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Summary

The 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 50-year-old mysteries at once. Along the way he upturned the genealogy industry, unearthed his family's deepest secrets, and broke open the second longest cold case in US history, all in a desperate bid to find out who he really is.

In 1964 a woman pretending to be a nurse kidnapped an infant boy named Paul Fronczak from a Chicago hospital.

Two years later police found a boy abandoned outside a variety store in New Jersey. The FBI tracked down Dora Fronczak, the kidnapped infant's mother, and she identified the abandoned boy as her son. The family spent the next 50 years believing they were whole again - but Paul was always unsure about his true identity.

Then, four years ago - spurred on by the birth of his first child, Emma Faith - Paul took a DNA test. The test revealed definitively that he was not Paul Fronczak. From that moment on, Paul has been on a tireless mission to find the man whose life he's been living - and to discover who abandoned him and why.

This is the story of Paul's heart-wrenching and tortuous journey to solve both mysteries and finally learn the truth about his identity.

The 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 50-year-old mysteries at once. Along the way he upturned the genealogy industry, unearthed his family's deepest secrets, and broke open the second longest cold case in US history, all in a desperate bid to find out who he really is.

In 1964 a woman pretending to be a nurse kidnapped an infant boy named Paul Fronczak from a Chicago hospital.

Two years later police found a boy abandoned outside a variety store in New Jersey. The FBI tracked down Dora Fronczak, the kidnapped infant's mother, and she identified the abandoned boy as her son. The family spent the next 50 years believing they were whole again - but Paul was always unsure about his true identity.

Then, four years ago - spurred on by the birth of his first child, Emma Faith - Paul took a DNA test. The test revealed definitively that he was not Paul Fronczak. From that moment on, Paul has been on a tireless mission to find the man whose life he's been living - and to discover who abandoned him and why.

This is the story of Paul's heart-wrenching and tortuous journey to solve both mysteries and finally learn the truth about his identity.

The Foundling is a touching and inspiring story about a child lost and faith found, about the permanence of families and the bloodlines that define you, and about the emotional toll of both losing your identity and rediscovering who you truly are.

©2017 Paul Joseph Fronczak and Alex Tresniowski (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A must read!

This is a. Incredible story which is beautifully written.
Heartfelt and eloquent. Tragic but inspiring.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Twists and turns

I really loved this book. It’s like a movie there was so many twists and turns. Even a movie wouldn’t be so complex!
Truly shows you that life can throw anything at you

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

too wordy

too descriptive of irrelevants facts like who was sitting where while they drank coffee. very complicated topic with regard to DNA strands etc.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Emotional journey of discovery

A truly outstanding story that put me on an emotional rollercoaster as the story was unfolding... I hope one day you do find all the answers you so desperately searched for. Really puts life into perspective....

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enthralling

I would encourage everyone to listen. Very informative and thought provoking book. much of what I know about the effects of trauma and adoption is here and proof of the damage done.
narrator is very good.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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touching

A very touching true story. I really hope Paul gets his answers one day. This life story was told exceptionally well.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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brilliant

well read and written great storyline and wry factual. could not put it down. would highly 're commend it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing story

Heard about the book on radio 2.
I was keen to learn more. Compelling Story.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Poor Narrating

Kirby Heyborne narrating is horrendous!! On quite a few occasion I nearly stopped listening altogether. Please please please get someone else to re-do the narrating.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

fascinating, touching story.

the phone conversation between Paul and his parents destroyed my mascara. I wish him all the best in his continued search for answers.

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  • OUChris
  • 04-04-17

Prepare yourself for a journey that will take you to shocking places!

Warning: You won't get past chapter 1 without being hooked and pulled into this man's unexpected journey. Just know ahead of time that once you start listening, the next 11 hours of your life will be spent with Kirby Heyborne in your ear (narrating this so masterfully) because you will not be able to stop listening.

If you love a good mystery, if you love journalistic writing, if you love true crime, if you love genealogy or history, if you love twists and turns and if you love saying "what the f*ck" out loud in disbelief/horror, you will love this book.

It's an unbelievable story from start to finish. Paul's continual honesty about his shortcomings and fragility and the brutally raw truth about dark questions surrounding his genetics ground this book. I have yet to rate a book on Audible and I've been an avid listener for 2 years. I have never felt *this* compelled to rate/review a book.

Giving credit where credit is due! Paul, Alex and Kirby hit this one out of the park!




21 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jessica
  • 28-06-17

Dragged out. Overly dramatic style.

