Twice Born (Paperback)

By Betty Jean Lifton

Other Press, 9781590512449, 288pp.

Publication Date: September 17, 2006



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A reissue of the classic 1975 memoir that Elie Wiesel called "deeply stirring . . . important and enriching."
In this significant and lasting account, Betty Jean Lifton, acclaimed author of several books on the psychology of the adopted, tells her own story of growing up at a time when adoptees were still in the closet. "Twice Born" recounts her early struggle with the loneliness and isolation of not knowing her birth parents; her identification, as a journalist in the Far East, with the orphans left behind by American soldiers in Japan and Vietnam; and the guilt she experiences over what feels like a betrayal of her adopted parents as she sets off on a forbidden quest to find her roots.
With the mounting suspense of a detective novel, Twice Born explores the difficulty of searching for one's past when records are sealed, and the complexity of reuniting with a birth mother from whom one has been separated by both time and social taboos. More than a vivid and poignant memoir, Lifton has given us a story of mothering and mother-loss, attachment and bonding, secrets and lies, and the human need for origins.

About the Author

Betty Jean Lifton, Ph.D.

Betty Jean Lifton, Ph.D., is a writer, psychotherapist, and leading advocate for adoption reform. Her books include "Journey of the Adopted Self, Lost and Found, " and "The King of Children," a "New York Times" Notable Book. A frequent lecturer, she has an adoption counseling practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts and New York City. Her Web site is

Praise For Twice Born

California Bookwatch

The author's written several books on the psychology of the adopted, but here provides her own autobiographical experience, telling of a life where adoptees were still kept in the dark about their identification.... Twice Born: Memories of an Adopted daughter traces her journey and feelings.

Reference and Research Book News

At the time she was told her birth parents were dead and she was adopted, Lifton was seven and sick from scarlet fever. The timing could not have been worse. The experience itself caused significant problems for Lifton, and the questions about her birth parents lingered for decades. Finally she found her birth mother was alive and to ease her pain and answer questions Lifton sought and found her. Her search for her birth father had less success, but Lifton found the questionshad eased and she was able to "re-enter" life, finally, as what she felt was herself. Lifton...adds new insights from the changes in adoption practices to her 1975 original and makes a case for open adoption records.