This book is written by Sherrie Eldridge who was adopted herself. Therefore it has the perspective of being written by someone who has the questions that are being asked in this book. Adoption being a somewhat delicate subject that can raise huge emotional issues of varying sorts, I want to tread lightly with this book. Naturally I have strong opinions about adoption, being that we adopted one of our two sons. We’re relatively new to the adoption game though and so I pick up a variety of resources from here there and everywhere to educate myself on the topic. I want to be able to help my son as he grows up and faces some of the same questions that Eldridge has come to a head with.
I cannot say that I agree 100% with Eldridge’s approach to this book. In saying that, I feel like my disagreeing with her will be taken as a personal affront to an adoptee. Let me be excessively clear that I have less than zero desire to cause an offense to an adoptee. Again, being that my son is one, it’s my desire to grow and to learn how to best approach and handle the topic of one’s adoption. I’m trying to educate myself, not distance myself from potential problems. It’s hard to read a book when you’re being told while reading it that you cannot possibly understand how the person feels. Now, that may be true to a greater or lesser extent but when the reader is informed from the get-go that, unless they have not personally been adopted, they can give up any hope they have of understanding or, as the case may be, finding the resources which is this book useful. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the tone Eldridge took in this book was off-putting to me and I want to state that from the get-go. I wish she had approached me in a manner that would allow me to process the information instead of feeling like I had to defend myself. I think I would have walked away from the book feeling more armed with good knowledge.
Obviously, I have a vested interest in this topic and so, regardless of my feelings over the ‘tone’ of the book, I pressed onward.
Despite my hesitations in reading through, I found Questions Adoptees Are Asking to be useful. Sherrie Eldridge shares a lot of heart pains that she has suffered as a result of being adopted. She questioned things about her birth parents. Her adopted parents weren’t terribly open about discussing adoption and it was excessively helpful to hear her take on these things. Her obvious pains were used to prepare me to minister graciously to my son. She raised issues surrounding her own insecurities that were helpful for me to hear about and to know. I appreciated both her willingness and openness (nay, her eagerness!) to share her experiences. She offers plenty of advice and encouragement to adoptees seeking answers to the questions that she herself has asked and it seems like hearing her perspective could be a good thing. (I can’t say for certain since I’m not an adoptee, but she shared from her correspondence with other adoptees and they seemed to share a common bond.)
The subtitle of this book is “Questions Adoptees Are Asking…..about beginnings, about birth family, about searching, about finding peace.” Honestly, I think those are the four most crucial topics that need to be addressed with an adoptee. I know it’s not easy and I’m not trying to downplay the enormity of the task before me. There will be tough moments as there are obviously some tough questions. But learning how to present the answers that I DO have to share with my son in a loving and respectful manner is something I very much want to do which is why I sought out this book in the first place.
Adoption, at least in the area of the country where I live, is becoming more the norm and there are plenty of support groups and resources to choose from. My personal home community is filled with adoptive families which we count to be a real blessing and a boon for us. We want to offer all the help, love and support to our son that we possibly can. We want to live wisely and well. Books like these are useful and I’m glad to know of them. Therefore I felt like this was a resource worth mentioning. That said, again, I have to say that I think if Eldridge had approached this book with a little more grace towards the non-adoptee, I would have been able to sink in and absorb more of the book. The flip side is that it could be said that the book is intended for adoptees and not their mothers and I was not the intended audience. But when one is learning about a subject, it’s very helpful to glean from multiple perspectives.
I think this book is excellent and awesome food for thought and I’m very glad for the opportunity to have read it. I appreciate hearing Eldridge’s heart so that I can set about preparing mine appropriately for the future which awaits both myself and my family.