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March @ AKA- An Adoption Book Review

March 20, 2010

The March meeting of AKA invited participants to bring their favorite (and least favorite) adoption books. There was a perfect number of participants to sit in a small-ish circle and share our biblio-thoughts. Thanks to everyone who made it out on the first night of spring break and fought through SXSW traffic. I was there until almost 10 PM…talking, crying, laughing. If you haven’t been to AKA lately, you don’t know what you are missing!

Here are some highlights of the books that were reviewed.

The Girls who Went Away by Ann Fessler tells the stories of the women who were coerced into surrendering their newborns for adoption post WWII and pre Roe V. Wade. This was the time young women were literally sent away through the final months of their pregnancies to maternity homes, sometimes giving birth under anesthesia, only to wake and find their child placed with a “loving couple.” Sometimes the coercion was less sinister, but always painful. Fessler is an amazing journalist and the book chapters alternate between biographical stories and journalistic reporting. It was a groundbreaking adoption book in my career- the first book I picked up that gave me a good look at the experiences of women who place (or lose) their babies for adoption. I recommend it to every family I work with.

20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed by Sherrie Eldridge was reviewed by AKA President, Dawn Scott. The new book addresses the different development stages our children go through and how those stages interact with the impact of adoption. Eldridge also talks about the different stages that adoptive parents go through on their adoption journey and invites parents to fully experience those stages without rushing. The book encourages adoptive parents to participate in support groups, recognize the grief in their adoption children, and provides sample group discussion questions. We also learned that the book has a Facebook fan page! When you are checking it out, be sure to become a fan of AKA and Gobbel Counseling!

I Wished for You was also reviewed by our AKA President, Dawn Scott. This is a children’s book about an adoptive family’s wait for their adopted child. It has beautiful watercolor art!

Birthright by Jean Strauss was reviewed by Sheri Williams, AKA Secretary. Birthright is a guide to search and reunion for all triad members. Sheri told us her favorite part of the book is that it allows readers the opportunity to learn about search and reunion from the perspective of another side of the triad. Sheri shared with us “Ten Rules for a Search” as well as numerous powerful and emotional excerpts from the book.

Beckett Franklin Gray attended her first AKA in many years and reviewed her book The Dragon Tribe: A guide for parenting in Chinese adoption. Beckett is an adoptive mother to a nine-year-old daughter adopted from China. She is also an author and working toward her LPC license. Beckett described her book as a workbook that aids with an adoptive parent’s experience parenting in a transracial family. This book is newly published and I’ve heard that Beckett is already in working on her second book. We can’t wait!

The People They Bought Me is a book of poetry by Penny Partridge, reviewed by our own Mike Schoenfelder, Treasurer of AKA. In her book, Penny shares her poetry and then a narrative about what inspired each poem.

20 Things Adopted Children Wish Their Parents Knew also by Sherrie Eldridge, was reviewed by DeeDee Barrera, board member at large of AKA. DeeDee gave an overview of each of the 20 things that Sherri Eldridge has identified in her book as the shared ideas identified by adoptees. 20 Things has come to be a “must read” of adoption literature, required reading for prospective adoptive parents by many social workers and agencies.

And finally, Dr. Rowena Fong, AKA vice president, reviewed Beyond Culture Camp, a research project recently released by the Adoption Institute. This project focused on the experience of adults who were adopted as children. I haven’t had the opportunity to read it myself, but it’s on my list! You can download the PDF file for free.

If you missed this meeting, you missed a great experience. We had a few new guests and feel very blessed to be included on their newly begun journey of adoption. We hope to see all the same faces, and more, when we welcome Nyla Lengacher, LCSW in April. Mark your calendars!

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