #1 didn’t really want children and we didn’t stay married that long, so the issue became moot.

In the end, it came back to the loyalty question. I certainly didn’t want to hurt my mother’s feelings in any way, especially as we were now getting older and getting along so well, and I never felt I was missing anything by not knowing my genetic parentage. So, I did nothing at all about finding my birth parents for several decades. But after Mom died, I finally started thinking about looking for my birth parents, spurred on mostly because a friend really wanted to discover her own bi-racial roots and urged me to join her in the search for genetic relatives. Frankly, I didn’t really expect much when I sent in the DNA test kit, though it turns out that my four-year search eventually revealed both my birth parents when all was said and done.

Author Info

Rebecca Daniels (MFA, PhD) taught performance, writing, and speaking in liberal arts universities for over 25 years, including St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY, from 1992-2015. She was the founding producing director of Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, OR, and directed with many professional Portland theatre companies in the 1980s.

She is the author of the groundbreaking Women Stage Directors Speak: Exploring the Effects of Gender on Their Work (McFarland, 1996, 2000) and has been published in multiple professional theatre journals. After her retirement from teaching, she began her association with Sunbury Press with Keeping the Lights on for Ike: Daily Life of a Utilities Engineer at AFHQ in Europe During WWII; or, What to Say in Letters Home When You’re Not Allowed to Write about the War (Sunbury Press, 2019), a book based on her father’s letters home from Europe during WWII.

She had always known she was adopted, but it was only as retirement approached, and with a friend’s encouragement, that she began the search for her genetic heritage through DNA testing. Finding Sisters explores how DNA testing, combined with traditional genealogical research, helped her find her genetic parents, two half-sisters, and other relatives in spite of being given up for a closed adoption at birth.

She is currently working on a new memoir about her late-in-life second marriage and sudden widowhood titled Adventures with the Bartender: Finding and Losing the Love of my Life in Six Short Years.



This giveaway is for 1 print copy and 1 pdf copy. Print is open to the U.S. only and pdf is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on February 26, 2022 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

~To Enter~
Please fill out the rafflecopter below

Tour Info

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Jan 3 Kickoff & Interview

Amy Locks, Hooks and Books Jan 4 Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Jan 5 Guest Post

Gud Reader Goodreads Jan 7 Review

Jas International Book Promotion Jan 10 Review

Bev Amazon Jan 11 Review

Betty Toots Book Reviews Jan 12 Review & Guest Post

Dee G. Amazon & Goodreads Jan 13 Review

Laura Lee Celticlady’s Reviews Jan 14 Guest Review & Interview

Am Goodreads Jan 18 Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Jan 19 Review

Gracie S. Goodreads Jan 25 Review

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Jan 27 Review & Excerpt

Sal Bound 4 Escape Jan 28 Guest Review

Suzie M. My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews Feb 1 Review & Guest Post

Denise Amazon & Goodreads Feb 8 Review

Danielle Urban Book Reviews Feb 10 Review & Excerpt

Bookgirl Goodreads Feb 15 Review

Lynelle Inspire to Read Feb 21Review & Excerpt

Linda Lu Goodreads Feb 22 Review

Bee Book Pleasures Feb 24 Review &Interview

Sage N. Goodreads Feb 25 Review

No comments:

Post a Comment