Another Excuse, Reading (part 1)

17 08 2012

What exactly have I been doing while I wasn’t writing?

Reading.

I picked up all three of these books from the library on the same day.  I decided to read them in what I thought would be the easiest to toughest order.  That meant Reunited was up first.

I am not sure what genera to label this with – part memoir, part auto-biography, part “how-to,” and part “adoption for dummies.”  Also, a big part, “advertisement for birth family search services.”

The book is written in the first person by Pamela Slaton who is an adult adoptee and an “investigative genealogist,” which, seems to me to be a made-up job title.  (Not a fictional job title, but more, a creative paring of words to explain what one does for a pay check.)

As far as I am concerned, Slaton can give herself any title she wants.  While the book wasn’t perfect, I rushed through it and blew off other activities to finish it quickly.  Her writing skills are solid but nothing compared to her investigative skills, which are apparently second-to-none according to her. 

Please don’t let my snarkiness put you off.  This book is an excellent read and I think it is probably critical for anyone in the adoption triad.

The stories are riveting, as you would expect.  But some are also surprising.  Slaton does not provide us with all happy-endings.  Along with the rainbows and unicorns you find plenty of dysfunction, denial and heart-ache.  But the bottom line is hope.

For me to really enjoy a book it helps if I learn something new and if the author also re-iterates or provides a fresh perspective on some belief that I already cling to.  This book delivered both requirements in a well-written, entertaining way.

What I Learned:

I have read, studied, thought, argued and changed my mind repeatedly about birth-family reunification.  But one aspect that I rarely spent much time thinking about was potential sibling relationships.

I know many adoptive parents who struggle with the fact that their child’s first family is raising children in Ethiopia but was not able to raise the child who now lives in America.  We can all see how this may factor into our childrens’ stories.  The “why them, not me?” question is bound to plague our kids.  Without down-playing that very real heart-ache, thanks to Slaton, I now recognize the potential amazing upside to future relationships with biological siblings.

What I Was Reminded Of:

In this case, Slaton’s underlying premise that a search won’t necessarily lead to “happily ever after” but will always end with more knowledge, more truth and more understanding speaks to my belief that life requires risk-taking.

Prior to finding this book on the “New, Non-Fiction” shelf at my library, I had never heard of Slaton.  When I first cracked the spine I had no idea if I would even bother finishing the book, let alone learn anything.  But trapped in the entertainment of other people’s stories, I found buried nuggets of information, ideas and inspiration that I will use as I parent my adopted son.

I am grateful I discovered Reunited and am looking forward to hearing what you think about it.

Guess which book I read next…
Photo Credit: Anthony G. Moore/PR Photos

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2 responses

17 08 2012
Casa Bicicleta

I had never heard of this book so thanks for the recommendation. Always looking to learn something new.

17 08 2012
Meg

I *heart* Marcus Samuelsson and not just because he’s hunky or Ethiopian or Swedish or a chef. He’s just a really great guy. I love his story and I love his hard work and determination. He’s not famous because he has rich parents who bought him a restaurant that their rich friends went to. He’s famous because he makes killer food, is a kind boss and a generous human being. Definitely the type of successful black man I want as a role model for my son.

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