Book Review: An Adoptee Lexicon by Karen Pickell

Ohio adoptee and author, Karen Pickell’s new book is out. An Adoptee Lexicon reads fast, but don’t do it. The point is to savor these carefully chosen terms and phrases and think about their meanings. The book is styled as a series of vignettes and reflections about select words and Pickell’s personal associations when she encounters them. The focus is on how others comprehend these words and how she understands them from an adoptee perspective.

In everyday communication, all of us use a variety of vocabulary when projecting messages via speech, listening and writing skills. Using words like “mirror”, “first” or “normal” have connotations we all can generally relate to and are not wrong, but for an adopted person such terms take on more layers.

With each entry, Karen Pickell shares with the reader insights into her adoptee story and what being adopted has meant to her during different life stages. She shares researched facts about many sayings and words as they pertain to the “institution” of adoption.

My favorite segment of this book is the one entitled, “Mirror” in which Karen so eloquently and honestly describes how she once perceived herself and how she now sees herself after having her own children. Often, the only chance an adopted person has to connect with blood-related kin is if they have the opportunity to have and raise their own biological child(ren).

I hope every adoptee gets the chance to read and ponder over An Adoptee Lexicon. It’s unique in style, easy to follow and gets right to the point: What we say matters. How we think matters. Adopted people’s needs as adoptees matter.

An Adoptee Lexicon is available at Amazon.com in print and Kindle form.

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