Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Book to Better Understand your Child

View this book on Amazon
I just finished reading this book. I think as I feel more and more like an expectant mother, I am slowly getting ready to switch from reading books about adoption to reading less technical books about parenting adopted children, or adoption stories.
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew was written by an adult adoptee. Most books about adoption are written by adoptive parents, so it's nice to have the different perspective.
This said, this book scared me at first. It almost makes it sound like every adopted child is a problem child with difficult, unresolved (and almost unresolvable) emotional scars.
It may just be that everything seems scarier when you're facing the unknown.... In the end, the book is really about compassion.
It aims at making adoptive parents realize what type of emotional challenges their children may be facing. I never thought that birthdays could be sweet and sour for my kid, as it may remind him of the fact that he doesn't know his birth family. I also never realized that not knowing your medical background can be a big deal at certain times in your life. The book also points out that there is a good chance our children will think often about their other family, and may not talk about it at all in fear of hurting us.
Once I got past the fear that raising an adopted child would be way different from raising a birth child (which I don't think it is), I started seeing the value in knowing about all of this. The whole idea is that, if you're aware of these challenges, you can support your child just by showing her that you understand.
You can, for an example, start the conversation about the birth family. Maybe have a Birthmother's day, on the day before Mother's day (and a Birthfather's day as well). You can dedicate the morning of your child's birthday to some quiet, intimate time where the story of his adoption will be the center of attention. You can say things like: " It must be upsetting to not have the answers to this medical questionnaire".
None of this is very difficult to do. But you need to know and understand what your child is feeling before you can show compassion.
All in all, this is a valuable read for waiting parents. Just keep in mind that some of the cases depicted in the book are there to show what can go wrong if you don't try to understand your child. If you are sensitive to the issues described, chances are things will go smoothly for your family!


  1. Hi Gen,
    I have the book from a seminar I attended but haven't read it yet. Reading what you have written I want to pull it out and start it. I have tried several times to get into the book about parenting an internationally adopted child but I don't think am in the right place in my journey. Thanks for posting about it.

    1. Elizabeth,
      I know exactly what you mean... I knew it was available at the public library months ago, but only felt called to read it now. I would say wait until you feel ready.
      Anyway, weither we like or not, we both have a long time ahead of us for that kind of preparation :P

  2. Gen
    You've sold me...I'm going to go out and find this book now! It sounds like a good read. I came across this blog a while ago https://adoptingmorethanme.wordpress.com/. It is written by an adoptee, I believe she is even from Alberta. Like you said, its nice to read about international adoption from a different perspective. Take care.

    1. Hi Gina,
      Have a look at our agency, they might have a copy of this book... I never looked, I just borrowed it at my public library.
      I think you'll find it less frightening than I did because you already have a child, hence a better understanding of what to expect :D
      I'll have a look at the blog you recommend..