Beauty, Control, and Adoption

Beauty, Control, and Adoption With poetry that’s raw and evocative and prose that’s honest and thought-provoking, I always know I’m in for something special when I read anything by writer Mila Konomos. Her essay, “Beauty, Control, and Adoption” is no exception. Mila’s article is excerpted from Adoption Therapy, Perspectives from Clients and Clinicians on Processing and Healing Post-Adoption Issues. With contributors who are adoptees, counselors, or both, Adoption Therapy is a much-needed tool for adoptees (and adoptive parents) entering therapy or processing on their own, and for those professionals tasked with helping them. The anthology covers topics such as the...

Batman, Harry Potter and the Myth of the Exceptional Orphan

A few years ago, I taught Intro to Playwriting for kids, ages 11-13. On the first day, I asked students what kinds of plays they each wanted to write. To my surprise, nearly half of them wanted to write plays that featured an orphaned protagonist. As someone who had once been legally classified as an orphan, I had grown up with mostly negative associations with the word. “Orphan” always conjured up images of hungry children, cold and alone. In my young mind, orphanhood was something I had needed to be saved from. So what was the attraction for these kids,...

Are You Done Ruining My Movie Yet, Overly Critical Adoptee? Sure. When You Stop Watching Shitty Movies.

Below is a transcript from a conversation I had with myself. All selves are fictitious and any resemblance to real selves, living or dead, is purely, most likely coincidental. Contains random spoilers to movies. Read at your own risk. Me: Oh my god, come over here and sit down. I’m watching this flick called Orphan. It is so fucked up. You should make us some popcorn. Me2: Are you serious? You’re watching this? Do you even know… anything? Yes. Let’s portray adoptees as murderous evil children, who by the way, try and seduce their daddies. I mean not only EWWWW...

Angela Breckenitch

Name: Angela BreckenitchAge: 33Gender: FemaleIdentify as: Asian or Korean, but I’m Italian at heart. Have you always felt comfortable in your skin?: I’ve never felt comfortable in my skin and probably never will. I was teased relentlessly in my youth, not only for being Asian, but for being fat, ugly, and flat-chested. I have always felt like there was a stranger looking back at me in the mirror. I don’t know what I should look like, but the person looking back at me never felt right. I have suffered from eating disorders and body dysmorphia since I was 11-years-old. I...

Angela and Bryan Tucker of Closure

When I was preparing to meet up with Bryan and Angela Tucker, I had no idea I’d have two models on my hands. As luck would have it though, the pair showed up impeccably dressed in stylish summer wear that blended perfectly with our backdrop of choice: the Lake Union waterfront near Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). Many of you might be flipping through these photos in disbelief at the blue skies and shining sun, but here’s a secret: Seattle summers are among the very best. Visit the Emerald City between July and September, and you’ll have picture-perfect...

An Unwavering Voice

“Did my voice shake?” I was taken aback by the question Kimberly asked me as she brushed her bangs away from her face. “No, your voice didn’t shake,” I whispered. “Are you kidding me?” Kimberly, who omitted her last name for this interview, had every reason to be nervous. She had just descended from a stage after introducing the dean of a prominent graduate school to more than 200 guests. On the night of December 12, 2013, students, professionals, policy makers, and concerned citizens from all over Pennsylvania and New Jersey filed into the large meeting room of a cozy...

An Adoptee at the Baby Box

Young children filled the room, most under the age of 4. We positioned ourselves at low tables while they ate rice and soup and shared other dishes. I was hesitantly offered a pair of chopsticks and the privilege of helping to feed the girls. The boys sat at a separate table nearby and some from my group helped them. The children, all with special needs, ate at a table with one adult. There was nothing personal about it. While the children were sweet and adorable, the environment was more childcare center, less family. Who would these children call parents? Would...

Alternative Voice, Truths, and Knowledge of Critical Adult Adoptees

“How does it feel to be a problem?”—W.E.B. DuBois[1] “How does it feel to be the solution?”—Vijay Prashad[2] Nearly 100 years after DuBois posed his question in the seminal Souls of Black Folk (1903), Vijay Prashad, a South Asian historian and cultural critic, presented the latter question as a way to think about how South Asians in the United States are positioned as a model minority in relation to black Americans. From here, we can consider where the transracial/national adoptee who was an orphan, but now is uniquely positioned as an assimilated, model subject fits. From these thinkers we might...

Am I a Sellout? Why I Work for an Adoption Agency

When I was asked to contribute to Gazillion Voices, I knew it presented a great opportunity to begin bridging the gap between adoptee advocates and adoption agencies. The impetus for this article was based on my interactions with adult adoptees outside of the office and the seemingly inevitable issue of why I work for an adoption agency in the first place. It’s been clear there are some misgivings for anyone attached to Holt (the adoption agency I work for), and while some of it’s justified, there may be more to the story than meets the eye. Or it’s entirely possible...

Adoption Day and The First Day of School

A few days ago, as I stepped into an air-conditioned Target to purchase some toothpaste, I was abruptly reminded that summer was coming to a close and fall was rolling around the corner. I felt my heart drop to the pit of my stomach, and I caught myself gasping for air. What is always synonymous with the beginning of fall? School, of course. At my local Target store, I noticed the dollar shelves being lined with back-to-school junk and all of the bathing suits had red labels screaming, “Buy me! Summer is ending!” As my summer vacation period comes to...