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Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming America

 

 

 

Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming America
by Adam Pertman

From Publishers Weekly
Based on a series of articles that he wrote for the Boston Globe, Pertman combines journalistic research and personal anecdotes in this stimulating overview of the trends and cultural ramifications of adoption. His views come through loud and clear: families should be "out" about their adoptive status, children should be told that they were adopted as early as possible and all members of the adoption "triad" (birth mother, child and parents) should try to stay in close communication. Suggesting that adoptive families have benefited enormously from the country's increasing acceptance of racial diversity, Pertman argues that the controversial 1994 Multiethnic Placement Act (which stipulates that transracial adoptions can not be legally prohibited) is a strong step forward in placing the interests of the individual child over those of an abstract, race-based notion of family. He also suggests that adoption itself has helped to instigate social change: in its role as an "institutionalized means of forming non-traditional families," adoption may help gay, multiracial and single-parent families gain greater social acceptance. Even so, Pertman contends, adoptive families are still subject to many hurtful stereotypes (e.g., the irresponsible birth mother; the selfish adoptive parents). Perhaps most harrowing is his discussion of the effect of "laissez faire" capitalist thinking on adoption policy and the largely unregulated nature of the "industry" that has sprung up around it (e.g., one woman tried to sell her baby on eBay; the highest bid was $109,100). This disturbing and hopeful book will primarily attract adoptive families and policy makers, who will find that it has much to say about our changing definitions of family, race and community. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Boston Globe
". . .valuable reading for policy makers, social service providers, all members of the adoption triad and their extended families." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


From Booklist
Pertman brings a reporter's skill and adopting parent's concerns to this comprehensive look at the process of adoption. After years of incremental change, adoption is undergoing a revolution: states are revising laws and agencies are simplifying rules. Pertman also examines the trend toward opening adoption for singles, multiracial families, gays, and the middle aged. Although adoption is still fundamentally private, it is no longer shrouded in the secrecy of the past as more states allow for open adoptions and balance the rights and desires of birth parents, adopting parents, and adopted children. Pertman examines the history of adoption from the foundling homes of the nineteenth century to current trends that are "advancing the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity that is a hallmark of Twenty First Century America." This book is a valuable resource for adoptive families, readers considering adoption, or anyone concerned about trends in family formation. Vanessa Bush
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

-Ellen Goodman Boston Globe
"A comprehensive and humane book about how adoption is changing families-indeed the very idea of family."


Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao, author of The Family of Adoption
"It should be required reading for anyone related to and relating to adoption in any way." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Jane Nast, President, American Adoption Congress
"Outstanding!...a remarkable book that I would like to put in the hands of everyone in the nation." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Sarah Saffian, author of Ithaka: A Daughter's Memoir of Being Found
"An honest and optimistic resource and chronicle of the evolving field of adoption." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Madelyn Freundlich, from the Foreword
"An indispensable resource for anyone who wants to learn how this crucial issue is shaping lives... provocative, thoughtful and a delight to read." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Chicago Tribune [11/20/01]
". . . essential reading for those in the adoption triad. . ." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


National Adoption Foundation
This is the "Silent Spring" of adoption. It is, quite simply, the most important book ever written on the subject. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Boston Globe
An important, hopeful, ambitious, and sometimes haunting book. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


James McBride, author of
A wonderful resource, deep and insightful, written by one of the finest reporters I have ever known. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Ellen Goodman, syndicated columnist
A comprehensive and humane book about how adoption is changing families -- indeed, the very idea of family.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Book Description
As seen on "The Today Show" and in People magazine: An adoptive father and award-winning journalist reports on the metamorphosis of adoption from a secretive, shameful procedure to an integral part of American family life.

Adoption is both sweeping the nation and changing it, accelerating our transformation into a more multicultural and multiethnic country and helping to redefine our understanding of "family." Adoption Nation is essential reading for adoptive families, for anyone contemplating adopting a child, and for everyone touched by this extraordinary cultural transformation.

About the Author
Adam Pertman writes on family and children's issues for the Boston Globe. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his reports on adoption and has been awarded the Century Foundation's Leonard Silk Journalism Fellowship, the Year 2000 Media Award for exceptional dedication and commitment to children, and was honored by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption for Adoption Nation. He and his wife live with their two adopted children in Newton, Massachusetts.

 

5 out of 5 stars Adoption issues finally explained - it's about time..., February 17, 2002

  Reviewer: Darcel Mailloux from Cobram, Victoria, Australia

Adoption Nation is superbly researched and concisely written with a sensitivity that is finely balanced. It is a textbook for birth parents, adoptees, adoptive parents and facilitators alike. If we have learned as a result of reading this book, then Pertman has achieved a remarkable goal - a more enlightened society that can work towards a greater understanding and acceptance of adoption.

As a birth mother who searched for her son for 20 years, I understand only too well the anguish and despair that so many women suffer on this journey through a minefield of social expectations and misconceptions. As a birth mother who has reunited with her son and has experienced the most profound joy, I acknowledge the fears of adoptive families and the need to support and educate those who still cannot fathom the intricacies of adoption and the negative fallout that can occur.

Adam Pertman's, Adoption Nation, is a definitive resource focusing on the true realities surrounding adoption. As he explains in depth, the keys to understanding the adoption "triad" are love, tolerance and patience along with the willingness to be educated regarding the effects of technology in today's world.

Pertman attacks the myths of adoption; that birth mothers, on the whole, never want contact with the children they were willing to give away, that birth fathers have never wanted access to their children, that adoptive parents will never cope with their fear that their adopted children will search for their birth parents and then abandon the families chosen for them. He has chosen in this book to challenge "accepted practice and belief" that shame and guilt are the basic premises birth parents must accept and that secrecy and sealed records are viable and acceptable for adoptees. Basic human rights are at issue here and Pertman explores these rights.

The changing face of social expectation needs to encompass the rights and emotional needs of all involved in the adoption process. If adoption is about finding babies for childless couples, it also needs to be about acknowledging the grief and anguish birth mothers experience in relinquishing their children. It is time to confront the issues and discuss adoption openly, not keep it buried as it has been for several generations. Politically, it is time for change as well; adoptees, regardless of their origins, should never be denied their basic human rights. If the average citizen has the civil right to their birth certificate so should adoptees have the same basic right.

Slowly, the changing face of adoption, is allowing those involved, directly and indirectly, the opportunity to assess and accept the life forces that operate here. Those who search for answers are vastly assisted by access to information previously unattainable before the advent of computer technology. Greater openness has allowed the participants choices, which previously, were never an option. The consequences and conflicts that have arisen as a result are not unsolvable when time and dedication to positive change are ultimate goals.

Adam Pertman's answers to this life phenomenon are that with patience, persistence and acceptance, anything is possible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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