Adoption: Teary-Eyed Blessing or Horrific Abuse Factory

by Marisha and Luanne

You know those happy adoption stories that the media loves to feature? Adopted woman meets birth father just before he dies and all is well. Yay! Five siblings have been in foster care for three years with no hope of reunification. They are adopted by a middle-aged librarian and all is well. Yay!

The media loves those stories and so, too, do we. By “we” I mean our culture. We eat up this stuff. It makes us feel as if all is well with the world.

We don’t look behind the stories to see that this woman had to wait until she was 55 to meet half her DNA.  She lived through being a baby, a child, a teen, a young woman, a pilot, a mother, and now a first-time grandmother without this knowledge. Without knowing how he felt about her or if he even knew about her.  Without ever meeting him.  We don’t like to think about what those kids have gone through in order to have this happy “ending” (which it is not–an ending or unendingly happy either) with the librarian. Or what baggage they all (librarian included) bring to the table.

On the other hand, the media loves horrible stories about adoption. The child who is locked in a cupboard, fed only scraps, and eventually discovered weighing thirty pounds at age eleven. The child of a celebrity who either dies of a drug overdose or accuses her adoptive parent of abuse who is always identified as “adopted son” or “adopted daughter” by the press, as if that is a title or name.

By the way, all of our examples except the celebrity ones are made up, but representative of what we’ve read.

Why does the media do this? Apparently it is what we demand. We want these superficial and dangerous images of adoption. We want to tear up with joy and we want to fill with outrage.

What we don’t seem to want to do is think rationally and with common sense about adoption.

What would happen if we did? What would change about how our culture sees adoption? And how we treat adoptee rights and issues?

What do you think?

What About Children Who Were Adopted by Koreans?

Guest blogger Kasey Buecheler is still living and studying in Korea. She is involved in an organization which seems quite unique to me. InKAS Mentoring: Normalizing Domestic Adoption in Korea offers a mentoring program to domestic adoptees in Korea. The service is provided by international adoptees like Kasey who want to help change the situation for Koreans who were adopted within Korea.

We spend a lot of time talking in the adoption world about the first choice for children is to stay with their biological families. The second choice is usually to keep a child in her own culture, in her country of birth, rather than sending her to a family in another country. But in Korea there is still a stigma associated with adoption.  Kasey and her peers want that to change and in the meantime they are helping other adoptees.  Here is information from their website.

For international adoptees, the concept of a “closed” adoption is difficult to grasp. While Korean children who are adopted internationally are met with unconditional love, domestically adopted children face a much different environment — one filled with secrecy, shame, and varying degrees of societal scorn. The government is trying to promote domestic adoption and eliminate the secrecy that perpetuates the stigma behind it; but unfortunately, Korean society and its emphasis on bloodlines needs another push. InKAS, with its ground-breaking mentoring program, aims to provide just that.
Through InKAS‘ “Mentoring Program: Promoting Awareness of Korean Domestic Adoption” we provide a safe atmosphere for domestically adopted children. While all of our mentees have had “open” adoptions, they still confront circumstances largely unacknowledged and unsupported by Korean society. We want domestic adoptees to feel comfortable in their own skin, never feel the need to conceal a part of their identity, and push for a more tolerant society that is open to all types of families.
Our program pairs an adult international adoptee with a teenage domestic adoptee, as well as the mentee’s adoptive parents and, in some cases, a bi-lingual Korean translator. Through an overnight retreat and individually-scheduled meetups, mentors and mentees form a strong and long-lasting bond. This bond, though new, lays the foundation for conversations about greater triumphs and deeper struggles (either about adoption or anything) in the future.
Sadly, due to budgetary constraints, our end of the year dinner (Friday, December 13th) will be the last mentoring program event InKAS can fund.
We want to continue the events, so we can continue to build strong relationships with our mentees, make them feel comfortable with their 언니s and 형s, and be proud of who they are. In order to do this, we need your generosity.
Once in January, and once in February, we will have large-group gatherings in Seoul. The itineraries haven’t been decided yet, but they will be one-day events filled with food, fun, and maybe a theatrical performance. A lot of the programming depends on how much we receive in donations.
Your donations will enable us to continue doing the work we love and give greater hope to those we serve. By investing in our mentors, you’ll not only be contributing to the continuation of this program, you’ll also be sending a message to our mentees. The continuation of this program will show the mentees, as well as their parents, that the international community does not disapprove of their situation, will not shy away from it, and will not buckle under societal pressures. Donation or not, your consideration and conscientiousness has already planted the seed for a shift in perceptions on domestic adoption.On behalf of InKAS, and everyone participating in this program now and in the future, thank you so much.
Click here to make a donation!

