In her new book, Creole Son, An Adoptive Mother Untangles Nature and Nurture (2019), Kay Trimberger extends her interest in life outside marriage and nuclear families. Creole Son is a love story and a cautionary tale, one in which Trimberger explores through stories, reflection and research, the unexpected difficulties, along with the joy, she experienced in her thirty-five-year voyage as a white single mother of an adopted black/biracial son. While both books explore the increasing diversity of family forms, Creole Son addresses additional topics of contemporary interest: life in mixed race families, the impact of drugs and violence in the environment outside the home, and a wide spread curiosity about how nature and nurture interact to make us who we are as individuals.
As in The New Single Woman, Trimberger in Creole Son uses social science research, now augmented by behavioral genetics studies on adoptive families, to help interpret personal experience. She comes to understand how a genetic heritage (two Louisiana birth parents who struggled with drug addiction throughout their lives) and a challenging environment (Berkeley in the late 1980s and 1990s with easy access to drugs, a culture condoning their use, a mother ignorant about substance use and a failed experiment in alternative living) interacted to create addiction problems for her son. In both books, she writes about research in non-technical prose for a general audience.
Andrew Solomon, National Book Award winning author of Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression and of prize-winning Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, has read the manuscript. He says:
In this very moving book, Kay Trimberger examines her experience as an adoptive parent with an unstinting eye, bringing together the science of behavioral genetics and the intimate vulnerability of her own experiences. She writes with insight and verve, and tells a difficult but essential story about family, genetic inheritance, and the elastic nature of love.
Mr. Solomon has interviewed Kay and her son for a pod cast on adoptive families that he is creating for Amazon Audible books and he will write an introduction to Creole Son.