Reading Again: Adoption Nation

19 09 2011

I guess I burnt out on reading trying to reach my goal of 44 books, because I haven’t been able to dive into anything lately.  I have been buying books.  And I have been going to the library and returning home with back-breakingly large stacks of books.  But I haven’t actually been reading any of the books.  Until last week.  Because I finally opened a book that was compelling enough to keep me motivated, thanks to Adam Pertman who updated and revised his important and very readable book Adoption Nation.

Pertman is the Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and the adoptive father of two children.  Clearly he has a vested interest in the adoption topic and is likely to be pro-adoption.  However, this book is not just a cheerleading manual for all things adoption.  In fact, it very clearly outlines many of the historical problems in adoption and also many of the current challenges.

The bottom-line, I learned a lot reading this book, and I enjoyed reading this book.  What else could a reader want?  Oh, would a reader want an author to help her understand things she has struggled with comprehending?  Yes!  And that was certainly the case with this book.  For example last fall I talked about my conflicted feelings regarding the documentary Adopted: For The Life Of Me which concerns domestic adoptions and the opening of sealed birth records.  In Pertman’s book he takes these topics on.  In fact I am pretty sure he specifically talks about some of the same cases the film studies.  I don’t know if it is Pertman’s particular style, or my opinions naturally evolving, but I believe I am starting to “get” where the adoptees are coming from.

While the books primary focus seems to be domestic adoption, there is loads of information on adoption in general as well as international adoption specifically.  Beyond the facts and figures – which I have actually never seen in print before – the universal nature of what all members of the triad experience is highlighted and explored regardless of whether an adoption is open or closed, domestic, private, international or public.

My one issue with this book is Pertman’s constant referencing of a revolution.  Sure the subtitle of his book is “How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families – and America”, so I should not have been surprised that this was a reoccurring theme.  And there were times where I did see how the term revolution was incredibly applicable.  But other times I felt like this was a real stretch.

When I worked in non-profit, I ate, drank and slept animal welfare.  At times I was so immersed I was sure the rest of the world was also completely aware of what I considered a revolution.  Alas, I would leave my little bubble and find out there were actually other things happening in the world.  I do not fault Pertman for feeling the way he does.  And I give him props for keeping the theme going throughout his book.  But it didn’t always ring true for me.

Before I started our adoption process I was very clear that I did NOT want to be an expert in adoptions.  Despite my reluctance, I quickly realized by adopting Little Dude I joined a community.  It is important to me to be an engaged and informed member of that community.  “Adoption Nation” is the perfect book for building my knowledge and seeing ways I could become more engaged.

Despite my minor issues with the revolution theme, I am grateful I read this book.

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