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You Don't Look Adopted: A memoir

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  134 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Adoption can be tricky. It's a wonderful thing to be chosen, to be brought up by loving parents, but in order for this to happen, there has to be an initial abandonment, and this loss can settle like a seed of unease in the adopted person, quite possibly affecting the entirety of his or her life.
Anne Heffron, who'd been adopted at ten weeks old, embarked on a three-month
Kindle Edition, 162 pages
Published July 2nd 2016
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Anne Heffron I'm sorry for the delay in answering. I write about sex, so I would keep it for kids old enough to handle that kind of stuff. Sixteen seems young to m…moreI'm sorry for the delay in answering. I write about sex, so I would keep it for kids old enough to handle that kind of stuff. Sixteen seems young to me, but I think that might even be appropriate. Since your child is nine, I might consider looking at a therapist who specializes in adoption (and one who is adopted herself) for advice. Check out I love that you are looking for material on adoption for your child. So wonderful. xox(less)

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~The Bookish Redhead~
I'm usually on the look out for books that are based on adoption, as I am interested to learn how different birth mothers, adoptive parents and the adoptees have coped with something so significant in their lives. I think I may have mentioned this in another review, but I was adopted, at a rather young age, but unlike Anne Heffron, I have never met my birth mother, who is now in fact, deceased, or, my biological father. While I have really never had any interest in my biological father, there wa ...more
Sara Strand
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm giving this one a solid 4 stars, right out the gate. I'm not adopted but I was able to finally "get it". I never used to get it when people had a disconnect and never felt part of something because of their adoption, or maybe they just don't know one of their parents, because I have few memories of my dad. He didn't want us, he couldn't contribute, he was an alcoholic and that was more important. I eventually gained a step dad but I never felt like I was missing out, like a part of me is unf ...more
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing, important, powerful, impactful, funny, painful, vulnerable, open, honest and absolutely perfect.

I'm an adoptive father of two wonderful boys. Like most people we saw adoption as a miracle, a perfect solution to challenges life threw at people. Never did I consider there could be ill effects, downsides, challenges for my boys, issues of attachment. What could happen that I couldn't love away?

A lot, apparently.

This book, through its brilliantly written style, is a vital read
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
One of the most important things that reading can do is to put the reader into the shoes of another person. For the writer, it can be a cathartic experience, especially when she writes about her own life.

Screenwriter Anne Heffron was adopted at ten weeks of age and writes about how that has colored her entire life in You Don't Look Adopted. She begins her memoir by stating that for most of her life she has felt "both real and not real" because an infant is born "with a sense of self not separate
Carol Lindsay
I had really mixed feelings about this book. Anne's story is her story and her experience is hers alone so how I feel about her story is really of no consequence. Maybe I just don't want her to feel like she felt which is kind of a funny thing to feel. Here's my take away. My son is adopted, he is 9. He has two sisters who are 10 and 11 who were adopted (together) by a different family. There are other siblings adopted by other families as well. One we know (he was born after) but don't keep in ...more
Gwen Berndt Sojdelius
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adoption
My journey as an adoptee hasn’t been the same as Anne’s (mine contained more abuse from my adoptive family), and my actions and reactions have been different, too. And yet, there’s a solid core of issues which I recognize and honor in her story. Being adopted is hard. It has consequences for the adoptee, even though it was never something we asked for. Her memoir is definitely worth a read.

I frequently see Anne’s memes regarding adoption and being an adoptee on Facebook, and they’re always very
Jul 09, 2016 added it
I'm not adopted. But I know a lot of people who are. And now, because of Anne Heffron's book, I have a new understanding of the emotional complexities of that experience.

Anne's book is also about this: If there's a story you've always wanted to tell, tell it. If there's a book you've always wanted to write, write it. Don't let shame or societal rules or strictures get in your way. Don't suppress your truth. Do not let yourself be dismissed. One day you will die. Testify.

