When We Become Ours: A YA Adoptee Anthology (Hardcover)

"An emotion-filled collection." —Kirkus Reviews

Two teens take the stage and find their voice . . .

A girl learns about her heritage and begins to find her community . . .

A sister is haunted by the ghosts of loved ones lost . . .

There is no universal adoption experience, and no two adoptees have the same story. This anthology for teens edited by Shannon Gibney and Nicole Chung contains a wide range of powerful, poignant, and evocative stories in a variety of genres.

These tales from fifteen bestselling, acclaimed, and emerging adoptee authors genuinely and authentically reflect the complexity, breadth, and depth of adoptee experiences.

This groundbreaking collection centers what it’s like growing up as an adoptee. These are stories by adoptees, for adoptees, reclaiming their own narratives. 

With stories by:

  • Kelley Baker
  • Nicole Chung
  • Shannon Gibney
  • Mark Oshiro
  • MeMe Collier
  • Susan Harness      
  • Meredith Ireland
  • Mariama J. Lockington
  • Lisa Nopachai
  • Stefany Valentine
  • Matthew Salesses
  • Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom
  • Eric Smith
  • Jenny Heijun Wills
  • Sun Yung Shin
  • Foreword by Rebecca Carroll
  • Afterword by JaeRan Kim, MSW, PhD

Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, activist, and the author of See No Color and Dream Country, young adult novels that won Minnesota Book Awards, as well the picture book Sam and the Incredible African and American Food Fight and the memoir/novel The Girl I Am, Was, and Never Will Be: A Speculative Memoir of Transracial Adoption. She coauthored the children's picture book Where We Come From. Gibney teaches writing in the English department at Minneapolis College. Visit her on Instagram @shannonelainegibney and Twitter @GibneyShannon. 



Nicole Chung is the author of the national bestseller All You Can Ever Know. Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, the Washington PostTime, and many other outlets, All You Can Ever Know was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, a semifinalist for the PEN Open Book Award, an Indies Choice Honor Book, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Chung's writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Time, GQ, Slate, and the Guardian. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in the Washington, DC, area.



Mariama J. Lockington is a transracial adoptee, author, and educator. She has been telling stories and making her own books since the second grade, when she wore shortalls and flower leggings every day to school. Mariama’s middle grade debut, For Black Girls Like Me, earned five starred reviews and was a Today Show Best Kids’ Book of 2019. Her sophomore middle grade book, In the Key of Us, is a Stonewall Honor Award book and was featured in the New York Times. Her debut young adult novel, Forever Is Now, came out in May 2023. Mariama holds a master’s in education from Lesley University and a master’s in fine arts in poetry from San Francisco State University. She calls many places home but currently lives in Kentucky with her wife, her little sausage dog, Henry, and an abundance of plants. You can find her on Twitter @marilock and on Instagram/TikTok @forblackgirlslikeme.



Meredith Ireland is a transracial adoptee attorney and writer born in Seoul. She is a Rollins College and University of Miami School of Law alumna. She writes young adult and children’s books. Her debut novel, The Jasmine Project, was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection and a Best Book of 2021 according to Boston Public Library and received a starred review from ALA Booklist. Her follow-up, Everyone Hates Kelsie Miller, was named a best book of 2022 by both Forbes and Seventeen magazine. Her short story is featured in You Are Here, a middle grade anthology and the inaugural title of Allida/Clarion. Emma and the Love Spell, her debut middle grade fantasy, will be out in winter 2024. Meredith resides in New York with her two children and a county fair goldfish that will probably outlive them all.



Mark Oshiro is the award-winning author of the young adult books Anger Is a Gift (Schneider Family Book Award) and Each of Us a Desert as well as their middle grade debut, The Insiders. They are also the coauthor (with Rick Riordan) of the #1 New York Times bestselling novel The Sun and the Star. When not writing, they are trying to pet every dog in the world. Visit them online at markoshiro.com.



Stefany Valentine first fell in love with writing when her elementary school teacher gave her an assignment to create a picture book and she ended up writing a twenty-page manuscript laced with misspelled words. Since then, she’s proudly graduated from writing stories about befriending orca whales to tales about the Taiwanese diaspora and existential sci-fi. Her debut novel, First Love Language, in which a Taiwanese adoptee reconnects with her heritage by learning Mandarin, will release in 2025. When not reading or writing, she can be found practicing Mandarin, stuffing her face with street tacos, and trying not to kill her plants. Again.



