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Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew
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Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  549 ratings  ·  93 reviews
"Birthdays may be difficult for me."

"I want you to take the initiative in opening conversations about my birth family."

"When I act out my fears in obnoxious ways, please hang in there with me."

"I am afraid you will abandon me."

The voices of adopted children are poignant, questioning. And they tell a familiar story of loss, fear, and hope. This extraordinary book, written b
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 12th 1999 by Delta
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The Brightness of Stars by Lisa  CherryAnother Place at the Table by Kathy HarrisonThe Girls Who Went Away by Ann FesslerThe Lost Daughters of China by Karin EvansThe Family Nobody Wanted by Helen Grigsby Doss
Non-Fiction Books about Adoption/Foster Care
47th out of 281 books — 128 voters
An-Ya and Her Diary by Diane René ChristianAre Those Kids Yours? by Cheri RegisterMy Fathers' Daughter by Hannah PoolAn-Ya and Her Diary by Diane René ChristianIn Their Own Voices by Rita James Simon
transracial adoption
5th out of 27 books — 22 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,105)
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May 31, 2008 Michelle rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
I read this book because I was hoping it might address what I consider to be some of the major misconceptions existing about adoptees. I was sorely disappointed. Not only does it hold to those misconceptions but I think if a potential adoptive parent were to read this book it would serve only to put unnecessary and intense fear in their heart.

It's premise is that every adoptee is a deeply wounded and permanently damaged individual who will never feel whole. If the adoptee appears maladjusted it
From the moment I finished the first chapter, I knew there was something I just didn't like about this book. However, wanting to be an informed soon-to-be adoptive mom, I was determined to finish with the hopes that my opinion would change as I learned this author's style. I'm sorry to say that this book left me with the same negative feelings I started it with. This book was full of fear inducing negativity. I believe all of the issues Eldridge brought up can be very real for some adoptees; how ...more
The title of this book should really be changed to "Twenty Things This Particular Adopted Kid Wished My Parents Had Known". The author does bring up some good issues, and I'm glad I read it, but her own negative experience colored her analysis of everything. Every possible challenge a kid could have seemed to be due to adoption, and many of those problems I felt were common in all kinds of kids. I agree with her that it's important to have open and frank discussions constantly to deal with issue ...more
May 18, 2013 Ebookwormy rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Ebookwormy by: Adoption Advocates International
Shelves: adoption, non-fiction
I just could not finish this book. I get it, I really do. Adopted children have a unique position in society of having a birth family and an adopted family. Adopted children need to process the loss that brought about their entry into the adopted family. Adopted families need to be respectful of birth parents. I get it. Really, I do.

