A Long Way Home

Liz Gifford

I would like to recommend a book I read recently.  A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley is a true story of a five year old boy from India placed for international adoption with a couple in Australia. This is a memoir as recalled by Saroo and discusses his childhood memories of growing up as a very young child in India, being accidentally separated from his family,  being available for adoption, and placed for adoption with his adoptive parents in Australia. As Saroo was not abandoned or relinquished for adoption by his parents (his circumstances of being available are very unique), he knew his family must have wondered what had happened to him and he hoped as well that they continued to think about him. 

Throughout the book he speaks very highly of his adoptive parents in Australia and feels a great sense of gratitude to the life they provided him, although his desire to reconnect with his birth family and to feel a sense of connection to his country of birth never wanes. It is not that he did not want to be with his adoptive parents and brother but that he grieved for his birth family and craved information about them. Through great determination, support of his parents and girlfriend at the time, the technology of Google Earth, and perhaps some luck, he is able to locate his town of birth and then travels there to find his birth family. 

The book is inspiring, uplifting, sad, and ultimately happy. It has been made into a movie called Lion starring Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman. The movie was nominated for four Golden Globes' including Best Motion Picture Drama. I have seen the movie and it is very well done - I would absolutely recommend seeing. (Jan 24 update: 2017 Academy Award nominations announced: Lion has been nominated for Best Picture, as well as in 5 other Oscar categories.)

Some words of caution for readers: the timelines for the completion of Saroo’s adoption reflects the process and regulations at the time - 1987.  Adopting internationally has become more complex and lengthy over the years but with patience and commitment to the process, children are being placed with Albertans who desire to create or grow their family through international adoption.   Building Families ~ Creating Futures

Liz Gifford   BSW RSW
Liz has been working for Adoption Options for almost 25 years,
and as International Program Director since 2008.