Book Review | Umbilicus by Paula Gruben


Today I want to talk about a book that was recommended to me, an adoptive parent, by my fellow adoptive parent friend, Sharon.  Her review on the book can be read here.

When she tagged me to the post about this book on FB, I did not hesitate ordering it immediately; it arrived yesterday. I sat down next to my fire and finished it within 4 hours.

I love to read, but I never keep my books.  This is only the second time in my life that I have sat down with a book and read it in a single sitting.   This is also the second book that I intend keeping in the hopes that Isabella will read it too; the other book is So Close by Tertia Albertyn (an autobiography on infertility, treatments, miscarriage, etc).

I am going to do another post of how this book impacted me, because there is much I want to say on that topic.

I want to thank Paula, personally, for bravely sharing her story with the world.  I want to thank her for giving the gift of the other perspective; the perspective of the adopted child and all that comes with it.

What she voiced in her book throughout, touches on every fear I have with raising my own adopted child.  Made that much more difficult now that I am a single parent; no one to bounce issues off, no one to correct me where I might be making a ‘mistake’.

Many parts of the book struck me – and I think I will read it again so that I can make notes in the margins (which I have never done before).

The chapter that hit me the hardest in this book was Chapter 23 – Psychobabble.  I am a sensitive person by nature – specifically to my surroundings and when it comes to parenting, I am sensitive to how I treat or talk to my child may have an impact on her as an adult. Here is an excerpt from that chapter.  I read it over and over and over.


And further, she goes on to talk about ‘hereditary ghosts’. And this paragraph hit hard too.  Very, very hard.  I’m not going to give too much away – just get the book and read it.

I kept on thinking about our own Birthmom and what she must have gone through; what she probably still goes through, particularly around Isabella’s birthday.  Mothers’ Day too.  I cried not just for her, but for me and for Isabella too.  I cried because what Paula had to say on so many pages in so many paragraphs may just happen to my child.

I have never read such a raw and open book before.  I have never wanted the world to read this book too; whether you have adopted yourself, whether you ARE adopted yourself or whether you have friends or family in those positions.  This book is a wake up to people who really don’t know just how involved and intense adoption is.

It is NOT as simple as putting your name on a list.  It is NOT as simple a child simply being abandoned!  The circumstances for placement are all entirely different – with different “repercussions”.  I believe it to be an ongoing process for all parties concerned.

This book covers all of that and even though I’m sensitive to many aspects, there are some that run deeper than even I could ever have imagined.

Please get your hands on this book.  It’s a very powerful read.



One thought on “Book Review | Umbilicus by Paula Gruben

  1. I to am an adopted child, at 55 I am still healing and growing into myself. Deborah du Plooy is my name and I am going to be launching this book in my Store Skoobs theatre of books on the 2nd of August. Paula Gruben has humbled me beyond to be able to do this for her,
    Should you wish to friend me on facebook please do, it would be an pleasure to share.


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