Adopted at birth, Andrea Ross grew up inhabiting two ecosystems: one was her tangible, adoptive family, the other her birth family, whose mysterious landscape was hidden from her. In this coming-of-age memoir, Ross narrates how in her early twenties, while working as a ranger in Grand Canyon National Park, she embarked on a journey to discover where she came from and, ultimately, who she was. After many missteps and dead ends, Ross uncovered her heartbreaking and inspiring origin story and began navigating the complicated turns of reuniting with her birth parents and their new families. Through backcountry travel in the American West, she also came to understand her place in the world, realizing that her true identity lay not in a choice between adopted or biological parents, but in an expansion of the concept of family.
, Miriam Peskowitz
Country of Publication:
02 May 2021
Professional and scholarly
Part One Chapter 1: Earthquake Chapter 2: Inflamed Chapter 3: Non-Identified Chapter 4: Slapped Chapter 5: Lady Ranger at the Canyon Part Two Chapter 6: Ruins and Ladders Chapter 7: Crumbling Steps Chapter 8: Double Vision Chapter 9: White Courtesy Telephone Chapter 10: Dancing in Quicksand Chapter 11: Participate in Your Own Rescue Chapter 12: Empty Shoes Chapter 13: Post-holing Chapter 14: Facts and Artifacts Chapter 15: Intermediary Part Three Chapter 16: First Words Chapter 17: The Navel of the World Chapter 18: The Here and Now Chapter 19: Half Sister Chapter 20: Effects of the Edge Chapter 21: Front Range
Andrea Ross was once a park service ranger and wilderness guide and now teaches writing at University of California, Davis. Her work can be found in Ploughshares, Terrain, the Cafe Review, and on the Dirtbag Diaries Podcast. She lives in Davis, California with her husband and son.
Reviews for Unnatural Selection - A Memoir of Adoption and Wilderness
Ross has written a fascinating book. It is a wonderfully told adventure of guiding others into the natural wonders of climbing mountains, descending into canyons, crossing deserts, and fording rivers. At the same time it is the weaving together the wilderness of adoption with its traumatic loss of the first mother, living with genetic strangers, the roadblocks in the way of being able to connect with biological relatives, and finally finding her birth parents and her roots. It is a journey of discovering the meaning of family, our relationship with all humanity, and with Mother Earth. Beautifully written. A must-read! -- Nancy Verrier, author of 'The Primal Wound' and 'Coming Home to Self'