I just finished reading the manuscript for the Parenting As Adoptees anthology which I used my incredible powers of persuasion to get my hands on (translation: Kevin asked me to review it and I said “yes”). These are my impressions.
The pieces that make up the Parenting As Adoptees anthology come from the minds of adult adoptees with a variety of impressive backgrounds. Several of the authors have a multi-dimensional view of adoption through numerous adoption connections, whether by having adopted siblings or adopted children, working professionally with the adoption community, or researching and writing about adoption. Themes that emerge from these combined essays include issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, domestic and international adoption, foster care, identity, attachment, belonging, trauma, addiction, genetic inheritance, and family systems–to name just a few. It is clear that each author has approached their contribution to this collection of personal narratives with the willingness to be transparent, brutally honest, and even vulnerable to their readers. These authors are not adopted children, as too often people picture when they hear the word “adoptee.” They are adults and professionals; they are parents of children of their own, and they have something to say.
This book addresses several stark needs in the adoption community by putting more adoptee voices in popular media, by contributing to the acknowledgement of adoptees as adults and parents, and by encouraging the adoption community to accept the value of adult adoptee narratives. There is a need for more people to start recognizing that someone does not magically cease to be adopted once they’ve reached the age of majority. To be competent in the culture of adoption, one must recognize this fact and see to it that adult adoptees of a variety of walks of life and stages throughout the lifespan are incorporated into adoption discourse. There is both a need and a demand for books like this. Nearly everyday, I receive emails from individuals searching for books written by adult adoptees that they can relate to. I hear from people who are on a quest for catharsis, a sense of universality, and who need to be able to hear from other adoptees who are walking as similar path as far as adoption is concerned. It is often difficult to make a book suggestion to someone not knowing if they will identify at all with that particular book’s author. Being an adoptee on search a perpetual search for good literature myself, I identify with the daunting task of finding and selecting books. An incredible strength of this anthology is the diversity, not only of the authors, their experiences, and their perspectives, but of the writing styles and intertexuality within many of the individual essays. Someone reading Parenting As Adoptees is likely to find at least one author whom they can identify with and can learn something from. Readers are also likely to put down the book with other literature, research topics, and concepts in mind to continue learning and growing within the adoption experience.
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