Posted by: Kristin W | May 4, 2011

Back to the Books

I haven’t posted in a long time.  I started doing the book reviews, then the bottom fell out of the Ethiopian adoption process.  I felt like I shouldn’t just ignore that, but I could never bring myself to write a post about how I was feeling, how it was affecting us, how it has changed our thinking and our plans.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to write that post.  Know that I’m not blindly ignoring what’s going on, but Others have adequately covered the delicate balance between wanting to ensure ethical adoptions and desperately wanting to build our family.  And many of them did so much more eloquently than I could.  So, that brings us back to book reviews!

On the nightstand this week:

Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections, Edited by Jean MacLeod and Sheena Macrae.

What It’s About: A little bit of everything.  There are chapters on everything, including attachment, loss & grief, learning, language and older child adoption.  While no topic is covered entirely in depth, it does a good job of introducing each topic and giving some general information.  It’s kind of the 30,000 foot view of adoption.  The book is an edited collection of works by various authors, many of them social workers, PhDs, and adoptive parents.  Basically, I felt they knew what they were talking about.

What You Need to Know:  This book is more of a reference book than a read-it-straight-through book.  It was required reading by our agency (Wide Horizons for Children), so we picked up a copy.  I’ll admit that I read the required chapters, then put it aside for quite a while before picking up and browsing through it.  The funny thing is, WHFC picked the least interesting chapters to require.  When reading it on my own, there were a few areas that I was really drawn to.  The first were the chapters on food, since I’ve read so much on the boards about food transitions.  However, I didn’t really think this book (which is obviously written for all domestic and international adoptions, not just Ethiopia) really added much to my understanding of how to handle this challenge.  The chapters on language were fascinating to me, though.  Before I read this, I didn’t really understand that internationally adopted kids (especially older adopted kids) are NOT bilingual.  They actually go through a process of losing one language, then learning another.  They never really have both at one time.  Therefore, schools may try to use English as a Second Language classes, when, in fact, they are not really appropriate for a child learning a language with no other language to fall back on.  There are also some interesting pieces on race and on older child adoption.

Would I Recommend It: Maybe.  It is good to have as a reference, but I wouldn’t recommend this be the only book on your adoption bookshelf.  Since most chapters are only a few pages long, it’s good for a quick reference or idea, but there are entire books written on most of these topics if you want something more in-depth.  It wouldn’t be a complete waste of money, but I’m not sure that you would really learn much.



  1. Glad you are back on the blog! I too have this book and wasn’t thrilled (though I haven’t read all of it). You describe it well as the 30,000 foot view of adoption–that’s exactly what it is. I have since been recommended a couple others (The Waver’s Craft and…oh…one that I can’t recall). I’ll get back to you on that.

  2. I had the same experience. After reading the required chapters by WHFC, I put it away. Then took it out randomly and found other places in the book that were a little more interesting. Anyway, it’s good to have I guess.

  3. Perhaps I inspired you to get back to your book reviews. 🙂 Thank you for this one. I have the book and we read the required pieces by WHFC, but honestly, I haven’t touched it since. I haven’t been able to read anything too specific about parenting because I feel like parenting is still so gosh darn far away. I guess it’s a mental block I’m having. But it’s good to know that you enjoyed other pieces of it more than what WHFC required. I will definitely be pulling this book out again someday.

    • It was totally you!! Thanks for getting me back on track!

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