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Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman's Story of Identity, Love, and Adoption Hardcover – October 7, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Finding Zoe is a heartwarming story about identity, self-acceptance, and love . . . Attending RIT/NTID after growing up as Brandi and I did, in hearing families and mainstream schools, is truly life-altering. Brandi beautifully captures the joy of finally fitting in, feeling at home and finding yourself.”
—Dr. Gerard J. Buckley, President of National Technical Institute for the Deaf

"The journey in Finding Zoe is captivating and inspirational, and above all, a story about doing what is right for our children, as well as ourselves, no matter how difficult…and then seeing all of the pieces fall miraculously into place. Finding Zoe is a joy to watch unfold.”
—Jill Smokler, New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of a Scary Mommy and Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies)

“A must-read for any adoptive parent, or anyone considering adoption. Brandi Rarus’s story of Finding Zoe is an amazing reminder that the power of love overcomes life’s most challenging obstacles and nothing can stand in the way of what’s meant to be.”
—Mary Donahue, Senior Vice President of Non-Fiction at Lifetime Television Network and adoptive parent

“Just as my character on Switched at Birth has helped to expose the Deaf community for what it really is to our mainstream TV audience, so too does Finding Zoe break down the barriers between the hearing and Deaf communities by showing Deaf Culture in ways never seen before . . . Bravo to Finding Zoe.”
—Sean Berdy, actor on the ABC TV hit series Switched at Birth and Peabody Award Recipient

Finding Zoe shines an unbiased light on teen pregnancy, adoption, and the sacrifice parents make to find the best home for their children. A must-read for teenagers and their parents, or for anyone else who may be contemplating their choices for an unintended pregnancy.”
—Jan and Bob Charnecki, founders of Options Pregnancy Center

“A work of both heart and mind, driven by the authors’ passions to describe our rich history as deaf people, that paved the way for deaf children like Zoe...a book that both deaf and hearing people have longed for.”
—Greg Hlibok, student leader of the Deaf President Now protest at Gallaudet University

“This isn’t just a book for people interested in adoption; it’s an inspiring story that will touch the heart of anyone with a connection to children and families—which is to say, almost everyone.”
—Adam Pertman, Executive Director of Donaldson Adoption Institute and author of Adoption Nation

“This really hits home… The story of a deaf baby who finds her way to a deaf family…and embraces her culture and language. A great introduction to the Deaf community.”
—Chris Wagner, President of National Association of the Deaf

About the Author

Deaf since age six after contracting spinal meningitis, Brandi Rarus could speak and read lips, but felt caught between the deaf and hearing world--fitting into neither. When she realized you don't need to hear to live a fulfilled life, she became empowered and was chosen as Miss Deaf America. From signing the National Anthem at a Chicago Cubs game to speaking at corporate conferences, Brandi traveled the country speaking out for deaf children and building awareness of what it means to be Deaf.
She married Tim Rarus, an advocate for Deaf people whose work inspired the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. Together, they have paved the way to bring new technologies that promote equal access in communication. Brandi and Tim live in Austin, Texas, with their four children: three hearing boys and the youngest, Zoe, a Deaf girl they adopted. Today, Brandi and her family are tirelessly dedicated to ensuring all children find their rightful place in our world.
Award-winning writer and teacher of the intuitive process, Gail Harris has experienced the joy of adopting a child. She brings her knowledge of the adoption process and in-vitro fertilization to this book, along with her ability to articulate from a hearing person's perspective what is fascinating about the Deaf experience. In the four years that it took to write "Finding Zoe," Gail conducted more than 75 interviews to uncover. Gail is the author of "Your Heart Knows the Answer" and a featured blogger on several popular parenting blogs. She lives with her husband and son in Framingham, MA.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: BenBella Books (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1940363225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1940363226
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Finding Zoe begins with the heartwarming image of a bright-eyed girl watching her expressive dad create a Christmas storybook scene using sign language.

And, just like that, I was hooked.

