Lorraine Dusky

In a 1975 New York Times op-ed, Lorraine Dusky became the first woman to publicly declare that she had given up a child for adoption. Soon to follow was a 1976 piece in Town & Country that landed her on the Today show. With her controversial 1979 memoir, Birthmark—also the first to tell this story—she became a lightning rod over the emerging issue of allowing adopted people the right to know their origins.

At a time when it was shocking to hear from women who had surrendered their children, she appeared on national media: Good Morning America, The Today Show, the MacNeil/Lehrer Report, and Barbara Walters’ Not Only for Women.

Her writing exposed the enduring grief of birth mothers and the quest for information and reunion of many adopted people. Besides those publications mentioned above, her work has appeared in numerous national magazines and daily newspapers as diverse and widespread as Newsweek, Cosmopolitan, The New York Times Magazine, Parents’, the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Albany Times-Union and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. On behalf of adoptee rights, she has twice testified in court and at legislative hearings, as well as appeared before a Congressional committee in Washington, DC. She is a founding member of ALMA, the Adoptee Rights Liberty Association, the first national organization working to unseal the birth records of adopted people.

However, Dusky is not simply a woman who writes about having given up a child. Her reporting on other topics (vision therapy) made her a finalist for a National Magazine Award. For her writing on the political issues of the day, she won two Exceptional Merit Media Awards (EMMAs) from the National Women’s Political Caucus. She has interviewed the Rolling Stones, Warren Buffet, laid-off auto workers in Detroit, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Elizabeth Dole; covered a space shot in Houston and an international skydiving competition in Hungary when it was a Soviet satellite—and jumped out of a plane herself; profiled the poet Nikki Giovanni and fashion designer Betsey Johnson; reviewed ballet; and tagged along with Robert Kennedy and his family on a whitewater canoe trip for the Associated Press. In 1992, she was one of a group of feminist writers and editors who put out the Getting It Gazette, a hot pink broadside covering the Democratic convention in New York City.

In addition to Hole in My Heart and Birthmark, she is the author of Still Unequal: The Shameful Truth About Women and Justice in America, and co-author of The Best Companies for Women, How to Eat Like a Thin Person, and Total Vision.

A native of Dearborn, Michigan, she lives in Sag Harbor, New York on Long Island with her husband, the writer Anthony Brandt.