Featured Interview With Gloria Oren
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was adopted at birth and discovered this at the age of four thanks to a teenage neighbor. I lost my father on my eleventh birthday and my mother at age twenty-three. Two months later, I married and shortly after began raising my own family.
Within the year I became a mother and named my son, Chanan, after my deceased adoptive mother. Sixteen years later, I learned it was also the name of my biological maternal great grandfather’s name, too.
My second son, Shai, was born during a 1983 doctor’s strike. He could not hold his weight. The fear of losing him motivates me to search for my roots, or at least my medical history despite warnings that the effort is in vain and meeting obstacles wherever I turn.
Moving to Seattle, Washington in 1985, I discover that I am pregnant again resulting in the birth of my daughter in February 1986. In July 1990 diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, I undergo two months of radiation treatment followed by remission. I realize that I am given a second chance and am again motivated to search. With each additional medical setback, my motivation to search grows.
From a rabbi, I learn that my birth mother was from Nova Scotia, Canada. However, an aunt tells me it was Montreal and her first name is MARCIA. Meanwhile, my birth mother goes to New York to get a copy of my birth certificate but goes home empty handed after making the mistake of telling who she really was.
My birth mother seeks help from a cousin’s husband. Eight days before my forty-first birthday YEHUDAH locates me through my father-in-law. He tells me that my birth mother is his wife’s cousin and that she’s waiting for a call from me. I make the call. I speak with my biological mother for the first time in my life. That same day I speak with my grandmother.
I wrote about all this in my memoir. Bonded at Birth is a story of loss, survival, determination, and persistence covering sixteen years of searching and nearly forty-one years of separation. Many coincidences appear along the way. Years of surviving cancer and overcoming other health issues, an inexplicable dream, and finally being found bringing closure and reunion with her birth families.
I’m a dog lover and had three dogs enter my life. I am currently seeking my next canine friend.
I am the the mother of three grown children, and lives with her husband of thirty-seven years and one of their sons.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I was fascinated with books since I was about six months old. I would look at the pictures. When I learned how to read, books seemed to be glued to me. I read all the time. In fact, the library had trouble keeping up with me.
My journey as a writer began years ago. My first published piece was a poem in a camp newsletter. I seemed to be writing something all the time. It strengthened during the “Breaking Into Print” course.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
My favorite authors are Belva Plain and Jodi Picoult. I read memoirs, nonfiction, and fiction. Fiction has to be either family sagas, stories based on true stories, or else wise interest me.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
Gloria Oren’s adoption memoir Bonded at Birth: An Adoptee’s Search for Her Roots is a story of loss, survival, determination, and persistence. It covers one state, three countries, and two continents. It covers sixteen years of searching and a little over four decades since her first adoption. After growing up under the umbrella of secrecy, Gloria sets out to find her birth mother with all she knew about her: she was a Jewish teenager. Despite being told by anyone and everyone that it would be an impossible feat, her determination and motivation increased. Learning her birth father’s name upon reunion with her birth mother and a short time later that he passed away eight years before led to her getting involved in genealogy and through this research medium she discovered that her first cousin seven times removed was Col. William Prescott of the Battle of Bunker Hill fame and more. Seven years later her story is brought full circle.
Bonded at Birth will interest adult adoptees who wish to search but hesitate, adoptive parents confronted by their adopted child’s wish to search,, and by birth parents who fear searching not wanting to intrude on their biological offspring’s life. It will attract memoir readers who enjoy a unique story. And couples contemplating adoption will learn the damage secrecy can lead to, and with hope, this book will ensure that they will be the ones to talk to their adopted children about their adoptions.
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