In this Book
This poignant but ultimately empowering memoir tells the story of Peter Likins, his wife Patricia, and the six children they adopted in the 1960s, building a family beset by challenges that ultimately strengthened all bonds. With issues such as inter-racial adoption, mental illness, drug addiction, unwed pregnancy, and homosexuality entwined in their lives, the Likins’ tale isn’t just a family memoir—it’s a story of the American experience, a memoir with a message. With circumstances of race, age, and health making all of their children virtually unadoptable by 1960s standards, Pat and Pete never strayed from the belief that loyalty and love could build a strong family.
Both Pete and Pat have served as teachers. and Pete’s long academic career—holding positions as a professor, dean, provost, and then president— illuminates more than just his personal success. Pete’s professional attainments produce a context for his family story, wherein high achievements in educational, athletic, and financial terms coexist with the joys and sorrows of this exceptional family.
A frank, open account of the difficulties his family faced, this is a brave story, told with unflinching honesty and remarkable compassion. A New American Family is a wonderful narrative of the genesis of a family and a journey to the deepest parts of a father’s heart.