Yae-song and Katelyn were a great team during our balloon race!

If you would like to help these young people mentor other young people and make the world a little better for some adoptees, you can donate here.

Smore Stories – Daring To Journey Through Adoption..

by Marisha

Tara Bradford has initiated an exciting new series on her blog. As an adoptee and an adoptive mother, she has a wealth of experience from both perspectives which can inspire and enrich the rest of us. Follow the link below to read her description.

Thank you, Tara!

Smore Stories – Daring To Journey Through Adoption...

Tara Bradford

Tara Bradford


AFTH Conference 2013

Adoption in a Changing World:
Tools for Professionals and Families

Adoption continues to be influenced by our changing world, and the world influenced by adoption. Join us for a unique adoption conference full of exciting workshops and presenters. These workshops are designed to give attendees a broad spectrum of topics ranging from openness in Adoption and Special Needs Adoption to Attachment and Legal Issues in adoption as well as several panels to help attendees see adoption from various perspectives. The 2013 AFTH adoption conference will provide professionals, students, and families with tools and resources to navigate adoption in today’s world. ****CEU’s ARE AVAILABLE

Workshop Topics Include:

  • Attachment in Adoption
  • LGBT Adoptions
  • Medical Issues in Adoption
  • Legal Issues in Adoption
  • The Hospital Experience & Counseling
  • Special Needs Adoptions
  • And several panels of various adoptees, birthmothers, and adoptive families…


Tuesday October 22, 2013 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

*Bonus Session 4:30-6:00pm


Wesleyan University
Exley Science Center
265 Church Street
Middletown, CT 06459


Alexandra Peters
Adoptions From The Heart


DWLA does not endorse the conference, which we have never attended, but merely present it for your interest and convenience.

A Korean Adoptee Speaks to PAPs About a China Adoption

Here’s a thoughtful discussion of adoption and race and their intersection.

Adopted from China

Adoption is so complicated—there are so many different ways to look at it. Until recently, the subject was only in the back of my mind because it would make me sad to think about my birthparents. I also felt that my adoptive parents were enough for me; where I am now is where I am supposed to be, and the fact that I am adopted is not important as long as our family loves each other. As I am beginning to understand myself more as an adult, I am realizing just how prevalent adoption is in my life. I am an Adopted Asian American. Adoptees can only relate to other adoptees when it comes to certain experiences and thoughts. This is what makes us different from Asian Americans, and sometimes this can make us feel isolated. We have our issues like other Asian Americans, but we have extra baggage. With…

View original post 1,372 more words

The Importance of Story

by Luanne

“People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around.”
― Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad

Everybody and everything has a story.  According to Terry Pratchett, we are all shaped by stories.  This quote might mean that reading a variety of stories helps develop us into who we are.  But, in fact, we are shaped even more by the stories which are unique to our selves.

We create stories out of our complex lives.  To understand ourselves and others around us, we tell ourselves stories that make some sense out of it all.

As Patrick Rothfuss puts it:

“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”

Most of us come to our consciousness with family stories told to us by relatives.  Even in families which are reticent to talk about the past, there is a pattern which is story in hearing that one has the same stubborn streak as one’s father and that he has hammer toes because his mother couldn’t afford to buy him new shoes when his feet grew.  These elements become part of the story of the child.

Some people have stories which are missing big gaps.  Imagine having amnesia in your fourth grade year.  You can remember the rest of your life, but there is a hole where an entire year should be.  Many adoptees have a hole larger than this.  If an adoptee was not part of an open adoption, it’s probable that she was not given much information about who her birth parents were, what their stories were, and what their lives were like when she was not yet born.

The person who was adopted might not know anything about her own birth or what her life was like as an infant.  When there is information shared, it can be sparse and not tied into a narrative.  It might not even be accurate.  It could be lies.

I was not adopted, and I have been told plenty of family stories.  I grew up with family stories and photos.  Many of the dots were connected for me.  Recently I’ve done some genealogical research, and it astonishes me how some of the stories I was told turned out not to be accurate.  However, the most fundamental information has been true, unlike that for some adoptees.

