“My adoption involved a wild car chase—just like in the movies…”

Judith Land | Foster Family

My foster father angrily protested when I was taken from his home by a young inexperienced social worker on my first birthday. He chased her in his car through the streets of Milwaukee. Cramming the accelerator to the floor and nearly losing control as the rear tires spun wildly, he repeatedly changed lanes without using his turn signals until he tightly closed the gap and tailgated her through several red light intersections.

I was happily adjusted and living with a foster family with four sisters and two loving parents who had applied to adopt me. A big celebration was planned for my first birthday—it never happened. The social worker handling my case rudely entered my foster parent’s house without warning and literally tore me out of my foster mother’s arms. “I rejected your request to adopt this child because you already have four daughters of your own.” My foster father was indignant and unaccustomed to speaking in anger. He pleaded passionately. “This is a terrible mistake. You need to do what is best for the child and not be unduly influenced by the financial donations of your wealthiest client attempting to buy favors. My entire family is closely bonded with Judy. This is where she belongs. We love her. She already has been with us for an entire year. You willingly accepted our application to adopt her months ago. It would be psychologically devastating to separate her from the only family she has ever known.” The social worker awkwardly jerked the zipper on my snowsuit upward until it caught in the skin under my chin. Desperately trying to break free of the tight grasp of the stranger who was terrorizing me, I wailed loudly in pain and fought back as desperately and valiantly as I could. Chills ran down the spines of my four loving foster sisters as they huddled together in fear and worried about what was to become of their little foster sister. I stared at them frantically with hurtful tear-filled eyes—my haunting primordial screams lingered in the cold morning air as I was forcefully dragged out of their house kicking and screaming. There had been no time to say goodbye. One minute, I had been giggling, singing, and amusing my sisters; then I was suddenly gone forever.

My foster father looked at the sad faces of his four sweet daughters, the unopened packages, and the beautifully decorated birthday cake on the kitchen table with one lonely candle, and wept openly for the first time in his life. His whole body trembled. The image of his child looking back at him with big brown eyes and furrowed brow, trembling and afraid, was the saddest image he could ever recall seeing. He held my soft pink baby blanket and fuzzy little bunny rabbit in his hands that I had loved so much as he watched the black car with the darkened windows speed away. His eyes were glossy and dazed like a staggering punch-drunk boxer. At that instant he came to the realization that he would be forever haunted by the lingering vision of his lovable foster child, eyes overflowing with tears, desperately clawing and screaming for his assistance as the social worker forcefully dragged me away.

Impulsively, he knew what he had to do next. He grabbed his car keys, dashed out the front door, tripped on the porch steps, tumbled head over heels onto the sidewalk, and limped to his car cradling his bloody elbow. He revved the engine, recklessly slammed the car into reverse causing it to lurch backward, jump the curb and smack into his neighbor’s garbage can, which went noisily flipping across the street. The lid rolled wildly in front of an oncoming car causing the driver to violently swerve to avoid a collision. William crammed the accelerator to the floor and nearly lost control as the rear tires spun wildly, creating smoke and squealing loudly as he recklessly aimed his car north on Layton Boulevard until he spotted the large black car several blocks ahead. He increased speed and repeatedly changed lanes without using his turn signals. The car he was chasing intentionally ran a red light to avoid being caught. William tightly closed the distance between them and tailgated the social worker through two more red light intersections. Regrettably, he became confused in traffic about which black car he was following and accidentally made the wrong choice at a fork in the road. Teary-eyed and silent, his family was waiting for him in the living room when he returned home empty handed. My abrupt and unexpected departure had created an emotional void and an ache in their hearts. He regained his composure before breaking the silence. “Social services has made a horrible mistake. Judy belongs with us. She is certain to be psychologically traumatized, unless we act soon. I’m going to hire a detective and fight to get our daughter back.”

Reuniting with the wonderful family who held me, comforted me, and fed me for an entire year was serendipitous. This is the true story they told me when we finally met in person thirty years later. We hugged and cried tears of joy. They never forgot me. They prayed for me every Thanksgiving. They were wonderful, warm, generous souls. I was thrilled to be reunited with them again as an adult and very thankful for the loving care they had given me at the dawn of life. How different my life would have been…?

Judith Land



Adoption Detective Book | FAQ’s | Adoption Blogs | About Judith Land

Life | Family | Parenting | Relationships | Adoption | Children

Mon adoption impliqué une poursuite en voiture sauvage

我通过参与野生追车 | 내 채택 야생 차 추적을 포함 | تشارك اعتماد بلدي مطاردة السيارة البرية

About Judith Land

Judith Land lives in Colorado and Arizona with husband and coauthor Martin Land. Judith is a former nurse, retail shop owner, college instructor and avid outdoor person. Her book "Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child" is a true story detailing the journey of Judith Romano, foster child and adoptee, as she discovers fragments of her background, and then sets out to solve the mystery as an adult. She has reached readers in 192 countries. "Mothers and fathers everywhere in the world need to understand that children are forever and always." --Judith Land
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7 Responses to “My adoption involved a wild car chase—just like in the movies…”

  1. Liz Steen says:

    I am so happy you were able to reconnect with your original foster family……all the best to you!

    • Judith Land says:

      Dear Liz, When I met my biological parents, I came to the realization that I still had no idea who took care of me before I was adopted. Who fed me, comforted and cooed me? I wanted to know. My birth parents and adoptive parents had no knowledge or information to share with me about the first twelve months from the dawn of life until my first birthday. I had no coherent memories. The early part of my life was a mystery. Was I in an orphanage? Was I passed from one foster family to another? I put my adoption detective hat on and launched another full blown adoption search. When I finally discovered the names of my foster parents, I telephoned them to say thank you. The heartfelt welcome home I received from them was emotionally overwhelming. They had never forgotten me. Within an hour of our telephone call, I hopped in the car and drove straight threw the night for 14 hours to meet them. In addition to the warm welcome and hugs they gave me, I received a small box of mementos, numerous photographs and a baby book that chronicled the first year of my life. Judith

  2. lonistel says:

    Ohhhh, this brought tears to my eyes. Your stories resonate such stirrings in my heart.

    • Judith Land says:

      My foster parents were so angry with the adoption agency when I was taken from them, they pulled up stakes and moved to another state. Our reunion was a classical event, like a scene in a movie, and every bit as emotional and wonderful as the reunion I had with my birth parents. Knowing I was raised by such wonderful people of good character and substance was very comforting to me. The reunion experience was highly emotional and filled with tears of joy. I love my foster family! “Danke tausendmal (a thousand thanks)”

  3. Great writing! I felt a range of emotions as I read through your suspenseful prose.

    • Judith Land says:

      My sister Barbara was seven years old when we were separated. She carried a baby picture of me in her wallet for thirty years, optimistically believing that we would be reunited again someday. Every Thanksgiving and every Christmas my foster parents and four foster sisters held hands and prayed for me. They never forgot me. I was overwhelmed with emotion upon hearing this…

  4. swebesue says:

    Wonderful writing and your story has so many things in it that make me feel a little less like a space alien ..Thank you 🙂 This about your foster family actually reminds me of my adopted parents telling the story of the foster child they had Mary Lou years before they adopted me. My Father, also William tried desperately to find her in his car. They too moved away afterwards. She was taken on her first Birthday.
    I would love to find who fostered me for 2 years prior to my adoption. Someday perhaps I’ll find my Birth name.
    Great blog!.

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