Members of Holt’s first-ever adult adoptee writing group gathered to explore texts written by other adoptees, and dive deep to document their own reflections and experiences.
It was the first meeting of Holt’s first adult adoptee writing group. We gathered through our Zoom screens, some keeping their cameras on while others remained off. As the group leader, I knew the step-by-step plan for each session, but also hoped it would be a memorable experience as the first group of its kind at Holt. I created this program using inspiration from past writing groups I had participated in, and out of a passion for writing about adoption as an adoptee — and I hoped it would bring interest and introspection to the group.
We read passages from “Found” by Jennifer Lauck, “All You Can Ever Know” by Nicole Chung and “The Primal Wound” by Nancy Verrier. A writing prompt followed the reading of each passage.
The first meeting started with us each introducing ourselves and sharing about why this group piqued our interest. Some adoptees wanted an environment where they could focus on their writing, others were interested in the process of writing as a form of self-expression and some group members were looking forward to being in community with fellow adoptees. After listening to the passage together and hearing the prompt that we would respond to, each of us entered our own world to write about what spoke to us the most.
My hope in leading this workshop was to allow adult adoptees the space in which to process their thoughts and think deeply about the works we read from during the session, as part of a virtual community. For me, writing has always served as a cathartic process — one that allows me to think critically about a situation, but also bring forth compassion and curiosity around the topic. I’m able to reflect upon my thoughts, feelings, emotions and find that this occurs within an open space, free of judgment and full of humanity.
Some of the topics participants reflected on were things like growing up as the only person of color in a white community and feeling love for their adoptive family along with sadness and grief about disconnection from their birth country and birth family.
As a past participant in other writing groups, both virtual and in person, I’ve found that the accountability from other group members helps me write. I show up, they show up and everyone has a reason to share their story. Some of us may want to share it with the world, or even just a few people. We seek an empathetic, understanding, thoughtful and curious audience to share it with.
In the adult adoptee writing group, the aim is to provide this opportunity to adoptee writers. The unique space allows for creativity, to sit in community over our computer screens, knowing that we’re dedicated to the same goal: thinking about our adoption story through a creative writing lens.
“Thank you so much for holding this space!” one of the participants told me. We enjoyed our time in community with one another, learning from each other, and considering how writing could be used as a tool for processing our stories and experiences.
Each book chosen for the sessions served as a starting point to get our thoughts on paper. From there, we decided which way their words would take us, and how far we’d dive to find out what lies inside our hearts and minds.