I took the doll off the shelf tonight and held her for the first time in many years. It’s amazing how healing it has been for that once little girl in me to finally have a voice and be able to share it through my writing.
excerpt from my story in the book:
“A number of years ago, I received a Christmas present from my adoptive mother — a brand-new, expensive, 125-year anniversary doll, a look-alike to the one she had discarded. Through my tears, I tried to pretend that it was the most thoughtful gift. I knew she meant well, but neither of us had truly understood what the other one desired. I felt a deep, agonizing loss; I had needed her to give me something of herself.”
If you are an adoptee or know of anyone who might benefit and be encouraged from reading others’ adoption journeys, I bought a few extra books to share. I know for me personally with having grown up in a family where I wasn’t supposed to even tell anyone I was adopted, this book would have helped me to not feel so alone in my thoughts and feelings.
Thank you for always believing in me; I feel your love!
Lynn Grubb, editor of The Adoptee Survival Guide: Adoptees Share Their Wisdom and Tools, and I became friends back when we were paired together to do blog interviews for another anthology for which we had both contributed essays. We had fun doing our interviews the first time; so decided we would go for it again. I would love to see her answers to my interview questions reach as many adoptees as possible that would not necessarily hear otherwise about this wonderful book being a helpful resource. Thank you for sharing!
1. Picture yourself standing on a busy street corner holding a poster as the “The Book Lady.” (We know how much you love reading) Tell us what you would write on a poster you were holding to encourage perfect strangers to want to read the book you had just published?
“Do you know or love someone who is adopted?”
2. Your young daughter has asked you to come for Career Day at her school. What’s the most valuable insight you have learned about yourself from putting together this book that would be helpful to children?
Don’t be afraid to have a vision for your future and follow it to its completion. Ask for help when things get too hard. Always believe in yourself.
3. Late one night, you are volunteering on the Crisis Hotline when an adoptee calls in feeling so lost and broken. What three quotes come to mind from reading each of the author’s stories in your anthology that could help make a difference in this hurting person’s life?
“Minimizing our adoption experience only maximizes our pain.” -Stephani Harris
“We need each other’s stories to be able to understand our own.” – Cathy Heslin
“We can be whoever we want to be!” – Von Coates
4. As you said recently, “I’ve been reading all these posts on the FB Search Squad. I am floored by the number of people who are searching for their birth parents. I think the floodgates have opened.” With over 11, 000 members in the Search Squad and the miraculous outreach of Search Angels helping for free, I truly believe The Adoptee Survival Guide, could be equally as beneficial for adoptees who travel down such unfamiliar paths. Can you share your thoughts and feelings that you would love to write as a post for the Search Squad as well as the FB page, Ancestry-Gedmatch-FTDNA-23&me-Genealogy and DNA (over 7,000 members), on the impact this realistic book could have made for you personally in your search? Example, during those painful times in your adoption journey when you feel like giving up because your birth mother refused to just tell you the name of your “elusive” birth father.
One of the benefits of my involvement in the adoption community is having the privilege of knowing many other adoptees whose birth mothers either refused to name or couldn’t recall who their fathers were. Having this book would have certainly made me feel less alone. I took part in my reunion without the benefit of a true support system, aside from my husband. He wasn’t actually with me during my reunion, but he was the soft place to fall later and has been my protector and supporter without fail. However, my husband is not adopted and I firmly believe nobody can understand an adoptee better than another adoptee. Now that I have a full community of support of other adoptees, it makes such a huge difference for me. I’m excited to see so many people helping each other, both during searches and in the aftermath of finding family members. It’s like the perfect storm of opening records, DNA databases, genealogy and social media. It’s quite a ride and I’m happy to be part of it all.
5. How do you plan to keep staying humble when you have authored a number of stories and now have impressively published a book on your own? All of us as contributors and your friends I know would say that one of your attributes is not drawing attention to yourself or aspiring to be put on a pedestal. You have given such a great opportunity for first-time writers to have their voices heard, which is especially important as adoptees. As obviously a leader, do you have any ideas on how we can hear more from the silent voices in the adoption community?
I could have never completed this dream of mine without the help of so many people in the adoption community. Like Cathy Heslin says in her essay, “It was the first time that being an adoptee meant that I was on the inside of something.”
As a lifelong outsider, it’s not difficult to stay humble. Am I now part of the in-crowd of adoptees? Maybe, but I’m still working that out.
And like Jeff Hancock mentions in his essay, falling into the ranks of the adoptee rights movement is where he finally found his place.That is true for me as well. The adoptee community is my family now and it’s hard to imagine my life without that daily validation.
I do think it is important than anyone who is compiling an anthology of adoptee voices reach out to those who are new to the community. We all have a story to tell, but many of us are so afraid to put our stories out there. We fear reactions of our family members, friends and coworkers, understandably so. But once you put your story out there the first time, each time after that becomes a little bit easier – kind of like riding a bike. I would encourage any adoptee who has an interest in writing, to write about their journey living adoption. You just never know who it might resonate with. I find writing to be very cathartic. Perfect strangers from all over the country or world will tell you how much your essay or your book means to them and that is just the icing on the cake. Writers make a difference in the lives of others.
I also feel that as more adoptees get their adoption files and original birth certificates, more and more adoptee voices will be heard. After just arriving home from the Columbus, Ohio celebration opening of the 1964-1996 birth certificates on Friday, I was shocked to learn this made national news! Our cause is finally hitting the mainstream which is truly validating.
It’s been a pleasure working with you, JoAnne, and the other contributors to The Adoptee Survival Guide.
My interview on Lynn’s blog can be found here.