I basically read this all in one sitting last Saturday morning. It’s a relative short book at around 220 pages, but I think I would have wanted to read it fast even if it were 400. Nichole Chung, unsurprisingly to anyone who’s read her other work (I’ve mostly done so on The (dearly departed) Toast), is a very good writer. In fact, she started writing about adoption years before this book was published; I remember reading several of her articles about it and thinking at the time that she should write a book. And hey, here it is! And hey, it’s good!
Nicole Chung was adopted at two months old by a white Catholic family. She was born severely premature, and her adoptive parents were told that her birth family felt like they wouldn’t be able to care for her properly. She had a loving relationship with them, but at an early age began to struggle with fears relating to her adoption, curiosity about her birth family, and the bigoted reactions of everyone around her to her transracial adoption. At points, she was outright bullied. Her parents meant well, but their closed approach to adoption did not help Nicole with the things she was struggling with, and that only other adoptees in such a situation could understand.
The book is split into sections, the first of which details her life as a transracial adoptee, and her decision to eventually seek out her birth family, her hopes and fears and expectations. The second section follows her as she tracks them down, while simultaneously preparing to become a mother. And the third and fourth as she reunites with her family. All of these sections are filled with introspective, compassionate writing.
I am not adopted, nor do I have experience with adoption beyond having a close friend who is an adoptee (but who doesn’t like to talk about it), but Nicole is such a good writer, she makes you feel everything she’s going through.
I highly, highly recommend this, and I hope she writes another book soon.