This weekend was an international adoption triple-feature for me.

1. First, while killing time at a bookstore, I found this new memoir about a Taiwanese-adoptee. Lucky Girl is written by Mei Ling Hopgood.I bought the book, because…well, I want to support all adoptee-produced narratives. Although I have to say, my inclination is to hate it because of the title. I just feel like it sets up the story in a very specific way. Although who knows, it could be ironic or sarcastic -  but after reading the first two chapters, it is clear the title reflects the author's assessment of her experience.Adoptive parents are going to love this book and say all kinds of wonderful things about it because it is not an "angry adoptee" book. Here is a trailer for the book. And here is her website.

What I disliked were reviews of her book like this one:

"Refreshingly resistant to the 'primal wound' theories of old,
Mei-Ling Hopgood navigates the parallel terrains of her identity not
out of a need to heal or fill a void
, but driven by a journalist's
quest for the truth
. She withstands the pressure and confusion of
multiple loyalties, connections, and destinies with humor, sensitivity,
and great candor, and in exploring her two worlds, comes to understand
them both, and herself, more fully." – Sarah Saffian, author of Ithaka: A Daughter's Memoir of Being Found

Yeah. Because that primal wound stuff is "old" and stale.

2. Then, I saw a movie preview for Gigantic, about a single man who is adopting from China. In the story synopsis it states,

Unfulfilled by his work he spends a good portion of his day pursuing his goal of someday adopting a baby from China.

Official movie site here. See the trailer here.

3. And then this morning was this article in my local paper. 

South Korea at the Mall of America

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

6 thoughts

  1. Jae-Ran: *deep breath* I don’t want to feel like I’m trying to surpass an Adoptee’s Rite Of Judgment by defending a book and not offending you. My reaction was much the same as yours when I first heard the title. All I could think about was, “Oh my god. The APs are going to go crazy over this just because of the word ‘lucky’ and it’s going to undoubtedly create a bias even before they’ve read it!”
    I didn’t like the title, not at all. I then contacted Mei-Ling herself and I received a copy of the book.
    And I read it. Sorry, I’m just trying to think of words to express it without spoiling it or influencing anyone else that might be reading here.
    I’ve read the entire thing and plan to reread it. I still don’t like the title, but I can completely agree why she chose it. It’s not because of the adoption myths, nor is it because her adoptive parents told her she was lucky to have been adopted. In all honesty, I believe the title actually fits the book. Let me just say this: nothing in the book is as it first seems to be.
    That is why I say the title fits the book.
    There are chapters I like, and others I vehemently disagree with. 3/4 of my way through the book, she does adress the adoptee “blogosphere” indirectly, mentioning the controversy about all sorts of adoption-related things, but then just seems to brush over it. It’s not that she invalidates it, but more or less conveys that she doesn’t feel it’s significant enough to explore beyond a paragraph or two. And that bothered me, because it’s going to set up APs to think, “Well there are bad aspects in adoption but it’s really just what you make of it, isn’t it?”
    And I think that sets up some APs to believe they can “rest and relax.” I strongly disagree with that and think she should have addressed it more. I e-mailed her and told her my thoughts, and hey: we didn’t really debate about it. We just have different ways of looking at it.
    So I suppose what I’m saying is: don’t let the title fool you.

  2. Mei-Ling, I appreciate your response a lot, because it actually confirms what I hoped; that the book would offer a much more complex story than what the title says. So, I’m going to read with an open mind, and don’t worry about offending me. There’s a lot of room for differences!

  3. Oh good, you didn’t scold me! 😛 (I’m joking about the scolding part)
    Seriously though, the reference to the book’s title is repeated throughout the book a few times, which is what I didn’t like. BUT – but based her history, on her Taiwanese family’s history and the way she perceived *her* adoption, I’d say it fits. Definitely.
    And that’s exactly what I said to her: “In the beginning, I didn’t like your book title at all. I respect that you chose it, because it’s *your* book, but I didn’t like it. And after reading it? I can completely understand and even agree as to why you chose it.”

  4. As an AP I greatly dislike the use of “lucky” as a label. It wasn’t until I finished the entire the book did I understand why Ms. Hopgood choose the title Lucky Girl. Her reasoning was unexpected and not in direct reference to her IA.

  5. Michele, very true. I went into reading it with a bit of caution, but as the story progressed, I found myself nodding more and more.
    The title seems to be directly influenced by her life experience as opposed to a reflection of IA as a whole.

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