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You Don't Look Adopted: A memoir

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  161 ratings  ·  37 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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Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
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
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
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
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
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anne Heffron tells us it took her 93 days to write her book, but really it took a lifetime and she is to be commended for being able to complete it.

Being an adoptee and trying to write about the experience and the double edged sword of searching, is like choosing solitary confinement as a self help therapy. You go in thinking it would be a good idea and it can't be all that hard just to recount your story and then that being confronted with yourself that isn't your self or is it happens.
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.
Matt Hutson
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
When people tell their stories in an elegant and creative way like this one it makes for a very fascinating and informative read.

You Don't Look Adopted by Anne Heffron is a memoir about what life is like for an adopted person. Anne argues the fact that adoption for a lot of adoptees is actually a type of trauma. The author felt as though she was always going to be abandoned, in her relationships and even with her own child. Although other adoptees may experience their adoption in a different way
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
Caitlyn Williams
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have been on a bit of an adoption journey for the last three years. I am not an adoptee, but a foster parent who eventually adopted an 11 year after she came to us at 8 YO. This memoir confirmed all of my worst feelings about adoption - mainly that it is a trauma and that in the past I have been insensitive to adoptees.

What I enjoyed most about this memoir was that it was not preachy - Anne keeps that focus squarely on her experience and leaves it up to the reader to do with it what they will
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
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.
Alexandra Lecomte
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is an adventure, a hug and a friend! Anne wholeheartedly opened up her soul with what felt like zero fear of judgment. It was raw, it was unforgettable and everything I needed right now.
I found this book through a podcast for adoptees, adoptees on. As an adopted person myself, I found this book very comforting. It was able to put words to feelings I could not articulate for as long as I can remember. This book made me laugh made me cry and really made me feel less alone.
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 ...more
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 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, read-in-2021
I can't relate to all the author felt, but I did see myself in various places in the book. Very interesting book, and if you were adopted, I recommend this! ...more
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