* I am starting to understand the trauma of adoption better. I don't think I would have taken this author's word for it, but reading "There is not Me with
While I do agree that there is valuable information in this book, I'm having a powerful, negative reaction to it. I think the bottom line is that it seem to focus SO MUCH on the negatives of being an adopted child...all the hurt, anger, grief, loss, etc. etc. that the child experiences, and what potential adoptive parents need to do to help the child grieve the loss of their birth parents properly and move on to a better place in their lives. I don't discount this element, but in this case the n ...more
Jun 25, 2008 azn-choi rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to azn-choi by: Amy Allen
"I love you" means something very special and very concrete. It means that I surround you with the feeling that allows you-perhaps requires you-to be everything you really are as a human being at that moment. When my love is fullest, you are most fully you. You may be good, or bad, or both; tender or angry, or both; but you are you, which is the very most I could ever ask or expect. And so I experience you in all your beauty and all your ugliness. But you, not what I expect, or want, or what you ...more
As a mother to both biological and adopted children, I cannot share this author's dark view that adopted children are victims who suffer an injury that never heals. Her research is extensive, but mostly unscientific and anecdotal in nature. It's clear that this author has much emotional baggage, but as we all know, everyone is different and reacts to what life throws at us in different ways. If I were to take anything away from this book, it would be the importance of acknowledging the grieving ...more
This is one of the most enlightening books I have read as an adoptive parent. Though you may find it a bit depressing, as the issue of loss is greatly explored. Keep in mind that though many adopted children face serious issues of abandonment and loss, there are probably an equal number of children who consider some of the topics Eldridge brings up 'non-issues'. Remember that every child is different, every story is different. The important thing for me was have these brought to light, and to un ...more
I am not quite sure how I feel about this book. I think parts of it may be useful to refer back to in the future, if and when certain issues/bumps in the road/difficulties arise- but sometimes it did feel as though the author was suggesting that all or most adopted children would go through the trauma and shock and devastating grief described in the book. In my experience knowing both adopted and adoptees, this is NOT always the case- especially not to the degree described.
I understand the book
I thought this was a good book, and even though I wasn't in love with it, I will probably buy it to have on our shelves on day. Some of these things that I learned I needed to know...I didn't know. Some of it made sense. And some of it was just too weird for me. Weird is the wrong word...rather...foreign, I suppose. I'm not sure about some of the pyschology she has in there. I've talked to a few adoptees that didn't necessarily feel some of this primal loss that she talks about. Later in the boo ...more
Mar 20, 2012 Danielle rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Danielle by: My good friend, Matt.
This book was recommended to us from a friend. He was adopted. We adopted. He hadn't gotten through the book, but liked what the first couple chapters had to say. So I bought it and started reading it, caught up to him, passed him. Confronted him. Discussed. Needless-to-say, neither of us really like this book. I believe it to be written by a VERY bitter adoptee. Things could've gone much better for this woman, but they didn't and I think she was closed to that ever happening. It was good inform ...more
This book should probably be on every adoptive parent's reading list. One of the things that was most helpful for me is the continuous reminder throughout the book of the grief process for everyone involved in adoption (birth parents, children, adoptive parents).

There was a lot in the book that wasn't helpful in our adoption situation, because the emphasis tended to be on children who were adopted as babies and don't recall their birth families, etc., but I feel that there was enough in it that
Good book for preparing adoptive parents to understand the life long impact of adoption. The author has unique perspectives as a woman in her 60s who was adopted as an infant. For the author the impacts have been profound and have deepened with time. Her stated goal in writing this book is to to help parents understand how their children may be feeling even when they seem well adjusted and comfortable with having been adopted.
This was a difficult book to read but if I could I would make it required reading for all prospective adoptive parents before they bring their children home and adoptive parents if they have already adopted. It's easy for us to put our heads in the sand but if we ignore the fact that this blissful thing for us is perhaps the most painful thing in our child's life, we are doing an unfathomable disservice to our children.
Rena  Traxel
I loved this book. I was adopted when I was 2.5 into a wonderful family. But still this book touched upon things that I've felt but couldn't really explain for example birthdays have always been very stressful for me (see chapter 18 in the book). It was wonderful to read that others have felt the same way.

This book lead to some great conversations between me and my mom and between me and my husband. I even took to reading passages to my husband that summed up my feelings perfectly (see pg. 9 on
Apr 14, 2009 Janell rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
I felt that this book was a bit alarmist in parts, but overall I liked it because it gave me a lot of food for thought. It made me put myself in my daughter's shoes and try to anticipate some of the things she may have to deal with throughout her life, and how I can most effectively help her and be her advocate. I recommend to all adoptive parents.
Dec 24, 2007 Jamie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: adoptive parents and children or others with interest in adoption
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting book. The thesis resonated with me enough that I was not too put off by its being somewhat far-fetched and based primarily on the author's personal experience. The book is rather redundant so one could get the idea by reading the first half then skimming the chapter headings of the second half.
Katie Schwab
This book was depressing and scary. Apparently, adopted children will turn to prostitution, pyromania, and worse if their adopted parents aren't totally on top of things. This book almost made me back out of my adoption paperwork out of fear of ruining someone's life by not being good enough.
Monica Garcia
Dec 01, 2007 Monica Garcia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone adopted or adopting
What an amazing book! The author did such an amazing job in spelling out all the complex issues and situations that a family brought together through adoption will go through with emphasis on the adoptee.
This book is so boring and negative. It reads like a textbook for a class about extremely traumatic adoption cases. I know that adoption isn't necessarily all sunshine and roses, so I don't mind reading some negativity on the topic too. But this was just too much. And this author seems to think that pretty much all adopted people (infants, children, and adults) have very serious mental issues simply due to being adopted (even if they were adopted at birth). And I don't think I believe that. But ...more
Anyone in the adoption "extended network" should read this. Informative, full of stories with a broad range of experiences.
Not great. Hopefully all adopted kids aren't as miserable as this book makes it sounds. Pray for Londy Anabel...
While I understand how many could see this as a negative book, it is also true for some adoptees. It is NOT how all adoptees may feel!! Everyone has a different experience.
I'm sure that prospective adopted parents do not want to hear about a primal wound that will never heal, even with all the love that they plan on providing for a child,.. But this is not to make you feel better, it is truth. May not be everyone's truth, but a majority of adoptees have experiences these types Of feelings. I co
This was good stuff to know. Not exactly great news in most cases but important to know.
Jodi Ann
I am quoted in tis book!
James Andersen
I was impressed at how helpful this book was in helping me understand something I really had no clue about: "separation anxiety."

