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Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew

3.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  719 Ratings  ·  105 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
ebook, 240 pages
Published October 7th 2009 by Delta (first published October 12th 1999)
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May 31, 2008 Michelle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 28, 2011 Jenifer rated it did not like 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
May 18, 2013 Ebookwormy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ebookwormy by: Adoption Advocates International
Shelves: non-fiction, adoption
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
Oct 10, 2012 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 04, 2009 Bookish rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 18, 2009 Susan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 27, 2008 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 12, 2015 Levi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There are some valuable concepts here, particularly for those who might still believe closed adoptions are healthier than open, but the book suffers from not being very well written or edited. I also tend to think it conveys the experience of being adopted as much heavier and darker than it is for many adoptees, although I know it's not exactly for me to say.

As a parent in the very very early stages of adoptive parenthood, I can say this book left me even happier than I already was that we chos
Tuscany Bernier
Apr 29, 2016 Tuscany Bernier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As somebody interested in adoption, but not yet a parent, I felt this was very interesting and informational. It confirmed my beliefs, such as how you should NEVER keep the child's past from them. You should not try to smooth over racial or cultural differences if it's apparent your cultures are different. Don't teach them that their feelings aren't valid and celebrate them for who they are. I liked it brought up a variety of questions and answered with the experiences of many adoptees, the auth ...more
Jan 02, 2014 Baq rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adoption
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
Mar 08, 2011 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 31, 2010 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 01, 2008 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 02, 2016 Shelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an adopted person I've felt almost everything in this book at one point or another on my journey from an adopted infant to an adult with my own child. I highly recommend this book for every parent considering adoption and for every adoptee. This book gives a clear outline of ways that parents can help an adopted child process the very natural and real internal and often unspoken feelings of fear, shame, abandonment, grief, and loss that accompany the feelings of love, loyalty, and appreciatio ...more
Apr 13, 2016 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“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.” Are some of the many things we hear from adopted children in the book Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge. The stories are story of loss, fear, and hope. This book was written by a woman who was adopted herself. She gives voi ...more
Jun 18, 2010 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 11, 2015 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately this book was more frustrating than insightful. The author was adopted at birth back in the 40's and it seems like her perception of adoption is rooted in her own experience as an adoptee. The entire book is based on newborn adoption with very few brief notes on adoption of older children. She only mentions the trauma of being separated from a birth mother at the hospital and not the trauma of repeated abuse that many children endure before being identified for adoption. She is cle ...more
Rena  Traxel
May 05, 2014 Rena Traxel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 02, 2015 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a child who comes from a giant family, whom many are adopted, this book helped me realize that the way I felt on the inside, the void I felt, wasn't necessarily wrong and that I didn't need to feel like I had to fix myself in order to be wanted. It also helped me understand a lot about myself and my other adoptive siblings. Are all adopted children like what she describes in the book? No. But what this book did was give me answers and empowered me to speak about things I had been told all my ...more
Dec 24, 2007 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 31, 2012 Katie Schwab rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 09, 2014 Llewellyn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 04, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can I just say that every person affected by adoption should read this book. I am profoundly affected by what I have learned.
Dec 04, 2008 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone in the adoption "extended network" should read this. Informative, full of stories with a broad range of experiences.
Nov 22, 2009 Daniel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-applicable
Not great. Hopefully all adopted kids aren't as miserable as this book makes it sounds. Pray for Londy Anabel...
May 01, 2014 Kris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 21, 2007 Dana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was good stuff to know. Not exactly great news in most cases but important to know.
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  • The Family of Adoption: Completely Revised and Updated
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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.” 22 likes
“the truth is, the very act of adoption is built upon loss. For the birth parents, the loss of their biological offspring, the relationship that could have been, a very part of themselves. For the adoptive parents, the loss of giving birth to a biological child, the child whose face will never mirror theirs. And for the adopted child, the loss of the birth parents, the earliest experience of belonging and acceptance. To deny adoption loss is to deny the emotional reality of everyone involved.” 4 likes
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