My children were adopted as babies in international adoptions.  We received some pages of information from the agency.  Mainly, we learned about their medical exam results while living in the orphanage (son) or with the foster family (daughter). We learned their weight and health when they were brought to Holt. But there is also information on the charts listing the ages and education levels of their birth parents, and what areas they came from.  When we read these pages with our case worker, she filled in information, providing us with story fragments.

I took all the information we had been given—both written and oral, guesses and facts—and wrote up stories for both children, providing them with a story which pre-dates their lives in our family.

It seemed important that they have their own stories.

“[T]here’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.”
― Mitch Albom, For One More Day

Think of this: “behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin” [my italics].

So while it seems important that the kids have their own stories, these stories had to begin with the stories of their birth mothers.

Next time you wonder why many adoptees search for their birth families and wish to to learn information about these families, remember that you are who you are because you have your own story.  They are only searching for part of their story, a story that is important to their very identity.

Adoption Comes Straight from the Heart: A Book Review

by Luanne

(Originally posted August 13, 2012)

I felt driven to review this book because the title made me so uncomfortable.   I can’t imagine saying to Marc or Marisha, when they were little ones, “Sit with Mom.  I want to read you this great book called My Adopted Child, There’s No One Like You.”  I have never called them “my adopted children” and can’t imagine ever doing so.  They were–and still are, at 27 and 24–my kids.  And I am their mom.  My husband is their dad.  When the kids want to explain to people, they will say, “Yeah, I’m adopted.”  And that’s basically how I answer people, too.  I would never even think of saying, “This is my adopted son, Marc.”  So to say that the title put me off is an understatement.

Nevertheless, since the book was written by Dr. Kevin Leman, a psychologist and New York Times best-selling author, I wanted to see what was inside.  The book is one in a series of “birth order books.”  There are other volumes which deal with being firstborn, only child, middle child, and youngest child.  I will admit that the idea of adding in a book for the adopted child is a good idea, although children who have been adopted can be found in all “positions” within the family.

When I opened the book I discovered that the illustrations, by Dr. Leman’s son Kevin Leman II, are very clear, entertaining, and colorful.  They aren’t the sort of art which wins the Caldecott Medal, but they are pictures which illustrate well the story.  This book has a lot of text on every other page; it’s broken up by a full-page illustration opposite each one.

It turns out that I did enjoy the story and even teared up at one point–that was where Mama Bear tells her little boy, Panda, “‘You were born right here,’ and she touched her furry chest with her paw.”  The heartfelt sentiment and love between Panda and his mother and father is palpable.  That makes this book very worthwhile.

The story is a little specific.  Panda’s birth mother was a young panda — beautiful, kind, and loving.  The bears were able to meet Panda’s birth mother, so Mama can personally tell Panda about her.  Let’s face it, every adoption story is a little different.  So in books about adoption we are apt to get different stories.  The more stories kids read, the richer their minds and their lives.  That’s why I don’t consider the specificity a negative.  And there are other adoption books which are even more specific, if that is what you are looking for.  The question that lingers for me: if a child whose birth mother is unknown (and perhaps unknowable) is first exposed to this book or if it’s the only book he or she reads, how would that part of this story affect him or her?

The underlying plot situation is that Panda’s teacher asks her students to draw their family trees.  This is a common assignment in American schools, so it’s a very real issue for many children who have been adopted.  It’s handled well, even with a bit of an open ending, which keeps the book more appealing to a wider range of readers.

Whether this is a book about transracial adoptions or all adoptions, I think it depends on how you read it.  At one point, Mama Bear explains that Panda is a black and white bear and she and Papa are brown bears.  This can be seen as a racial metaphor.  However, many adoptees go through a period where they may feel different from the others in the family. Because the characters are animals, it frees up the child’s mind to read the book as it makes sense to him or her.

A very small note is that on the first page we learn the teacher’s name is Mrs. Racoonaroni.  This sounds humorous when read aloud, but to a beginning reader it looks daunting on the page.

All in all, the book makes a valuable contribution to the subject of adoption.   Because of its position in the series of “birth order” books, the author or editor titled the book My Adopted Child, There’s No One Like You to be clear about the readership for which it aimed.  I’ve tried to come up with some other titles which would be more palatable to me and still fit within the series.  My Chosen Child? Um, I don’t think so. My Child (by Adoption)?  Not much better.  Maybe you have some good suggestions, but that doesn’t change the title on the cover.