I had heard the term so many times, and the anxiety had already been explained to me, but to read this book and its stories about many children who actually experienced the anxiety gave me a whole new perspective on the anxiety my own two children have undoubtedly experienced through the years. My heart hours out to them in ways I could never have envisioned.

Learning a
I feel compelled to write a review for "Twenty Things.." if only to counter the many negative reviews written here about the book. Yes, the author and her writing come off as very intense, which is a comment not made lightly given that the subject matter she focuses on is intense by nature. I also had a difficult time making it through the first few chapters of the book. For a person with very little direct experience with adoption, who's beginning to explore the possibilities of adopting a chil ...more
A must read for adoptive families.

It's important to remember that not all 20 things are likely to apply to all adoptees, but this book provides awareness for some important issues as well as appropriate responses to the issues.

Some have claimed that this book is too negative. Others say these issues definitely don't/won't apply to adoptees. However, Eldrige's research reaches far and wide. These just aren't her ideas. And, honestly, I've read similar ideas in at least three other adoption books
Mar 01, 2010 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: potential adoptive parents early on in the process
Shelves: adoption
This book was not exactly what I expected. I had picked it up several times at the book store thinking to myself, no I don't need another book on adoption, but this one looked good. Then to my surprise, my sister-in-law bought it for us. I plowed through it rather quickly. Each chapter is one of these twenty things adopted kids want their parents to know. It starts off with a review of what is at the heart of the problem, from attachment to birthfamilies. Then, the best part in my opinion is the ...more
This book contains many very good ideas and tips, but also a few pieces of (what seems to me) truly awful advice! So read discerningly. Also, while it's generally quite good at addressing the fact that every adoption story is different, one scenario that's never addressed is one where contact with a foster family is maintained instead of, or in addition to, contact with a birth family. Still, it's a quick read with some valuable insights.
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  • Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents
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  • Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow
  • Raising Adopted Children: Practical Reassuring Advice for Every Adoptive Parent
  • Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft
  • Inside Transracial Adoption
  • In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories
  • The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child
  • I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World
  • Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption
  • Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother
  • Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control: A Love-Based Approach to Helping Attachment-Challenged Children With Severe Behaviors, Volume 1
  • Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son: Abandonment, Adoption, and Orphanage Care in China
  • Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches
  • The Whole Life Adoption Book: Realistic Advice for Building a Healthy Adoptive Family
  • Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care
  • Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption
20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed Forever Fingerprints: An Amazing Discovery for Adopted Children Twenty Life Transforming Choices Adoptees Need to Make Questions Adoptees Are Asking: ...about Beginnings...about Birth Family...about Searching...about Finding Peace Parents De Coeur:  Comprendre L'enfant Adopté

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“I believe one of the most sacrificial acts of love adoptive parents can do is to give up their preconceptions and agendas about what their child's views "should" be and be open to hear the conflicting emotions and thoughts their child often experiences.” 17 likes
“Listen to your hearts, parents! You are the expert when it comes to knowing your child. I love the Scripture that says we are to let the peace of God rule in our hearts...In other words, peace in your heart is to be like an umpire calling the shots. When in doubt--DON'T!” 3 likes
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