Michael Reagan, son of the late President Ronald Reagan, said his first adoption gave him a family name, but his true identity was discovered in his second adoption as a child of God.
Writing with Jim Denney, Reagan reveals his story of redemption in the new release Twice Adopted, published by Broadman & Holman, the trade book division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
More than an autobiography disclosing Reagan's devastating childhood experiences with sexual abuse and self-destructive behavior, this book offers practical solutions to current issues that confront America's culture.
"I have written this book because I want God to use my past and the painful things I've gone through to bring help and healing to other people," said Reagan, who hosts a nationally syndicated talk radio program, The Michael Reagan Show.
If anyone knows about a painful past it is Michael Reagan.
He was "once adopted" by Hollywood superstars Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman just three days after he was born to a young, unmarried woman from Ohio.
By the time he was three years old, his parents divorced, and Reagan was raised alone by Wyman.
Reagan penned the candid truth about his childhood that was tainted with disappointment and despair.
He spared few details about his encounters of sexual abuse, including forced participation in pornographic photos.
In the book, Reagan outlines preventive solutions to the crisis of child sex abuse.
He advises parents to know where their children are at all times, and to investigate the people who pay unusual amounts of time with their children. He also advises parents to talk openly about abuse with their children.
"There are no cultural, ethic, or socioeconomic barriers to abuse," wrote Reagan. "If a rich kid from Beverly Hills was vulnerable, then every kid in our society is at risk — including your kids."
In an interview following a book signing in Nashville, Tenn., Reagan also instructed churches to thoroughly examine every childcare worker in the congregation.
"The Justice Department tells us there are four million pedophiles in the United States," he said. "There's a chance that somewhere in your church you might have some, so churches really need to do background checks to prevent them from working with your kids. (Parents) need to do drive-by checking. Parents can't just drop off their kids and think they have a babysitter service."
Reagan, a regular commentator on the Fox News Channel, said the abuse sent him on a path of self-destructive behavior.
The only relief he found from the inner turmoil was the time he spent with his father at his Malibu ranch.
"There was nothing better than working alongside Dad, or hunting ground squirrels with him, or riding horses with him," he said.
Unfortunately, Reagan said those golden moments were all too rare.
In Twice Adopted, Reagan said he identifies with today's troubled teens, and cited causes of teen rage including: parents who medicate their children instead of listening to them; parents who allow the media to saturate the minds of children with violent input; and parents who allow teenagers to be preoccupied with themselves instead of learning the benefits of helping people in need.
Reagan also encouraged churches to invest in the lives of the youth within their own congregations.
"We want to reach out to the inner city, yet we look right past the children in our own church that have the drug problems, the pornographic problems, the sexual abuse problems, and the physical abuse problems," he said.
"We want to pretend it doesn't happen in my church, but it happens in yours, or in the inner city. We've got to take a stronger stand within our own churches, and heal our own churches before we start thinking we can heal everybody else."
Reagan's process of becoming "twice adopted" began with Colleen, the Christian woman he married in 1975.
Though they attended church together for many years, it wasn't until 1985 that Colleen confronted Reagan about letting Christ take control of his life.
"Colleen told me what I had to do, and I did it," he said. "I fell down on my knees beside my bed, and I prayed with tears streaming down my face."
Becoming "twice adopted" into the family of God gave Reagan an eternally secure identity and freedom from a painful past.
Reagan said that prior to receiving Christ, "I didn't know who I was or where I belonged. My search ended when I was twice adopted by God. He is my father and I am His child."
Reagan lives in California with his wife and two children.
© 2001-2003 LifeWay Christian Resources