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Twenty Things Adoptive Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew Paperback – 28 Mar 1999

4.1 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell; Later Printing edition (28 Mar. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044050838X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440508380
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

"Birthdays may be difficult for me."
"I want you to take the initiative in opening conversations about my birth family."
"When I act out my fears in obnoxious ways, please hang in there with me."
"I am afraid you will abandon me."
The voices of adopted children are poignant, questioning. And they tell a familiar story of loss, fear, and hope. This extraordinary book, written by a woman who was adopted herself, gives voice to children's unspoken concerns, and shows adoptive parents how to free their kids from feelings of fear, abandonment, and shame.
With warmth and candor, Sherrie Eldridge reveals the twenty complex emotional issues you must understand to nurture the child you love--that he must grieve his loss now if he is to receive love fully in the future--that she needs honest information about her birth family no matter how painful the details may be--and that although he may choose to search for his birth family, he will always rely on you to be his parents.
Filled with powerful insights from children, parents, and experts in the field, plus practical strategies and case histories that will ring true for every adoptive family, Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew is an invaluable guide to the complex emotions that take up residence within the heart of the adopted child--and within the adoptive home.

About the Author

Sherrie Eldridge was adopted herself, and she uses many personal anecdotes to help illustrate the themes of this book. She formed an organization, Jewel Among Jewels Adoption Network, Inc., which helps educate people about the unique needs of the adopted child and publishes a quarterly newsletter, Jewel Among Jewels Adoption News. She lives with her husband in Indianapolis.


Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 27 Nov. 2003
Format: Paperback
this started ok, but only deals with babies that were given up at birth and not from any other perspective, disappointing.
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The book is extremely biased. It's focused solely on the author's own negative experience. The tone feels more like a bitter rant than an objective look on the subject. It could have been a blend of interesting perspectives, but instead it's the author's own crusade in which only like-minded people have chosen to follow her and her generalizations.

To start off, she writes as if all adoptive families are the same. Adoptive or not, no family is the same. Period. The author's blunt generalization is a bit insulting. Example:

"The very act of adoption is built upon loss. For the birth parents, the loss of their biological offspring [...]. For the adoptive parents, the loss of giving birth to a biological child [...]. And for the adopted child, the loss of the birth parents."
Not all of those statements are true in all cases. As Crispe herself has mentioned in an earlier review, some parents don't choose adoption because of infertility. Birth parents may have died (instead of having given up the child). Not all children are adopted upon birth, etc. The only way I could have forgiven the generalization is if the book would have explicitly made it clear that it is discussing ONLY this specific scenario (which seems to be the worst case scenario).

I mentioned the book is biased too. To give a very concrete example of bias, I will point out that in the whole book, she only offers 1 quote by an adoptee who seems to have come to terms with his adoption in this part:
" 'After my wife and I had our first child, my adoptive parents gave me the little bit of information they had about my birth family and told me they would support me if I wanted to explore my history or search for birth relatives. I'm not sure why they even think I'd be interested, I'm not.
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The most helpful parts of this book are the chapter headings. I base this, without meaning any disrespect to the author, on the fact that the headings (the 20 things adopted kids wish their adoptive parents knew) are useful tips to be mindful of when adopting.
However, the chapters themselves are seldom drawn from different adoptee's experiences and backgrounds. The book dwells too much on children being 'given up' and makes sweeping generalisations. Some children are orphans, some abused by their parents, some are removed due to neglect - but loved all the same by their birth parents. Each of these scenarios is hard for a child to comprehend, whether they remember it or not - but each situation is different and there is no 'one size fits all' approach from adoptive parents to help.
Equally, not every adopter adopts because they ran out of money after many fruitless Rounds of IVF. Some are foster Carers who choose to adopt those placed with them, some choose to adopt because they are single, gay or simply do not want to give birth while others wish to share their family with a child who needs a home.

If adopting in the UK, it is important to remember that this book is not written from a UK viewpoint. In the UK, openness is not just encouraged but expected. Adopters will learn everything about their new child that their social workers know, they are encouraged to meet the birth parents where appropriate, and they are expected to maintain indirect contact with the birth family through annual letters (via the adoption agency as an intermediary).
I've spoken to adoptees who have been secure about where they came from, aware they were adopted and when they met their birth family, grateful to have lead the life they have had.
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Format: Paperback
This book is interesting and full of tools to help adoptive parents bring up their kids. Unfortunately, I also find it extremely one-sided and deeply impaired by the author's own life experiences.

It focuses only on a specific type of adoptee, those that were:

Adopted by parents who couldn't conceive
Very damaged by the trauma of adoption
Extremely unhappy about having been adopted

It totally overlooks families that have adopted out of CHOICE, for whom their adopted child/ren was NOT a second choice; also those adoptees who are much more resilient than the author was herself and for whom adoption was not as damaging as it was for her.

Of course prospective adoptive parents need to be prepared for the worst case scenario (for which the book would be excellent), but frankly there are some things on this book that I found a brutal generalization that completely overlook many of those who live in the adoption world.

It should be called "20 things I wish my adoptive parents knew", or "Twenty things adopted kids very unhappy and damaged by their adoption wish their adoptive parents knew".

There are quotes from hundreds of adoptees who have suffered deeply by their adoptions, and it seems this is the type of adoptee that the author favours in her research to fit her theories. It gives very little room for the feelings and views of adoptees that have fulfilling, happy adoption experiences, and no room at all for adopters that chose to give a child a chance rather than to create a new life to bring to the world.

Over all, a good tool for parenting but exclusively focused on the negative aspects of adoption.
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