Poetry: it inevitably relates to -- among others -- identity, history, culture, class, race, community, economics, politics, power, loss, health, desire, regret, language, form and genre disruption, love ... as well as the absences thereofs. The same may be said about Adoption.

Friday, November 4, 2016


Over time, this blog will feature poets presenting the many varied face(t)s of the adoption experience, and how such has affected (or not) their poetry. This blog is open to any variety of the adoption experience, including but not limited to poets who've adopted a child(ren), adopted poets, poets with adopted siblings and/or other adopted relatives, poets who've experienced disruptions (failed adoptions), poets who feel they've de facto adopted regardless of whether they've done the legal documentation, poets who've given up a child(ren) for adoption, poets with parents who were adopted (or not), even poets who've been impacted by other people's adoption experiences ... and so forth. We are open to exploring positive and negative experiences, as well as the uncertain and/or unresolved.

Here are the participating poets listed in alphabetical order of last name; the list will be updated over time as more poets participate. Click on the poet's name to read their contribution. Also next to the poets' names will be the months their entries were posted; this should allow readers over time to determine new entries since their last visits (the date of this "Home" post also is updated whenever there's a new contribution):

Kate Adams April 2011
(daughter of attorney Philip Adams (1905-1997) who completed over 5,000 adoptions in his career and was a founding member of the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers)

Ned Balbo March 2011
(placed as a baby with his birth mother's sister and raised as her son)

Jim Bennett May 2011
(in England, was adopted as a baby. as a parent, adopted two children)

Jim Benz April 2011
(was adopted as an infant domestically in the U.S.    brother to adopted sister)

Peter Boskey May 2011
(was adopted as a baby from Korea by U.S.-American parents. brother to two siblings who were both also adopted as babies from Korea)

Nick Carbo March 2011
(in the Philippines, was adopted as an infant. later, his parents adopted his biological younger sister)
Margaret Carruthers February 2014
(in Scotland, was adopted as a baby)
Sunu P. Chandy May 2011
(awaiting final government and court approvals in India in order to complete adoption of an 18 month old baby girl from South India)

Cathryn Cofell February 2012
(adopted an infant son from the Philippines)

Mary Anne Cohen April 2011
(surrendered baby son for adoption and is an adoption reform activist)

Dana Collins March 2011
(was adopted as a baby from Korea by U.S.-American parents. sister to adopted brother)

Linda M. Crate February 2012
(adopted as a teen by a stepfather)

Trace A DeMeyer September 2012
(adopted as an infant within the U.S., out of a Native American reservation)
Mary Krane Derr May 2011
(had four near misses, from different angles, with adoption. was a maternity services & adoption social worker)

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers April 2011
(in South Africa, was adopted at 9 months)

Jennifer Kwon Dobbs April 2011
(was adopted by U.S.-American parents)

Marcella Durand March 2011
(adopted an infant domestically within the U.S.)

Carrie Etter June 2011
(was adopted at two weeks old; at age 17, gave up son for adoption)

CB Follett April 2011
(adopted two baby boys and one baby girl domestically within the U.S.)
Alex M. Frankel February 2015
(given up for adoption at birth in the U.S.) 
Samantha Franklin April 2011
(was adopted as a baby domestically in the U.S.)

Paula Friedman January 2012
(the reunited birthmother of one son who was given up for adoption as a baby) 
Denise Kingdom Grier September 2012
in the U.S., adopted at age 7 out of foster care)
Lee Herrick March 2011
(was adopted as a baby from Korea by U.S.-American parents. brother to adopted sister. as a parent, adopted baby from China)

Danni Ingle August 2012
(in the U.S., gave up a baby daughter for adoption)
Karen G. Johnston May 2011
(in the U.S., fostered, then adopted a son and daughter)
Joy Katz April 2011 
(adopted a baby boy from Vietnam)
Martha King June 2011
(grandmother to two children adopted domestically in the U.S.)

Michele Leavitt March 2011
(was adopted as an infant domestically in the U.S.)

Jeffrey Thomas Leong November 2011
(father was adopted; adopted a baby girl from China)

Dana R. LePage April 2011
(was adopted as a baby in Korea by U.S.-American parents. sister is also Korean adopted while not biologically related)

Leza Lowitz May 2011
(in Japan, adopted a two-year-old son)

Duduzile Mabaso December 2011
(in South Africa, was adopted as a baby)

Amanda Mason March 2011
(adopted an 11-year-old boy from Colombia)

Laura McCullough April 2011
(adopted two children from Taiwan)

Leslie McGrath May 2011
(adopted a baby girl from Korea)

Sharon Mesmer March 2011
(sister to adopted sibling)

Carol Moldaw April 2011
(adopted a baby girl from China)

