Inconvenient Daughter by Lauren J. Sharkey
English | 2020 | General Fiction/Classics | ePUB | 2.6 MB
Rowan Kelly knows she’s lucky. After all, if she hadn’t been adopted, she could have spent her days in a rice paddy, or a windowless warehouse assembling iPhones—they make iPhones in Korea, right? Either way, slowly dying of boredom on Long Island is surely better than the alternative. But as she matures, she realizes that she’ll never know if she has her mother’s eyes, or if she’d be in America at all had her adoptive parents been able to conceive.
Rowan sets out to prove that she can be someone’s first choice. After running away from home—and her parents’ rules—and ending up beaten, barefoot, and topless on a Pennsylvania street courtesy of Bad Boy Number One, Rowan attaches herself to Never-Going-to-Commit. When that doesn’t work out, she fully abandons self-respect and begins browsing Craigslist personals. But as Rowan dives deeper into the world of casual encounters with strangers, she discovers what she’s really looking for.
With a fresh voice and a quick wit, Lauren J. Sharkey dispels the myths surrounding transracial adoption, the ties that bind, and what it means to belong.
I saw boys and girls, in jumpers exactly like mine, going through two double doors and into a large building—their mommies alternating between waving goodbye and wiping their tears. Mom began to walk faster, dragging me behind.
‘Mommy, slow down!’
Once inside, a wrinkled lady pointed down the hallway and said Mrs. Matthei’s classroom was on the left. We sprinted down the hallway, and headed toward a room where we heard laughter.
‘Hi,’ said a round woman with blond hair, freckles, and a smile, ‘you must be Rowan.’
‘Yes,’ Mom replied, ‘this is Rowan.’
‘It’s very nice to meet you, Rowan. My name is Patty—I’m Mrs. Matthei’s helper.’
‘Hi, Patty,’ I said, slightly cowering behind Mom.
‘We’re going to get started soon. Why don’t you have a seat at the table with the green chairs—do you know which one that is?’
I nodded and pointed to the round table with lime-green chairs.
‘Very good! Do you want to say goodbye to Mommy before she goes?’
Mom crouched down to meet me at eye level and hugged me tight.
‘You’re coming back, right?’ I asked.
‘Yes, I’ll be back later, and I want to hear about all the fun things you do today.’
‘I don’t want to go here.’
‘Rowan, we talked about this,’ Mom sighed.
‘I want to come home with you.’
‘Tell you what—you be a good girl for Mrs. Matthei and Patty, and there will be chocolate chip cookies when you get home, okay?’
‘Okay,’ I said, squeezing her one more time. ‘Bye, Mommy!’
I ran past tables with blue, red, yellow, and purple chairs before sitting in the last available green chair, quietly taking in the room. The blackboard at the front of the classroom was blank, while the one on the far wall had a chart with each student’s name, accompanied by small boxes to the right. I saw some boys and girls placing their backpacks into the cubbies beneath it but was too afraid to take off my backpack without permission.
I rested my head on the Cinderella lunch box Mom bought at the Disney Store especially for my first day, inhaling the scent of crayons and pencil shavings. The boys across from me were giggling and one asked, ‘Who is that lady?’
I followed his finger and noticed Mom was still at the front of the classroom talking to Patty and Mrs. Matthei.
‘That’s my mommy.’
‘Why don’t you look like your mommy?’
‘I don’t know,’ I said honestly. ‘My mommy says I’m special.’
‘My brother is ‘special.’ He can’t go to school with normal kids ’cause he’s retarded. Are you a retard?’
‘No!’ I did not know what a retard was.
‘She’s adopted,’ the girl next to me explained. ‘My mom said your real mommy is in China but she didn’t want you, so she gave you to a lady in America who can’t make babies.’