The Stories of Adoption Can Kill Us or Make Us Whole

The other night I realized how radically I had changed when I was sitting in the living room of a friend’s house, and I thought: I could live in a place like this. I could live here in peace and not have to move to get away from myself. By telling my story, I had calmed my Mantosh. I realized I carried peace in my head. I sat very quietly on the couch and looked around as if the world were so fragile it might break if I blinked.

I Love You and I'll Never Leave

My friend told me that she’d sent my book to her sister, and that her sister had called her after reading it and had said to my friend, “I love you and I will never leave you.” My friend teared up when she told me this story. “I’m not adopted,” she said. “But clearly that was something I needed to hear.”


Writing about adoption is like stealing. It’s like overeating. It’s like lying. It’s like slapping the person you love most across the face. It’s like singing. It’s like praying. It’s like breathing. It’s like hauling rocks. It’s like flying. It’s like giving birth. It’s like throwing up. It’s like carving a gravestone. It’s like standing on a tightrope. It’s like beating someone’s knuckles with a ruler. It’s like skating. It’s like spinning a web. It’s like drowning. It’s like being born.

Chasing Ellen Gilchrist

Her mother had said that, although she’d heard of Ellen Gilchrist, she didn’t know where she was or where she lived but that her friend across the street might know her and that we could go over and ask. We couldn’t call this friend because she didn’t have a phone, but we could just drive over and look for her.

An Adoptee Discusses Feeling Wasted

And that, I believe, is where storytelling comes in, a way for us to create our own healthy sense of self with language that we chose. So many of us grew up with others telling us our stories of origins, but now we are big enough to tell our own stories.

Supersize Me

I have a friend who suffers from depression. She’s one of the funniest people I know. Once when we were out walking, she told me she’d decided she was going to say, “This is the best day of my life!” every time someone asked her how she was. We laughed our heads off as we practiced on each other. “This is the best day of my life!” we kept saying, and it made us laugh and laugh. Who cares if we were miserable? It was the best day ever!

How To Eat as An Adoptee

1.     Be born.

2.     Realize you don’t know where your next meal is coming from.

3.     Settle for the bottle given to you by someone who doesn’t sound, smell, or feel familiar.

4.     Want something else but have no words express desire.

5.     Have above feeling for the rest of your life and eat twice as much as you need in the effort of eating yourself around the corner of loss to home.

Adoptees On

What I learned from Adoptees On was that my story was worth listening to. At the beginning of each show, Haley gives the person she interviews seemingly unlimited time to tell his or her story. In the world, aside from the man I love, this was not something I had ever experienced: an accepting ear with no time limit. In my world, talking about adoption was sort of like talking about, depending on my audience, herpes or dandruff.

Tweeting Adoption with Maeve

You know when you go to a river and you put your toe in and then your foot and then you go up to your knees to get used to the water? We didn’t do that. I don’t even remember what we said to each other. What I do remember was feeling I was safe. 


I fell in love with my partner well before the twenty minutes were over. And she fell in love with me. Truly. We talked about it, laughing, amazed. We emailed for months afterwards. We had connected on what felt like a soul level solely through touch.