Would I place this book on our family bookshelf?  Yes, but not without other books about adoption.  When a child asks me to read the book, I will put the emphasis on There’s No One Like You.

A Book for Children about Open Adoption: “Megan’s Birthday Tree”

by Luanne

I’m excited to be participating in the Book Club over at Open Adoption Bloggers.  The first book we read is Megan’s Birthday Tree, written by Laurie Lears and illustrated by Bill Farnsworth (2005).  In this book, Megan is a young girl who is an adoptee in an open adoption.  The characters are Megan, Mom, Dad, and Kendra.  Mom and Dad are the adoptive parents, and Kendra is the birth mother.  Kendra planted a small tree in her yard to remind her of Megan.  The story’s central conflict is how Megan reacts when she learns that Kendra is moving away.  Megan assumes that Kendra will leave the tree behind and, thus, forget about Megan.

Our moderator Heather provided us with a list of discussion questions which was put together from suggestions by all of us “book clubbers.”

There are so many wonderful questions, but I will only address a few of them.  My participation is based on my experience as an adoptive mom and from teaching children’s literature at the college level before I retired, but I don’t have young children at home any longer.

  Have you experienced moving or marriage as an adoptive mom or birth mother? Was it difficult to explain to your child? What did you do to help your child understand that your love remains no matter where you go or who comes into the family?

My children are adults now and were not adopted through open adoptions, but through international adoption.  However, we did move when they were six and two.  The move took us away from the extended (adoptive) family and away from a community where transracial adoptions such as ours (Caucasian parents and Korean kids) were common and to a place where it was rare.  We had to work extra hard to provide them with that sense of family and identity we were leaving behind and found it in a small private school and our worship congregation.

  Do you think this book represents a realistic view of what open adoption might look like?

From the stories I hear from others who are in open adoptions, I think this is a realistic view of a very good open adoption situation.

  While the birthday tree was used to decorate and celebrate Megan’s birthday in what other ways do you believe the tree was important to Megan and her birth mom?

Trees are living beings and they grow as children grow.  They also grow as love grows.  There is a sense of connection to nature.  However, the tree is not Megan.  Kendra says, “I don’t need a tree or anything else to remember you!  Even though we don’t live together, you will always be a part of me.”   Nevertheless, Kendra proves to be just as “silly” as Megan because she is carrying the birthday tree in the back of her truck.  She’s taking it with her to her new home.

  In Megan’s Birthday Tree, Megan’s adoptive parents were present at various points, but tangentially. Did you pick up on this? Does your response to the background role the adoptive parents played say anything about where your family is in your adoption journey?

My take on the role of the adoptive parents in this book is that they are allowing Megan space to grow as an individual and in her relationship with Kendra, rather than claiming ownership of Megan’s experience.  This reminds me of something very powerful in this book: Megan insists on buying a tree for Kendra with her own money and works hard to earn it.  She refuses to take a gift of money from Dad.

  What do you think about the illustrations of Megan as a Caucasian girl? By the text, she doesn’t have to be any one race, but by adding illustrations, she’s clearly a white girl.

While I just reviewed a book where I found the animal characters (dogs) confusing because of the term “adoption,” when the illustrated characters are of a particular race, it is a bit limiting.  Nevertheless, there is nothing inherently wrong with this being a book about Caucasian characters.  It does make me wonder about the statistics of open adoption.  Are there more families composed of white children and white parents?  It’s something I wondered about from looking at the racial composition of this picture book.

  What do you think about the illustrations of the other characters? That Megan looks a lot like Kendra and that the adoptive parents have similar coloring.

I love that Megan looks so much like Kendra.  She isn’t a clone, though, but looks like an actual biological child.  However, the adoptive parents have a similar look to Kendra and Megan, so I also wondered if that was in light of research.  Do a lot of birth mothers choose adoptive parents who resemble themselves?  Since I am not myself in an open adoption, this picture book really started me wondering about the overall picture of open adoptions.

  Sometimes when a person reads a picture book about adoption and something rattles something somewhere inside, but they ignore the warning because the book is so cute and mostly so good. Did you have any of those moments in this book?

I still haven’t found one picture book about adoption that didn’t have something that I wanted to change or that concerned me.  This book is one of the closest to perfect, I think.  I love how Megan, Kendra, Mom, and Dad all hug at the end.  It’s definitely a tear-jerker.  Any drawbacks?  Well, it’s an important point that Kendra and Megan think alike about the tree, as we can see by the end.  But does it undercut the idea that the tree isn’t what’s important?  We have Kendra’s words that she doesn’t need a tree to remember Megan, but then the text and illustrations show Kendra dragging the big tree with her.  I’m torn about this part of the ending.  On the one hand, I appreciate the drama of it and on the other, I do wish that the emphasis was on Kendra not needing the tree.

