Belonging Matters: Conversations on Adoption, Family, and Kinship by Julie Ryan McGue

Book Summary:

Belonging Matters supports the adoption community while creating a conversation with those not directly touched by adoption. The collection explores the pursuit of identity and the boundaries of family and kinship. It challenges the reader to embrace all of who we come to be, and to discern with whom and where we belong. Because belonging defines the human experience, and it is what nourishes our spirit, fuels us with purpose, and compels us to soar beyond the limitations of our lived experience.



5 Stars

In Belonging Matters: Conversations on Adoption, Family, and Kinship, Julie Ryan McGue records her experiences as an adoptee during the Baby Scoop Era. After a breast biopsy, questions about her health history prompted her to embark on a journey to find her birth parents. The information she and her twin sister discovered was beneficial, but she still lacked a true bond with her biological family. She speaks about the emotional difficulties and points to the adoption process during the middle of the twentieth century as a deterrent to healthy mental and emotional growth for adoptees. Additionally, McGue brings to light the stressors in beginning the search for biological relatives and the disappointment adoptees can face, even if biological families respond to their requests.

Julie Ryan McGue’s story relates to millions of people in America, and her work is sure to start many conversations. Adoptees who enter a loving home are left with a multitude of questions and feel an array of emotions about their biological family and their reasons for choosing adoption. McGue’s writings provide a link to other adoptees, giving them a sense of belonging, as her story reflects the circumstances of many adults who have been adopted. The author’s book is heartbreaking and outlines many social constructs most people take for granted, like feelings of connection at family reunions and holidays. Her views result from serious introspection and observation and are worthy of conscious evaluation. Belonging Matters is a great selection for an adoptee or a family member of an adoptee.

– Courtnee Turner Hoyle, Reader’s Favorite

About the Author:

Julie Ryan McGue is an American writer, a domestic adoptee, and an identical twin. She explores the topics of finding out who you are, where you belong and making sense of it. She is the author of two books: Twice a Daughter: A Search for Identity, Family, and Belonging, and Belonging Matters: Conversations on Adoption, Family, and Kinship. Her third book, a prequel to Twice a Daughter, is due to be released in October 2024.

Additional praise for Belonging Matters:

“McGue examines her own experience with adoption and reunion under the bright light of identity and belonging. The result forces a reconsideration of what it means to be placed for adoption, what it means to adopt, and, more broadly, what it means to fit within a family.”

– Jeff Hoffmann, author of Other People’s Children

“I was intrigued by the author’s sensitive perspective, impressed by her scope of knowledge, and found comfort in her heart-felt stories about what family means to her. Ultimately, I rejoiced in Julie’s hard-won wisdom as though it were my own.”– Carlyn Montes De Oca, award-winning author of Junkyard Girl: A Memoir of Ancestry, Family, Secrets, and Second Chances

“Whether you read this book from cover-to-cover or casually pick up the volume and choose a daily or random selection, your life will be enhanced as you realize the true meaning of family, belonging, and being loved.”

– Laurie Scheer, writing mentor/Instructor

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