"A life changing story of adoption"


Adoption Detective is a true story detailing the journey of Judith Romano as she discovers fragments of her background and then sets out to solve the mystery as an adult. The heroine of the story is hardly a traditional detective, but genealogy by its very nature, leads her to detection, deduction, and conclusions that are not always what she had in mind.

A passionate love affair between high school sweethearts creates an accidental pregnancy during a sultry night on the shore of Lake Michigan. Rebecca’s unforgiving parents banish her to an unwed mother’s home where she secretly gives birth to a baby girl. Her daughter Judy is placed in the loving care of foster parents before being callously given to Mario and RoseIla Romano for adoption on her first birthday. Mario is a powerful Italian who bribes a Catholic priest to obtain the baby he wants, but Judy suffers profoundly from separation syndrome In the quiet shadowy surroundings of her new home—and is confused when RoseIla informs her that she is adopted.

Reoccurring visions and fantasies of her birth mother plague Judy’s consciousness for three decades until a life-changing passage into adulthood causes her to question why she was abandoned. What begins as a simple investigation into her medical and ancestral history slowly evolves into a passionate quest to discover her roots. Through good timing, perseverance, and a few small miracles, Judy eventually solves the mystery of her origins. But will the woman she has been seeking welcome Judy back into her life?


“Judith Land’s powerful personal story belongs in the pantheon of adoption classics that include The Girls Who Went Away, Twice Born, and The Primal Wound. I was deeply moved by the heartbreaking narrative of this adoptee, but at the same time, the mystery buff in me breathlessly turned the pages to find out how or if Judy finally finds her truth. As you read this shocking and amazing book, keep reminding yourself: This really happened. Donna Montalbano, Radio Host

“Judith Romano is a plucky Midwestern orphan who faces adversity and steadfastly refuses to back down until she has accomplished her goal of finding her birth parents. It is impossible to put this book down before it is finished—other adoptees will be greatly inspired to find their own roots.” —Jean M. Paton, Mother of the Adoption Reform Movement, Founder of Orphan Voyage, and author of The Adopted Break Silence.

“Adoption Detective is a story that is hard to forget—readers will want to keep a hanky close at hand. The plot is emotionally draining, engrossing throughout, and agonizing at times with great expectations followed by periods of both ecstasy and gut wrenching rejection. Nothing is fait accompli when it comes to affairs of the heart and on this account the book delivers.” —Jim and Penny Hassell, Book Review

“This book is riveting—I literally could not put it down. Your story is solid and exceptional. I can’t say enough good things about this book.” —Sheila Mincer, speech language pathologist, Mountain Board of Cooperative Educational Services

“A wonderful book, a must read for adoptees and parents. Readers will have difficulty putting the book down before it is finished. As with most best-selling books about children, the reader will carry along many of their own personal travails and experiences. Adoption Detective greatly improved my understanding of adoption and its many facets.” —Avid Reader, London, UK

“The reader will hang on to every phase of the adoption search—this is a life story that deserves this book.” —Terrie Drake, librarian, Colorado Mountain College


“Butterflies serve to remind us that adoption is just the beginning of life’s big adventure, not an ending. Remarkably, there is nothing in the early life of a child or a little green caterpillar that gives a hint of the beauty within. With maturity both the child and the caterpiller eventually metamorphose into an entirely new form.” —Judith Land