Unadoptable Joy: A Reading with J.L. Wright
Unadoptable Joy: A Memoir in Poetry and Prose is an honest, sometimes gut-wrenchingly heartfelt journey. J. L. Wright pens the path of a toddler hiding in the back of a closet, intoxicated by smelly wet black rubber galoshes, to a life as a scarred child longing for adoption. As she develops, a lovingly imperfect foster family guides the course of her life. From an abusive home in the Minneapolis projects, Joy was labeled “unadoptable”––doomed to the foster care system. But luck, or something else, landed Joy in a middle-class family that was willing to survive the system with her.
In her memoir, Joy shares her early nightmares and the frustrations of living as "Property of the State," while celebrating the Wrights, her foster family. Told largely in poetic verse, Joy’s stories continue to surprise with secrets and lessons of acceptance, while the reader must grapple with the many facets of growth, love, learning to trust and what it means to choose the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and to whom we belong. This book captures the disconnect between reality and fantasy, the chasm between questions, answers, and resolution and the ultimate decision to live as their childhood dream family ending dies.
J. L. Wright grew up in foster care in Minnesota. She was the first in her family to attend and graduate college. After graduation, she traveled and explored the southwest. She has lived in New Mexico, Texas, worked with children with differing abilities, limited English, and criminal histories. She continued her education, receiving her Masters of Education in 2010. Returning to the classroom, she enjoyed the success teaching students with dyslexia, reading and writing.
More recently, she and her wife Katherine have become full-time RVer, and have taken up domicile in Washington state. J. L. or Joy continues her studies, taking courses through the University of Iowa and the Lighthouse Writers Workshops.
Wright has published her first book Unadoptable Joy: A Memoir in Poetry and Prose as well as a myriad of poems. Her poems have appeared in two Peace Poet anthologies, Whatcom Writes Resist anthology, the Writers Corner anthology, GNU Journal, Whatcom Watch and regularly in the Heal(er) Magazine.