March 2021: Adoptee Authors


**This is a recording of our March 2021 We the Experts event.**

As adoptees, we find our own ways of expressing ourselves and our lived experiences. This month, we will hear from four incredible adoptees who have put their words on the page and written about their perspectives in:

– Fiction

– Nonfiction

– Academic research and writing

– Personal memoir

Join us to learn how these adoptee authors have successfully navigated the art of sharing their work through written expression.


Garon Wade was born in Sri Lanka in 1985, two years into the civil war, and adopted at ten-months-old by a family from the U.S who were living in Colombo, Sri Lanka at the time. Due to his adoptive parents’ aid work, Garon grew up in South Africa, Hawaii, The Gambia, Jamaica, Louisiana, and Jordan. He has a degree in Political Science from the University of Texas at Austin and is a graduate of the US Aeronautical Academy. Garon is a former TV reporter and current air traffic controller. Garon and his husband have adopted two sons, one from The United States and one from South Africa. His memoir, You’ll Always Be White To Me, comes out July 21th. When asked why he wanted to be on this panel he said, “I’ve never been on a panel with other adoptees before and I’m grateful for the opportunity to both learn from their experiences and relay some of my own.” 

Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, activist, and the author of See No Color (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015), and Dream Country (Dutton, 2018) young adult novels that won Minnesota Book Awards in 2016 and 2019. See No Color is still the only YA novel about a Black adoptee, written by an adoptee (that we know of). Gibney is faculty in English at Minneapolis College, where she teaches writing. A Bush Artist and McKnight Writing Fellow, her new novel, Botched, explores themes of transracial adoption through speculative memoir (Dutton, 2022). Shannon is  thrilled to be on this panel because “something magical happens whenever adoptees gather and share our experiences *as* adoptees”.

Karen Pickell is the author of An Adoptee Lexicon, a collection of micro essays. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Raised Voice Press, an independent micro press publishing creative nonfiction, and the founding editor of Adoptee Reading, an online catalog of books for adopted people. She holds a MA in professional writing from Kennesaw State University. Karen previously served as an editor for the Georgia Poetry Society, the literary journal Flycatcher, and the adoption blog Lost Daughters. She lives in Florida.Karen has a passion for amplifying adoptee voices and is excited to participate in this conversation with fellow adoptee authors.

Kimberly McKee, PhD is an associate professor in integrative, religious, and intercultural studies at Grand Valley State University. She is the author of Disrupting Kinship: Transnational Politics of Korean Adoption in the United States (University of Illinois Press, 2019) and co-editor of Degrees of Difference: Reflections of Women of Color on Graduate School (University of Illinois Press, 2020). She serves on the executive committee for the Alliance of the Study of Adoption and Culture. McKee received her Ph.D. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from The Ohio State University. McKee looks forward to discussing the various ways adoptees’ are engaging the public through their writings.

Alternative panelist: Maya Luque was adopted from China 26 years ago. She obtained her Bachelors degree in 2015 and her Masters degree in 2017. Maya has written and illustrated her book, The Heart Of The Matter, based on her experience with EMDR. Maya is excited to have an open and honest discussion about adoption and the process of creating books.


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