Rooted in Adoption: A Must Read for Adoptees and Families Impacted by Adoption


Book review of Rooted in Adoption: A Collection of Adoptee Reflections

Giveaway for this book at the end of this review!

One thing is true, adoption affects each adoptee differently, and every adoptee has a story to tell that is rooted in adoption, whether it is a joyful story or a challenging one. However, what is common amongst most adoptees is the experience of adoption trauma regardless if the adoptee had a positive experience or a negative one.

Trauma was a reoccurring theme in the collection of stories. The collection of adoptee reflections from adoptees adopted domestically, internationally, transracially, and from foster care serves as a chicken soup for the soul for adoptees and learning aid for adoptive parents, birth parents, and those wanting to understand the adoptee experience straight from the source.

Rooted in Adoption opens up with internationally renowned public speaker, author, and Licensed Professional Counselor, Jules Alvarado, sharing insight on adoption trauma and the adoptee experience. In the book, she shares the most profound words that perfectly describe what it has been like for me growing up and harboring my feeling of being adopted. I always had a fear of upsetting my adoptive mom and being ungrateful, and the fear that no one would understand my grief and loss.

“Adoptees know that only another adoptee really gets it, so they put their emotions, their feelings, and their stories away. They hide them in an effort to protect. A long, heavy, and dark shadow is cast on the voice of the adoptee. Click To Tweet

The voice of the adoptee is silenced.” – Jules Alvarado, MA, LPC

I am confident many adoptees can relate. What Jules shared is the reason why I repeatedly tell adoptive parents not to speak for adoptees because many of us have grown up putting our stories and feelings away from our adoptive parents. However, once we are in safe spaces amongst adoptees only, we often share very different feelings about being adopted than what we share with our adoptive parents.



Personal thoughts

Before I sit down to read a book, I always take out my highlighter in case I come across a few good points that I’d like to remember or share with others on Instagram, Twitter, or my Facebook group. While reading Rooted in Adoption, I found myself highlighting sentence after sentence from cover to cover. Each adoptee said something significant that stood out to me or resonated with me.

As I read each story, I found a piece of myself in every adoptee. I felt validated and no longer confused about some emotions and experiences that I wrestle with from time to time. I felt empowered by the stories of resilient adoptees that have found purpose in their pain and hope to continue healing. There is something magical and therapeutic about feeling seen and being connected to voices that validate our experiences and give us hope to continue on our journey of healing.

Rooted in Adoption is a reminder that no matter what we have been through, we aren’t alone.


I Am Adopted Approved

The authors of Rooted in Adoption, Veronica Breaux and Shelby Kilgore, did an excellent job of highlighting the array of experiences from adoptees. The book shared stories of adoptees that grew up in healthy and loving families, to stories of adoptees that endured abuse, neglect, and trauma, to the stories of successful and failed reunions, to stories of hope and resiliency. Though there is much to learn from positive and challenging experiences, the latter, in my opinion, is something we really need to spend time reading more about and learning from. I am a firm believer that by listening to the voices of adult adoptees that have struggled with being adopted is key to learning how to be better adoptive parents and advocates for adoptees.


Quotable moments from adoptees


“Yes, I was truly lucky. My family never hid my adoption from me, never made me feel out of place in our family, always wanted to hear my thoughts and opinions about being adopted, and supported me even after I became a legal adult.”


“Adoption used to be the thing that made me special and unique. It was my party trick, the story I told that I knew people would find fascinating. I think I felt that way because I grew up hearing my parents share my story, seeing everyone’s responses, and enjoying the attention. Now, I see my adoption as a source of trauma.”

“Over the years, there was always a hole, a piece missing, and I knew that it was because I was adopted. For years, I was very angry that I wasn’t allowed to know who my parents were. While adoption was not a forbidden topic, I was admonished to be careful in searching because “More than likely, I was a secret and I wouldn’t want to ruin

anyone’s life.” This just reinforced the feeling that my very existence was bad.”



Each story in Rooted in Adoption begins with a quote that shapes the story. A few of my favorite quotes were:

“The deepest pain I ever felt was denying my own feelings to make everyone else comfortable.” Nicole Lyons

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” Carl Jung

“Tell the children the truth.” Bob Marley

“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage— to know who we are, and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is … the most disquieting loneliness.” Alex Haley

“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal someone else.” Iyanla Vanzant


Final thoughts

Rooted in Adoption has earned a place in my heart as one of my favorite reads. It is a book that every adoptee, adoptive and birth parents (especially prospective adoptive parents), and adoption and mental health professionals need to read and keep on their shelf. As an adoptee, this is a book that I will pick up time and time again when I need to feel less alone, comforted, and heard.

I will close this review with a quote from Rooted in Adoption from Jules Alvarado:

“Many well-intended adoptive parents with whom I work get stuck on the behaviors of their child, not yet willing or ready to understand from the child’s perspective. The parents are tired, worn out, and confused. So, too, are the children.

We are complicit in the trauma of adoption if we do not learn to listen to the adoptee in whatever language he or she speaks.” Click To Tweet

We are complicit in the trauma of adoption if we do not learn to listen to the adoptee in whatever language he or she speaks.”

Listen to adoptees, primarily adult adoptees that, through time and experience, have learned the vocabulary and gained the confidence and courage to express their true feelings about being adopted. Click To Tweet

Listen to every adoptee experience, not just the feel-good stories the world loves to share.



Enter to win a paperback copy of Rooted in Adoption by leaving a comment answering one of these questions:

Adoptees: Sum up your adoption story in three words.

Everyone else: What have you learned from listening to adult adoptees?

I will choose one winner randomly. Giveaway winner will be announced on May 1st, 2020.

I will also be having Kindle version giveaways on my Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. You can enter on all platforms for a chance to win.


Click here to order your copy of Rooted in Adoption on Amazon.


Check out my Top 5 Adoption Trauma Books list here. 


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Jessenia Parmer
Jessenia Parmer
I'm Jessenia. I am an adult adoptee with 10 years of experience advocating and fostering relationships with adoptees, and over five years of experience teaching adoptive parents how to have a successful and genuine relationship with their adopted child.


  1. M says:

    Three words to sum up my adoption

    “Taken, helpless, broken”

    • Hi, M. Thank you for sharing/entering. My heart hurts for you reading what you’ve shared 😢. Please hang in there.

      I want you to know that though you may feel helpless and broken on your journey, your brokenness or broken pieces can be put back together into something beautiful. And though you may feel helpless at times, you are capable, strong, and powerful.

      Hang in there, M. Big hugs to you 💓

  2. Lynette says:

    I have learned that adoptee voices and experiences need to be my main source in understanding adoption. It is an honour to learn from them. I am very grateful for what they share.

  3. Anne Cooper says:

    The 3 words I would use to sum up adoption are:-
    Longing for home

    • Hi, Anne. Thank you for sharing. So many of us adoptees can relate to longing for home. Hearing your three words reminded me of one of my blogs I had years ago titled “Which Way is Home”.

  4. Mary Pat Mitchell says:

    Three words??? lost, curious, found
    I’m very eager to read the book, I hope I win. Thanks.

    • Hi, Mary! Thank you for sharing your three words. You are the winner of the book! Please send me an email with your first and last name, let me know if you would prefer a paperback book or Kindle book. If you choose paperback, please provide me with a mailing address. Email me at jae.arias @ gmail. com

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