“The Ginger Child: On Family, Loss and Adoption” by Patrick Flanery— Adopting a Child

Flanery, Patrick. “The Ginger Child: On Family, Loss and Adoption”, Atlantic Books, 2019.

Adopting a Child

Amos Lassen

It is really very difficult to adopt a child these days but it is that much more difficult if you are a queer couple as we learn in this literary memoir. A social worker dares to ask Patrick Flanery if he and his partner would take a ginger child. Most of us would not bat an eyelid at a question like that especially if the couple had been trying already for four years. This became a question that haunted the couple as they continue to try to get a child. Flanery shares with candor what it means “to make a family as a queer couple, to be an outsider in a foreign country, to grapple with the inheritance of intergenerational loss, and to discover that the emotions we feel are sometimes as mysterious to ourselves as to others.” We get a heartbreaking memoir and a meditation on parenting, adoption and queerness in contemporary culture, stopping along the way to consider recent science fiction film, camp horror television, fiction and visual art. At the end, which could also be the beginning of a new journey, Flanery asks whether we might all imagine ourselves as ginger children-fragile, sensitive, more easily hurt than we think possible, but with the hope that we are also survivors, with greater powers of resilience than we know.

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