Tuesday, February 1, 2011

BOOK REPORT: Successful Adoption

I had the last two days off work due to a gout flare up (something I'm thankful to not be passing on) and took hours of immobility as an opportunity to do some reading. While I have a stack of graphic novels calling my name, I was a little surprised to find myself reaching over that stack for Successful Adoption: A Guide for Christian Families, by Natalie Nichols Gillespie.

If I were to review the book in one sentence, I would say, "this is a great book for any Christian who is considering adoption." But I am not a man of few words.

The book strives to serve many purposes and chief amongst them convincing the reader that "yes, you can do this!" The early chapters dispel myths and rumors, and help the reader believe that adoption really can be for anybody with an open heart. While I appreciate the sentiment, it was the early chapters I found myself skimming through the most.

Kelly and I have already had the conversations detailed in the first two chapters of this book. When I sat down to read this, we were already in the proofreading stages of our letter to the prospective birth mother. We've already decided that we want to go with a domestic adoption. We've already spoken to an attorney. We've already started putting money aside for a home study. So the first two chapters (collected into Part 1 of the book) never felt like there were talking to me. They were talking to someone else, who was still on the fence on whether or not they wanted to adopt.

Part 2 of the book (there are six parts, total) became more interesting, but it wasn't until Part 3/Chapter 7 that I really started to receive answers to the questions I had -- or, as it was also, I was given the questions I should have. But even then, I found myself skimming sections of the book that were clearly not intended for me, which leads me to my biggest gripe about the book.

While there are large portions devoted to domestic adoption, the author seems to believe the reader was going to be involved in an international adoption. Far more time was spent addressing concerns and issues an adoptive family will run into adopting a child from another country than than concerns a family might have adopting locally.

For example: I'm not worried about learning my child's birth language, as I'm assuming we'll be adopting from somewhere in Tennessee or Georgia (and we generally speak the same language). I am, however, concerned about living within driving distance of the birth parents. What if we run into them? Or what if, by some strange occurrence, we go to the same church?

So that was a little off-putting, as were typos. I didn't notice any in the early chapters, but as the book went on, I found more and more typos. Sometimes words were missing from sentences, sometimes sentences had extra words and once I even found the wrong "here" being used.

But those nit-picks and gripes aside, it's a good book. I appreciated the author's concern and challenge to not only prepare your home and your bank account, but prepare your heart. Every chapter ends with a checklist of questions you're going to want to address and a testimony from someone who has adopted or has been adopted. It was written to be read beforehand (so you'll know what potholes are in the road before you), so now that I've read it, I don't feel particularly compelled to keep it on hand. It's not really a go-to book.

Overall, I'm glad I read it. It gave me some things to think about and consider. I would recommend it to anyone who's ever considered adoption but isn't actively pursuing it.


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