The Foundling: The True Story of a Kidnapping, a Family Secret, and My Search for the Real Me by Paul Joseph Fronczak

The Foundling: The True Story of a Kidnapping, a Family Secret, and My Search for the Real Me

“A gripping tale of secrets and self-discovery.” —PeopleThe Foundling tells the incredible and inspiring true story of Paul Fronczak, a man who recently discovered via a DNA test that he was not who he thought he was—and set out to solve two fifty-year-old mysteries at once. Along the way he upturned the genealogy industry, unearthed his family’s deepest secrets, and broke...

Title:The Foundling: The True Story of a Kidnapping, a Family Secret, and My Search for the Real Me
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1501142127
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:368 pages

The Foundling: The True Story of a Kidnapping, a Family Secret, and My Search for the Real Me Reviews

  • Katie Larson
    Dec 24, 2016

    If you like biographies or mystery thrillers, pick this book up immediately! I could not put it down and finished it within two days. This story has more twists, turns, dead ends, new glimpses of hope, questions and answers and then more questions then you could ever believe. It's hard to sit back and remember that this is someone's life and not a mixture of a soap opera and Star Wars.

    While the end of the book does not give you all the answers, because Paul himself does not yet have all the ans

    If you like biographies or mystery thrillers, pick this book up immediately! I could not put it down and finished it within two days. This story has more twists, turns, dead ends, new glimpses of hope, questions and answers and then more questions then you could ever believe. It's hard to sit back and remember that this is someone's life and not a mixture of a soap opera and Star Wars.

    While the end of the book does not give you all the answers, because Paul himself does not yet have all the answers, you are left with a great sense of optimism for him and his journey. This book is inspiring in its honesty and openness. You truly get a sense of the hard work that went into putting all the pieces of this puzzle together, or at least finding as many pieces as they have.

    The only difficulty I had with this story was trying to keep all of the names straight, but that is often me reading a book. I wish it included an image of Paul's family tree at the end, but I can see how hard that would be with getting all the found family members to sign off on. Over all a wonderful read!

  • Mischenko
    Feb 18, 2017

    To see this review please visit

    by Paul Fronczak is a true story about a boy strayed at childhood and connected to a kidnapping. I was extremely engaged because I'd never heard this story. The book quickly turns into a search through his past and continues on that path until the final conclusion.

    I had to learn what was going to happen with Paul. I wasn't happy with many of Paul's choices, but had high hopes for him, and understand how one

    To see this review please visit

    by Paul Fronczak is a true story about a boy strayed at childhood and connected to a kidnapping. I was extremely engaged because I'd never heard this story. The book quickly turns into a search through his past and continues on that path until the final conclusion.

    I had to learn what was going to happen with Paul. I wasn't happy with many of Paul's choices, but had high hopes for him, and understand how one needs to know their origins. I agreed with his wife in that he was not necessarily wasting his time, but that it would possibly never come to an end, and that there might always be unanswered questions.

    I found many parts sad and can't imagine how arduous his journey must've been. In the end, I felt sorry for him and his family. He spent so much time on a group of people that didn't seem to want anything to do with him.

    I do understand, in my own way, how Paul felt as I've had a similar experience, but at some point I suppose you have to accept things for the way they are.

    It's certainly a page turner.

    4**** and glad to have read it...

    Here are a few news links on Paul:

    Thanks to Netgalley for a copy in exchange for a review.

  • Stacy
    Mar 27, 2017

    Wow-- all I can say is that. RTC. I need time to digest this.

    Review and interview with the author Paul Joseph Fronczak on our blog.

    Every parent's worst nightmare. A baby is born, and only a day old disappears out of the hospital in Chicago by a woman dressed like a nurse. Gone without a trace. The hospital doesn't bother to tell you, the mother, for several hours after they discover that the baby is gone. 2 years later, a boy that seems to be the right age is abandon

    Wow-- all I can say is that. RTC. I need time to digest this.

    Review and interview with the author Paul Joseph Fronczak on our blog.

    Every parent's worst nightmare. A baby is born, and only a day old disappears out of the hospital in Chicago by a woman dressed like a nurse. Gone without a trace. The hospital doesn't bother to tell you, the mother, for several hours after they discover that the baby is gone. 2 years later, a boy that seems to be the right age is abandoned in New Jersey. After doing every test available in 1966 to determine who the child might belong to, the FBI thinks he might be the one kidnapped 2 years prior in Chicago. Sound too far fetched to be true? Guess again.

