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Reviewed by Courtnee Turner Hoyle for Readers' Favorite
In Belonging Matters: Conversations on Adoption, Family, and Kinship, Julie Ryan McGue records her experiences as an adoptee during the Baby Scoop Era. After a breast biopsy, questions about her health history prompted her to embark on a journey to find her birth parents. The information she and her twin sister discovered was beneficial, but she still lacked a true bond with her biological family. She speaks about the emotional difficulties and points to the adoption process during the middle of the twentieth century as a deterrent to healthy mental and emotional growth for adoptees. Additionally, McGue brings to light the stressors in beginning the search for biological relatives and the disappointment adoptees can face, even if biological families respond to their requests.
Julie Ryan McGue's story relates to millions of people in America, and her work is sure to start many conversations. Adoptees who enter a loving home are left with a multitude of questions and feel an array of emotions about their biological family and their reasons for choosing adoption. McGue's writings provide a link to other adoptees, giving them a sense of belonging, as her story reflects the circumstances of many adults who have been adopted. The author's book is heartbreaking and outlines many social constructs most people take for granted, like feelings of connection at family reunions and holidays. Her views result from serious introspection and observation and are worthy of conscious evaluation. Belonging Matters is a great selection for an adoptee or a family member of an adoptee.