Vote on the Next Book Club Picks

Open Adoption Book Club @ OpenAdoptionBloggers.comRegistration is going on now for the inaugural Adoption Book Club: “Megan’s Birthday Tree,” a picture book about open adoption by Laurie Lears. Sign ups are open through February 21, so hop on over if you’re interested in participating.

I’d like to pick our reads for the next couple rounds together now, so that folks can know what’s coming and plan ahead. We’ll try alternating between children’s books and books for adults; the adult book rounds will include a forum discussion, so you can participate even if you don’t keep a blog.

Won’t you help select the books we should discuss? I’ve put up two polls, one for adult books and one for children’s books, with a few options of books addressing open adoption (those are the publishers’ book descriptions, not mine). But please also make your own suggestions, too!

Hospitious Adoption: How Hospitality Empowers Children and Transforms Adoption by James L. Gritter: Jim Gritter’s third book for CWLA examines the next step after open adoption. Building on his previous books, which promote the inclusion of birthparents, Gritter takes the approach that practicing goodwill, respect, and courage within the realm of adoption makes the process move smoother and enriches children’s lives.

Making Room in Our Hearts: Keeping Family Ties through Open Adoption by Micky Duxbury: Adopted persons face challenges their entire lives as they struggle to answer the most basic question: Who am I? The hope of open adoption is that adopted children will develop stronger identities if they have the opportunity to develop healthy ongoing relationships with their families of origin. Making Room in Our Hearts offers an intimate look at how these relationships evolve over time, with real-life stories from families who have experienced open adoption first-hand. This book helps both adoptive and birth parents address their fears and concerns, while offering them the support to put the child’s psychological and spiritual needs at the center of adoption. Based on interviews with more than one hundred adopted children, birth and adoptive parents, extended families, professionals and experts, the book is an effective and invaluable resource for those considering open adoption, those experiencing it, and professionals in the field. Openness has altered the landscape of adoption, and Making Room in Our Hearts will help us catch up to the reality that is open adoption today.

Chosen: A Novel by Chandra Hoffman: It all begins with a fantasy: the caseworker in her “signing paperwork” charcoal suit standing alongside beaming parents cradling their adopted newborn, set against a fluorescent-lit delivery-room backdrop. It’s this blissful picture that keeps Chloe Pinter, director of the Chosen Child’s domestic-adoption program, happy while juggling the high demands of her boss and the incessant needs of both adoptive and biological parents. But the very job that offers her refuge from her turbulent personal life and Portland’s winter rains soon becomes a battleground involving three very different couples: the Novas, well-off college sweethearts who suffered fertility problems but are now expecting their own baby; the McAdoos, a wealthy husband and desperate wife for whom adoption is a last chance; and Jason and Penny, an impoverished couple who have nothing—except the baby everyone wants. When a child goes missing, dreams dissolve into nightmares, and everyone is forced to examine what he or she really wants and where it all went wrong. Told from alternating points of view, Chosen reveals the desperate nature of desire across social backgrounds and how far people will go to get the one thing they think will be the answer.

Rain or Shine by Hilary Horder Hippely: Finn has a happy life with his mother and father. Every summer he looks forward to the birthday celebration that will reunite him with his rich extended family, particularly his birthmother, Lisa. But when clouds threaten, Finn wonders how his much-loved birthday traditions can continue.

Sam’s Sister by Juliet C. Bond: This is the first book that has been written for children of birthparents making an adoption plan for a younger sibling. Rosa, who is 6 years old, comes to understand her mother’s dilemma, learns about adoption, and is involved with the birth and placement of Sam with his new parents.

The Tummy Mummy by Michelle Madrid-Branch: The true love that inspires adoption is revealed as a birthmother opens her heart while adoptive parents open their arms for a child. The Tummy Mummy’s journey is guided by a wise and majestic owl who leads the reader along a path of deeper understanding, honoring all members of the adoption triad.

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One thought on “Vote on the Next Book Club Picks

  1. Adoption in America
    E. Wayne Carp, editor
    http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do;jsessionid=8A9A3B14D4E7F358CFFF276D9F6AD1EC?id=16238
    The most difficult thing when researching adoption is trying to find works that are historically grounded, as compared with works that simply reinforce the mythologies of the dominant discourse, or else find a toothless place within post-modernism to chew on this gristle for the nth time. This book has as a sub-title “historical perspectives”, and here it does not disappoint, providing history, context, statistics, and narratives that give a clear picture of the current adoption status quo: A fictitious and manufactured notion of “family” with purely political and economic motivations and precursors. Well worth the read.

