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So more books! This time it is books written by adult adoptees. I really feel like adult adoptees who write about their lives are being very generous. Their experience is of course the best advice for adoptive parents – including when they are questioning the ethics of adoption – those are the most important questions to ask – and have answered.

The books below do not necessararily write about adoption ethics and answers! And they are not necessararily written to be information manuels for adoptive parents. But I think it is really important to hear what adult adoptees have to say.

I am really keen to get recomendations about resources from people who have experienced adoption. So please, send your recomendations to me! I would love to know what books you have found helpful!!

The Colour of Difference: Journeys in Transracial Adoption editors Sarah Armstrong & Patrina Slaytor (published federated press, reprinted 2002)

Comment: an excellent book, there are 26 short stories written by adult adoptees about their experiences growing up in transracial
families, and they are very honest stories. Some would have been painful to write and I admire the authors. It is not all pain though there are also stories where the adoption was the best thing for all involved. So it is a very well rounded book. But for an adoptive parent there is a lot that can be learned from this book.

The Truth About My Fathers by Gaby Naher (pub Random House 2002).

Comment: this book is beautifully written and is memoirs of the author’s time looking for her birth parents and reflecting on her relationship with her adoptive parents. It is not an international adoption story but an Australian local adoption story and it is well worth the read.

Daughter of the Ganges by Asha Miro (published in Australia by Bantam 2006)

Comment: this book was originally written in Spanish and published as 2 books. The author is adopted from India to Spain as a child (not as infant – she remembers the process) and the book is written about her two journeys back to India as an adult to connect with her cultural heritage and hopefully her birth family. It is very interesting but I wondered if there was more ‘depth’ in the original Spanish version because although very interesting the English version seems a bit light on emotion.

Beneath the Waves by Layne Beachley (published Ebury Press 2008)

Comment: Some people may not know that 7 times World Champion Surfer Layne Beachley is adopted (Australian local adoption) but she is and she has written a really great book about her life experience. The book is mostly about surfing of course, but also about her relationship with her adoptive father and her birth mother and how she feels that being adopted was part of her drive to be the best surfer in the world. It is really honest about her journey, especially the parts around her birth mother. I am from the same part of the world as Layne (I sometimes see her around the place! – she does not know that) and have always been a fan of her surfing so was VERY interested to read this and I thought it was great.

There are others on my bookshelf that I am still to read… if any people in blog land have any to suggest I am all ears!

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So I am just putting some of these books out there into ‘blog land’ with only a little commentary on how I felt when reading them. Because I don’t want to spoil it for you if you have not read it yet!

I am not sure that this should read as a list of recomendations! There are some that I found more helpful then others.

I am really keen to get recomendations about resources from people who have experienced adoption. So please, send your recomendations to me! I would love to know what books you have found helpful!!

Love Our Way by Julia Rollings (published by Harper Collins 2008)

Comments: This is an amazing book, written with a great deal of depth and honesty and love. About an Australian family with internationally adopted children who discover that two of their adopted children from India were trafficked. The story of how they deal with this discovery is beautiful and amazing.

From China With Love: A long road to Motherhood by Emily Buchanan (pub Wiley and Sons 2006)

Comments: this is a great book about the joys and pains of adoption – the process, the waiting, the pain that a newley adopted child has adjusting to a new family, new country etc. But as Emily Buchanan is a reporter this book does more and investigates in great deal the gender imbalance in adoption in China and what this means for girls in China. It is a great book.

The Lucky Ones: Our Stories of Adopting Children From China ed Ann Rauhala (pub ECW Press 2008)

Comments: the title of this book made me bristle but of course the book goes on to say how it is the adoptive parents who are the lucky ones for being given the wonderful opportunity to parent their children who they adore. It is a really nice book.

Jessie Mei Mei by Sharon Guest and Stuart Neal (Allen and Unwin 2010)

Comments: Heartbreaking. The story of Australian parents who adopt and infant from China and what happens next. This book is not an easy read.

Adopting: Parents’ Stories ed Jane Turner Goldsmith (pub Wakefield Press 2007)

Comments: this is a collective of stories including the stories of adult adoptiees, but mostly of adoptive parents, mostly international. I think it is a balanced book, dealing with hopes, loss and grief, challenges and journeys. It is a lovely book.

