Knowledge is a double-edged sword--Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew

One book down from the pile we brought home from the library. Scott thinks I'm obsessed. I fully admit that I am.

I just finished reading Sherrie Eldridge's book "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew". It was a really great book, written by an adoptee. It's organized well, and finishes each section with specifics on what parents can do to help guide their children through the emotional difficulties of being adopted. I plan on buying the book because I think it will be a resource we will return to again and again as our baby ages.

I'd certainly recommend the book to anyone, but to be really honest, it scared me alot. Evidently plenty of other people thought that too because there are a lot of reviews of the book that say the author dwells on the negative. She certainly doesn't sugar coat anything (not that you'd want her to) but to be confronted by the belief that all adoptees have a "broken heart" at the time they come to your home...that's a overwhelming and devastating notion.

Adopted children have suffered the greatest loss, the security of their birth mother. Although they have no understanding of what has happened, or even the thought process to identify it, they feel the loss all the same.

Shortly after that, they will have another great loss, that of their foster family. That's a lot of loss and turmoil for a child who has only been alive for a year. And that loss and grief is carried deep within them, always a presence in their lives. It can lurk in the background of their world as they mature--an unwelcome shadow that makes them feel alone and alienated.

My heart breaks to think about this. And I become scared (go away Monster of the Unknown!!). It feels like a mine field of potential problems for our child, and I wonder how we can ever parent them through that.

Reading all these books is like putting on battle armor. I feel I can face anything if I have armed myself with knowledge, understand what might lie ahead of us, and am as prepared as I can be for the eventual surprises that are sure to come.

There were some really fantastic points in this book that every adopted parent should consider. I had never considered that an adoptee's birthday can be a painful time for them (the anniversary of the day his parents gave him up). Or that going to the doctor can bring up abandonment issues (not being able to give a family medical history). My personal favorite was the section addressing privacy and confidentiality about our adoption. I'll talk more about that in another blog post later.

1 comment:

  1. I've read this book too and whenever someone asks me which of the books they should read, I tell them this would be first on my list. It can be overwhelming & scary, but I think its so important for APs to look at adoption from their children's perspective and accept that while its always a joyous occassion for us, it might not be for them. That being said, I've adopted twice and experienced the grief and adjustment first-hand...you can handle it. Yes, every child processes it differently and yes, its an added layer of complexity to face, but its not impossibly difficult or something that will forever be main focus of your relationship w/your child. I think you're a great mom for putting on your battle armour and preparing yourself to be parent.


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