Friday, April 8, 2011

Book Review - Adoption Nation by Adam Pertman

As many of you know by reading this blog, and perhaps by seeing our story online or in one of the NBC pieces about us (The Today Show) , my wife and I adopted our son after several years of fertility treatments and a devastating pre-term loss of identical twins. Because our main goal was to start our family, we embraced the adoption process. However, prior to the successful adoption of our son through a unique set of circumstances, I really didn't know that much about the adoption. Sure, I knew there was domestic and international adoption. And, I knew a little bit about the differences between a closed vs. open adoption. Even though we had a great lawyer who helped us through the process, I didn't really understand the history of adoption and how the process has evolved or over time. Now, more than 2 years after our son was adopted, I feel like I have a better understanding of the adoption process. However, after reading the revised and updated version of Adam Pertman's book Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families, it is clear that there is still a tremendous amount for me to learn.

Adam Pertman's book provides a comprehensive and in-depth review of all aspects of the adoption process, including international adoptions, domestic adoptions, and a general history of adoption in the United States. I was extremely interested in learning about the history "open" vs "closed" adoptions, and the changes in perception that adoption has gone through over the last 50 years. In his book, Adam states that, "Suddenly - or at least it feels sudden-adoption is being transformed from a quiet, lonely trip along America's back roads to a bustling journey on a cost-to-coast superhighway. The infrastructure has become so extensive that it has made all of us - not just adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents, into fellow travelers" (page 34). My wife and I have experienced the change in the openness of the adoption process first hand. We are certainly proud of our son and how he came into our lives and are not afraid to talk about it. The book also does a very good job of addressing the adoption process on an emotional front. The book does a good job of expressing the way we feel when on page 45 Adam says, "The mistake many people make with that knowledge is concluding that second choice means second best. We adoptive parents know better. To love my son and daughter any more than I do, I would have to grow a second heart."

Adoption Nation is a great book, with interesting stories and real world examples. I believe this book is a must read for those considering adoption, those of us who have completed a successful adoption, individuals generally interested in adoption, politicians, and more importantly, family and friends of people who have adopted or who were adopted. This book does a great job of helping define the overall adoption experience, what to expect, and what people are feeling during every stage of the adoption process. I also especially appreciate Adam's attention to expressing the experience and feelings of those who were adopted.

As I mentioned at beginning of this article, my wife and I are extremely proud of our son and how he came into our lives. We read his adoption story to him nightly, and will be more than happy to help him through his journey as he grows older. Thank you to Adam for writing a book that will help us as we proceed on our own journey, too.

Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families
By Adam Pertman, The Harvard Common Press, April 2011, 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-55832-716-0, $16.95 paperback

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