One other point is that I wish this book was illustrated with other racial combinations and that the book could be sold that way.  Wishful thinking ;).

  The book was categorized by the publisher as one of its “issue books,” dealing with “children’s problems and special needs.” Other books in the series address topics like autism, epilepsy, and stuttering. What do think about a book on open adoption being characterized that way?

I think it’s a necessary evil that this book is labeled an “issue book” because that is how adults in open adoptions will find this book to share with children.  Children don’t know or care how the book is marketed.  What is important that it gets into the hands and minds and hearts of children who will most benefit from reading it.

Definitely put this book on your library or bookstore list!
Open Adoption Book Club @

Read the Back of the Inside Cover First: Review of “Rosie’s Family”

by Luanne

After reading the picture book Rosie’s Family: An Adoption Story by Lori Rosove, pictures by Heather Burrill, I want to scream.

Yup, scream or at least wring my hands in frustration that such a cute book by an adoption professional has some glaring “issues.”

Let me back up.  This is the story of 7-year-old Rosie, a young Beagle who was adopted by a Schnauzer family.  She has a little brother, Joey, who is the biological son of their parents.   The book is geared for the interracial adoption experience.

Welcoming and peaceful, the illustrations are drawings with colored pencils. They depict a cozy home environment, as well as some specific outdoor scenes which evoke a safe and beautiful natural world.

The book is set up to provide to an adopted child answers to her questions, affirmation for emotions she might have, and situations she might have to deal with in the outside world.  This is a very valid project, and at the end of the book are a list of issues parents can use this book to deal with.

“Rosie’s Family highlights several common issues for adoptive families.  It was written primarily as a guide for parents to discuss these issues with their children.”

If I had read this section before reading the book, I might have approached my reading differently.  Rather than being seen as a picture book for children, it might be seen as a guidebook for parents to use as the issues arise.

Here are the problems I have with the book as a “bedtime book” for children.

1.  Rosie is a dog and she was adopted by her family.  I am a huge animal lover (and, yes, I carry on conversations with my cats, interpreting their thoughts into speech).  Still, I find it awkward that the same words we use to talk about bringing specifically dogs and cats into our families (adoption, fostering) are the words we use to talk about bringing children into our families.  Sometimes we hear stories about animals adopted who “don’t work out” and are “brought back.”  Hearing these associations has got to be really puzzling for children, so to confuse the issues in a picture book seems unnecessary.  For some reason I haven’t yet identified, Rosie’s identity as a dog is more important in this book than in other picture books about adoption featuring animals which I have read in the past.

2.  There is a two page spread about where babies “come from” which is confusing.  On the left page, the text reads: “Some kids are adopted into families, like me…….”  The illustrations show a set of birth parents with baby Rosie in a basket facing the Schnauzers, Rosie’s adoptive parents.  On the right page, Rosie is looking at baby Joey inside her Mom, using a sort of telescope (microscope?).  The text reads: “…..and some are born into families, like my brother Joey who grew inside my Mom.”   Unfortunately, this contextualization makes it seem as though Rosie herself was not born.  It’s a comparison of oranges to apples.  The basic idea makes sense, but seeing it contrasted on two opposite pages gave me a strange feeling.

3.  During the questions and issues that arise (Are you my real parents? What were my birth parents like? Where did I live before? Why do I look different from my family?) I suspect that a child who has not yet encountered this breadth of adoption issues might feel overwhelmed.  Reading is frequently a time for comfort and companionship for young children, and this might be just too much all at once.  Nevertheless, as a tool to use to address an issue, it would be a decent book to pull out to illustrate a frank and loving conversation.

Rosie’s Family brings up important issues and deals with them in a trustworthy way, but it’s not bedtime reading.

The Healing Power of Looking Back

by Elaine Pinkerton

Writing The Goodbye Baby: A Diary about Adoption gave me a chance to put my adoption in perspective.

I was five years old when my birthmother had to give me up for adoption, and at the time I did not understand what was happening. In the era following WWII, people didn’t talk about family secrets. I mistakenly assumed that I’d done something wrong for my original mom to have given me up. Even though they were based on illogical thinking, feelings of shame and guilt grew. For years, I nursed anger, resentment and sadness about being adopted.

