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The Ugly Duckling, Chinese Babies, and Me

Selected for a TELLING OUR STORIES PRESS anthology, edited by CoCo Harris, this adoption essay makes links between identity, writing, and adoption. The anthology has a wealth of wonderful short memoirs and personal essays.

Hans Christian Andersen's story, "The Ugly Duckling," had a deep effect on me when I first heard it read. Andersen was a tall, awkward child who refused to learn a trade. He tried acting and eventually wound up writing stories. The "ugly duckling"--the awkward, teenage Andersen, or perhaps Andersen, the artist and outsider--spoke to me, the small child trying to figure out who I was and where I fit in.