Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School


First Advisor

Christine Stewart


memoir, adoption, creative writing


Adoption writings span across various forms, such as fiction, non-fiction, essays, poetry, theatre, and scholarly fields of study. While many of these adoption writings speak to the complexities of adoption, the general public still tends to see adoption “such a beautiful thing” to do—as the best plan for the child, a noble act, a selfless decision, and a solution to a long-standing social issue. This thesis explores the “literary adoption memoir”—artful writings about real life happenings; my contribution to this genre addresses the complexities of the closed adoption era, transnational/transracial adoption, and parenting an adoptee as an adult adoptee. For this project, I share my process and the theories that validate and inform my felt experiences as an adoptee and as an adoptive mom. I use the literary tools in the creative nonfiction genre to write not a mere record of events of my adoption, of adopting our daughter, of searching for my birth family. I offer pieces of creative nonfiction that represent my desire for a final project: a literary adoption memoir—a memoir of real life that borrows from the literary world, and a memoir that speaks to the complications in adoption—to loss, abandonment, belonging, identity, and rejection.

Library of Congress Subject Headings


Adoptive parents -- Biography


Includes bibliographical references (pages 88-90)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright