Pre-Release Review of “The Declassified Adoptee: Essays of an Adoption Activist”
“Amanda Transue-Woolston’s book The Declassified Adoptee does an expert job of combating some of the widely held beliefs about adoption that stigmatize or otherwise harm many adopted people. Showing what she has learned from a persistent search for her birth records, it is full of love for both her adopted and her first family; she proves that honesty and valuing knowledge about heredity need not be a threat to adoptive parents. “The forces nature and nurture in my life are not opposed to each other; they are both irreplaceable parts of who I am. . . . My genes–my nature–are not bad. My genes are not a foe to be conquered but rather resources to be nurtured.” Her emphasis on the diversity of adoptees’ experiences is an important observation, well expressed; telling us about her own experiences, she deflates some frequently evoked stereotypes. As a social worker, she argues against the dishonesty of some agencies’ policies as well as that of the closed birth record policy of her state; however, her essay “Am I Adopted At Work?” shows how she appropriately puts her clients’ welfare above discussing her own experience in a professional setting.
This is a wise and readable book, helpful for adoptees or for anyone who has or will have an adoptee as a friend, client, co-worker, or family member.”
–Marianne Novy, Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, author of Reading Adoption: Family and Difference in Fiction and Drama, adoptee, and coordinator of Pittsburgh Consortium for Adoption Studies.