A Long Way Home

by Saroo Brierley

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

In this powerful, personal tale of both hardships and joy, Brierley recounts his lifetime quest to find his birth family. As Brierley was separated from his family on a train in India when he was just five years old, his desire for reunification burned greatly inside him as he grew up. He would be reunited with them as a young adult.

When Brierley was separated from his family, he lived on the streets for weeks, surviving on very little to eat and begging as he awaited help. Young, alone, and scared, he endured extreme trauma.

Not having enough to eat paralyzes you and keeps you living hour by hour instead of thinking about what you would like to accomplish in a day, week, month, or year. Hunger and poverty steal your childhood and take away your innocence and sense of security.

Experiencing loss, poverty, and loneliness, Brierley can relate to anyone who has endured hard times.

Sometimes it felt as if the world had forgotten about us and our problems.

Brierley's resolve to overcome, make the most of each day, and remain positive is inspiring.

I’d learned quickly, as a matter of survival, that I needed to take opportunities as they came—if they came—and to look forward to the future.

I feel strongly that from my being a little lost boy with no family to becoming a man with two, everything was meant to happen just the way it happened. And I am profoundly humbled by that thought.

While he was adopted by an Australian family and grew up in a good, loving home, Brierley never forgot his birth family.

Adoptees, whether or not they ever knew their birth parents, often describe the constant, gnawing feeling of there being something missing: without a connection, or at least the knowledge of where they are from, they feel incomplete.

As Brierley became a young adult, his research and journey to find his birth family became paramount.

We all reach a point as young adults when we wonder what we should be doing with our lives—or, at the very least, which direction to point ourselves in. Beyond the means to get by, we need to think about what’s most important to us. Not surprisingly, I discovered that for me the answer was family.

Reunification with his mother and biological family was nothing less than miraculous, and certainly joyful.

My mother described her reactions better than I ever could mine: she said she was "surprised with thunder" that her boy had come back, and that the happiness in her heart was "as deep as the sea."

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