A Love Like No Other by Pamela Kruger and Jill Smolowe
This book tackles topics about adoption and living in a family created through adoption from the perspective of adoptive parents. Although each section of the book has been written by a different adoptive parent, the editors grouped them by topics, such as reflections on birth parents, dealing with the unexpected, and personal transformations. What makes this book interesting is the diversity of adoptive parents and families represented. There are domestic adoptions, oversees adoptions, single parent adoptions, same sex couple adoptions, nuclear family adoptions. The selection of so many ranging voices is a testament to the beauty of adoption. It brings with it all of the joy, heartache, developmental and emotional complications, and love no matter where it is found.
Of the stories, the two that impacted me the most were written by Jana Wolfe and Melissa Faye Greene. Greene experienced a great deal of depression after adopting her son. Her son Jesse joined their family of four children by birth from Bulgaria and her story was very dear to my heart. I did not experience this when Emma joined my family. In fact, my situation was exactly the opposite. It was when Allison joined us by birth, following a wonderful adoption experience, that my world turned upside down. No matter how depression comes after a child joins the family, the affect can be devastating. Most importantly, it can also be overcome.
While Melissa Faye Greene writes about the early days and weeks after bringing her son home, Jana Wolfe discusses her first 13 years living with adoption. She chronicles the ups and downs she and her husband have experienced along the way. The way in which their marital relationship has grown stronger is very inspiring. What she said that meant the most to me is:
It’s not that adoption gets less significant to Ari [her son] or to any of us in his circle, but it’s become less of something you figure out and more of something you figure in.
Not everything can or should be fixed or solved for your children. Even if that were possible, it does them no favors to hand them everything on a silver platter. Life is about learning how to successfully navigate through each day, especially those things that are uncomfortable or unexpected. The best gift you can give your children is the freedom to explore their lives and the security of knowing that you’ll always be there no matter what.
Although I found most of the essays interesting, there were some that didn’t interest me at all. That, however, is the beauty of reading a collection of stories or articles: you can skip or skim over topics that don’t interest you without feeling (too) guilty. That’s not to say that I won’t ever read them, though. On this journey through life, what once did not appeal to me may someday be extremely relevant.
I would highly recommend this book to all adoptive parents and any people thinking about adoption.
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