Part 2: Interview with Julie Ryan McGue, Author of Belonging Matters

Introducing “Belonging Matters: Conversations on Adoption, Family, and Kinship” by Julie Ryan McGue

“Belonging Matters” is a book that addresses adoption and its impact on identity, family, and kinship. It encourages readers to contemplate the significance of belonging in shaping personal experiences and relationships. The book supports the adoption community while engaging those outside it in meaningful conversations about acceptance and inclusion. Ultimately, it highlights the importance of belonging in enriching our lives and driving us toward fulfillment.

Buy the book here!

  • Can you describe the writing process that you employed in compiling the narratives and insights presented in “Belonging Matters”?

The essays in this collection were compiled over a ten-year period. Each deal with aspects of closed adoption, my adoption search and reunion, and stories relating to identity and belonging within my immediate and extended family. The pieces were published either on my blog, in the monthly column I write for a local newspaper, or in anthologies, periodicals, journals, or E-magazine sites.

  • What considerations did you take into account in ensuring that “Belonging Matters” engages both the adoption community and readers unfamiliar with adoption experiences?

As mentioned above, each essay in this book is meant to stand alone. I address my own adoption experience as a closed adoption adoptee and identical twin who entered the adoption search and reunion process. I use personal anecdotes to convey the complexities of the adoption experience for those not touched by adoption. Many essays describe the pros and cons of having embarked along the uncertain path of search and reunion, as well as the joys and heartaches that emerged. For those not touched by adoption, I discuss what it feels like to grow up without a sense of who my birth parents were or the reasons I was placed for adoption.

  • How does “Belonging Matters” approach adoption and its impact on identity?

Adoption is a system that deprives an individual of knowing all the truths about themselves, as well as the privilege of being raised with birth relatives. As a result, an adoptee struggles to understand themselves fully. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle where integral pieces are lost. One cannot accurately discern the whole picture and so the search for identity is a struggle–perhaps a lifelong process.

Click here for part 3!