There is currently an imbalance in the number of adoptee-authored articles, blogs, and books being written by women vs. men, so it can be difficult for male adoptees to connect with others like themselves. Here are ten books–memoirs, novels, and a poetry collection–written by male adoptees.
Brooks grew up as the only child of a struggling single mother in inner-city Pittsburgh. He was battling racial stereotypes at school and searching for a place among his peers. Then he was told at age eleven that he was adopted. Brooks had actually been born to a white biological mother who descended from Lithuanian Jews and a black Kenyan foreign student father.Years after that stunning revelation, Brooks escaped the ghetto and traveled to search for his heritage. He found his biological mother in London with his previously unknown British siblings. He then located his biological father and extended family in Nairobi.
You Remind Me of Me
by Dan Chaon
You Remind Me of Me begins with a series of separate incidents: In 1977, a little boy is savagely attacked by his mother’s pet Doberman; in 1997 another little boy disappears from his grandmother’s backyard on a sunny summer morning; in 1966, a pregnant teenager admits herself to a maternity home, with the intention of giving her child up for adoption; in 1991, a young man drifts toward a career as a drug dealer, even as he hopes for something better. With penetrating insight and a deep devotion to his characters, Dan Chaon explores the secret connections that irrevocably link them. In the process he examines questions of identity, fate, and circumstance: Why do we become the people that we become? How do we end up stuck in lives that we never wanted? And can we change the course of what seems inevitable?
Dust of the Streets: The Journey of a Biracial Orphan of the Korean War
by Thomas Park Clement
Autobiography of a half and half Korean boy born in the middle of the Korean War found at age 5 on the streets of Seoul, post war, adopted into the U.S. who eventually grew up to be a medical device inventor with over two dozen U.S. medical patents. Thomas Park Clement musically invokes his early Dickensian childhood, tender pained youth (always hard at work and play), inventive enterprises and their phenomenal successes, and, in his adulthood, his ongoing concern about orphans with overflowing generosity and love. This vibrant record of lived life differs from the greatest of fictional depictions of orphaned childhoods blighted into a ruin. For Thomas’ solid creative soul that has withstood and triumphed emerges in this book as a superb work of art, capable of speaking to us of the mysteries of what it is to be human, what is best and beautiful in life, that transforms our own soul to a finer shape. It is a work of art the creative mind of the inventor has ceaselessly reshaped, a work of art that shows paths to freedom from the imprisoning past looking into the future by caring about others.
Outer Search Inner Journey
by Peter Dodds
In this riveting memoir a woman in post World War II Germany relinquishes her infant son Peter to an orphanage where he’s adopted by American parents and brought to the United States. Separated from family of origin and ancestral homeland, Peter grows up alienated in a family and culture he doesn’t understand. He returns to Germany believing happiness will come when finding his German family and reclaiming ethnic identity. But Peter’s hopes are crushed as his search twists into a desperate struggle to escape a labyrinth of total despair. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, this is the story of a man’s spiritual transformation where the protagonist must ultimately confront himself.
A Man and His Mother: An Adopted Son’s Search
by Tim Green
From Tim’s life as a gangly youngster to competing in the grueling National Football League to having children of his own, this is an impassioned exploration of the special relationship between and a man and his mother, and how deeply this relationship affects everything we do in our lives.
This Many Miles from Desire
by Lee Herrick
The haunting music of Lee Herrick’s This Many Miles from Desire reflects the quest of the poet, an adoptee, to understand his place in the world: “one more child found in the world’s history/of found children.” Spiritually yearning, imagistically sharp, and lyrical, Herrick’s poems are a journey of reward.
Ten Ways Not To Commit Suicide: A Memoir
by Darryl McDaniels
As one third of the legendary rap group Run D.M.C., Darryl “DMC” McDaniels—aka Legendary MC, The Devastating Mic Controller, and the King of Rock—had it all: talent, money, fame, prestige. While hitting #1 on the Billboard charts was exhilarating, the group’s success soon became overwhelming. A creative guy who enjoyed being at home alone or with his family, DMC turned to alcohol to numb himself, a retreat that became an addiction. For years, he went through the motions. But in 1997, when intoxication could no longer keep the pain at bay, he plunged into severe depression and became suicidal. He wasn’t alone. During the same period, suicide became the number three leading cause of death among black people—a health crisis that continues to this day. In this riveting memoir, DMC speaks openly about his emotional and psychological struggles and the impact on his life, and addresses the many reasons that led him—and thousands of others—to consider suicide. Some of the factors include not being true to who you are, feelings of loneliness, isolation, and alienation, and a lack of understanding and support from friends and family when it’s needed most. He also provides essential information on resources for getting help. Revealing how even the most successful people can suffer from depression, DMC offers inspiration for everyone in pain—information and insight that he hopes can help save other lives.
The Hundred-Year Flood
by Matthew Salesses
In the shadow of a looming flood that comes every one hundred years, Tee tries to convince himself that living in a new place will mean a new identity and a chance to shed the parallels between him and his adopted father. This beautiful and dreamlike story follows Tee, a twenty-two-year-old Korean-American, as he escapes to Prague in the wake of his uncle’s suicide and the aftermath of 9/11. His life intertwines with Pavel, a painter famous for revolution; Katka, his equally alluring wife; and Pavel’s partner—a giant of a man with an American name. As the flood slowly makes its way into the old city, Tee contemplates his own place in life as both mixed and adopted and as an American in a strange land full of heroes, myths, and ghosts. In the tradition of Native Speaker and The Family Fang, the Good Men Project’s Matthew Salesses weaves together the tangled threads of identity, love, growing up, and relationships in his stunning first novel.
A Family Apart: Sleuthing the Mysteries of Abandonment, Adoption and DNA
by Craig A. Steffen
A Family Apart: Sleuthing the Mysteries of Abandonment, Adoption and DNA is a fascinating ride into the methodical quest of an orphan to uncover the truth about his origins. Even more, this book delves into the questions that come from being uncertain about the realities of personal history — what is true and what is convenient folklore passing for truth in order to protect reputations or preserve innocence. Craig A. Steffen’s story, and the way he unravels it, is compelling from the start when he recounts his earliest memories of his holding pen — the orphanage where he spent two years after the disappearance of his mother who, as all would tell him for years, ran off with the family car never to be seen again. By the time the last pages are turned, Craig has taken you on a journey that includes sleuthing his true ancestry and learning of his sometimes tragic backstory — but always with a redemptive thread running throughout.
Adopted Like Me: Chosen to Search for Truth, Identity, and a Birthmother
by Michael C. Watson
As a child, Michael Watson asked, “Who is my mother?” The following twenty years he asked, “Who am I?” While narrating his quest to find the missing link to his past, Watson discovers that life’s obstacles are also direct sources for human potential, and that one’s true mother can be found in everything that gives nurture and love.