My journey into the public realm of adoption discourse began with two life-changing interactions: I found and reunited with my birth mother during the time frame that I was getting to know my husband’s adult adopted son. I was in my thirties.
Reuniting with birth family meant I learned for the first time about the beginning of my life, that missing piece that had prevented my story from being whole. I heard my mother say she had not wanted to relinquish me, that she was given no other option. I heard her say she had not understood that the name she gave me would ever be changed. I wanted to understand what she’d gone through during her pregnancy and my birth, so I sought information about adoption in the late 1960s and I discovered Ann Fessler’s book The Girls Who Went Away. I learned that I was a product of a historical period in the U.S. called the Baby Scoop Era, so I sought information on what that meant. I wanted to understand how I had lost my original name, and I discovered that I’d had another birth certificate when I was born. For more than thirty years of my life, I had not known that I originally had a different birth certificate than the only one I’d ever seen.
Hearing my new stepson’s story meant I learned for the first time that my experience of being adopted was not an anomaly. I first heard his story from my husband’s point of view, so I heard that he had been adopted from Korea in the mid-1970s; that he was estimated to be four years old though his actual birth date was unknown; that he understood no English when he arrived in the U.S.; that he preferred sleeping on the floor rather than in a bed; that when he first saw a TV he inched over to it and held his fingers out to touch. This story was far different from the one I’d been told about myself. Continue reading “Talking about Adoption in Public Spaces”→
Whew, it’s been a long time since I posted here about what’s going on with me. Here it is March and I’m just finally feeling recovered from the holidays. I always think I’m not making enough progress in this endeavor of writing and advocacy–until I put down what I’ve been up to.
The next big thing coming up on my schedule is the American Adoption Congress Conference, where I’ll be moderating a panel discussion with my adoptee sisters from Lost Daughters on March 28. Ten of us will talk about diverse narratives within the collective adoptee voice. Early-bird registration rates have been extended, so there’s still time to make your plans to meet us in Boston. We’ll also have copies of our anthology on hand and our signing pens ready!
At the end of January, I launched a new website I’ve been working on for some time, called Adoptee Reading Resource. My goal with the site is twofold: to catalog every book written by an adoptee that I can identify and to also list adoption books authored by non-adoptees that adoptees recommend. In other words, it’s an adoptee-centric book site, to enable adoptees–and everyone else–to discover adoptee-centric books. (Yes, I can work in the word “adoptee” a few more times if you’d like.) Now that it’s live, I’m excited to see how it grows.
I’ve been away from the blog for a while, busy navigating an enormous life change that includes relocating from Atlanta to the Tampa Bay area. Things aren’t yet settled, but life marches on despite my need for rest!
A poem of mine was recently published in what turns out to be the final issue of Conte: A Journal of Narrative Writing. I wrote this one as part of my Master’s thesis, and I’m glad it’s found just the right space in the world.
I’m thrilled to share my pick of Best Literary E-zine for the 2014 Southern Literary Festival. The Treatment: Writing Medicine and Illness submitted by Hendrix College was a pleasure to explore, from the first click to the final word. Please check out the exceptional work of these creative nonfiction students.Many thanks to Gloria Bennett for inviting me to serve as a judge.
My final literary endeavor in Georgia will be completing the manuscript for the 2014 edition of The Reach of Song, Georgia Poetry Society’s annual anthology. Final edits are in the works in preparation for the book’s release in July. Pre-orders are now being accpeted; download an order form here.
Leaving Georgia will be bittersweet, but at the same time, I’m looking forward to exploring new literary territory in Tampa Bay!
Things here have been exciting and hectic! Two weeks ago, an anthology I co-edited was published on Amazon in e-book format. Published by CQT Media and Publishing/Land of Gazillion Adoptees, Lost Daughters: Writing Adoption From a Place of Empowerment and Peace features essays and poems by the adopted women contributors of the Lost Daughters blog, edited by Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston, Julie Stromberg, Jennifer Anastasi, and myself. Two pieces of mine are included–a poem from my master’s thesis and an essay I wrote specifically for the anthology.
This was a passion project from beginning to end; our proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to an adoptee-centric charity, which we’ll announce soon. My co-editors and I are very grateful to everyone who purchased the e-book during the first few days following its release, helping it make the Amazon best sellers list in the Adoption category! The book will be out shortly in paperback as well, and we’re hopeful that a reading will take place in the D.C. area in June. More on that as soon I have the details.
Also last month, I was thrilled to have one of my poems accepted by Conte, an online journal of narrative writing. The poem, along with a recording of me reading it, will appear in their next issue, which is due to be published in late February/early March.
I am honored also to have been asked to serve as judge of the Literary E-Zine category for the Southern Literary Festival, which will be held at the University of Mississippi in March. I’ve already chosen the winning entry; I’ll post a link here after the festival concludes to share the awesomeness.
Yesterday on their Sunday Conversation segment, National Public Radio (NPR) aired an interview with a white, adoptive mother of three young black children, Rachel Garlinghouse. The angle for this interview was to discuss bias against mixed race adoptions in light of the recent controversy over comments made on the Melissa Harris-Perry show about Mitt Romney’s adopted grandson, who is also black.
What was not mentioned on air was the fact that NPR had also interviewed an adult, transracial adoptee, but had decided at the eleventh hour not to use that interview. The adoptee interviewed was Angela Tucker, subject of the documentary Closure, who recently joined Lost Daughters writing a column on adoptees’ abilities (please read Angela’s response here). When I learned that Angela, who has lived transracial adoption her entire life, had been passed over in favor of a white, adoptive mother whose children are all under the age of six, I was livid.
Let me make myself very clear. There is nothing wrong with speaking to an adoptive mother about her viewpoint on parenting a child who is not related to her biologically or whose ancestry or skin color are different from her own. However, it is disgraceful for an organization that boasts “rigorous reporting” to deliberately cut one viewpoint of such a multifaceted topic when that viewpoint had already been obtained. Continue reading “Why NPR Got My Irish Up”→