Tag Archives: adoption

Memoir vs Autobiography

Adopted CS Cover.inddI recently wrote a memoir. A family member asked me, “Why wasn’t so-and-so mentioned in your book?”

“I didn’t include many special people, interesting places, and events of my life in the work, mainly because I wrote a memoir, not an autobiography.” I said.

“What’s the difference? I’m not sure I know. Isn’t a memoir supposed to be about all that you remember in your life?” he said.

That’s when I gave a brief comparison as I understood the differences.

“To me, a memoir presents slices of memory around a theme. The theme I chose was my adoption and healing love. The memoir began simply as a journaling of the various encounters I had as an adoptee with the love that finally healed my life and my wounded heart. Much of what I wrote when I started out was for my own personal reflection and not intended for publication. Only later did I see the theme emerge.

An autobiography, on the other hand, is a full, comprehensive accounting of everything in the life of the person writing. The autobiography organizes itself chronologically. The memoir or personal narrative, may meander through various memories and snatches of experiences surrounding the developing theme. Is that explanation helpful?”

“I think you should share that in an Introduction or Preface then.” he said.

“Perhaps a blog post will do. On behalf of my readers, I was trying to be brief and focused.” My family member seemed satisfied.

This is the simplified explanation of how I envisioned and wrote my recent book entitled, Adopted: An Adoptee’s Memoir of Healing Love. I hope I clarified the distinction enough to not be held guilty of leaving out him and others I love and value.

QUESTION: Is the explanation I gave clear and accurate as you think about the differences?

Adopted Memoir Available for Kindle

“I thought I’d be dead by 21”


Great pain produces character. It can just as easily produce fear, rejection, and self-loathing. 


My early life produced in me a fear that I’d be dead by 21. This personal narrative is my memory of a lifelong search for love, belonging, and a sense of place. Walk with me on my journey through abandonment, panic attacks, fear, rejection, bullying, and unbelief, out into the blinding light of healing love.


Adopted touches on the issues nearly every child or adult adoptee must face on the way to maturity, wholeness, and redemption. Along the way it provides valuable insights to adoptive and foster parents who long to see their children whole; and, to adult adoptees who wonder why they do what they do and how healing can be the next chapter in their life story.


See product page at Amazon.com

Posts on Adoption & Foster Care

Children sleeping in Mulberry Street (1890) Art.

Children sleeping in Mulberry Street (1890) Art. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The following are two posts that I’ve written that relate to adoption and foster care. I hope that something here is helpful to my new and first-time readers:

An Adoptive Mom’s Heart

Letter to an adoptive mom, encouraging her to recognize the gift of God in her desire to love her adopted children

The Old Suitcase

The moment healing love broke the spell of fear that I was locked in as a six year old who couldn’t trust that I was loved and would never be sent back to foster care.

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You can also visit me at David C Alves on Facebook and “Like” my author page.

Encourage a Fellow Writer

I’m practicing in public. I’m writing with thousands of others today who have taken Jeff Goins’ 15-day challenge. As a part of this challenge, I made the aquaintance of a sister who is writing an important memoir about adoption and the challenges faced by broken families. I believe in the spirit of what Jeff is doing. I also have read some of my new writer-friend’s work. So I’m doing something that those of you who know me know that I seldom do (or have done). I’m pointing my readers to her and her memoir. You can begin by visiting her website/blog. You’ll find an assortment of rich writing there.

Her name is Carole Smith (as far as I know, her real name). Her address is: http://caroleasmith.blogspot.com/ Especially pay attention to her post, “The Power of an Unsent Letter.”

Because I BELIEVE in what Carole is doing, I am going to INITIATE this post so that we can PRACTICE writing by commenting on her blog. I bet it would be thrilling for her to have this sudden upsurge in commenters. And I KNOW Jeff would say, we’re catching on.

Enough said?  Oh, by the way, Carole doesn’t know I’m doing this, so don’t let on. Just surprise her. Someone might do that for you sometime. You never know.

Be generous and let others know about her too. Thanks. I’m glad to be engaged in this challenge with people like those I’ve met so far. Every blessing be yours.

An Adoptive Mom’s Heart

Are you an adoptive mom? Then you know that feeling of love that continues to fill you. You know the desire to share your love with children who have little or none. This post is a message between me and a young adoptive mom who had expressed a concern that she was being selfish in wanting to adopt more children (her and her husband already had several). Our correspondence is shared with her enthusiastic consent. I have changed the names and edited only to protect the family’s privacy.

Here’s the correspondence:

I’m not surprised that our Father gave Michael to you and Sean. You are both an example of Christ to those who know and see you. And you both compliment one another perfectly. All this I see from afar, imagine those who know you best. They see more clearly, more specifically.

This one thing I would add. I hope this will not embarrass you, but from time to time it can be very comforting and encouraging to hear what others see of Jesus in us. Permit me to be a “father in the Lord” to you for a moment (1 Thess. 2.11-12). I see that your heart has been enlarged to the degree that God is able to love others through you. He has given you a capacity that you could be tempted to think is “normal” because it’s who you are. But it is not normal. It is a gift of God. That huge love for your children also spills out beyond because the more you love, the more love flows. So that all of us experience something of it. If you do not yet make the most of this in prayer (which I’m sure you do, but perhaps not to the degree that you’d like), I believe that intercession (learned first over your children) will become the keystone of your ministry to your family and overflowing to us as well. Beth, I’m up at 4:30am writing this to you. I sense that I am way out of what my normal comfort zone would be so I can only assume the Lord is encouraging you, but for your sake and mine, please run all this by Sean and let’s see if he confirms what I’m saying.

Trust in that love that God is giving you. Don’t be tempted to think it is selfishness. Or that you have some inordinate desire. You have been given a mother-heart that will bring great healing to others. Don’t worry about it being broken either, because God and your husband stand guard over it. Your children will rise up to bless you.

I’m not going to reread this letter, because I’m afraid I’ll start editing and second guessing myself or how something might sound. Self-doubt can be such a nuisance when God tries to speak through and to us. So I’ll sign off now that I’ve said what I was compelled to say. Blessings!

In His love and fellowship,
Gal. 2:20

Beth’s Response:

Any words I use to express what God has shown me today since reading this could not come close to describing what I have experienced within the spiritual realm. Thank you for your obedience to God by sharing your encouraging (prophetic) word with me. Sean and I were in complete awe that your words were spoken as if you had been a part of our private conversations regarding Michael’s adoption. God is good!

I hope to share more with you as God enables.


QUESTION: Can anyone identify with Beth?

©2011, David C Alves

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