A New American Family
a love story
Publication Year: 2011
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.
Published by: University of Arizona Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
Download PDF (28.2 KB)
Download PDF (30.9 KB)
When the polls closed on the West Coast on November 4, 2008, and the chorus of political analysts on television announced that Barack Obama had been elected president, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably. Surprised by my own reaction, I later wondered why I was so moved by this decision of my fellow citizens. I am, after all, an old white guy,...
Download PDF (26.9 KB)
My consultations with others in writing this book have been limited to occasional inquiries about specific issues and events, so the bookâs inevitable errors and omissions are my full responsibility. I do owe a debt of gratitude to the good people associated with the University of Arizona Press, who guided me in the transformation of my ...
Download PDF (33.6 KB)
If I had been a dreamer as a child, I would have dreamed the wrong dreams. I didnât have enough imagination to conceive of the wonderful life that has opened up for me, each chapter unfolding unpredictably over time. I didnât know enough about the world even to fantasize about the opportunities that would in fact be mine to explore. I didnât know enough ...
Download PDF (223.0 KB)
âTonight I met the boy Iâm going to marry.â Thatâs what my wife of more than fifty years wrote in her diary the night we met at my junior high school graduation dance in 1950. I was not yet fourteen, just barely bold enough to cross the dance floor to risk rejection by a new girl in school who was lovely to behold. I didnât have marriage on my mind. ...
Download PDF (132.3 KB)
Military hospital barracks hastily constructed near Stanford University during World War II were transferred after the war to Stanford University and used in part for the Stanford Research Institute and in part for âStanford Village,â housing married students. Soon after our marriage Pat and I rented a tiny gingerbread house in a Stanford neighborâs backyard, ...
3. More Kids
Download PDF (129.7 KB)
Pat was at home one afternoon in 1968, sick with the measles and watching a movie on television. The host of the show, Ben Hunter, dedicated fifteen minutes between films to âAdoption Interviews,â introducing to his audience children then thought to be âunadoptableâ because of race, age, or infirmity. Ben Hunter was breaking through the barriers of prejudice ...
4. Still More Kids
Download PDF (144.5 KB)
Ben Hunterâs show was not normal television fare for Pat, but she did watch âAdoption Interviewsâ one more time. A beautiful ten-year-old Indian girl on the show from the nearby Morongo tribe had lost both parents and was languishing in foster care. Our oldest child, Lora, was then nine, and we knew that adopting a youngster with ten years of ...
5. The Columbia Years
Download PDF (143.0 KB)
What do they say in the song? âIf I can make it there, Iâll make it anywhere / Itâs up to you, New York, New York.â Was this song playing in the back of my head when Columbiaâs president, Bill McGill, came to UCLA to offer me the job of dean of Columbiaâs School of Engineering and Applied Science? I was not seeking ...
6. The Lehigh Years
Download PDF (288.8 KB)
Pat called me in my office at Columbia one day in 1981, bubbling with excitement: âPete, Lehigh University wants you to be a candidate for president!â She remembers well my response: âHoney, Iâm still trying to figure out how to be a provost.â I was keenly aware of Lehighâs reputation, which was exceptionally ...
7. Arizona . . . Home at Last
Download PDF (149.0 KB)
Pat was always eager for the challenges of new adventures in new locales until she moved to Tucson. After encouraging the moves from UCLA to Columbia, Columbia to Lehigh, and Lehigh to Arizona, she staked out her permanent home in Tucson, Arizona. âYou may go where you wish,â she told me, âbut I am staying here.â...
8. Family Values
Download PDF (290.8 KB)
Let this story end as it began, bridging âYoung Loveâ to âEnduring Love.â Why is it that âthe fiery passions of youth rarely ignite the glowing embers of enduring loveâ? What can young lovers learn from Patâs story and my story and our story together? A successful, enduring marriage is most natural when both husband ...
Index of Names
Download PDF (44.1 KB)
About the Author
Download PDF (38.7 KB)
Publication Year: 2011