For anyone interested in racial identity in the complex world of blended families and adult mother and daughter relationships, this is a must read. This book is ideal for all humanities and social science courses across disciplines from sociology, education, qualitative research, and social work to race and communication studies. In this era of strained and confusing racial dialogue, this book is refreshing in its honesty, moving in its personal narratives, and instructive in its engagement in how the historical lives in the social imagination of our present lives and relationships.
Table Of Contents
- About the Author
- About the Book
- This eBook can be cited
- List of Illustrations
- List of Abbreviations
- Chapter 1 Carrefour, Haiti
- Chapter 2 Flatlands, Brooklyn
- Chapter 3 Minnetonka, Minnesota
- Chapter 4 Czech Republic
- Chapter 5 Vienna, Austria
- Chapter 6 Port-au-Prince, Haiti
- Chapter 7 Gulu, Uganda
- Chapter 8 Bunia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Chapter 9 Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
- Chapter 10 The Yellow Dress
Figure 1.1Christian Haitian Outreach orphanage (CHO)
Figure 1.2Rebecca at CHO before adoption
Figure 1.3Eleanor “Mom” Workman –founder CHO
Figure 2.1Matthew, Rebecca, Nathan—siblings
Figure 4.1Rebecca and Grandma Hlavacek
Figure 6.1Return to Haiti-Samaritan’s Purse
Figure 7.1Rebecca and Joni writing in Uganda
Figure 9.1Graduation NYU—Mom and Dad
Figure 10.2Growing up with brothers
Together, we want to acknowledge Rebecca’s father, Paul, her brothers and Joni’s sons, Nathan and Matthew as well as their wives Sarah and Sabrina. Although they may appear only sporadically in this book, their love, spirit, and soul are everywhere in who we are and who we have become.
To family members, who answered our queries about the Minnetonka chapter, Joni’s sister and Rebecca’s aunt, Elsie Machtemes and to Joni’s brother and Rebecca’s uncle, Denny Hlavacek who we asked to recall a few memories – thank you. To family members, Kathy Oliphant, Director of Teaching and Learning at Waconia Public Schools who provided background on education in Minnesota, and to Clark Machtemes, a Minnesota musician and artist, who gave us direction for research; you are both always willing to support and help; it means a lot. Thanks to the Excelsior Historical Society especially Steve Kobs who verified with archival materials W.E.B. Dubois’s summer on Lake Minnetonka and directed us to playwright Kim Hines who wrote, Summer in the Shadows, about Dubois in Minnesota. Kim, thank you for taking the time to talk, answer questions, pick your brain, and read your writing; it made a difference both personally and in the writing.
The Czech chapter was aided by the insights and conversation with Mark Bruner, a career missionary to Slovakia and the Czech Republic and a dear friend. To our friends in Uganda, thank you, Irene, for taking such good care of us in Gulu. Your food, attention, kindness, and work made space for thinking, feeling and writing. Kirunda Muzamiru the best safari guide in Uganda by far; your friendship and expertise mean the world to us. To Grace Amiya, your tailoring class at Gulu Women Prison is not only an act of love but a creative inspiration.
A special thanks to the original members of our Tuesday evening Restoration Writing Group in Bed Sty; John Proctor, Sylvester (Sonny) Jackson, Carolina Soto, Jackie Cangro, Marvin Wade, and Michael Colbert for giving us a community of writers to belong to. The 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Global Cities August Seminar at LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York: Tuli Chatterji, Sorin Cucu, Rondee Gaines, Anita Baksh, Rebecca Tally, Sonia Rodriguez, Olga Aksakalova, Allia Abdullah-Matta, Laura Tanenbaum, Nichole Shippen, Karen Miller, and Chris Schmidt read and gave us specific feedback early on. Your suggested readings and keen criticism was invaluable.
Cathy Powell without your editing and organizing skills this book would not be. You keep us in order. Thank you, dear friend. The cover design is by Emily Gallagher and Robert Pollock who embraced our story as we embraced them.
To friends and mentors who journeyed with Rebecca during critical transitionary periods in Haiti, Congo and Uganda and continue to be strong moral and emotional support: Pierre and Carolyn Julien; Viviane Fils Aime; and Jiesha Perkins; Jen Silen, and Myonawai Artis, and Crystal Burrey.
Joni wants to thank Marvin Wade, Dario Pena, P. Harris and R. Watson who read chapters at the Queensboro Writing Group and made her believe that this story could have meaning across the human experience. Thanks to all the Queensboro Correctional Facility writing group members who carefully read drafts, gave encouragement, made suggestions, and embraced our stories.
To Joni’s lifelong friends Sara Jorgensen Levy and Avril (Birdie) DeJesus who read chapters in the Bremen, Maine cabin in the woods in front of the fireplace and with a bottle of wine. The more we drank the better the manuscript seemed. And to my dear friends, Damaris Miranda and Valerie Noel, who journeyed with us in the beginning; they know how to be a friend. To Andrea Emmanuel and Kurt Sealey for loving books and writing as I do and sharing this experience with me. Thank you, John Chaney, for your love, your support, your gentleness—for being there and being you—you are a great gift from God. And to our cat, History, who kept me company during copyediting.
CHO Christian Haitian Outreach orphanage
NGO Non-governmental organization
CRTCritical Race Theory
This is soul work. A mother and daughter collaborative autoethnography engaging the social imagination and the emotional journey of learning to disclose. It is reflection on the places and histories that shaped us through transracial adoption.
If readers are looking for a memoir or a straightforward adoption story, this book is not it. Neither is it a research text on transracial adoption nor an autobiography. It is not a diary, a happy ever after story of how God worked in our lives, or a White savior story. And it is not the whole story.
Collaborative autoethnography analyzes personal experiences in the context of the surrounding culture. As collaborative autoethnography, Learning to Disclose is autobiographic, ethnographic, and interactive. Autoethnography is a critical research method with the “auto” meaning the self, “ethno” meaning culture, and “graphy” meaning writing; it uses personal experiences to critically examine sociohistorical grand narratives and discourses in which we find ourselves embedded. This is something that autobiography and memoir often does not do. We write dialogue using social imagination to understand our lives through the global, national, and local histories of the places and spaces we lived, worked, traveled, and called home. (Mills, 2000)
- XIV, 166
- ISBN (PDF)
- ISBN (ePUB)
- ISBN (Hardcover)
- ISBN (Hardcover)
- Publication date
- 2020 (December)
- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2020. XIV, 166 pp., 10 b/w ill.