The coin lost in the river is found in the river.
In The Lost Coin, Stephen Rowley shares his lifelong journey—searching for his birth parents, seeking his true identity, and discovering his soul’s calling. We join him when, as a boy growing up in Iowa, he visits Chicago for the first time and is shocked by blatant racial segregation and sprawling urban poverty. We see Stephen as a young athlete sustaining a life-changing injury, then becoming radicalized at the University of Wisconsin, entering the field of education at Stanford, and becoming a visionary school administrator before being fired by a vindictive Silicon Valley school board.
He plays golf with a Tibetan lama, and experiences transcendence in a vivid dream, ultimately becoming a psychotherapist in his sixties. We witness the heart-rending scene when he and his wife adopt their own son, and we join him for a poignant reunion with his birth mother, who, it turns out, had desperately hoped he might appear in her life after she’d given him up for adoption.
As we accompany Stephen Rowley on this adventurous and reflective journey, we come to understand more deeply the trauma engendered when separating mother from child, and the unspoken restlessness and yearning for connection many adoptees feel.
“It is my hope,” he writes, that we all “may discover the unique capacity within us to heal and even thrive, not in spite of the wounds we carry, but because of them.”
“Dr. Stephen Rowley’s The Lost Coin: A Memoir of Adoption and Destiny tells the story of the author’s experience as an adopted child and his search for identity and belonging. What sets this book apart is the psychological perspective Rowley brings to the story, as he delves into the complex emotions and experiences that come with adoption—feelings of loss, identity confusion, and the search for oneself through the search for one’s birth family. Rowley does a fantastic job of weaving together his personal narrative with depth psychological insights, making for a deep and thought-provoking read.”
— Stacey Shelby, PhD, Depth Psychotherapist and author of Love and Soul-Making: Searching the Depths of Romantic Love
“An old Zen parable notes that we are all looking for the face we had before the world was made. Given up for adoption as an infant, Stephen Rowley, in The Lost Coin, depicts his multi-decade search for his roots and illustrates this profound drive for self-knowledge. His personal story touches on questions that rise for all of us as we explore the threads of history that brought us to this troubled present.”
— James Hollis, PhD, Jungian Analyst and author of numerous books, most recently The Broken Mirror: Refracted Visions of Ourselves
“As a psychotherapist and an adoptee myself, I was deeply moved by Stephen Rowley’s The Lost Coin. I could feel so well the immense pain involved in the process of separation and adoption, and touched by the reunion of the author and his biological mother. As Jung said, ‘You can only take a client as far as you’ve gone yourself,’ and by bringing us along on his journey, Rowley is able to share the wisdom he has gleaned. l highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to know more about relational complexities, and especially the complexities inherent to most, if not all adoptees.”
— Shirin Fouladi Ruf, MA, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Stairway Recovery Center
“Every adoptee or anyone affiliated with adoption should read The Lost Coin. What a fascinating and insightful look into the journey of Stephen Rowley and the impact adoption has had on his life. This memoir delves into the root issue of ‘Who Am I?’ that every adoptee struggles with, and the effects of separation from one’s biological mother at birth.”
— KelLee Parr, Author of My Little Valentine: The Story of a Mother and Daughter’s Lost Love and Mansion on a Hill: The Story of The Willows Maternity Sanitarium and the Adoption Hub of America
“Dr. Stephen Rowley’s book about his journey is a must-read for adoptees and professionals who work in the field of adoption. Steve’s first letter to me was very well-written from the adoptee’s point of view and grabbed me as a genuine request to complete himself and find the ‘missing coin.’ I knew from my first contact with him that he was on a mission. I had received lots of letters from adoptees before, but there was something different about his request. He was on a journey to find out about his history and wasn’t going to stop until that was accomplished. Steve’s story of his journey to get his biological history and make the emotional connection with his birth family is well-documented and worth the time to read.”
— Tom X. Lazio, Former Executive Director of American Home Finding Association, Ottumwa, Iowa
“From my own experience as a late-discovery adoptee in reunion and as a professional coach with over 20 years of experience guiding adults navigating midlife transitions, searching for answers to the question, Who am I?, is an experience every human being will encounter at some point in their lives. Dr. Stephen Rowley’s memoir, The Lost Coin, is not only a poignant description of his inner experience of being an adoptee who literally embarks on a decades-long search for the answer to this question, but Dr. Rowley also opens our eyes to consider a universal message for any of us struggling in navigating the unknown. That is, the invisible and powerful force that destiny plays in our lifelong search for wholeness and healing. His experience illustrates that when we are ready and willing to open ourselves up to see the hidden meaning and truths behind our own losses and struggles, we will come to know their purpose for our unique path to growth and healing.”
— Nancy McCaughey, Principal and Professional Certified Coach, Nancy McCaughey Coaching, LLC
“I am pleased to recommend Stephen Rowley’s book, The Lost Coin, as a heartfelt account of the story of adoption. It is especially relevant for those who have been impacted by adoption – those who have been adopted, those who have adopted or are considering it, and others who want to know more. With his background as a psychotherapist and educator, his interest in Jungian psychology and the Eastern philosophy of the lamas, he brings insight into the inner life of those who have been adopted and how others can better understand this journey.”
— Janet Tatum, MSW, Jungian Analyst, PNSJA/IAAP, Certified Sandplay Therapist – Teaching Member STA/ISST, Philemon Foundation Board Member, Redmond, Washington
“The Lost Coin: A Memoir of Adoption and Destiny details the long and at times painful passage of the adoptee to understand their feelings, their past, and to go on living, gaining the feeling of being real in a family that does not share genetic inheritance. Stephen Rowley’s quest to differentiate his feelings and to validate and believe what he felt, hence grounding himself in his emotional life while accepting and loving himself for the child he had been, is the journey of the adoptee.”
— Audrey Punnett, PhD, RPT-S, CST-T, Jungian Child, Adolescent & Adult Analyst (IAAP), author of The Orphan: A Journey to Wholeness, and coauthor of Jungian Child Analysis.
“In The Lost Coin, Dr. Stephen Rowley eloquently shares his journey of searching for his birth parents. While he underscores the lifelong impact of the trauma of separation of child from parent, he also helps us all to understand the human spirit that both craves and relentlessly reaches for self, hope, and grace. This compellingly honest book will be a comfort for those who are part of an adoption journey and may still be searching for healing, and an incredibly useful witness for those standing ready to help.”
— Rita Soronen, President & CEO, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption