Besides genre, what speaks to me in Kearney's books is how she navigates the confusing tangle of emotions an adoptee feels toward her adoptive family, her birth family, and ultimately toward herself. Her poems illustrate the hope and fear, grief and joy, bewilderment and enlightenment that I think most adoptees experience through the course of their lives. Here are a few lines from her poem "Rescued:"
Though my heart wheezed like a bagpipe, I was
saved by my skin: illegitimate but convent
white. I thank God for that, and for the man
who gave me his name. Do you blame me?
Betty Jean Lifton, including Rebecca Hawkes, Dorothy Sands, Cathy Heslin, and myself. Lifton penned three books for adult adoptees: Twice Born: Memoirs of An Adopted Daughter, Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience, and Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness. She also wrote two adoption books for children, I'm Still Me and Tell Me a Real Adoption Story. (Lifton died in 2010 at the age of 84.)