The adoption triad (birth parents, the adoptee, and the adoptive parents) really cannot exist without the other. Once an adoption placement takes place, the three parties are intricately woven for life, regardless of the level of contact. Each piece of the triangle depends upon the other, because without one piece, it will quite possibly crumble.
This is why it’s crucial that those who wish to adopt commit to learning as much as they can about the other triad members: adoptees and birth parents. Now certainly, there is no single experience and one-size-fits-all. However, some writers who are adoptees or birth parents eloquently express their journeys for the benefit of others, offering a tremendous gift.
I encourage you to explore some of the wonderful resources available. Here are my suggestions:
Dear Adoptive Parents: What You Need to Know Right Now-From an Adoptee by Madeleine Melcher is both a self-help and autobiographical book. Madeleine speaks to her readers with authenticity, transparency, and empathy, sharing her adoption story and experienced advice. Madeleine blogs at Our Journey to You and has written about adoption for several websites, including The Huffington Post.
The Girls Who Went Away is the number one book I recommend to those seeking to adopt. Ann Fessler compiled stories of women who had and placed (or lost) babies to adoption during what’s known as The Baby Scoop Era (1950s-1970s). The book demonstrates why good ethics in adoptions are essential to the well-being of all triad members, as well as humanizes birth parents for those who are nervous about the adoption journey.
Korean adoptee Carissa Woodwyk, who blogged at One Voice Giving Voice for several years and is now an active Facebook user, shares her “therapist thoughts” which are deeply rooted in adoption. Carissa offers heartfelt and honest encouragement with her readers from both her experiences as an adoptee and as a professional counselor. Carissa also co-authored Before You Were Mine: Discovering Your Adopted Child’s Lifestory, a book aimed at guiding parents through the process of teaching their children about their adoption stories.
Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina, by Michaela DePrince and her mom Elaine, offers a riveting autobiography. Michaela lost her first family and was placed in an orphanage in Sierra Leone. One night she stumbled upon a torn-out page of a magazine featuring a ballerina and felt a stirring and sense of hope. She clung to this image and after being adopted, began ballet lessons, eventually climbing the ranks to become a star.
Caroline Clarke, author of Postcards from Cookie: A Memoir of Motherhood, Miracles, and a Whole Lot of Mail, shares her tumultuous journey of learning who her birth mother is. When she finds out the shocking truth, that her birth mother is part of a legendary family, she begins communicating with her via postcards, hundreds of them. Clarke’s autobiography is honest, heartfelt, and humble.
Simone Biles, Olympic gold medalist and adoptee, shares her story in her newly-released book Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, a Life in Balance. Simone’s honesty and energy is refreshing, and she candidly tells the story of her life before, during, and after being adopted. Readers may appreciate hearing from a young adult adoptee.
The Waiting: The True Story of a Lost Child, a Lifetime of Longing, and a Miracle for a Mother Who Never Gave Up, begins with sixteen-year-old Minka going on a picnic with friends in 1928. She’s raped and becomes pregnant, the baby placed for adoption. Minka prays that God will reunite her with her daughter before she passes away, a prayer that becomes a reality. The elderly mother and her elderly daughter were recently reunited.
Football superstar Michael Oher shared his story in I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to The Blind Side, and Beyond. Though many may think they know Oher’s story already after watching The Blind Side, this book comes directly from Oher where he discloses his experience as an adoptee, as well as why adopting children from the foster care system is absolutely imperative to the well-being of our country’s future.
Jill Murphy shares her incredible story in her memoir Finding Motherhood. After becoming pregnant as a teen, Jill chooses to place her son for adoption. Years later, when she marries and tries to start a family, Jill and her husband face infertility and choose to adopt two daughters. Jill also shares the story of reunion with her biological son. Jill’s unique position, as a mother by birth and adoption, resonates with readers.
You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir is Melissa Ohden’s no-holds-barred autobiography. Ohden is the survivor of a failed (and forced) abortion, and as a baby was placed for adoption without her birth mother’s knowledge or consent. Ohden documents her journey of unhealthy relationships, then marriage and having two children (as well as losing one), and reuniting with her birth mother.
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