Climbing Life's Mountains: Overcoming Challenges of Biracial Birth, Adoption, Gender Identity, and Depression

Climbing Life's Mountains: Overcoming Challenges of Biracial Birth, Adoption, Gender Identity, and Depression

by Jala A. McKenzie-Burns


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780985681333
Publisher: New Friends Publishing
Publication date: 08/28/2012
Pages: 266
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

Jala A. McKenzie-Burns was born of biracial parents on November 11, 1965 as Dave Edward Morris. Abandoned in the hospital, she was placed into the foster care system and adopted by an African-American family in 1972. As a young child, she personally experienced the racial unrest and was taunted for her dual racial heritage. On top of this, she found herself expected to live up to society's demands of her as a boy and a young man, while she yearned for the things of a feminine nature. To hide the truth of who she felt she was inside, she joined the U.S. Marine Corps, worked in the political arena, graduated from college, married, and raised a child. In all that time, pain and depression followed her that she could not express her true nature.

When her adoptive father died, she fell into a deep clinical depression, which triggered an attempted suicide and admission into a psych ward. After revealing her desire to express herself as a woman, her adoptive mother rejected her, sending her on a journey that eventually united her with her biological mother and sister, and later with her other siblings. In 2004, she began transitioning into the woman that she is today. In January of 2006, she legally changed her name. Through this period, she continued to experience depression and was admitted numerous times for hospitalizations due to her unhealthy methods of coping. In 2010, after the death of her adoptive mother, she was reunited with her biological mother and siblings. At this point, through the support of her family, reading, and hard work, she began to overcome her depression and move into a new stage of life. Her story is filled with serious challenges, poignant moments, and a great desire to help others understand and appreciate the differences and uniqueness in all. In primary church, she learned a song that says:

Do something for somebody every day.
Go scatter a blessing along life's way.
Give help; be watchful; pray.
Do something for somebody every day.

This is the motto by which Jala lives and by which she shares the common experience of climbing life's mountains. Jala raises the question, "What impact would society have if everyone did something for somebody every day?"

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