“We: An Adoption and a Memoir” by Ben Barnz— A Memoir and a Love Letter

“Barnz, Ben. “We: An Adoption and a Memoir”,  Wyatt-McKenzie, 2018. A Memoir and a Love Letter Amos Lassen “We: An Adoption and a Memoir” is the story of Ben Barnz adopting a child and the legal battle with the birthfather that began the day after the child’s birth (and two days before 9/11). The book brings together this narrative with Barnz’s path to parenthood. His story begins with hi being a closeted kid in New York of the 1980s, a time when AIDS loomed heavily over the gay community. Of course back then, the ideas of gay marriage and gay adoption were just dreams. Barnz’s book is “part memoir, part love letter, part haunting tale”. We read about what it means to be a father, a son, a partner and part of an adopted family. We immediately feel the emotion with which this book was written. We go into the complicated relationships between birthparents and adoptive parents, between birthmothers and birthfathers, between parent and child, between married couples.  Barnz shares his story with great honesty, humor and even vulnerability. It is hard not to weep about the story and the way it is told. This is a look at fatherhood through the complex adoption process in a way we rarely get to learn of. “The boundless love, reverence and uncommon honesty he shows as he details his suspenseful and emotional path to parenthood will make you wonder if this page-turner of a story is, in fact, your story. Because it is. One way or another, it’s all of our stories.”

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