“I was in graduate school studying social work, in a class on the use of narratives or stories in clinical work with families. In class we were asked to share  story from our life that defined us in some way. One student talked about losing her finger when she battled cancer; another talked about his bitter divorce. Everyone seemed to have that defining story at the read, except for me. My mind was a complete blank. All I needed was one. Why, then, was it so hard for me?

Just then, I realized. I needed to tell the story I never knew, my life before I was adopted. I was born somewhere in Korea, in an unknown setting, from someone whose identity is unknown. There was also an unknown father whose location was unknown. Somehow, towards the beginning, I ended up in an adoption agency. I couldn’t find the words to tell it, because I didn’t have the story. There was no one to ask. And, apart from a sparse adoption file, no information.

I had no words, no witnesses and no documentation. In that moment, I couldn’t move forward without it.

Being adopted is not just an isolated event. It’s a part of one’s identity that is constantly evolving and changing.”

That was an excerpt from the first chapter of “Parenting in the Eye of the Storm: The Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Navigating the Teen Years,” to be published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers on March 21, 2017.