Cross Cultural Adoption
By: Amy Coughlin and Caryn Abramowitz
Reviewed By: Jon Henshaw, M.A.
People adopt children for many reasons. Some people adopt because they're unable to conceive naturally, while others adopt because of a desire to parent an unwanted child. Regardless of the reason, many people are now choosing to adopt internationally.
A common question about international adoption is "why don't couples adopt locally?" The authors of Cross-Cultural Adoption suggest in their book that the most common reasons people adopt internationally are:
- a real interest in the culture of a particular country
- adopting parents have family members with ties to that country
- there are some countries that have greater adoption needs than others
Another factor not mentioned by the authors is cost and accessibility. It's often less expensive to adopt internationally, and there's also a better chance that parents will be able to adopt a child within a more reasonable time-frame.
Once the decision to adopt internationally has been made, hopeful parents are presented with numerous questions from family and friends. The authors attempt to answer many of those questions throughout the book. Some of them include:
- Who are her real parents?
- Why didn't her real parents want her?
- Why does she look different?
- How much did they pay for her?
- Won't she feel sad when she finds out she was adopted?
As with any new responsibility, like parenting an internationally adopted child, it's hard to know what to do, and what not to do. Fortunately, the authors include a help section that covers the most common Do's and Don'ts for parents. Some of those Do's and Don'ts are:
- Do treat her like any other kid
- Don't introduce her as adopted
- Don't say how lucky she is
- Don't assume adoption is a second choice
The most popular countries where international adoptions take place are included in the last chapters. Each country includes information on geography and population, history and government, economy, culture, food, interesting facts, and literature and other books for further reading.
Lastly, the book includes a helpful addition to the Appendix, entitled "Resources for Learning More About Adoption." In it, the authors provide names and contact information to reputable organizations and agencies that deal with international adoption.
Cross-Cultural Adoption is an easy and straight-forward introduction to international adoption for parents, and is helpful for friends and family who want to learn more about this special experience.