In the field of memoir, p
Amber Jimerson
If you follow Anne on social media or have listened to her excellent interviews on Adoptees On, you know the circumstances of this book and judging by some of the reviews, it’s important to know that going in. She’s openly admitted the errors and the whirlwind of writing and publishing this book and I believe she’s said she wouldn’t publish like this again and yet it was absolutely necessary she do it this way for herself.
So the quality aside, what she has to say is insightful. Having dealt with
Chris M.H
Jun 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographical
I think much of what is written in this book is both brave and honest.

It's put together in a non linear way which makes it quite hard to follow, jumping from early to late years frequently but it does work. What I liked most was her honesty about how much adoption can influence relationships with others and especially yourself. Anne doesn't try to hide any of the tough subjects, addressing abandonment, attachment and love issues throughout.

Her fear which she describes several times about being u
Jul 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book tugged at my heart strings - I immediately collared people I wanted to read sections to. I read some to people at a conference I was attending and whether adopted or not, whether they knew someone who had "given a child up for adoption" or had an adopted sibling; it opened their eyes. It opened mine. It opened my heart. Nothing is a simple as it seems- even the beneficent actions in our lives may have dark consequences. The important things in our lives have no simple solution. Read th ...more
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have pretty much every page dog eared. Very validating to read, at times painful, but overall positive.
Thank you for writing this book.
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Raw, real, and riveting. As an adoptive mom and an adoption social worker, I found Anne's story gripping. I see evidence of the emotions she experienced in the adoptees I know and love. I felt like a friend (mother, social worker) walking each step with her, feeling helpless and wishing I could help her avoid some of the pitfalls or take away her pain. I read most of the story through tears. I cheered at the end as she experiences her personal victories and begins to feel real...and to love hers ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was difficult to read, particularly with the horrible (if any) editing. The author's thoughts are scattered and circular, and the timeline of events is not linear. I don't mind flashbacks but it needs to support the story and not create confusion (which I feel occurred in this book). Despite all this, I think this book is worth a read. I was able to identify with some of her feelings and effects from being adopted. Not every adopted person experiences the same things but I could defini ...more
Ricki Treleaven
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Happy Monday, My Lovelies! Today I'm sharing with you a very important memoir written by Anne Heffron: You Don't Look Adopted. When this book became available to review via TLC Book Tours, I volunteered to read and review it because someone very special to me is adopted. I'm so happy I took the time to read this book even though it was a hard, emotional read. But I knew I was going to appreciate the book early on when Heffron quotes Joseph Campbell.

When it comes to adoption and Anne's feelings a
jo c leightner
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. So real and honest. The author jumps around a bit, as other reviewers have noted, but she gave a reason for choosing that style for her writing...that's the way her brain was working...and that style was perfectly fine with me. I am part of the adoptee triad in several ways so I recognize and identify with the author's thoughts and feelings. As an adoptive mother of two daughters, now 35 and 38 years old, I am still searching for information as to how being adopted has affecte ...more
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm an adoptee who has recently found my birth family so I'm making my way through adoption books to see how my story compares and to figure out how this all works. Ms. Heffron's experience is not like mine but I respect her story. Throughout much of the book, she's angry so I was glad to see the resolution at the end. It's clear that her adoption left her traumatized and she asserts that perhaps we all are in varying degrees. I suppose this depends on many factors, particularly how quickly we a ...more
Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
There are a lot of books available to readers regarding families and their journey of adopting a child, but this is the first memoir that I have come upon from the view of the individual who was adopted. I liked the way the book was constructed with titled passages. Consequently, more then not Anne Heffron’s story of being adopted was saddening though at times there is joy and happiness. As a reader, I learned a lot about what it means to be adopted. Although, it was only one individual's story ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Yes, I am adopted and yes, I had/have many similar feelings, fears and fury as Anne.
I am happy for her to have made it through a most difficult book to write and happy for some of her readers who will gather strength and understanding from her story.
Aside from the editing, the other hard part for me was mention of Woody Allen. Even though it was in reference to a movie, it sort of felt like a punch to the gut seeing that name in a book about adoption.
I will share this book with people who mi
Mar 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ruth Monnig
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Finally, someone who understands!

