Identity Adoption & Belonging: A Panel With Jacob Taylor-Mosquera
June 25, 2021
Hosted by Diane Dewey
Julie Ryan McGue, Author of Twice a Daughter: A Search for Identity, Family & Belonging and Jacob Taylor-Mosquera, Author of I Met Myself in October: A Memoir of Belonging talk with host Diane Dewey, author of Fixing the Fates: An Adoptees' Story of Truth & Lies, about the concept of belonging and what it means. "I Met Myself in October: A Memoir of Belonging" is a thought-provoking true adventure discussing international/transracial adoption and what it means to belong to two countries and two families. Taylor-Mosquera weaves together the intricacies of struggling to belong to the Black and Latinx communities in the United States while enjoying white privilege without being white. He masters the Spanish language and goes on live television in Colombia to find his biological family twenty years after they learn of his secret birth. The tensions that arise therein are magical and disturbing, with each page offering intimate details about an international quest to truly belong. Julie is adopted. She is also a twin. Because their adoption was closed, she and her sister lack both a health history and their adoption papers?which becomes an issue for Julie when, at forty-eight years old, she finds herself facing several serious health issues. To launch the probe into her closed adoption, Julie first needs the support of her sister. The twins talk things over, and make a pact: Julie will approach their adoptive parents for the adoption paperwork and investigate search options, and the sisters will split the costs involved in locating their birth relatives. But their adoptive parents aren't happy that their daughters want to locate their birth parents?and that is only the first of many obstacles Julie will come up against as she digs into her background. Julie's search for her birth relatives spans years and involves a search agency, a PI, a confidential intermediary, a judge, an adoption agency, a social worker, and a genealogist. By journey's end, what began as a simple desire for a family medical history has evolved into a complicated quest?one that unearths secrets, lies, and family members that are literally right next door. Diane Dewey, surrendered in a German orphanage at age one, was adopted and raised by loving parents near Philadelphia, who withheld information about her origins, seemingly to protect her. Then the axis shifted. When Diane’s Swiss biological father contacted her by letter after forty-six years, her sense of truth was upended. She sifted through competing versions of the story of her birth and adoption, and discovered disturbing secrets about her true identity. These findings Diane sought to substantiate or refute through resonant family reunions and then, another mysterious letter appeared. What followed was an elusive peace. One-part forensic investigation, one-part self-discovery Fixing the Fates is an unflinching saga of facing deception and resetting the compass to live one's truth.
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My most pressing question has always been about identity: Who am I? Growing up near Philadelphia with my adoptive family, my genetic identity was hidden. Then, my Swiss biological father, Otto, contacted me when I was age forty-seven in 2002. I’d been told by my adoptive parents that my biological parents were dead, supposedly to protect me. Meeting Otto upended my life. Through him, I met my German biological mother’s family to discover that her story too, had been changed; that she’d not wanted to surrender me and she’d searched for me all her life. Finding my truth was essential.
Based on my experience I am excited to talk to people about their own search for identity. My education includes a BA from Villanova University, a certificate from the Art Institute of Philadelphia and a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. I’ve worked for The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The SoHo Partnership and the National Academy of Design and have studied writing through New York University’s Continuing Education program. As an entrepreneur, I founded my art appraisal business, The Realization of Art in 2006. My non-fiction writing has been published in Shared Space, a monograph, and in Artes online magazine. Writing workshops worldwide have given me the chance to learn and hone my craft. My first book, “Fixing the Fates,” was awarded the National Non-Fiction Author’s Association Silver Medal and the Living Now Award.