    This story is about the 2nd oldest cold case infant kidnapping in FBI history, and to a large extent has never been resolved. In the quest to find answers, only more mysteries emerged, evidence of more crime found. The case has never been solved. I can't even begin to imagine the hell the Fronczak parents went through, nor the boy the book is about. I can't imagine what went through his biological parents' heads to do whatever they did. This story touched so many lives, and I empathize with Paul Fronczak in his journey to answer his lifelong questions that are at the core of everyone-- who am I, where did I come from, except for most of us, the basic answers to those questions are easy: my parents are...., I come from generations of.... my grandparents emigrated from... etc, but not only for himself, but also his daughter. He couldn't answer basic questions about family health history to wife's obstetrician. What if their daughter should inherit something that could possibly come from him, and no one had any idea. I can't imagine the vacuous void he carried in him his whole life, not knowing who he was. I can't imagine his parents, hoping they raised their own son but not knowing for sure.

    In the search, what is dug up is lots of things that were maybe better forgotten. His quest became a compulsion that nearly destroyed his marriage, and the relationship with his adopted parents. This book will stay with me forever. It raises many questions, should he have been happy not knowing? When things started to come out, should he have just dropped the whole thing? If you were in his shoes, wanting forever to know the truth about yourself and your origins, could you?

    I received this book from Netgalley. Thanks to the author, the publisher, and Netgalley for an unforgettable book.

  • Michelle
    Mar 12, 2017

    An astonishing, riveting, and heartfelt debut memoir of an infant abduction that led to the largest manhunt in the history of Chicago: “The Foundling” authored by Paul Fronczak with Alex Tresniowski is also about search for identity and truth found in family ties and connections, whether biological or of the heart.

    Part I-- The Fronczak infant boy (Paul Joseph), born at the Chicago Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago on April 27, 1964 was abducted by a woman posing as a nurse. The suspect was seen

    An astonishing, riveting, and heartfelt debut memoir of an infant abduction that led to the largest manhunt in the history of Chicago: “The Foundling” authored by Paul Fronczak with Alex Tresniowski is also about search for identity and truth found in family ties and connections, whether biological or of the heart.

    Part I-- The Fronczak infant boy (Paul Joseph), born at the Chicago Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago on April 27, 1964 was abducted by a woman posing as a nurse. The suspect was seen by several people with the infant, after she took the baby from his mother for an alleged medical examination. On May 5th, Dora and Chester Fronczak returned to their home in an unmarked police car, as news media reporters attempted to get exclusive comments and interviews.

    The local police force and FBI conducted an extensive search and investigation, yet the infant wasn’t found at the time. On July 2, 1965 an abandoned boy toddler was found at an exclusive shopping center in Newark, NJ.

    By March of 1966, the FBI couldn’t confirm or deny the true identity of this “foundling” child. When Dora Fronczak saw the NJ toddler for the first time, she exclaimed: “My God! This is my baby!” Since no proof could be legally established, the Fronczak’s were permitted by the state of New Jersey to legally adopt the boy in 1967.

    When Paul was an older youth, he found and read the old newspaper clippings of the mysterious child abduction. His overprotective mother never let him out of her sight, he was never allowed to roam about the neighborhood with his friends. Instinctively, Paul realized he was an “outsider” in his family. He didn’t resemble or act like a Fronczak; in their family portrait Paul looked as if he was photo-shopped in, he and his younger brother Dave had never gotten along. As Fronczak matured, he would realize in his strange and unusual upbringing, that his parents never acted in a manner of “mean-ness or neglect “ but were traumatized and acted out of fear resulting from their ordeal.

    The continuing “nagging mystery” surrounding his existence, reached a higher troubling point when Paul and his second wife Michelle were to become parents, and needed his medical history. The ordeal was no longer just about him, and would include his newborn daughter Emma Faith. Paul took a DNA test-- if he wasn’t Paul Fronczak, who was he?