Serendipitously, I found this book and felt connected to it immediately. It has taken me a lifetime to recognize and acknowledge the myriad of feelings I have had toward my adoption. Anne has captured this. I feel like we had the same life. No one is perfect, and everyone struggles, and many adoptees, as they go through life, can’t make sense of it all. This isn’t just one woman’s story, it is a series of snapshots and adult reflections on what it feels like to g
Sharon Dukett
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book because I was about to attend a Write or Die class with the author. I am not adopted, nor do I have adopted children, but I do have adopted friends. This book goes deep and you feel you are climbing right inside the authors body, heart and brain as she takes you through her life’s journey of understanding abandonment and how it manifests throughout her life, and moving to healing. Many of us will recognize parts of ourselves on her pages even though for different reasons.
A beau
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
The format was a bit distracting for me. It's told as a collection of observations and anecdotes so it hops around a bit and seems a bit disjointed. Plus there were times I wanted to read more but no story was more than a couple of pages at most. On the flip side, that helped make it a really quick read.

This book is so raw and emotional that it's tough to read at times because the author's pain comes through on every page. Anyone who cares about an adopted person should read it.
Micah Visser
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Required reading for any adoptive parent.

This book is written in a style that makes it easy to read though the subject matter will tear at your heart and make you cry.

The author is honest, vulnerable, and shares her story as it happens. She’s not pretending to be put together, finished, fully healed, but her journey is one of healing and wholeness.

This is a beautiful book.
Sara Baker
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reading this book helped me have a better understanding of how my own adopted sons may feel, even if they themselves are not aware of it. The book was a little tough to read, the author jumped around and told odd details about some things, and was a bit fragmented. But the did author acknowledge that was part of her journey, trying to sort through her own thoughts and emotions. This is definitely a book for adults due to language and sexual relationships, etc.
Joanna Morganelli
Thought this was an interesting title, as we have 2 adopted children. The first half of the book was very insightful as an adoptive mother. I love Anne Heffron's insights that when you read and think about them, you have a big ' Aha moment'. Helpful for those wanting to understand more about what an adoptee might think and feel
Diana Dewey
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Every adoptive parent, person, therapeutic caregiver, even teachers should read this book. Kids don’t come with a manual, but here is some insight into a mind and the thoughts racing inside an adopted person that can help make sense of the person you love.
Feb 04, 2017 added it
Having two people in my immediate family that are adopted, I was drawn to this book. I don't really want to review or rate a personal experience, but I felt like the first half of the book was a little hard to get through. Then it seemed a bit more cohesive, and then it was over. I did have a few aha moments where I felt like I understood a few things better about what it means to be adopted, especially in relation to those I know to be adopted. I think it was an important story for the author t ...more
Gayle Swift
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In You Don’t Look Adopted Anne writes about many struggles within her family. One that will ring familiar to most adoptive moms is how she projected birth-mother anger and fear of abandonment onto her adoptive mother. Anne says she had a compelling yet unspoken need for her mother to reassure her that she “was going to hold on no matter how ugly or disagreeable I got. She wasn’t leaving.” These thoughts offer precious insight to those currently in the parenting trenches.
We parents often lament t
Kayla Finch
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A deep, and a bit dark at parts, read to start the summer with, but I related to every last page so much, I couldn’t put it down. I have to think on it more before I write a detailed review, as well as continue my journey with discovering my roots. Highly recommend reading this perspective as a way to gain perspective to the mind of an adoptee.
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely fantastic read for those who are adopted, and those wanting to understand what might be going on in their adopted friends' or loved ones' heads.

Thank you, Anne, for sharing your story. <3
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