Thursday, March 17, 2011

Inside Transracial Adoption--a book response

I checked this book out at the library and was not optimistic.  So far my random picks have not been worth writing home about.  However, if I'd known it was written by the founders of Pact--an Adoption Alliance Beth Hall and Gail Steinberg I would have had more hope.  This book really focuses on the specifics of transracial adoption which allows it more depth on the topic.  

I read the book a few months ago and it is already back at the library, so I cannot remember all the good points the book makes and what insights it provides, but there were many.  One thing I particularly liked was that it went through the stages of becoming anti-racist.  I think I'm only on stage two or three--where everything appears racist as you become aware of the racism around you.  I found it encouraging to read the steps and have what I've been feeling explained to me.

The book also spent a lot of time talking about ways to incorporate diversity in your child's life and what that really means.  It discussed school choices, family friendships, and home location with the understanding that not all families have access to the same things. It still emphasized the importance of diversity but without making anyone feel guilty about the situation they are in.  One of the authors even moved in order to be in a more diverse area and then discovered  it wasn't.  Their family was able (with hard work) to make the most of it and still thrive, but their experience made concrete what tends to be an abstract discussion.

I did love the personal stories that illustrated the points.  The quotes from the author's children and others who have been adopted were particularly poignant.  It really added a credibility and depth to the book.

But one thing really struck me.  They said people who chose transracial adoption are already comfortable with going against the norm; it is in their personality to be a nonconformist.   I don't know if it is my personality so much as the fact that I never did "fit in" and I wasn't willing to do what I would need to do to do so.  Some children will thrive on extra attention, but for all the ability to blend in will be one more loss on top of all the other losses.  Other books and such have talked about being a conspicuous family, but the idea of a child forced to live a nonconformist life with a conformist heart has really given me new compassion for the situation.

I've already forgotten a lot of the how-tos and what-to-dos of the book, but I do know it is one I will purchase for my "tool box."

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