Adoption Nation

 April 5, 2011

I was asked to review a book called Adoption Nation by Adam Pertman.  I agreed to read the book since it was about a topic that is important to me and I am so glad I did.

Adoption Nation
Adoption Nation is a comprehensive and up to date view of adoption from all sides of the adoption triad that also provides a historical perspective of adoption practices and attitudes I found incredibly illuminating.

Pertman, an adoptive parent himself discusses the full spectrum of adoption with intelligence and respect for all stakeholders in the adoption process and he is not afraid to discuss the failings of the current system. 

I read Adoption Nation while I was on our cruise. 

On the first morning of vacation I brought the girls to breakfast in the concierge lounge: it was a quiet place where Macy and Nina could  happily eat their eggs while I read. 

After a while a woman who was about seventy or so approached me and said, “your daughters are beautiful”.  Of course I beamed and thanked her. 

Then her voiced dropped low and in a hushed tone she almost whispered, “I had a friend who adopted a baby but she came straight from the hospital.”

I was taken aback.  Why was this woman whispering like she telling me I had spinach in my teeth?

But I already knew.

Ironically two minutes before I had been reading in Adoption Nation about the (thankfully fading) era of closed adoptions.

And while the idea of secrecy (and apparent shame) linked to adoption seems outrageous to me now, I realized that this sweet old woman’s attitudes toward adoption were formed  during a time when adoption was something not discussed in polite company.

How different from where we (and most of our adoptive friends) are today.  We know or search for birth parents and, we love them like extended family. We announce our paper pregnancy and have "gotcha" day  parties at our kid's schools.   We attend adoption reunions and go on heritage tours. We CELEBRATE adoption.

I’ve even said that as both a bio and adoptive parent, I sort of feel bad for my friends who only have bio kids-they are missing out on this incredible human experience called adoption!

Thankfully adoption today (for the most part) has changed from what this woman knew.

A quiet revolution has occurred and thanks to the efforts of some incredible people (who’s efforts I simply took for granted before reading the book), adoption is out of the closet.

It’s sort of strange to be part of something, something big. Something as big as social and cultural reformation and not even realize it.

But after reading Adoption Nation that’s just how I felt.

I now see myself not just as an adoptive parent but as both beneficiary of and participant in a social revolution that is changing the way our nation views adoption, adoptees and birth mothers. 

I will be honest as I read this book I was almost embarrassed by my own ignorance about  a subject that has touched me so deeply.  I realized how little about the adoption big picture (one my daughters and I are inescapably part of) I really understood. 

And I realized I NEED to understand in order to help my daughters navigate their way though the changing adoption landscape. 

Because one day a sweet little old lady might talk to them like they have spinach in their teeth.

Win a Copy of Adoption Nation
Now in case you are wondering I did not get paid for this glowing endorsement (and it is) but the publishers have offered to give away a couple copies of Adoption Nation to my readers (jeeze good thing I liked it huh?  Imagine giving away a book I didn't like??) So anyway, if you would like a chance to win a copy leave a comment on this post along with an email (or someway for me to get in touch with you).  I’ll pick a couple readers at random on Friday who will get a free copy of the book.

Hey I really need some votes to keep my blog in the top 25.  After you enter to win that free book can you please cast a vote for Five of My Own on 
Circle of Moms .  Thanks a bunch!

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