What I didn’t learn from adoption books

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Lately, I've had several people ask me to recommend adoption books.  While I can easily rattle off a few titles that I've read on my journey to adoption, I don't want to mislead people.  There isn't one book I've read that I can point to and say:

“Oh yes…this taught me all the things about adoption.” 

I've been on the adoption crazy train since 2011.  Pre-adoption, mid-adoption, adoption adjustment, post adoption and just plain old everyday living life as a family built through adoption.  I've learned a ton about adoption…just not from books.

I didn't learn patience by reading an adoption book. 

I'm an instant-gratification, right now kinda girl. Adoption is all about waiting. And paperwork. And stress eating. I compare it to a very long, unpredictable pregnancy. I'm not saying adoption transformed me into an uber-patient person, but I've learned acceptance about waiting on things I can't control. Having less of a “has to happen yesterday” outlook has helped me become a better mom and a happier human.

I didn't learn diplomacy by reading an adoption book.

We field comments like “you should have adopted from your own country.” I've learned not to jump down people's throats for asking something they see as innocent, even when I think it's nosy. I've learned to guard my kidís privacy and interests but I don't let each and every thoughtless comment or ignorant person ruin my day.  And, I've learned to tell people to MYOB with a smile. The more unique aspect of transracial adoption is that our racial differences expose our biological ones. Diplomacy has helped me avoid unnecessary confrontation. When I speak up, however, I am advocating for my sons and our family.

I didn't learn about friendship by reading an adoption book.

Adoption transformed my friendships. Other adoptive families and adoptees have become a rich part of my life. I'm a much better person for knowing some of these people. On the flip side, adoption has also brought about a season of pruning with some of my relationships. There was the natural attrition as our lifestyle shifted. All of a sudden, wine till midnight, sleep till ten morphed in to mac-n-cheese for dinner, bed by nine.

We also weeded out people who didn't support our adoption choices or people who wouldnít offer support, as our kids grow older. The guy who called our kids “Chink One and Chink Two” isn't someone that's going to enrich our kids' lives. Sure, people are going to make tacky comments but we can make choices not to deliberately put these kind of people in their paths.

I didn't learn about love by reading an adoption book.

People sometimes ask me “Is adoption the same as having your own kids” or “Do you love them as much as your real kid?”

The short answer is yes. I try not to get wrapped around the semantics when people say stuff like this, but it's hard not to. My boys weren't born from my body, but they're my real kids and I feel real love. I love all of my children differently because they're are all different, but I have the same level of mom-love for each, adopted or not.

I thought I might feel a difference because of the absence of a biological connection. Yet, the love I feel for my sons overwhelms me daily. My love is real.

Adoption is complicated.  The answers aren't in a book.  Sometimes, we just have to figure out this parenthood shit as we go along.

That said, I do have a couple of good adoption reads I recommend:

Anything written by Kay Bratt.  If you are a “China family” and haven't read Kay's books, you need to.  They offer an invaluable insight into China and Chinese culture as well as what happens before adoption and when adoption doesn't happen.

What I'm reading right now:

The publisher graciously provided me a copy for review and I'm still working my way through it…although who doesn't like Chicken Soup books?  Soul-less people, that's who.  Just kidding.  Anyway, I'm still working my way through, but it's a great read so far.  If you click on the image to buy it for yourself, you'll be using my Amazon affiliate link and I'll make a bazillion dollars off of your purchase…or at least enough to upgrade to a Venti.  Win-win, right?

If you're looking for more adoption book recommendations, the lovely ladies from my bimonthly #AdoptionTalk linkup have got you covered.  Check out some of the awesome blogs I've linked up with.

Please click! A visit a day boosts my blog ranking at Top Mommy Blogs - The Best Mommy Blog Directory Ever!


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  1. While it’s not the same, I have come to love the children I worked with in the past. You most definitely don’t need to be related to love a child! And I used to read Chicken Soup books all the time 🙂

  2. I’m married to an adoptee, and love hearing about your family. Unfortunately, his experience wasn’t that of your boys, so I love hearing the loving, positive side of adoption.

  3. Ahhh yes! Such excellent points 😉 There are just some things we can’t get from books. Though admittedly I kind of want to reach that chicken soup book now… I haven’t read a chicken soup book since my teen years when chicken soup for the teenagers soul was all the rage.

    1. It’s a great book! I need to make more time to finish it. I haven’t had a Chicken Soup book in FOREVER!

  4. Great post! When it was time to write for this link up, I couldn’t recall any books that were very helpful for us to get through the process. I may have to read the Chicken Soup book because they always have stories to make us feel good. Thanks for sharing that book.

  5. I totally agree with you. I have found a lot of value in adoption books, but reading isn’t what made me the Mom I am today. As always, great post.

  6. So true, not everything can be learned from books. Life experience is so much more valuable. And I totally agree about pruning friendships…not one book or resource taught me that my friendships would look different a year later.

    1. I think the changing friendships is what threw me for a loop the most. I wish someone had told me to expect that.