New Release from Wandering River Press: January 25, 2020.

Redefining Family

A Birthmother’s Path to Wholeness

Available now for pre-order. All pre-orders will ship January 25, 2020.

The prices are the same at all U.S. stores: $14.99 for the paperback, $4.99 for the ebook. Place your pre-order today.

Audio options will be added soon. 

“I’m in love with the story. I’m in love with the people. I feel the soul crushing pain and the heart bursting elation. This is a rollercoaster ride of emotion with profound advice woven throughout, advice that never sounds preachy or arrogant. The words of practiced wisdom are solid, accurate, and achievable suggestions for anyone who is moving though grief.”

Annette Masters

Written as a narrative to my daughter, I wanted her to have the whole story. Where she came from. Why I placed her for adoption. And how, for the next eighteen years, I hovered on the edges of her family, granted access by her generous parents, but always wanting more. More for her, and more for me. 

I am not ready, not able, to raise you.
Ten years too early, I need time to grow up.

To offer you, I have love.
And nothing else.

You need more than I have to give,
Unless I give you up.

To parents who are ready, waiting, to raise you.
Ten years wanting, with a ready home.

Parents who have love,
And everything else, too.

If I do it,
If I break my own heart to spare yours,
Will it work?
Will you be happier, healthier this way?

And will I ever be okay again?

This bare bones memoir tells the story of a kinship adoption from the perspective of a birthmother. It will break your heart, then heal it, with new perspectives on adoption, openness, and the complex ways we define family. 

“Beautifully written. A raw, honest journey of heartache and hope.”  

Early reviews of Redefining Family

“I’ve never read a book that I could connect so well to. Definitely brought tears to my eyes a few times.”

A Birthmother

“This story is necessary in terms of bringing the beauty and agony of adoption out of the shadows.”

“As a mother, I thought I knew what motherhood looked like. And then Alycea offered me her hand and let me into her life.

This is the story of a birthmother’s journey through doubt and shame and growth and joy, not always in that order, a pilgrimage to wholeness after giving away a piece of herself. I followed beside her, experiencing every milestone, rooting for her, crying with her, and comforting her.

My definition of motherhood has expanded because Alycea was brave enough to share herself in her most vulnerable moments, and for that I am grateful.”

Ruth Alessi

Download the Exclusive Photos and FAQs

As promised in the end of Redefining Family, there’s more. You can download photos of our family, then and now, right here.


When I had Katarina in 2000, there were some resources available, but I didn’t find them. The good news is there are even more options today. 

Birthparent Resources

Caring for Kids, Inc. 

Birthmother weekend retreats, meetups, and online support.

On Your Feet Foundation

Birthparent coaching, weekend retreats, grants for counseling, education and tuition assistance, emergency rent assistance, and outreach.

Birthmother Thoughts

A great website from a birthmother with a lot of info and support, especially if you’re considering adoption. Her words strike me as close to non-agenda as you can get. Real answers to real questions from someone who is not financed by adoptions, nor hateful of the adoption industry. Someone in the middle. 

Adoptee Resources

Adoptee Reading

Every adoptee-authored book and book recommended by adoptees. 

Adoptees On Podcast

A podcast for adoptees to talk about their experiences. 

Do you know of resources you think I should add?

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