Before I started reading Somebody’s Child: Stories About Adoption, edited by Bruce Gillespie and Lynne Van Luven (Touchwood Editions, $19.95), I worried about how well I would be able to relate to the stories in the collection. After all, I hadn’t had any firsthand experience with adoption.Has anyone read this book? What do you think of it?
I need not have been concerned. While the stories in the anthology focus on adoption and the quest for answers about identity and connectedness, they tap into universal themes: how family can disappoint as well as delight us, and how ultimately each individual is left to make sense of the story of his or her own life.
Somebody’s Child — like the two earlier titles in the same series Nobody’s Mother: Life Without Kids and Nobody’s Father: Life Without Kids — are designed to promote “a broader understanding of what North American families look like these days — something that is important for all of us,” says Gillespie, an assistant professor of journalism at Wilfred Laurier’s Brantford Campus, who co-edited the collection with Van Luven, associate dean of fine arts at the University of Victoria. “There is real value in people just sharing their stories, happy endings or not.”
What surprised me most, as I became more and more wrapped up in the stories (so wrapped up, in fact, that I came dangerously close to missing my train stop) was the extent to which adoptees continue to feel stigmatized. I had no idea — and that makes me feel sad and guilty for not knowing.
Being “Yellow” and Ashamed
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