Book club Monday: 20 things-chapters 6-9

Hi all! Hope you had a fantastic weekend. Our trip up north was super fun. Hanging out in the woods, seeing old friends, plus a little bike/trail race in the mix. Such a great time and glad we did it.

So, on with our book. (For more info on the book we are reading, click HERE. All passages that are quoted are from Sherrie Eldridge's book, 20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed. Here are links to our previous discusions: Chapter 1; Chapters 2 & 3; Chapters 4 & 5.)

Chapter 6: Know that being different can be a good thing
Yes. Different can be great. I actually relish being different. But it can also be hard. It just depends what context *different* is used in. The Man and I often talk about if adoptive parenting is really that much different than biological parenting. Not that it makes one whit of difference at all. I just would like to know. Maybe it's the difference between parenting a boy and a girl. There are some things that are similar, and some things that are very different. I guess the word "unique" would be a better description of adoptive parenting. Some things we have to consider, or the approaches we take to certain situations are unique to our family.

One question stuck out in this chapter for me. She poses the question "How will you explain the word different to her," when talking to your kids. It's hard having to explain this to LM some day, because it's such a fine line to walk. Many people insert the word "special" for "different" and I think this can ring hollow for kids. The way they might be teased by others for being different will definitely not feel "special" to them. So sugar-coating this doesn't seem honest to me.

Different is also a dressed up way of saying you are an "other". It's a way to set people into groups and divide them into similar and non-similar. No one wants to be in the non-similar group. Those are the outsiders. A lonely place to be.

It's not only LM who will be "different". We've felt that on numerous occasions as well, both before and since we've brought LM home. There were the thinly veiled reactions of pity when people learned we were adopting. (One of them must be broken.) Or raised eyebrows when we chose international adoption. (What about all those kids here in America that need families?) Or the over-bright smile as they say "well, he is so lucky!" (Everyone knows adoptive kids have more problems than others. Good luck to you both!)

Chapter 7: Settle the "real-parent" question
I don't feel like a real parent yet. It's only been a few months, so maybe this will hit later. We are still slowly connecting and maybe it will feel more real as we grow in our relationship with time.

But even not feeling like a "real" parent, I don't feel any less real than his birth mother. Of course, I'm not threatened by her at this point either.

Eldridge writes, "Your child wants you to be secure in your role and identity as his parent so that you can help him come to terms with his complex identity." Absolutely. I can't help him work through his identity issues if I have an identity crisis of my own.

An excerpt from a writing by Connie Dawson also really resonated with me. Dawson, an adoptee, states that adoptive children have a deep belief that birth mothers send them away because they are too much to handle. And, if you are not handling the adoption issues well, or confidently, children will try to protect you--they will hide their hurts and pains from you and will believe that their pain is too much for you to handle. Food for thought.

In terms of parental confidence, I'd say on a scale of 1-10, I feel about a 5.5. Average, but not outstanding. I attribute most of that to the fact that it's all still very new to me.

I hope LM knows that his needs are my priority. But I do struggle with my need to know that he loves me and accepts me. This could get in the way of letting him work through this attachment period. The thing is, he might not necessarily love me or accept me completely right now. I struggle to be OK with that, trying to have faith that we will reach this place down the road.

Chapter 8: Step up to the plate with confidence
I don't have anything to comment on this chapter.

Chapter 9: Evaluate your emotional health
Not much to say about this either. I think self evaluation is a good exercise for everyone. Parents or not. Adoptive families, or not. Everyone has baggage. Deal with it. You will be happier.

If you made it all the way to here, huzzah! I can't believe you stuck with me this long. {{high five}} What are your thoughts?

Four chapters was a dang long blog post. Just doing chapters 10, 11 & 12 for next week. See you Monday!


  1. Thank you so much for the review. You write about it so well. Your honesty comes out and your comments are very real! Thank you!

    While I was reading what you wrote I had a few thoughts:

    1. Unique. I think that parenting an internationally child is unique both because there are some things you do differently, and because others view you as unique. But then again I think many families have unique situations that they have to deal with.

    Raising kids in the military is definitely different than how I was raised (lived in the same house for 18 years). I wouldn't trade it, but it's different and sometimes very challenging.

    Parenting a child with special or medical needs is different. Those parents wouldn't trade their children for the world but it's challenging, they're seen as different, and they probably have to adjust their parenting.

    Just a couple of examples of house many families are unique or different so in some ways - we're just like everyone else trying to figure out what is best for our child(ren).

    2.Real Parent - I didn't feel like a real parent to either of my kids at first. I loved them and wanted to care of them, but (especially with my first) I felt like a loving care taker or like I was playing house a bit (although MUCH harder!).

    Now I feel like a real parent. But it will take time to feel like a real parent to our next child too. Maybe even longer because he/she will be longing for a different parent (foster parents) at first. But I know, over time, we'll get there.

    Thanks for sharing. I have a long list of books to read, I should start moving through them again. :) Thinking of you and LM!

  2. I agree with Christy's point that parenting an internationally adopted child is unique. Unique, or different, or whatever word we choose, doesn't mean bad. I does mean that we consider things that we wouldn't consider if we had given birth to our children. But it has been helpful for me to remember that there are many families with "different" situations. It's good to be aware of it, but to not feel like we are outsiders due to it.

    And as for the real parent and working through your emotional "stuff" - this does happen with time, but working on my son's lifebook was really important for me to work through some feelings/emotions that I had about his birthfamily, etc. And I thought I had worked through it all! So, it is important to do it - but it is also good to make yourself work through it as well.


We'd love to hear from you but we aren't mind readers, OK? Just take a minute to share your thoughts and you'll make us really, really happy.