llen Gleeson was thrilled to adopt a sick newborn, but two years later discovers he might not have been voluntarily given up by his birth mother. Life as a single, working mom is challenging for Ellen Gleeson, but would not have it any other way. When she first saw her son, she was not planning to become a single, adoptive mother, but when she saw him in the neonatal intensive care unit for the first time, she knew he was meant to be hers.
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As a reporter, she is used to researching important information and was sure that her adoption was completely legal. Unfortunately, she sees a picture of a little boy who looks like he could be her son's twin on a missing child notice and even the birthdays are very similar. She cannot help but think that there could be a problem. She does extensive research and as she does so, horrible details come up. However, there are some powerful people who just might kill to protect those details and as she investigates further, her life and that of her son could be at risk. She also loses her job and deals with the difficulty of having an affair with her boss.
As an adoptive mother, she had to pass a series of background and home checks in order to adopt her son. The birth parents did not have to do anything, but she does have documentation that the birth mom was young, single and could not meet her son's special needs. The biological father is alleged to have signed over his rights with no problem at all. The problem is that the actual birth parents were not the two listed on the paperwork.
People die and others are threatened as Ellen digs into the details about the adoption and she is shocked to discover that the missing child that she saw is her son. His disappearance was actually reported as a kidnapping from his very wealthy parents and a million dollar reward has been offered for his return. It is discovered that the birth mother instigated the entire kidnapping plot, in the hopes of using the ransom money ( that was paid, in full, soon after the demands were made) to pay off her gambling debts that her husband knew nothing about.
She is a cold, manipulative creature who does not seem to have actually missed her son at all and then another shocking surprise occurs when her son is legally removed from her custody at the hospital one day. It also becomes apparent that even the birth/legal father of her, prior to the kidnapping, was not the boy's biological father and ultimately, after a lot of pain, Ellen is allowed to regain custody of her son. It is interesting to note that after the little boy's disappearance, the alleged father had a really rough time with it, but still gave him back to Ellen after everything was said and done.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked the premise, i.e., what would you do and how far would you go to keep your adopted son? As part of that, I was fascinated by the contrasts between Ellen and the birth parents.
Best scene in story:
y favorite scene occurred at almost the end of the book, when Ellen's father finds out that the boy had been legally removed and given to his birth parents. His anger and frustration are very real and seeing Ellen's own reaction made for an interesting contrast.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked the book, but I had a pretty good idea how it would end happening within the first 50 pages. Ellen Gleeson chose not to work with law enforcement, investigators or other appropriate professionals and then is surprised when bad things happen. It also seems like once you realize that you participated in an illegal adoption, you should assume that many of the people related to it were not very good people. The book was fairly predictable.