After writing my head off for a year, I hit a wall. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, I had nothing to say. It was as if someone had taught me to surf and I’d been riding waves day after day after day until one morning I went to the beach to find the ocean gone.

Adoption and the Body

If Whitman is right, we are all adopted. We belong to each other. This goes to the idea that we only think we are separated beings, that really we are just individual expressions of the same thing: love, energy, universal force, God.

Eating Upset

Adoption upsets the nervous system and therefor the life of the adoptee, and, in all likelihood, the lives of those close to him or her. So what calms it?

Dear Dick

I’d given myself almost a full year to swim in the ocean of grief after realizing what being born to one mother and raised by another without a proper good-bye to either had done to my nervous system. I was sick of adoption. I was sick of hearing the same stories over and over. (You want to hear my generalized story of the adoptee in six words? Something is wrong. No one understands.)

Tulum #4 Writing and Adoption

Last night in Tulum, I went to a yoga class in what looked like a big tree house that overlooked the ocean.. At one point the teacher said, There is only now. If you are in the future or the past you are missing your appointment with your life.

Tulum #3 Writing and Adoption

But how can you engage fully in the world, how can you flourish as a student or a spouse or a writer when you don’t know your own heart? For adoptees this is a particularly poignant question because many actually don’t understand their hearts, who created them, who rocked their hearts to sleep when they were tiny.

Tulum #2 Writing and Adoption

I was shocked. It was like trying to get dressed for a party and coming downstairs to your date only to be told you looked perfect just the way you were, rumpled and tear-stained.

You mean being myself is just as easy as showing up? And you will still love me?

What if the same as true of writing? What if writing is just as easy as showing up?

Tulum #1 Writing and Adoption

I believe for many adoptees this lifetime journey is to find a true sense of self. Adoptees who are relinquished at birth have a quick first life that ends when the separation between mother and child occurs. Adoptees who were relinquished later have longer first lives: a week, a year, four years, ten years, seventeen years.


I’ve been thinking a lot about communication recently. There is a certain stillness some people have when they listen. My daughter has it. My friend Karen has it. Katie has it. HBL has it. The space between us gets magnetic, and I have the sense they aren’t thinking about the night before or what to say when I am done talking. I get the feeling they are listening. And that is almost better than food.


When people tell you that everything will be alright or that you are silly for having certain feelings or that it could be worse, your reaction can be to turtle, to go back into your shell, and then the world loses the opportunity to learn and love. 

My Daughter Turns 20

It takes a lot of focus to chase your dreams. I find my brain is so comfortable in telling me things that keep me inside. My brain loves to tell me how easily everything could fall apart. My brain loves to terrify me, but I’m waging a counterattack. This next year it’s going to be me against that big scoop of oatmeal that occupies my skull. This year I’m going to show it who’s boss.