Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Video performance shared with permission. All rights reserved.

Context: Ms. Hein, a transracial adoptee in her tweens, created the following poem for a middle school language arts assignment.  Ms. Hein selected her topic and wrote her poem during class time, using evenings at home to practice and memorize her work. She asserts these are her thoughts, her feelings, her experiences and respects others’ whose voices may dissent from hers. Respectful comments, whether in support of her work or not, are valued and appreciated.

Each student presented her own poem in class. The class and teacher, as well as some of the administrative team, selected the 27 finalists for the middle school’s Poetry Slam performance. During intermission and after the performances were complete, Ms. Hein received some wonderful feedback. An administrator described her as “quite a poet.” After her presentation, peers cheered her on and offered high-fives. One adult couple sought her out afterwords to offer their congratulations and gratitude for her “sharing (her) truth,” noting they were each moved to tears.

We are so grateful to Ms. Hein for her permission to share her work with you here.

 

When: An Adoptee’s Experience

S. Hein

Poetry Slam 1.28.15

When,

when will people step out of their biological privilege?

.

When,

when will others

stop presuming family members have to look alike?

Can’t looks be deceiving?

.

When,

when will individuals

accept that we don’t have to be biologically related to belong?

.

When,

when will oblivious busybodies

stop verbally bombarding us,

as if interrogating hostile witnesses in front of a judge?

Every time we go out in public,

we have to protect ourselves with prepared responses!

.

When,

when will we cease needing to guard ourselves

from whatever ignorant queries people throw our way?

.

When,

when will the world acknowledge that our adoptive parents

are as “Real” as our biological parents?

.

When,

when will we stop being considered as an abhorred gift

re-gifted?

.

When will I …

I be able to go out with my family

without feeling like I am a starving dog

being chase by an animal control officer

in search of her daily quota?

.

When?

…. When?

 

© 2016 SHein. All Rights Reserved.

4 Comments

  1. Marion Jacobs
    January 29, 2016

    Here’s a BIG WARM HUG, Ms. S. Hein! You are my granddaughter, and I value your poetic expression of your personal difficult feelings. You are beautiful, and your poem sent a reminder to all that everyone has feelings and we all need to work at ridding ourselves of prejudices.

    Reply
    • Patti Jacobs Hein
      February 2, 2016

      Thanks so very much, Marion! So meaningful to have you chime in on this young author’s work!

      Reply
  2. Margaret Walsh
    January 30, 2016

    Amazing, Ms. Hein. Amazing. Well done.

    Reply
    • Patti Jacobs Hein
      February 2, 2016

      Thank you, Margaret! We appreciate your compliments and support!

      Reply

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