Born a bastard in Detroit and given up for adoption because of societal stigma against single birth mothers and unwanted infants, Rudy Owens traces the major legal and public health impacts of modern adoption and how critical biological kinship, historic prejudice, and discrimination are to one of the greatest social experiments in American history. In 2014 he met his biological half-sister for the first time, nearly a half century after his birth. That experience showed him his lifelong quest for his original birth records, equality before the law, and his ancestral history may have been the makings of a meaningful and good life. Despite the mistrust and decades-long legal discrimination he encountered on his journey, Owens ultimately climbed the mountain, slew his dragons, crossed the ring of fire, and emerged a better person as only someone can after a true hero’s journey.
Find a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are on my chapter summary page. See the timeline of key events in my adoption journey, from my relinquishment as an adoptee in the mid-1960s to overcoming the state of Michigan’s likely illegal actions withholding my original birth certificate decades after he had no legal grounds keep it from me. Click on each chapter link for an excerpt to the beginning of each section: