I confess, I didn't get very far in this book... I got stuck in the second section on "Racial Identity".
On the good side, this book did help me to un...moreI confess, I didn't get very far in this book... I got stuck in the second section on "Racial Identity".
On the good side, this book did help me to understand racism better. The idea that because I'm white I am given advantages and considerations without asking for them was a eye opener to me. The concept that children of color we would adopt wouldn't be granted such consideration when they are not with my husband and I was helpful to understand. In addition, there are extensive annotated bibliographies by section and at the end of the book.
I wanted to like the book. But, the negatives are it is incredibly difficult to read. Too long. Bizillion words per page. The style and lack of editing make the book feel like it is a fanatic treatise. The authors tend to focus more on problems, failures (their own and others), and challenges. There are MANY things to disagree with here. The author's approach seems very divisive and, if possible, overemphasizes race as the primary source of identity (maybe this would be rectified by perseverance further in the book). But, in the end, the more I thought about it, it wasn't really WHAT was said, but HOW it was said that is the problem.
This was my first attempt/ exposure to researching our dream of transracial adoption. It was a discouraging one. I may go back to this book because of the positives, but in the meantime it is due back at the library and I think I'd rather start the process with a different perspective.(less)
This excellent book presents an overview of international adoption, specifically focused on interracial adoption.
Strengths of the book are it's breadt...moreThis excellent book presents an overview of international adoption, specifically focused on interracial adoption.
Strengths of the book are it's breadth of topics and perspectives. While the author leans heavily on her experience in adopting from South Korea, she interviewed 31 adoptive parents and 15 adopted children (from ages 6 to 30), which gives the work a variety of experiences from which to draw. Another strength is the sensitivity with which Register writes to and about all involved. I found her coverage of the grief process of adoption particularly poignant and helpful, as well as her thoughtful examination of the ethical issues involved in transracial/ international adoption.
Weaknesses of the book are predominently related to the age of the book, which was published in 1991. Much of the information on countries has changed substantially. While the principles of "Global Community" (the last chapter) associated with labor, commerce and capitalism remain true, the application to certain countries is inaccurate in today's economy.
Nonetheless, this book served well as an introduction into international adoption and I would highly recommend it. If all the rest of the books I read on this topic are this well done, I will be incredibly well informed. Thank you, Cheri Register.(less)
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 f...moreI 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.
Positives: * 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 without You" alongside, helped me to see what the book was talking about regarding the relationship of the adopted child, the adopted parents and the birth family. I am starting to accept the idea that trauma exists even for infants.
Negatives: * I just could not stand the author. She comes across as incredibly self-absorbed, bemoaning her adoption for her every struggle in life. There are many other promiscuous, eating disorder struggling, perfectionists in high schools across this country who are NOT adopted. The author seemed to blame everything on her adoption and her parents struggle to meet her emotional needs - another thing that takes place all over the world in non-adoptive families.
* While this book is endorsed by Christians, I found no Biblical reference in the 139/211 pages I read. The author's point seems to be embrace your identity as an adoptee with all it's pain . I would like to read a book on adoption for Christian parents that actually encourages parents, children and families to embrace their *identity in Christ*! In addition, if she recommends professional therapy one more time.... well, i don't know what i'd do, this is why i had to stop reading.
* Because the author relies so heavily on processing/ justifying/ reliving/ emoting her own "difficult" past, the scope of the book is incredibly limited. The author was adopted in the 1940's, as an infant, through a closed adoption. Her parents were counseled not to talk about the adoption. Open adoptions, international adoptions, toddler adoptions, people not adopted from 1940-1965, etc. will all have other facets this book doesn't address.
* Attachment theory. This author relies heavily on attachment theory philosophy. I encountered this in literature I read when I had a natural born child. I wasn't buying it then, and I'm not buying it now. Why do some kids fail to attach? Biological kids fail to attach. Adopted kids fail to attach. Why? I can only say it is sin. Sin on the parents part, in letting our patience get exhausted, not being guided in parenting by God's word (things like tell the truth, repent of your failures, forgive, show love to others, etc.). Sin on the child's part in feeding their self-centeredness, insisting on their own way, etc. Parent-child relationships gone wrong. The point is that the parents do not have the resources to be God to a child and the child does not have the resources to be God to the parents, and the expectation of such by either is sinful.
I was sad to finish this book. If we ever do adopt from Ethiopia, which is a growing dream of mine: 1) I want to purchase a copy of this book for each...moreI was sad to finish this book. If we ever do adopt from Ethiopia, which is a growing dream of mine: 1) I want to purchase a copy of this book for each child we adopt; 2) I want my husband to read this book; 3) I want to refer everyone who asks "why?" we would adopt to this book.
Greene's journalistic style weaves the life of a woman literally sucked into orphan rescue (Haregewoin Teferra's), statistical analysis, vignettes of the children's lives, global politics, Ethiopian history, causes/ development of the AIDS epidemic, international distribution of pharmaceuticals, international adoption and personal stories of it's challenges, and the role of NGO's into a compelling non-fiction work. The information is solidly documented and the writing is phenomenal. I learned an incredible amount of information, but never felt bogged down, because the life stories of the individuals were also compellingly presented. I especially appreciated how the writers style changed as she looked at the situation through the eyes of different people and organizations.
For me, this book had that special something that made it one of the best I have ever read.
It is brutally honest about the challenges and struggles in our world today (AIDS, abuse, death, grief, vulnerable children, poverty, malnutrition, starvation, injustice, sin, prostitution, gossip, jealousy, woundedness, etc., etc.). Yet the story remains inspiring, as a single, widowed woman, consumed with grief reaches out to others and discovers her life calling. And then others join her. We meet the exceptional children, some of their parents, doctors, NGO leaders, the writer herself and we are inspired. There is a risk when sharing her own story that the writer, who has herself adopted two children from Ethiopia, will either come across as pompous or preachy, but i didn't get either of that from Greene. Rather, her part in the story was woven with such humility and grace that it enhanced the others, as opposed from detracting from them. It also allowed her to talk of how her eyes, as a westerner, were opened to what was happening by the extraordinary people she met; it is a journey we share with her.
Additionally, Greene does not fall into the trap of idealizing her heroines and heroes. Each is presented in a very real, yet graceful manner. Their accomplishments are not easily secured and their flaws appear along the way. Yet Greene's love for them and ours grows even through their falleness. There is one point late in the book during which I think she becomes a little too vociferous in her defense of Haregewoin. However, in retrospect, these few pages of diminished excellence only served to highlight the value of the rest of the work by seeming so out of place. I'm interested to read other work by this author.
If you don't consider adopting from Ethiopia after reading this, God is probably not calling you to do it. Even if you don't hear the call, reading this book will not be a waste of your time.(less)
This was a character-forming book for me that impacted me more than anticipated. I would like to read it again, and would love it if my husband would...moreThis was a character-forming book for me that impacted me more than anticipated. I would like to read it again, and would love it if my husband would read it as well.
The backdrop of the story is the author, Harold Myra's experiences with raising children. Myra has birth, foster and adoptive children and recounts there stories. That in itself is worth the read, but what made it monumental for me was:
1) Myra is an extremely successful businessman, one many would look up to.
2) While he dabbles in corresponding challenges at work and relates conversations with colleagues, the focus of the work is on what is going on at home.
3) Myra writes with humility about his challenges. He is introverted in a full house, struggles with the loss of foster children, feels overwhelmed with responsibility for his family and wrestles with the death of family members.
While the backdrop is his experience as a father, the entire story encompasses love, sorrow, joy, death, growth, pain and meaning out of suffering, as well as examining the question of how does a Christian man respond to the overwhelming needs of children in the world? And I think that is the genius of this book - it is a man who writes it with such vulnerability!
Highly recommended for all Christians. Particularly of interest to men and women who want to understand their perspective on home life, as well as those considering foster care and/ or adoption. I am adding this book to my wishlist to purchase.(less)
A lovely book whose engaging tales goes far beyond adoption to reach out to any child who has ever felt "different" within his family. While adoption...moreA lovely book whose engaging tales goes far beyond adoption to reach out to any child who has ever felt "different" within his family. While adoption practitioners have embraced this book, it would be a sad waste of a wonderful story (the word adoption is not even used), if it were not read broadly.
The book illustrates that families are built on love and that love for each other is more important that how each member of the family looks. The first time I read it was with my friend and her daughter. My friend and I were teary eyed. It is a charming, well written, well illustrated, story. I have bought extra copies for Christmas gifts. Highly recommended.
_____________________________________________________ I do not usually write summaries, but this topic is so sensitive and it is difficult to find good resources if you cannot read them yourself. So, here is my synopsis.
"Choco was a little bird, who lived all alone. He wished he had a mother, but who could his mother be? One day he set off to find her..." (pg.1) Choco approaches various mothers, each of which point out that they do not have some aspect of his physique. There is a little humor here as Mrs. Penguin tells Choco she does have wings like him, but not his big, round cheeks. Choco then goes to a very obviously round cheeked Mrs. Walrus, and this continues with Choco unable to find a mother "who looked just like him."
Then, he runs into Mrs. Bear, who he watches from a distance. She seems very kind, but looks nothing like him. He starts to cry and says "Mommy, Mommy! I need a Mommy!" Mrs. Bear rushes to comfort him, "Oh dear, if you had a mommy, what would she do?" The following pages are filled with Choco's dreams of a Mommy, and Mrs. Bear fulfilling them (hold me, kiss me, sing and dance with me to cheer me).
"When they stopped to rest, Mrs. Bear turned to Choco and said, "Choco, maybe I could be your mother." Choco points out his distinguishing features and how Mrs. Bear doesn't have them. Mrs. Bear laughs and says she would look very funny like that. The facing page is a delightful drawing of Mrs. Bear made into a Chocolike character. Mrs. Bear invites him home to eat apple pie with her other children who are waiting for her. Turns out her other children don't look like her either! Mrs. Bear is mother to Hippy (Hippo), Ally (Allegator) and Piggy (Pig), who play with Choco as laughter and apple pie fill the home. The book closes with:
"After their delicious treat, Mrs. Bear gave all her children a big, warm, bear hug. And Choco was very happy that his new mommy looked just the way she did." (less)