Locating a birth parent may be a lifelong dream for an adoptee. But if the pregnancy had been kept a secret by the birth mother, the child’s existence will create shockwaves. In addition the sense of identity and trust may become shattered for someone who learns that a mother or father who raised them is not their biological parent.
Following the death of her adoptive father, nurse-midwife Lexie Jaeger travels from Oregon to Pennsylvania to assist a lay midwife who is being investigated for the death of an Amish patient and her baby. Lexie knows that she was born in Pennsylvania, and as she begins to gather information about her birth mother she is thwarted by someone who believes that innocent people will be hurt by the emergence of the truth about her origins.
During the summer of 1922, 36 year-old Cora Carlisle spends five weeks in New York City as the chaperone for an arrogant and uncooperative 15 year-old dance student, the future silent film star Louise Brooks. Cora takes on this onerous responsibility because she hopes to track down the birth mother who placed her in a New York City orphanage when she was a young girl.
Erika Welby’s Christian family in Boise, Idaho is torn asunder when she is contacted by the 23 year-old daughter whom she secretly gave up for adoption at the age of 16.
While studying anthropology at a summer program for high school students in Xi’an, China, Cece plans to visit the orphanage where she spent the first two years of her life before being adopted by a couple from Texas. Once she begins gathering information about her birth parents, Cece questions whether she really wants to know all the facts.
After her parents are slain in Transylvania in 1944, five-year-old Mila Heller is adopted by a Hasidic rabbi's family that soon moves to Paris. The family sends Mila and their other daughter, Atara, to a seminary that provides women with a proper religious education. Mila embraces the Hasidic way of life and marries and settles in the Satmar community in Brooklyn, while Atara, much to her parents' chagrin, opts out of this way of life. One of these women will serve a pivotal role for the other decades later.
At the age of 35, filmmaker Elyse Schein discovers while searching for information about her birth mother that she has an identical twin sister. The sisters meet each other and learn that the adoption agency which placed them in separate homes was doing a secret study of twins.
Contacted by a woman in her thirties who believes he is her birthfather, novelist and investigative reporter Michael Mewshaw knows the truth about her birth and adoption, but is reluctant to disclose any information until he ascertains whether the woman is who she claims to be. In his nonfiction memoir Mewshaw also delineates the thorny aspects of divulging the identity of the birth mother.
Raped by an intruder who is noticeably of a different race than she and her husband, Tamara Finegold believes her spouse’s promising career as a rabbi would be destroyed if she tells anyone. The burden of her secrecy mounts as she awaits the birth of her first child nine months later.