Searching for Our Angel: The long Path to Inter-Country Adoption by Liz Peter (Pub Short Stop Press 2010)

Comments: the authors are trying to point out how difficult adopting in Australia is, the process, the wait etc etc and this is the tone of the book, there is very little in the book outside of the struggle with the process.

so there will be other books, written by adult adoptees, adoptive professionals etc

Remember… send your recomendations to me!!

the poster for the movie

In case you have not heard already there is a new Australian movie out about adoption. It is called The Waiting City  Husbot and I went to see it last night. I have written some comments below.

For any who don’t know it is an Australian movie based entirely in India, about a young Australian couple who have been allocated their daughter and are there to take her home. They have delays in the process and things don’t go smoothly which exposes the cracks in their relationship etc.

Here is a review and trailer for anyone who is interested:

The proper website: http://www.thewaitingcity.com.au/

Some reviews:

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/the-waiting-city-20100716-10dpq.html

http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s2931070.htm

I would like to know what others think of it. If you want to see what I think join the conversation – below.

the official movie poster

So, Husbot and I went to see The Waiting City last night. I was a bit anxious about seeing it in the first place but I thought it’s out there people are seeing it – we may as well become part of the conversation.

For any who don’t know it is an Australian movie based entirely in India, about a young Australian couple who have been allocated their daughter and are there to take her home. *Spoiler alert* they have delays and things don’t go smoothly which exposes the cracks in their relationship etc.

Here is a review and trailer for anyone who is interested:

The proper website: http://www.thewaitingcity.com.au/

Some reviews:

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/the-waiting-city-20100716-10dpq.html

http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s2931070.htm

Husbot and I came away feeling pretty annoyed about the movie and that it was going to become a part of the ‘adoption discourse’.

Firstly: The couple seemed entirely self centred and ill prepared. We heard a lot about the wife’s lost baggage etc but aside from one toy rabbit there did not seem to be any preparations made for their daughter – did they have clothes? Nappies? Other supplies? What were they going to do when their daughter was in their care?
The only reference that was made to this was ‘a room full of toys and a tree house’ back home…..

BUT the biggest lack of preparedness was they did not seem to understand anything about their daughter’s emotional needs – um… attachment? Loss? Grief? the only reference that was made was when Fiona (the wife) was laying on the bed 2 days before they met their daughter reading from a book “apparently we can expect…..” like it was the first time they had considered that this journey was not just about them!!

Husbot and I just found that SO unrealistic – given that our bookshelf has 20 books already about adoption/ adoption parenting/ stories told from adult adoptee points of view etc. We have just had our file sent off to Thailand (yay!) so you bet by the time we are two days from meeting our child we will be about as well read as we can be.

Also: we were wondering how a couple like that could have made it through the state social services approval process.
They seemed to have no parental care plan…. who was going to take care of the baby when she was in their care? Fiona was working while they were there to meet the baby and the husband, Ben was talking about reviving his carrier as a recording artist.
She had unresolved issues from terminating a pregnancy (and keeping it a secret).
He was a recovering drug addict/ alcoholic.
Maybe they thought they had moved on and resolved those issues but they re-surfaced due to the pressure of the trip? Maybe they were lying to themselves and also the social workers? Who knows by it seemed pretty unlikely that a couple with such unresolved high-tension issues would have been approved and not told to work through them a bit more.

Then! Our next problem was that the couple seemed to have never been to India before. Um, ok? Maybe Ben had but Fiona was very obviously uncomfortable in India. They did not seem to be familiar with India in the slightest. What was up with that? They have the responsibility of trying to raise their child with an understanding of their cultural heritage, if they can’t muster a love for the culture then how about a respect for it? Fiona seemed to treat everything in India like an inconvenience, like it was dirty, disturbing and beneath her. Really worrying in my opinion.

Finally, their marriage seemed so tenuous. It was like they had not talked to each other before they set foot in India. Didn’t they share their hopes and dreams? Where was the love? The sharing? The commitment?

Anyway, Husbot and I were very disappointed. We felt that it portrayed an image that adoptive couples were self centred folk who were just desperately trying to fill a hole in their own lives and marriages with a child. And who gave little thought to the consequences of their actions and the emotional needs of their child.

Where as adoptive parents I have met through blogs and in ‘real life’ give their children’s emotional needs critical importance and understand that adoption is about building a family which takes preparation, thoughtfulness and care and I might add commitment and togetherness.

It is not just an ‘amazing two week journey in India’ it is a lifelong journey. What did others think of The Waiting City, I am keen to know if you what your opinion is if you have seen it?

Actors Radha Mitchell and Joel Edgerton in 'The Waiting City'

David Stratton mentions in his review another movie called Holy Lola which apparently is another movie about an Australian couple adopting from Cambodia – anyone seen that?