Book Review: "Cross-Cultural Adoption"

Geez did this weekend fly by! The race was great, but hotter than a cast iron skillet. And humid too! The Man says it was like exercising in a sauna, but we both made it through our races.

image source-Amazon.com
The long drive was relaxing and I sped through another adoption book "Cross-Cultural Adoption" by Amy Coughlin and Caryn Abramowitz.

The book is aimed at the family and friends of the adoptive family, which is a super great idea. We don't have any adoptions in our family, and because we live far away, our family members haven't had many conversations with us about adoption. I loved this passage from the book:
"Adoptive parents ask a lot of their family and friends. We ask that you treat us the same, but also that you treat us differently. We ask you to learn about the things that are important to us, and take special care with our children. Protect them from other people's curious stares. Tread carefully with your words. Be positive. Be wise."
I hadn't really thought about that before. And I realized that while we have been eating, living and breathing adoption, our families have not. That's why a book like this is such a great idea.

It's a pretty quick read and I wasn't impressed with it at first. The first section has 18 commonly asked questions, such as why did they go all the way over there to adopt a child, why didn't her "real" parents want her, or why didn't they just have one of their own. Answers to these questions are broken into two parts, the first being the abbreviated answer you give a child, and the second being the answer you give to an older child or adult.

The questions were pretty good, but I didn't think the answers were direct enough. Sometimes they seemed a bit mushy and they were tedious with explanations. They seem to say the same things over and over and lose the point in their effort to be educationy (yeah, I know that's not a word). But overall, the questions were good, and the answers OK.

My favorite part of the books is the do's and don'ts section for grown-ups. Here's an example:
"Adopted children have the same need for and right to privacy as you do. They do not want their entire life story being told to any stranger who stops and asks. Until a child is old enough to decide for herself how much information about her background she is willing to share, you should respect her privacy and avoid telling her life story to anybody who asks. Just because they asked does not mean you have to tell them."
Adoptive parents get used to being put on the spot and having to answer these types of rude questions. But family members probably haven't learned adoption "etiquette" and aren't experienced yet in dealing with these situations. The book shares what information is appropriate to share with others, and gives basic answers and suggestions about common adoption questions.

Here's an example from the "do" section:
"One of the best things you can do to show your support and love for the adopted child is to learn, even a little bit, about the history and culture of her birth country. Read a book or two. They don't have to be dry school texts; literature written by a native author or historical novels set in her country of birth provide fascinating insight and details into the area's culture and history."
These are the type of things adoptive parents know, but are details we may not have discussed with our family and friends.

The final section of the book gives a brief history/culture lesson about the top 10 countries that Americans adopt from, which was also a great idea.

Overall, I'd recommend suggesting the book to friends and family. We've had several friends and family ask what they could do to help us in this process, and the answer is, get educated about adoption!

This book is a good start.


  1. The book sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. This world needs more education for people close to, but not directly involved with, adoption! Great recommendation!

  3. I'm going to see if I can find the book and I think your post is wonderfully written! Thanks for sharing!


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