Roy Moller-Part 1 July 2013
(was adopted as an infant in Scotland) 
Roy Moller-Part 2 November 2016
(was adopted as an infant in Scotland) 
Allison Moreno March 2011
(was adopted as a baby domestically in the U.S.    sister to two adopted brothers)

Giavanna Munafo April 2011
(was adopted as a 6-week-old domestically in the U.S.    sister to adopted brother)

Christina Pacosz March 2011
(gave up infant daughter for adoption)

Penny Callan Partridge May 2011
(was adopted domestically in the U.S.    adopted a daughter and son. co-founded Adoption Forum in Philadelphia and is former President of the American Adoption Congress)

Karen Pickell May 2011
(was adopted as a baby domestically in the U.S.    sister to an adopted brother. has two adopted stepchildren, one of whom was adopted from Korea)

Elaine Randell July 2011
(as a psychotherapist and social worker, has worked with families and/or placed children in adoption)
Mirah Riben March 2013
(birth mother who lost her first child to adoption)
Martina Robinson April 2011
(honorary auntie to friends' adopted children)

Judith Roitman March 2011
(was half-adopted. adopted two baby boys domestically within the U.S.    relatives also adopted)

Susan M. Schultz March 2011
(adopted 12-month-old boy (now 11 years old) from Cambodia and 3-year-old girl (now 9 years old) from Nepal. husband and a number of other relatives were adopted)

Michael D Snediker March 2011
(brother to a sister adopted as an infant from Korea. became close to someone who adopted a son from Vietnam)

Rosemary Starace March 2011
(was adopted as a baby domestically within the U.S.    three years later became sister to adopted brother)

Dee Thompson April 2011
(adopted 13-year-old girl from Russia. 3 years later, adopted 10-year-old boy from Kazakhstan)

kim thompson June 2011
(was adopted as a baby from Korea by U.S.-American parents)

Jan VanStavern April 2011
(was adopted as a baby domestically within the U.S.    sister to adopted brother. as a parent, adopted a 10-month-old girl from China)

Susan Van Sleet December 2012
(gave up infant daughter in a closed adoption)

Craig Watson March 2011
(adopted 1-year-old girl from Ecuador)

Michele Wolf May 2011
(adopted a baby girl from China)
We are always looking for more poets to participate in this project. Participants are asked simply to answer the following three questions:
What is your adoption experience?
How has the adoption experience affected your poetry?
Please share a sample poem(s) addressing (in part) adoption.

If you are a poet with adoption experience who would like to participate, feel free to email me at galateaten@gmail.com

Eileen R. Tabios
Curator, Poet & Adoptive Mom


Thursday, November 3, 2016


Roy Moller first participated in Poets on Adoption in July 2013; you can see his first offering HERE. Subsequently, he had his adoption records opened in May 2015 and now knows much more about his  background and the circumstances of my birth. Poets on Adoption is delighted that he has chosen to provide an update:

From Roy Moller: "Here's what I now know:"


I was adopted when I was a few weeks old. My adoptive mum, Mollie, would tell me how she and my dad, Peter,  picked me because of the smile I gave them when they first laid eyes on me, so I was more special than other children whose parents just had to accept whatever they got. At sixteen I asked her for information about my birth parents. She gave me an excerpted birth certificate and a form filled in by my birth mother, Carol Hoffman, and the adoption caseworker, Miss M. Duncan, in Edinburgh prior to my birth as James Seymour Hoffman.  It gave me some facts, some background, but it took until last year to find out more of the story. 

My bio parents were both Canadians. My father, whose name was not given, was married, a photographer at a newspaper called the Toronto Telegram, and my mother worked as a journalist there.  I was conceived in Toronto in October, 1962 and born in Edinburgh in July, 1963.

Within two weeks of my birth, Carol signed consent for my adoption. I reckon she may have been looking to head back to Toronto as soon as possible. It was too early to be legal, but I was taken home by the Moller family. On 13th January, 1964 Miss Duncan wrote to my dad, Peter: "I'm sure all will go well, and I was pleased to hear Roy is flourishing and growing big. I trust he will always be a joy and blessing."  Thanks to their care, I did flourish - but, having been born with dyspraxia, I wasn't always easy to be around.

Miss Duncan received a second consent form. On it she noted: "This arrived from Canada today." It was April 6th, 1964,  a year to the day since she interviewed Carol and filled out the form  that I'd receive when I was sixteen.

The year the Toronto Telegram folded, 1971, Carol married news editor Max Crittenden, who already had two children. Carol never had another child. In June 1979, Peter, Mollie and Roy Moller jumbo-jetted from Prestwick, Scotland, to Pearson, Toronto. We spent time in the city, where I could have passed my birth mother, birth father on the street and not known, then headed out to Saskatchewan, to the prairie house of Peter's cousin in Moose Jaw. From there we made excursions, but as with Toronto, knew of no direct connections. I've now found my great-grandfather died from Spanish Flu in the hospital in Regina, in the same building where we had stopped for Sunday tea.