    Americanizing the American Indians
    Francis Paul Prucha, editor
    During the Adoption Initiative Conference recently held at St. John’s University, part of my presentation about adoption spoke of the attempt to destroy native peoples via “Americanization”, the wholesale schooling of a younger generation away from tribal ways in what can only be referred to as cultural genocide. Nothing is more condemnatory of this practice than the very words used by those who advocated for it. And so this book, which is subtitled: “Writings by the ‘Friends of the Indian’ “. “He is to disappear as an Indian of the past” is one choice quote from this book that I admit is difficult to read, especially when the United States is still hosting conferences that borrow from this title, for example, “The Friends of Syria”. It doesn’t end, and this book stands as a testament to the efforts of capital to destroy any and all resistance to it.

    Cold War Orientalism
    Christina Klein
    http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520232303
    Within adoptee discourse, there is talk about the “model minority within the model minority” (borrowing here from Jae Ran Kim), and the notions of what makes up the “Asian” within the American imagination. Klein in this book gives us a cultural overview that refers back to “the middlebrow imagination”, as produced by the likes of Reader’s Digest, and as put forth by the likes of Pearl S. Buck, and the ramifications of this imagination in terms of the foreign policy of the country all the way down to how Asians are treated within the society. As I explore similar targetings of Arabs and Muslims within the world of adoption, I am grateful for works such as this one that catalog in such an incredible way how America’s cold-war mentality saw foreign nations once subjugated as further requiring the conquering of their populations’ “hearts and minds”. Set on repeat. And repeat again….

    Conceiving the New World Order
    edited by Faye D. Ginsburg and Rayna Rapp
    http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520089143
    In researching for a presentation at the Adoption Initiative Conference next week in New York, I came across some references to this book which has been extremely useful, especially as regards adoption and surrogacy. The focus here is a feminist perspective on the politics of kinship, and how such kinship is defined and redefined according to differences in culture, class, place, etc. Heavily referenced and annotated, the collection of essays here is a rich starting point for examining “the global politics of reproduction”.

    The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State
    Frederick Engels
    http://www.intpubnyc.com/
    I picked this up at Book Culture [was: Labyrinth Books] uptown, and it has been useful as I prepare for this conference on adoption at St. John’s University this week, if simply as a reminder to discuss the concept of adoption as it fits into the “gens” or concept of family, proving how close the notion of “adopted” has been historically to slavery or conquered enemies, but also concerning the move from matrilineal to patrilineal societies, and the effects this has had on social structure. We definitely need to push the discussion back to the underpinnings of everything, if we are to have a valid debate on the subject.

    Orphans of Islam
    Jamila Bargach
    https://rowman.com/ISBN/9780742500266
    I don’t have enough praise for this book, which explores adoption within the Islamic society of Morocco from a variety of angles that I have likewise come to the conclusion are most important when looking at this institution and the countries it targets for the trafficking of their children: The points of view of “orphans” and mothers; the legal, religious, and cultural modes of living and mores that define children and child care in a given society; the unspoken aspects of a lived culture that are not mediated as much as the output of governments, NGOs, foreign edicts, etc. The book concludes with a critique of this outside interference, and a return to a true basis for adoption critique: the man involved in the “unwanted” child, and the man as dictator of social norms that define the child as unwanted in the first place. A sobering and inspiring read that is a start to counter the current trends in Islamophobic mediation of adoption and Islam.

    Shattered Bonds
    Dorothy Roberts
    http://www.perseusbooksgroup.com/civitas/book_detail.jsp?isbn=0465070590
    This is a devastating book, and one that I find is tangential to adoption studies that show the effects of that institution on Native and Indigenous peoples in Anglo-Saxon societies; the difference is here we are talking about the foster care system, but the conclusion is the same: the dominant cultural mode, for reasons having to do with race, class, and cultural difference, is tactically destroying black families and communities. The “get tough” stance that is currently in vogue as a trope within discussions of societal aid to those in need thus becomes a hypocritical “response” to the destruction that basically came from the same place.

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