We’ve found eight new books by adoptees published so far (January-June) in 2019. Know of a book we’re missing? Let us know here.
Who Am I Really: An Adoptee Memoir
by Damon Davis
“Who Am I Really?” is a question many adoptees ask when they realize they have another family of genetic relation. Damon L. Davis shares his journey through life as an adoptee to becoming an adoptive parent himself. He explores his desire to find his birth family as sparked by the flood of emotions that accompanied the birth of his son, Seth — the first blood relative he had ever known. In his story, you’ll follow his introspection when considering a search for his birth family while coping with the heartbreak of his adoptive mother’s mental illness. Within months of taking his post in the Obama Administration in 2009, Damon found his birth mother working only two blocks away and years later, his real birth father’s identity was revealed unexpectedly on AncestryDNA. You’ll be amazed by the coincidences that brought Damon face to face with his birth mother in a tearful, yet joyous, reunion. And your heart will be warmed by the acceptance of his birth father who didn’t even know he existed.
Fixing the Fates: An Adoptee’s Story of Truth and Lies
by Diane Dewey
The secrets, lies, and layers of deception about Diane Dewey’s origins were meant for her protection―but eventually, they imploded. Living with her family in suburban Philadelphia, Diane had grown up knowing she was born in Stuttgart and adopted at age one from an orphanage. She’d been told her biological parents were dead. Then, in 2002, when she was forty-seven years old, Diane got a letter from Switzerland: her biological father, Otto, wanted to bring her into his life. With that, her world shifted on its axis. In the months that ensued, everybody had a different story to tell about Diane’s origins, including Otto when they met in New York City. She struggled to understand what was at stake with the lies. Like a private eye, she sifted through competing versions of the truth only to find that, having traveled throughout Europe and back, identity is a state of mind. As more information surfaced, the myths gave way to a certain elusive peace; Diane discovered a tribe in her mother’s family, found a Swiss husband, gained a voice, and, for the first time, began to trust in the intuition that had nudged her all along. One-part forensic investigation, one-part self-discovery, Fixing the Fates is a story about seeing behind artifice and living one’s truth.
Finding Joi: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Love
by Joi R. Fisher
We all have a right to know about our birthright. Finding Joi: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Love centers around one woman’s plight to connect the dots to find her birth parents after being adopted at two months old by a loving family in Plainfield, New Jersey. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the NJCARE Team, Governor Chris Christie signed the Adoptee Birthright Act (P.L. 2014, C.9), which became the law on January 1, 2017. Joi was present at the New Jersey State House to witness this historic legislation take effect, which gave her hope for a new chapter in her life. Now, adopted New Jerseyans born after November 14, 1940, can access their original birth certificates without a court order. Finding Joi is a candid and transparent journey. Joi struggles with her identity, low self-esteem, body image, and other aspects of healing that could only be resolved or answered by her biological parents. Joi sheds light on the many challenges adoptees and their children face due to a lack of information or awkward experiences as they engage in everyday undertakings like doctor visits, school projects, and social settings. Joi has filled a long overdue void in her life and is committed to helping other adoptees along their journey.
I Didn’t Know I Was Black Until You Told Me
by Thomas Kirst
An inspirational book detailing the profound changes in the life of a black child being left at a hospital after birth. Thirteen months into his life being adopted by a white couple that migrated from Europe before World War II, who would later adopt over twenty children with different nationalities. The author writes of his emotional struggles from being abandoned and not knowing how to accept love to searching for answers to the pain and confusion that comes with growing up in white churches and schools while being black in the 1980s. Through anger, drugs, alcohol, jail, death, racism, and having the feeling there’s no one to connect with to finding out who he is. The author takes you for a riveting ride through his life as he never gives up to find the answers he is looking for that haunted him throughout his life. Through life, love, hate, hurt, tears, and confusion, the author finds what he is looking for. But did he? An unbelievable ending to a lost soul that endured emotional trauma as in the end, he learns to love what he pushed away, learns to accept his life and who he is.
Disrupting Kinship: Transnational Politics of Korean Adoption in the United States
by Kimberly D. McKee
Since the Korean War began, Western families have adopted more than 200,000 Korean children. Two thirds of these adoptees found homes in the United States. The majority joined white families and in the process forged a new kind of transnational and transracial kinship. Kimberly D. McKee examines the growth of the neocolonial, multimillion dollar global industry that shaped these families–a system she identifies as the transnational adoption industrial complex. As she shows, an alliance of the South Korean welfare state, orphanages, adoption agencies, and American immigration laws powered transnational adoption between the two countries. Adoption became a tool to supplement an inadequate social safety net for South Korea’s unwed mothers and low-income families. At the same time, it commodified children, building a market that allowed Americans to create families at the expense of loving, biological ties between Koreans. McKee also looks at how Christian Americanism, South Korean welfare policy, and other facets of adoption interact with and disrupt American perceptions of nation, citizenship, belonging, family, and ethnic identity.
Born in a California women’s prison in 1963, Laureen Pittman was relinquished for adoption. As a child, Laureen was conditioned to believe that being adopted didn’t matter. So, it didn’t . . . until it did. Through scraps of information, Laureen stitched together her history – one that started in the psychedelic sixties and ended up in a future where DNA could solve mysteries. She never imagined that spitting into a plastic tube, along with painstaking research and the explosion of technology would reveal the answers to her identity. Laureen’s tale is for anyone who has ever questioned who they are, where they came from, or how they fit in. Her journey to find her truth illustrates the strength and power of our need for connection, belonging, and healing through knowledge.
by Leah Silvieus
Arabilis integrates the ordeal of othering into the fundamental uncertainty of life to produce a collection that is honest in its pain, confusion, and joy. Beautiful and desolate as a rural upbringing, these poems delve into the complex relationship between the self and the indifferent world it inhabits. In this cogent work, the lonely thrill of existence is characterized by gunpowder, bone, and Bud Light empties. Presented through the perspective of a person of color adopted into a white family, this collection simultaneously acknowledges the senselessness of life and demands an explanation for it. Silvieus’ poems advance through the changing of the seasons, paralleling the introspective nature of youth and adulthood alike through an examination of faith, nature, and memory. Sacrilegious discourse is converted to sacred invocations as this collection examines the viscera of life and loss. Belying each poem is a tenacious grasping for answers to questions impossible to express, validating the intuition that though we turn to God, Earth, or another person, we may never receive a fulfilling reply. In the face of this apparent helplessness, these poems continue to stumble in the dark, reaching with the God-want of their hands, relentless in their search for that which might finally reach back.
Korean Adoptees and Transnational Adoption: Embodiment and Emotion
by Jessica Walton
This book investigates the experiences of South Koreans adopted into Western families and the complexity of what it means to ‘feel identity’ beyond what is written in official adoption files. Korean Adoptees and Transnational Adoption is based on ethnographic fieldwork in South Korea and interviews with adult Korean adoptees from the United States, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, and Sweden. It seeks to probe beneath the surface of what is “known” and examines identity as an embodied process of making that which is “unknown” into something that can be meaningfully grasped and felt. Furthermore, drawing on the author’s own experiences as a transnational, transracial Korean adoptee, this book analyses the racial and cultural negotiations of “whiteness” and “Korean-ness” in the lives of adoptees and the blurriness which results in between. Highlighting the role of memory and the body in the formation of identities, this book will be useful to students and scholars of Korean Studies, Ethnicity Studies, and Anthropology as well as Asian culture and society more generally.