A Light in the Fog: Creative Writing About Adoption


Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing / American/Diaspora

Jerry Wemple (Bloomsburg University)

A recent article in The New Yorker discusses the “emotional aftermath” America’s 7 million adoptees face. The article uses the term “coming out of the fog” to describe an adoptee’s realization, sometimes triggered by an event in adulthood, about their situation and how it influences many aspects of their lives, especially personality and interactions with others. Adoptions were once secretive affairs, often with a birth mother signing away parental rights, and infants and children housed in institutions run by religious charities or the state until claimed by a couple. Contemporary adoption has many faces: open adoption, foster to adoption, transracial and international adoptions. Of course, further complicating the landscape, inexpensive DNA testing makes it possible for adoptees to locate biological families, with a variety of results. This panel asks poets and prose writers, especially adoptees, to share their work on adoption as a way of reflecting on and discussing this complex topic.

There are about 7 million adoptees in the United States. Panelists will read their original poetry and prose about their adoption experiences, with an eye toward trying to bring light to a complex stories that are often made more complex in a changing society.