A well-written book is a gift. When that beautifully wrapped gift is someone’s traumatic and triumphant personal story, it’s hard to tear yourself away from those pages. That’s exactly what you’ll find in You’ll Forget This Ever Happened: Secrets, Shame and Adoption in the 1960s. Laura L. Engel tells her powerful personal story in 326 perfect pages.  

As a young woman in Mississippi, Laura recounts her traumatic journey through pregnancy, being left at a young woman’s home, and ultimately being forced to relinquish her son for adoption. She takes you with her as she connects with those that cross her path in the young woman’s home where she is forming relationships in the hardest of situations: trying to maintain some sense of normalcy in her surreal situation, and finding joy in short trips to the local convenience store for sweet treats in an unusual neighborhood in New Orleans.

You’ll walk through her pregnancy, the ups and downs of complicated family relationships, and the shame and embarrassment of falling pregnant in the 1960s. With a no-where-to-be-found boyfriend and his immature actions, she has no choice but to leave her beloved son behind.  You’ll mourn with her as she leaves him in the hands of an unexpected trusted friend, and is forced to drive away and back home to Mississippi.  

Imagine doing something so brave and life-changing and then never being able to speak about this baby boy you’ve left behind.  Those around you pretend it never happened, pretend you never went away, or that you didn’t leave a piece of your heart in New Orleans. Imagine being a 17-year-old young woman trying to grasp every single memory of that baby boy—trying to hold him tight as he’s yanked away. She keeps a secret memento as proof that it did happen, that she did survive, and that he does live somewhere out there.  

As you continue reading you’ll learn how she bounced back into life and overcame her tragic start. You’ll learn that sometimes life just doesn’t turn out the way you may have dreamed and imagined. And in all the gaps, you just can’t help thinking about that baby boy she left behind in Mississippi. You’ll experience her mourning and how she remembered him in the quiet moments that no one else knows about. You can feel her deep grief and wonder how she can continue to move forward.  

In our conversation, I asked Laura about her favorite part of the book to write.  She told me it was Part 2, and I can understand why.  After all her heartache and sorrow, she finally found the one who accepted all of her. She had done it.  She had become her own heroine, but she found the one that understood her didn’t second guess her decisions: just accepted her—full stop.  In that, he added more life, more love and more children into her family.   

You will experience her heartbreak into a million pieces and continue to beat within her chest. It seems unfathomable that life can and will go on with such grief inside of her and how you can continue to live life when it seems impossible to do so.  Laura will show you how you can find happiness in the mess of life and come out triumphant and well-loved. She will lead you through her story of redemption and full-on knight-in-shining-armor kind of love.  You will feel her joy in being loved and loving well, and still, that niggling feeling of someone missing is always there at the back of her mind and the front of her heart.  

She shares her life with you and acknowledges that she never stopped thinking about her baby boy, Jamie. He never left her thoughts and she never shared him with the world. He was her secret loss. He was a surreal memory of pain, loss, and pride only a mother could feel.  She worried and wondered about his childhood, his teenage years, and eventually his adult years. Laura writes about the bravery that finally finds her as she feels safe in loving relationships and shares her story about Jamie, his memory, her broken heart, and her shame. 

You’ll cheer for her as she opens her heart and mind to finding him.  And then finally, after way too many years, she dives in. She shares without hesitation how she came to begin her long-awaited search for her beloved boy. It is a reunion so powerful that it will give you heartburn and tears. In a large and mysterious world, it’s often a modern miracle that families can be reunited at the click of a button. Laura Engel shares with you the entire journey: the long-awaited, short period of time until she connects with her long-lost son. Will that reunion be as wonderful as she has imagined? 

Consider for a moment sharing this news of placing a child you loved so much for adoption with your other children that you love so dearly.  How will they possibly fathom the love and loss she has survived? Will they accept this man as their family? Their brother? The answer is beautiful and heartwarming. It gives hope to all children placed for adoption that someone out there is loving and missing them; they were never unwanted or unloved; and that pure, strong, undying love can come from a horrible, traumatic situation. Laura shares that not all adoptions are awful, unloving people who consider adoption for nefarious reasons. Adoptive parents can be wonderful, loving people who help their children find the missing piece.

In our conversation, Laura’s warmth and welcoming personality evoked many emotions in this writer. One cannot help comparing your own story to hers wondering how she would make it through everything she has endured with such grace and understanding. But most of all, there is hope.  

It’s hard not to gush about a well-written story.  Her story: it makes the world brighter and less dark and difficult to navigate. She shares her story so selflessly with her whole heart laid out for the world to read. She is brave, strong, and such a beautiful writer.  I hope and pray that you will enjoy sharing her story as much as I do. 

When I finished this book, I was so equally filled with love and anguish. Life is hard, but Laura L. Engel shows you that with the hard it can be equally beautiful, redeeming, and fulfilling. Run out today to buy your copy of You’ll Forget This Ever Happened: Secrets, Shame and Adoption in the 1960s. You will want to read it again and again, just like I did. And now that it’s finally released, I plan to share it with you, my friends and family, and the rest of the world. Happy reading!