At the age of 24, Molly McCaffrey made the choice to seek out her biological family after she was placed for adoption at 6 weeks old.
On Thursday night, McCaffrey, a former WKU instructor, will be discussing her book “You Belong to Us” that depicts the experience of meeting her biological family.
The event will take place at the Barnes & Noble on Campbell Lane at 7 p.m. as part of the Kentucky Live Speaker Series hosted by WKU Libraries.
McCaffrey’s discussion will be one of six programs the series will host during its 13th season.
“The programs show what makes Kentucky and the region unique,” said Brian Coutts, series moderator and the head of the department of library public services. “It gives us the opportunity to showcase our local literary talent.”
When McCaffrey was 26 years old, she learned her biological family of six was interested in meeting her and having her in their lives. But it wasn’t until she was 29 that she met her actual family
“The book tells the story of what is like to reconnect with these people and to try to figure out where to put them in my life,” McCaffrey said.
McCaffrey also noted both she and her sister were adopted. Being adopted made McCaffrey feel as though she had more opportunities, and the world felt more open to her.
“My parents read a book to me called ‘The Chosen Baby,’” McCaffrey said. “It was about a little baby boy named Peter who was adopted. Sometimes they would read it to me with ‘Peter’ and ‘he’ and ‘his,’ and other times they would put my name in.”
McCaffrey said she knew she was adopted before she knew how to read.
McCaffrey first made the decision to search for her birth mother but became nervous after receiving information about her biological family.
Learning that most of her biological family had not attended college, McCaffrey feared she would be too different from her newly discovered relatives.
“I stretched out the three steps [required] to find my birth mother for five years,” McCaffrey said. “And I never actually made the decision; I felt like my counselor made it for me. It only took a few weeks after that to find her.”
McCaffrey said she wasn’t sure if she would have ever been ready to make the decision on her own. She added that she was terrified for the first meeting with her biological family because she feared they would judge her.
“That’s one of the main conflicts of the book, that I wasn’t ready,” McCaffrey said. “I don’t know if I ever would have been ready, looking back.”
McCaffrey’s memoir tells the story of her feelings of tension and emotional stress after meeting and interacting with her biological family.
The event is free and open to the public. It is also swipeable for WKU students. Door prizes are available, and a book signing with occur after the talk.
“The story is fascinating,” Coutts said. “Everyone I know who has read it has been blown away. This story is different in that it questions whether we are related through biological family or through the family that brought us up.”
Ed. note: A previous version of this story described McCaffrey as a former professor at WKU. She is actually a former instructor. This error has been corrected in the online version of the story. The Herald regrets the error.