Trauma and Joy: Four Stories About Adoption

The stories of adoptees are not open-and-shut case files—they are complex and messy. In these particular stories, you’ll meet a young woman who fought for her three brothers, a group of stridently anti-adoption adoptees, an eager couple waiting by the phone, and another couple coping with the myth of post-racism.

1. “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair.” (Nishta Mehra, Guernica, March 2015)

You can feel the urgency of Nishta Mehra’s words, like she’s crafted this essay in her head so many times and now, finally, has it in writing. Here is what happens over and over again, she says. Here is our family: a white woman, an Indian woman, a black toddler son. We are full of love. We face many questions. We have much to fear.

2. “Why a Generation of Adoptees is Returning to South Korea.” (Maggie Jones, New York Times, January 2015)

In 1980s South Korea, the government was unsupportive and unforgiving to women who had children out of wedlock. In their desperation, these women surrendered their children to the state, and the number of Korean adoptees skyrocketed. Now, these expats are returning to a home they’ve never known, in search of their birth parents and a sense of community.

3. “The Birth Mother With No Baby.” (Louise Ettinger, Dame Magazine, February 2015)

An ugly open adoption scam renders a hopeful couple without a child.

4. “She Waited Years to Find a Family, Now She Must Find the Words.” (Lane DeGregory, Tampa Bay Times, May 2014)

Several couples wanted to adopt Justice. She kept refusing —unless they would take her brothers too. “If I’m adopted,” she kept saying, “it has to be we’re all together.” But who would take on a 13-year-old girl and three rambunctious boys, ages 11, 9 and 6?