I admit to being initially hesitant about the premise of Finding Zoe. I wasn’t sure whether the authors could explore pertinent, and partly controversial, social issues - such as adoption, teenage pregnancy and the deaf culture - without any bias or judgment. I was afraid the book would be a half-baked mishmash that would not resonate with me.

Boy, was I wrong or what!

I would be hard pressed to classify Finding Zoe. Do I call it a memoir, a biography, an autobiography, an account, a narration? Therein lays the beauty of this epic novel. It cannot be categorized. It doesn’t matter what type of reader you are or what kind of books you enjoy devouring, this saga (aah…that sounds perfect! ;) ) will quickly encamp itself in your soul; because it shimmers with hope, honesty and a lot of heart – it is THAT special.

Finding Zoe pulsates with the colors of humanity, evoking a cornucopia of hearty emotions that left me deliciously exhausted by the end of it. As someone who revels in visualizing while reading, I was supremely impressed with the ability of the authors to paint a picture with their words. Their vibrant writing will leave you with no choice but to get immersed in this charming universe of Zoe and her loved ones. I would suggest keeping a box of tissues by your side because almost every page will tug at your heart and fill your eyes with both rapturous and rueful tears!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished reading --- It is a must for any one curious about the "Deaf World" and for sure anyone facing an unwanted pregnancy. Adoptive parents, will know just the right baby is waiting for them.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was not only a book about adoption but also one of self acceptance. Brandi struggled with her deafness, ultimately coming to terms with it and embracing deaf culture. After giving birth to 3 boys Brandi still yearned for a girl and had applied to adopt from China when they were called about a baby in foster care with severe hearing loss.

This book is broken into 3 different parts. The first is the story of Brandi, becoming deaf at age 6, struggling with her identity and then acceptance, marriage and children. The second part of the book focuses on Jess, Zoe's birth mother and her story of finding out she was pregnant, deciding what to do and embracing adoption. Finding a family only to have the birth father fight for custody and the adoptive parents decide that they couldn't parent a child with hearing loss, leading her to again make a choice to parent or find a new family. It is also the story of the birth father, whose stories often go untold. You learn about his emotions and the reasons behind his choices. The final part revolved around after Brandi and her family adopt Zoe and their relationship with her birth families.

I really enjoyed this book. It had me hooked from the very beginning. Learning about Brandi's struggles, reading about the Birth parents and finally learning how it all came together in the end. I loved that everything came full circle and it was great having all the different perspectives. I wasn't too psyched about some of the adoption agency's practices but I'm glad things worked out in the end. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful story about learning to accept who you are. Following Brandi on her journey to embrace her deafness, and adopting her daughter. Highly recommend. It is truly a heartfelt story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really love this story. I could relate in many ways. I am Deaf myself and I would like to adopt someday.

It talks about Brandi's life so you could understand why she was perfect person to have Zoe in her arms. Terrible experience for Zoe under age of one which turns into something miracle. Amazing story.

Thank you Brandi for sharing that story.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Love & Life Changing
This book is simply profound. It sounds like a cliché to say it could your life – but it may! Once you read the first paragraph you are compelled to ignore the world and continue reading. I could not stop until I turned the last page. This is a multi-generational love story that started long before Zoe found her forever family. The honest, raw interviews that went into writing this story are what make it vastly different from any book I have ever read. A glimpse into the deaf community brings wonder and awe. The emotional road that a Mother walks to build her family through adoption is shared as well. Saying this is a well written book does not express just how well it is written. Like a well-tuned instrument, the tension that builds as baby Zoe moves from one family to the next has your heart racing—even though you know there is a happy ending. This is a book of lifelong friendships, a book of a wonderful marriage and a book that explains why there is no limit to how many people can love your daughter so that she doesn’t merely survive, she thrives. This is a ten star book! I will be pre-ordering many copies of this book to share with family and friends. Enjoy! NetGalley and BenBella Books provided an advanced review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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