memoir, adoption
Skip to content

Infusing Fog-Free Air into the Adoption Vacuum

by Laura on October 24th, 2013

So many adoptees grew up in an adoption vacuum; make that, an adoption-positive vacuum.

If we were lucky (and you know we were, we were rescued by adoption!!), then we had an adopted sibling with whom to share family life growing up.

Credit: “Lonely Tree In The Lake” by digidreamgrafix from

As happens so many times, a sibling experience can end up being quite different than another’s, even if the kids are close in age (especially when they are no). Adopted or not. Check out Deanna’s recent post, When People Dismiss Your Story for a heart-breaking but eye-opening example.

I lived in such an adoption-positive vacuum. Although I knew much of it was Shenanigans and had no trouble calling it like I saw it (i.e. writing a memoir about how unaddressed post-adoption issues led to a major break with reality).

And then one day, I came upon The Declassified Adoptee. For someone living in an adoption vacuum, with nothing but adoption-positive oxygen to breathe, the writings of Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston are rarified air, I tell you.

It’s so fog-free, in-the-fog adoptees may need an APOM (adoption-positive oxygen mask). Totally just made that up.

Amanda has recently compiled some of her best posts into the book, The Declassified Adoptee, Essays of an Adoption Activist. You can read my reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.

Even if you follow her blog already, and this isn’t your first time to the fog-free rodeo, I highly recommend it. Seeing these articles compiled into a book creates a sense of continuity, a holistic view of how the author’s personal experience with adoption informs and enriches her ability to advocate for change.

As a mother of small children, I can’t (or chose not to) recall the number of times I’ve said, “Use your words!” … To avoid fights, to explain one’s wants/needs/frustrations. Sometimes those in adoptoworld get so heated (myself included), but the reality is, straight-up, Amanda is so good with using her words, we can (continue to) learn from her. She writes

When we discuss difficult topics, I think we should remember that adoption is an institution, it is not a person. We should be able to talk about adoption, and how it affects people in both good ways and bad ways, without feeling insulted as people.

Amen, Sister!

Beyond the clear, concise explanations of how adoption as an institution fits into the framework of advocating for social justice, Amanda infuses fresh fog-free air with personal stories that elucidate her purpose in what she does. She writes

My ultimate goal is to challenge the common belief that adoption is a mysterious process that exists within a vacuum, and therefore, should abide by its own rules and have its policies go unquestioned. Adoption does not occur in a vacuum. … We have to discuss the experiences of those who live adoption. We have to face what is not working. We will fail those who need help most if we do not do these things.

There’s that word again. Vacuum.

Growing up, I had little-to-no interaction with adoptees who were questioning and examining their adoptee status. (And here I just thought I was the black sheep, always “wanting” to be different!)

I’ve emerged from my own personal vacuum.

I’ve moved out of the adoption fog.

Now it’s up to me—and others—to join Amanda in looking at not just our own personal adoption-positive vacuums, but to look at how we can change and improve adoption as an institution.

For anyone who buys The Declassified Adoptee, Essays of an Adoption Activist this month (October), Amanda will send you a personal thank you note! For more details, check out Amanda’s blog.

*  *  *

New! One random commenter will received a signed paperback copy of Amanda’s book!



From → Adoption

  1. Gaye permalink

    Have bought it – love her writing, tone and insight. And Laura love the calm and logic that makes reflection possible and challenge to your way of thinking probable!

  2. So True.
    Together we can make change!.
    The more of us speaking out, writing about, educating others about adoption as an institution, the faster things will become clear to others. How can change not happen after knowing the truth.
    Power to The Adoption Warriors!

  3. I would call it a brainwashed fog we live in. And that includes many mothers who relinquished as well as adoptee…and adoptuive parents. All of us were/are convinced by the industry and society that adoption is "good." Some of us wake up, some never do.

    Amanda has said – more eloquently – what I have aid for decades about it being the institution of adoption. People need to be able to hear criticisms of the PROCESS without taking it peronally and jumping to defend. One can simultaneously be happy being adopted and unhappy with discriminatory laws that diallow then equal access to their own birth certificate.

    "Adoption does not occur in a vacuum. … We have to discuss the experiences of those who live adoption. We have to face what is not working. We will fail those who need help most if we do not do these things."

    YES! If we do not speak our truth to power, and if we are not heard, the damage continues to befall others. We, as a society, are replicating the secrfets, lies and anonymity of adoption in new reproductive technolgies. This is criminal. We are intentionally creating orphans!

    Mirah Riben

  4. Yes! Excellent book! A must-read for adoptees, first parents, and anyone who cares about them. Those who don't care need to read it too. Maybe then they will care. <3

  5. eagoodlife permalink

    This book of Amanda's will I hope become a seminal text. It is the best book on adoption around and I have great hopes for more of the same as the years roll on. It is simplistic to view adoption as a situation in which one can be unhappy about laws but happy in adoption. The loss and trauma of adoption for us all have a profound cost and one we pay again and again as we live out the adopted life.

  6. Amy permalink

    I enjoy Amanda's blog – I need to get that book so that I can slip it to a few people who need to be de-fogged, LOL. I'm so thankful that people like you and her are examining these issues…all my life I thought there was something wrong with me that I didn't like adoption even though my adoptive parents were fine. I really bought the lie that I should be thankful for having my whole ancestry ripped out from under me, and thought I must just be some ungrateful jerk when I couldn't muster it.

  7. Barbara Thavis permalink

    I am not commenting only to get the free book, but PICK ME, PICK ME!!!!

    I think of myself as young, yet Amanda is younger than my oldest daughter. And she is much wiser than me. How she got the insight she has at such a tender age I will never understand. Instead I will simply be grateful.

  8. I can't wait till this comes out in print! I'm going to give a few of these out for Christmas presents this year.

  9. Heather permalink

    This went right on my to-read list!

  10. catfishmom permalink

    I have cast off my false self and found a true self that I really love…this after 46 years of the push and pull of embracing and denying what being adopted did to my soul. Clarity is a welcome friend even though she can be a harsh one sometimes. There is nothing like a friend who tells you the whole truth!

  11. Rhonda permalink

    I loved this article…thank you so much!

  12. Thanks for posting this. I would love to read this and review it for adoptive/adopting parents

  13. Ariel permalink

    I just want to thank you for sharing. As a mother of adoption loss it helps me to connect with the other side of the experience. Even though my son is only 12 and reunion still feels so far away hearing from other adoptees helps me understand what his perspective may be or issues that may come up for him and in this I feel more connected to him. I hope by reading more from the adoptee perspective I will be better prepared for the future, and hope I will have more understanding to offer.

  14. I'd not heard of this newest book thanks for posting on it. It's interesting to me how often I feel like I am being asked to defend or back up my feelings. I hope to win the copy but if not I hope to be able to do the down load. I still prefer reading on paper though :)

Leave a Reply

Note: XHTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

CommentLuv badge

Notify via Email Only if someone replies to My Comment