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Adoption Nation by Adam Pertman

I’m a sucker for any book I see on adoption, because my parents adopted my own sister as an infant through an open, public adoption in the US. I was nine years old. 

Adoption Nation by Adam Pertman is the definitive book on adoption as far as I’m concerned. It is well written, meticulously researched, and tells balanced stories about all of the potential blessings and heartache that come with adoption for the major parties involved: adopted child, adoptive parents, and birth parents. If you were ever considering adoption in any form, this would be the first book to read. 

I’m a sucker for any book I see on adoption, because my parents adopted my own I do have a pretty serious critique of Adoption Nation that comes from my own myopic view of adoption. This books does not devote any time whatsoever to the effects adoption have on the minor parties involved; namely the biological children of adoptive parents.

My parents bonded with my sister and knew 100% she was their daughter before they even met her. I however, looked at my newborn sister for the first time with the nine-year-old equivalent of “You must be joking!” In retrospect, I could probably have benefited from counseling! Thankfully my sister and I are very close now.  It turns out that my Mom was right and I did end up being thankful to have a sister.

Most children have nine months to watch their mom’s bellies grow; all the while learning that the baby that comes out will be their flesh-and-blood sibling. Biological children of adoptive parents do not have this same preparation. Suddenly they just have a sibling.

I think that in adoptive parents’ eagerness to protect the feelings of the adoptive child, there can be unintended consequences to the biological children. The adopted child might unintentionally be portrayed as “special”, while the biological child feels just “ordinary”. Of course, if you asked my sister about this she would probably say the exact opposite!

Adoption marks everyone who is involved. In my case it was for the better, but it would be nice to have seen a little bit of my own experience in Pertman’s book.


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