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...

Adopteephobia

What if I am not missing a person, place, or thing? Rather, I am denied the words that are shaping my life. The absence of these words is no less heartbreaking than the loss of my first family, culture, and language. However, these words can interrupt, resist, and heal the undeniable sickness of adoption trauma. Therefore, in an effort to stop missing that which cannot be replaced, I am calling out ADOPTEEPHOBIA. ADOPTEEPHOBIA [uh-dop-tee-foh-bee-uh] (n.) The irrational fear and hatred of adoptees. Origin: White supremacy, patriarchy, class subordination, disability injustice, Christian hegemony. ADOPTEEPHOBIA [uh-dop-tee-foh-bee-uh] (n.) The pervasive, restrictive, and deadly...

Adoptees on the Power, Peril and Promise of Ongoing Reunion, Part II of III

Ji In Lugtu: On the Artificiality of First Meeting, The Immense Challenge of Translating Opposite Emotional Realities, The Myth of Closure We begin this second installment with Ji In Lugtu, a 37-year-old writer, editor and mom living in the Seattle area. Lugtu’s reunion with her birth family happened in 2002 during her first trip back to Korea. I was twenty-six at the time and going through a lot of identity stuff. I was out on my own working. It was a time when I was just getting a feel for where I wanted to go in my career and in...

Acknowledgements, Preface, & Chapter 1

Hank Aaron’s Daughter: Acknowledgements, Preface, & Chapter 1 Cover by Christopher Harrison Acknowledgements So many people and communities have supported the evolution and development of this project, and I am deeply indebted to each and every one of them. Thank you to all my readers, whose candor and encouragement kept me going even when I was sure all the narrative threads would not come together: Karen Hausdoerffer, Christopher Cross, Kenna Cottman, Tayari Jones, Dana Johnson, Tony Ardizzone, Sarah Park Dahlen, Elaine Kim, Kathy Solomon, Evelyn Fazio, the first commercial editor who really “got” the story, believed in its potential, and...