The events in this book were fascinating and horrifying, however I felt like I could have read a 10 min article and got everything I needed about the story. Personally I didn't like the authors style and felt like he was trying to hype up every little detail, as if it was an episode of dramatic TV. Which would have been more enjoyable. If you're interested in this story I recommend you spend 15 mins googling the events and save yourself hours of listening.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Gillian
  • 16-04-17

Dream Teams Chasing A Nightmare

I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to live the life of Paul Joseph Fronczak. From feeling like "The Other" in a family he discovered not to be his own, to finding the nightmare of his real family roots, this is a story of deep and dark secrets, of choices made in unthinkable circumstances. It's a story of people who devoted themselves to his cause, veritable Dream Teams in genealogy, crackers of code, people hunters extraordinaire.
It's a fairly non-stop listen, and Fronczak is a driven man whose story is sure to haunt and inspire. My only problem is that he, in his search/obsession, starts abandoning his own family, leaving his daughter to feel perhaps as unattached as he once felt.
His findings shed light on his ability to distance and detach without emotion, but one has to ask: How much is heredity, how much is environment, and how much is personal choice? Still, it's a darkly compelling story, still unraveling, still evolving.

20 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kathy
  • 20-04-17

I Was Totally Engulfed By This True Story

Some of my most intense interests are genealogy, the search for one's ancestors, and the after effects of the adoption process and its varying effects on people. This book seemed right up my alley and once I learned of it, I grabbed it and started listening immediately.

The author has an unusual and totally unique story to tell. He was kidnapped from a hospital as a newborn, then later abandoned in front of a store, and subsequently returned to his parents. Or is this what really happened? He certainly never felt he fit in to his family. In middle age, he could no longer stand to wonder about who he was, why he behaved as he did, and did he really belong to these parents?

Paul Fronczak subsequently embarked on a long journey to find out the truths he had pondered much of his life. It was a three year journey that all but consumed him. It put his relationship with his parents and his marriage in jeopardy, in addition to his relationship with his beloved young daughter.

Join him in his book, feel the ups and downs, the sheer horror and excitement at what he learned, things he never dreamed of or even speculated on. From my own personal experience, once you open yourself up to learning your family's deep dark buried secrets, it is a trip from which you cannot turn back. It can be filled with incredibly amazing breakthroughs but also with disbelief and utter disappointment or even horror at the behaviors of those very ancestors you are so keen to learn about. Whether it is good or bad news, it is always eye-opening and can be very exciting.

Kirby Heyborne gave a great narration. He 'became' the author. He was wonderful.

I felt swallowed up by Paul Fronczak's story, his almost fanatical search for the truth of his existence, his tenacity, and his reactions to what he learned. I finished the book in two days. It is still playing in my mind in such a way that I am not ready to even contemplate my next read yet.

15 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amy Storkel
  • 07-11-17

Fascinating but slow

The story itself is fascinating. But the writer takes a long time in between the fascinating points to cover a lot of boring details. I also didn’t like the reader’s voice. It would’ve been better if the author had read it himself. I heard his voice in the prologue and I liked it a lot better. Quick tip: playing it on 1.25X speed makes it a lot easier to get through and not feel quite so slow and dragging on.
Otherwise there were definitely moments where I couldn’t stop listening because I wanted to find out what Paul would discover next. I found myself thinking about this family and the story all the time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • JoJo
  • 06-06-17

You just can't stop listening!

Not only is this story captivating, but it is well written and narrated. Your mind won't wonder off even for a minute.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • C. Vincent
  • 12-06-17

Decent story, author too self-involved

My headline sums it up. I found his families fascinating and his search fairly interesting, but the author was clearly focused on "me, me, me," He mentions a few times that his wife says she doesn't know him and that he's too involved in his search, but it's obvious he is only paying her lip service when he mostly agrees with her in the book. His actions show he cares only about himself and he talks about that as well, but justifies it in an unsatisfying way. All that being said, it is a decent, quick listen and is worth the credit, I just didn't care for Paul Fronczak very much.

10 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sharey
  • 25-06-17

Gripping!

I couldn't stop listening. The story and narration grabbed me from the start and didn't let go. Fascinating tale.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Erika
  • 11-06-17

Excellent true story that keeps you guessing!

Great listen! Few newer autobiographies have this much mystery and suspense. The book kept you guessing and then searching online for the latest updates (epilogue was written in 2015).

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • lynn
  • 27-04-17

A must read

great book so riveting I couldn't stop listening a must read very powerful and well written

5 of 8 people found this review helpful