Elaine’s diaries

Then I decided to read all my old diaries. What I found within them was life-changing. As I read my first-hand accounts of the 1950s through the 1980s, I began to release the old misconceptions. The older Elaine forgave the young girl, the rebellious teenager, the unhappy wife. I saw, in hindsight, that I had done the best I could. I recognized many terrific accomplishments. Acknowledging myself, I became the heroine rather than the victim of my past life.

My adoption was no longer a burden. It had taken me from being an orphan to a secure home environment. Because of wonderful adoptive parents, it was a rescue boat. Since my early situation was never explained, I sometimes fell victim to  depression. Through re-reading my diaries, however, I was finally able to understand and forgive the past. Looking back on all that happened and putting my adoption in perspective was the final, unexpected gift of adoption.

Perhaps my “epiphany” is best explained in an excerpt from the Epilogue of The Goodbye Baby: A Diary about Adoption:

If it is possible that one can send a brain to boot camp, then that is just what reading my diaries accomplished. Every loss or failed relationship, or so my diaries revealed, echoed that first loss. The loss of my birthmother was one I knew so well and referred to for so long that it was all too easy to toss every loss, failure, slight, emotional hurt into the comfy basket woven from my original privation. I have retired the basket in favor of a daily labyrinth walk to shake out the negative thoughts. Most days it works.

What were the benefits of my diary-reading marathon?  No less than a remodel! Looking at vicious emotional cycles in my past, I stared them down. I grew in the courage needed to resist the voice that liked to say, “Oh, poor me. My mother left when I was just five.”

Turning off the “Oh, poor me” lament is not always easy. As life’s challenges continue, I know I’ll be tested repeatedly. To be alive, after all, is to face crises. The only people who do not grapple daily with frustration, complications, loss and the occasional disaster reside in the cemetery.

Elaine reading one of her diaries

For years, I’d been reading every book and article I could find about the adopted self, especially adult adoptees. They included Betty Jean Lifton’s novels and dozens of self-help books dealing with adoption and loss issues. Until I read the handwritten chronicles of my own life, however, the other adoption books meant little. After harvesting the diaries, I found those works miraculously lucid. The books hadn’t changed, but I had gotten inside my own skin, my own mind. I had a more truthful picture of who I actually was. The diaries provided data, the books gave me strength, and I came to see that my life was just part of a human river. Along with that realization came gratitude.

To put it another way, I got to know the real me, not some abstract construction based on self-concocted mythology.  The diaries provided missing data. Through weeping, crying, occasionally laughing, often being amazed at my stubborn inability to accept the obvious, I worked through the childhood paradigm. At the same time, I gained a new self-respect. So my original mother couldn’t take care of me and I’d been adopted. It was no worse than early challenges faced by hundreds of others.

Everything, it has been said, that happens to one before age six is cast in bronze and that what follows that is not important. I set about to disprove this. As I read about my life first hand, I learned that my initial beliefs about “not being one of the real children” had burdened me with what I think of as an “overcompensation obsession.” I married twice, carrying mistakes of the first union into the second. I hadn’t been an ideal parent. So?

That was then. This is now. I yearn for courage and wisdom. I have tried, through this book, to gain the strength to develop both. There’s something far less lofty that happened. Harvesting the journals yielded a rich treasure: I’m now more comfortable with my memories. We are old pals now.

Several points are salient: I made many hurtful decisions, but I had my reasons.  Though my choices may not have been very wise, I did my best. I wept for that earlier adopted self and put it to rest.

Best of all, my journey to the past strengthened a strong resolve to spend all remaining years on the planet more positively. After researching my life and studying its structure, I’m better at making decisions that serve me well. This is my intention.


Elaine Pinkerton is a long-time resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition to writing for magazines and newspapers, she is the author of several popular non-fiction and fiction books. She is a world traveler, educator focused on working with young children, labyrinth facilitator, and athlete-skier, hiker, former marathon runner. In The Goodbye Baby: A Diary about Adoption, Elaine reveals the bruises of adoption that impacted her from the tender age of five. Through excerpts from personal journals she kept for 40 years, we experience her frustrations and successes as she strives to be good enough for her beloved adoptive parents and in all areas of her later life.

Elaine can be “followed” through her blog, Twitter, and Facebook page:




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