Peter died in 1982 and Mollie in 2009. Last year I found that Carol passed away in 2014 and this year that my birth father, whose identity I finally confirmed, died in 2001.



Since having my adoption records opened I have gone to Toronto to meet members Carol's family and made contact with my father's family. I see myself in a new light and have gone from knowing very little of my origins to having researched a good deal of my background. I had no idea where I really came from and have now traced ancestors back centuries.

Writing about this has been my main poetic focus. I have written a pamphlet-length sequence of poems about my birth mother and have been moved to write some poems about what I'm learning my birth father's experiences as a soldier in World War Two.

My birth mother Carol when she was at the University of Toronto.



I'd like to share some poems from the sequence called Carol. I hope you enjoy them.

Wayfaring Stranger

The Scottish Society for the Adoption of Children, Edinburgh,

Saturday, April 6th, 1963.

Also home to the Girls Guildry, number two,
Coates Crescent keeps clock click and spare chair
for girls and women ripe this lambing season  –  their
bellies crammed with hope for barren Midlothian homes.

Winter ’63 kicks on in meltwater surges.
Cramond’s waves leap over the causeway,
war invasion defences shudder;
Scotland’s spring is stirring with me.      

The errant Canadian carries me in her; bears me
beyond the Georgian threshold, walks me in
as a bumpful of awkward.  She’s bid sit down
by Miss Duncan, caseworker/secretary who

dips a nib in Quink, burnishes Carol,
sets down her glider licence, adds an inventive
working round that blank line of dots
that lies as a trap for the father.

Selkie Baby

Hello, I’m Jamie, eight months part of Carol.
Behind us lies potential newsroom rumour –
flak, snipers, tavern talk –  who’s expecting?

She evacuated the accidental article,
the darkroom creation. On a contact sheet, I’d be
circled: here's the shot, publish this.
She’s pregnant minus the pram-pushing pay-off.
She’s expecting to release me
and back into the sea.

Cranes embellish slab foundations.
Beyond them lies the Old Town 
cragging on The Bridges. Sun smears

through voluptuous jumbles of stone.
Beyond her lies her leaving, the dropping
of her selkie sealskin.


of a toddler posted uptown to the Scottish Society for 
Adoption to forward par avion –  or via the hold of a Royal Mail 
Steamship.  From the Queen City of the Forth River, 
my unsuspecting greeting to a secret single mom.  
A smile for the woman I’d screamed in the face of as she sat 
propped up, her suitcase open, ready to register
left luggage.  

I’ve just seen a snapshot of a sailboat wedding conducted in 
'71 at Queen City Yacht Club, Toronto.  She’s clasping a 
bouquet, pretty.
Her groom’s children are smart and skinny.
And I wonder where I am.


Brown dirt, brown dirt, flashing silo, brown dirt.
From a shack on the edge of Moose Jaw,
mileage made from an afternoon as dreich as a Sabbath

at home.  Gavina – Dad’s odd cousin steering on past
brown dirt, brown dirt, flashing silo… Regina wasn’t open.

I remember inertia – Regina never quitting its doldrums –
not for tourists, not on a Sunday. The General Hospital served

tepid tea in tired bone china.

Now I know in that building
great-grandfather Allen,

too old to fight, was beaten by Spanish influenza
spread by soldiers returning from brown dirt, brown dirt,
flashing rifle, brown dirt. Saskatchewan boys plucked from  
trenches.                     Timebombs welcomed home.


Do not imagine that the exploration/ends, that she has yielded all her mystery/

or that the map you hold/cancels further discovery.
Gwendolyn MacEwen, The Discovery

See, I didn’t know
how this face was made, but I’d ask it
plenty: What do I do now?

After the transatlantic crossing,
before the transcendental coaxing
did you search an old world mirror, too?
And once returned from your undisclosed assignment
how long till the immaculate fix

of distance and time
planed the edge off
giving up a squirming thing
who didn’t take the father’s brown eyes. No,
you brought your blue/grey eyes
to me to face in every mirror.

And now I know these are from you,
these coloured reproductions,
what do I do now?

Roy Moller was born in Edinburgh in 1963 and started writing poetry in his teens. He moved into songwriting and performing in his twenties, eventually releasing seven solo albums, playing a session for Marc Riley on BBC 6Music and one as a member of Jesus, Baby!, a group put together by Neu! Reekie!'s Michael Pedersen and fronted by Davy Henderson. His poetry has appeared in the likes of  Ink, Sweat and Tears, And Other Poems, Outsider Poetry, In Between Hangovers and the Rebel Poetry/RNLI anthology The Sea. ​Roy's first collection, Imports, was published in December, 2014 and he is a contributor to Neu! Reekie! #UntitledTwo, appearing at the anthology's launch event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, 2016.