    In Part II-- Paul Fronczak’s story was picked up by the media on April 25, 2013. The story was presented by multi-award winning journalist George Knapp who broke the famous story of “USAF Area 51”. Hundreds of messages and tips flooded in. In addition, Paul was later interviewed by Barbara Walters for the television program 20/20. New terminology was learned: NPE- (Non-Paternity Event) – ULP- (Unidentified Living Person). Each year over 135,000 children are adopted and 400,000 are in Foster Care. Paul was contacted by the FBI, and learned that boxes of files for the Fronczak case had been slated to be shredded, but were remarkably found in a storage room, the case was reopened in August 2013.

    The book highlighted the possibilities for identification through DNA testing and the dedicated efforts of genetic genealogists that donated hundreds of research hours on his case. As Fronczak became consumed by the search for his truth, his personal life was impacted in unexpected ways as he gained profound insight regarding the unnatural act of child abandonment, forgiveness, and living an authentic life. ~ With appreciation to Howard Books via NetGalley for the DRC for the purpose of review.

  • Hannah
    Mar 25, 2017

    I dislike rating memoirs this low because they tell the story of someone's life and who am I to judge them for the way they chose to tell it? That being said, this was kind of a mess. Paul Fronczak clearly is still too close to everything that happened and didn't have the time to process it. As a result, this memoir lacks self reflection and depth.

    Paul Fronczak's story is mesmerising in its improbability: the people raising him had their son kidnapped from the hospital days after his birth and w

    I dislike rating memoirs this low because they tell the story of someone's life and who am I to judge them for the way they chose to tell it? That being said, this was kind of a mess. Paul Fronczak clearly is still too close to everything that happened and didn't have the time to process it. As a result, this memoir lacks self reflection and depth.

    Paul Fronczak's story is mesmerising in its improbability: the people raising him had their son kidnapped from the hospital days after his birth and when a boy is found abandoned two years later it is assumed that he is the Fronczak boy. This book tells the story of Paul Fronczak's search for the truth and what happens when he finds it.

    I really liked the idea of Paul's search for his identity but I did not appreciate the journey at all. His quest disrupts not only his own life and that of his wife and daughter, but that of his parents' and of uncountable strangers who happen to share his genetics. I found him to be difficult to relate to because of his apparent lack of empathy for the pain he causes.

    But my main problem was his discussion of identity. Now, that is definitely a me thing and might not be a problem for other readers, but identity is a very important concept for me - in fact I am writing my PhD on identity construction. I seriously disliked the way the author boils down identity to genetics. This is so different to everything I believe in and I think it did a real disservice to the parents who raised Paul Fronczak.

    __________

    I received an arc of this book curtesy of NetGalley and Howard Books in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for that!

  • Dem
    Jun 01, 2017

    An engaging and touching true story about a man trying to find the answers to to questions about his identity and his struggle to understand the past and to accept the answers he was given.

    This is the story of Paul Fronczak who after 50 years learns through a DNA test that he is not who he thought he was and the road to discovery is no longer available to him through regular means but through the amazing advances in DNA testing. In 1964 a woman pretending to be a nurse kidnapped and infant boy

    An engaging and touching true story about a man trying to find the answers to to questions about his identity and his struggle to understand the past and to accept the answers he was given.

    This is the story of Paul Fronczak who after 50 years learns through a DNA test that he is not who he thought he was and the road to discovery is no longer available to him through regular means but through the amazing advances in DNA testing. In 1964 a woman pretending to be a nurse kidnapped and infant boy named Paul Fronczak from a Chicago hospital, two years later police found a boy abandoned outside a a New Jersey store, the kidnapped infant's mother identifies him as her missing son and so Paul rejoins his family and only years later does he begin to suspect that all is not what it seems and his long search for the truth begins.

    This is a very interesting story about families and belonging and what it is like for someone living on the outside of a family and knowing they don't belong and the struggle to find their identity. I also have an interest in Genealogy as I have done quite a lot of research into my own family history as there was a mystery going way back that needed unravelling but this was just a hobby for me and noting on the scare of Paul's case but I was amazed at the twist and turns and drawbacks that he had to endure.

    While the book is well written there were times I got a little bogged down in the names and research and some of the story became a little bit repetitive and yet I understand that Paul needed to document his journey and all the names of people and places that became part of the research.

    Having said that I was rooting for Paul all the way and wanted to see where is journey took him and would the answers change his life.

    An interesting story That kept me turning the pages.

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