Friday, August 27, 2010

Book Reviews

Hello,  In order to renew all of our paperwork for our adoption, we have to prepare for adoption.  One way we can get a few hours of qualification is to read some of the books our agency recommends.  Last time through we read 8 of the 10.  This time they suggest about 20 different books.  In order for a book to count for an hour we have to write a response to the book.  I thought there was no better place to keep track of the books I read than on my fabulous new blog.

First I read "Cross-Cultural Adoption: How to Answer Questions from Family, Friends, and Community," by Amy Coughlin and Caryn Abramowitz.   It is a relatively quick and easy read, and if you are having minor issues with family members that are cautiously supportive but clueless, it might be a good book with which to start.  It has four sections: The Questions Kids Ask, Do's and Don't for Grown-Ups, Information on 10 countries involved in International Adoption, and Resources for Learning More about Adoption.  I found the questions kids ask section a good list of questions, but I didn't really feel the answers were exactly what I would want my relatives telling their children.  Most of the answers weren't wrong or bad, just a bit incomplete, and a few I felt would be misleading if not a lie.  Specifically the question, "Was she abandoned?"  They suggest answering, No, or not rejected, or not given away.  I don't you want to say, "Yes, definitely!" to your child and that child say it to my child, but maybe there is a different way to answer.  Ignoring the question isn't an option, but another book I read suggests something along the lines of "we don't know exactly what her birth story is and what we do know is her story.  Perhaps some day she would like to share it with you."  I found the adult Do's and Don'ts useful and very easy for anyone to read since it is only a short section.  The one that stands out the most is to not introduce her as adopted.  The other two sections are useful, though brief.

The next book I read is "Adoption is a Family Affair! What Relatives and Friends Must Know" by Patricia Irwin Johnston.  This book was still short, but packed full of information.  A relative seriously desiring to be more supportive and avoid common annoying comments would find this book very helpful.  It discusses many common misconceptions and clueless statements and explains why they can be hurtful to the family member they love, yet in a way that is full of grace and sympathizes with the confused relative.  This is the book I will recommend to my family members if they express and desire to know more about adoption.  Unfortunately it is not on my adoption agency's list--I honestly don't know why--so it does not count towards our hours.  I found the recommendation for it on the blog/forum I follow:  We are Grafted In (link on the side).

The last book I read so far is ""Questions Adoptees are Asking" by Sherrie Eldridge.  My adoption agency recommends "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew" by the same author.  However, my library doesn't carry it.  I can get it via InterLibrary Loan, but in the meantime I read her other book.  This book is not written to me the adoptive parent.  It is written to the adopted child who might be an adult before reading this book.  It is about healing and growing through the pain of being rejected by birth parents.  According to this book, the loss of birth parents/family is something all adopted children feel, some to varying degrees, and need to acknowledge and grieve.  I am praying that by being forewarned we can bring our child through the grief and she won't need to address this pain as an adult as the author did.  However, if she does need guidance either as a teenager or adult this book is excellent.  Every chapter addresses different things the adoptee might need to explore with compassion and kindness and gives Bible verses and questions for pondering and discussion.  The main take away for me is that no one wants to feel alone and that being around other adoptees goes a long way to help a child feel connected.

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