Eric Smith is a literary agent and young adult author from Elizabeth, New Jersey. His recent books include Don’t Read the Comments, You Can Go Your Own Way, and Jagged Little Pill: The Novel, written in collaboration with Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, and Glenn Ballard. Together with award-winning author Lauren Gibaldi, he’s coedited the anthologies Battle of the Bands and First-Year Orientation. He enjoys pop-punk, video games, and crying over every movie. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and son.



Kelley Baker is a transracial adoptee born in Colorado and raised in Northern California. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find her on Instagram @kelleydbaker.



MeMe Collier is a creative writing major turned resident physician who dabbles in various other arts as well, from sketching and painting to singing and writing music. She was raised by her incredible adoptive single mother and grandparents, and the passing of her mother after battling a brain tumor for ten years is a major influence on her desire to pursue medicine and the themes of loss and life afterward that she often explores in her writing. She tries to stay active in the adoptee community, having contributed to the ABC Adoptees Born in China podcast, research studies on how international adoptees form their identity, and a discussion panel with the 1882 Foundation. She has never been much for social media, but she has attempted to start a creativity-focused Instagram account and would be happy to chat. You can find her online by following word.doc96.



Susan Harness, author of Mixing Cultural Identities Through Transracial Adoption and the award-winning Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption, is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes as well as an American Indian transracial adoptee. She holds MAs in both cultural anthropology and creative nonfiction from Colorado State University.



Lisa Nopachai is a Mexican American transracial adoptee, born in Texas and raised in an Italian American family in New Jersey, where she fell in love with homemade ravioli and loud music. With a BA in psychology from Amherst College and an MA in intercultural studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, Lisa has worked in the fields of child advocacy, interdisciplinary research, and health-care chaplaincy. Lisa is passionate about creating spaces for people to engage their full range of emotions and process experiences of grief, beauty, pain, and joy. Lisa and her husband live in the Los Angeles area with their two lovely, imaginative kids.



Matthew Salesses was adopted from Korea when he was two. He has written about adoption, race, and grief for NPR, the New York Times, the Guardian, VICE, and other publications. He is the author of seven books of fiction and nonfiction, including the writing guide Craft in the Real World and the PEN/Faulkner shortlisted novel Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear. He lives in New York with his two kids and is an assistant professor of writing at Columbia University.



Sun Yung Shin was adopted from Korea and was raised in the Chicago area. She is an award-winning multigenre author or editor of nine books for adults and children, including Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, coedited with Julia Chinyere Oparah and Jane Jeong Trenka. Her latest books are Where We Come From, a picture book coauthored with Diane Wilson, Shannon Gibney, and John Coy and illustrated by Dion MBD; The Wet Hex (poems); and the essay anthology What We Hunger For: Refugee and Immigrant Stories about Food and Family. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.



Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom was born in Busan, South Korea, and adopted to Sweden at age two. She is a comic book artist and illustrator and has published two graphic novels: Palimpsest (2016), an autobiographical account of the search for her Korean family, and The Excavated Earth (2022), which follows Chilean adoptees who were stolen and sold for adoption to Sweden. She is a vocal adoptee rights activist and a Swedish Korean Adoptees’ Network member, fighting for truth and justice for adoptees and first parents. Lisa lives in Aotearoa, New Zealand, with her partner, two children, and a cat. Follow her on Instagram at @chung.woolrim.



Jenny Heijun Wills is the author of the multiaward-winning memoir Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related (2019). She was born in Seoul and raised in a white family and community in Southern Ontario, Canada. She is currently professor of English and Chancellor’s Research Chair at the University of Winnipeg. She is the author of the forthcoming collection of personal essays Asian Adopted Queer Hungry (2024) as well as coeditor of two academic books.

Product Details ISBN: 9780063144408
ISBN-10: 0063144409
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 24th, 2023
Pages: 352
Language: English

"An emotion-filled collection." — Kirkus Reviews

"Nicole and Shannon have done something incredible here: brought together a group of incredibly talented writers to speak to an experience we so rarely see reflected in young adult literature. This anthology is as engaging as it is healing—a must-have for every classroom." — Leah Johnson, bestselling author of You Should See Me In a Crown



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