Saturday, November 29, 2008

Book Review (Sort Of)

A close acquaintance (can there be such a thing) of mine loaned me the book Are those Kids Yours? by Cheri Register. They are in the waiting stage of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. We however, are still sitting on the fence. We've been doing lots reading, praying, and waiting on God to know what He would have us do. We do know that if we are to adopt, it will be a foreign adoption. We are aware that there are many waiting children here in Canada, but at this point, we are feeling more strongly pulled towards foreign adoption.

In light of that fact, Cheri Register's book opened my eyes to not only the joys of foreign adoption, but many of the difficulties we may face as parents of a child from a different nationality. To anyone with decent eyesight, it's going to be screaming obvious that one of our children is not biologically ours. So not only us, but our children are going to be plagued with questions --sometimes not so innocent -- from others for many years to come. In some sections of the book I almost broke into a cold sweat and wanted to pitch it out the window and forget the whole thing. "No way, are we doing this!" I would think to myself. After awhile, I would return to it again and continue reading. I'm glad I did because she made me realise that even if it is not God's will for us to bring another child into our home, we can still be doing something to help children in need here and around the world.

In the last chapter of her book, Cheri talks about the global family:

"Describing the global context within which adoption takes place may seem to complicate the task of promoting awareness and change, rather than encourage participation in it. To be realistic and avoid disillusion, we do have to acknowledge that we are not likely to attain the ideal of a world where no children are left homeless, where every child is raised in a loving family with sufficient resources to provide food, shelter, education, and health care. In the United States alone our vision of the ideal is limited by a numbingly high incidence of chemical dependency, child abuse, and family violence. There will still be parents who should not raise children. In the tension between ideal and reality in a changing world that can never quite keep pace with itself, adoption will still be the best solution for many children.

Yet, if we can imagine our own children among those who are hungry or sick or homeless, and if we can imagine our birthparents -- or ourselves -- struggling to keep families together, we will feel a compelling need to do something for the well-being of the global family. What that might be depends on our individual talents and resources. Marlene Duval whose family doubled in size when she learned about Amerasian children waiting for homes, puts it very simply: "You offer what you have." What we offer however, should be given generously and sensitively, with a right of refusal avoiding the condescension and control caricatured in the image of Lady Bountiful.

In offering what we have -- whether compassion, intelligence, hope, time, advocacy, knowledge, money, moral support, strategy, special skills -- to the welfare of children and their families, we have a chance to "intervene in history," Brazilian educator Paolo Friere's term for acting in a socially responsible way. As grandiose as "intervening in history" might sound, adoptive families have already done it, by taking a branch from one family tree and grafting it onto another. What usually stops us from intervening more deliberately is the sense that poverty and injustice are inevitable forces of nature that defy human efforts to control them. **Like the mothers and children in Sao Paulo who saw the river of mud cascading toward them, we feel overwhelmed and powerless. Yet it was undoubtedly human action that deforested the hillside in Sao Paulo, leaving it vulnerable to erosion. It will take human action to repair the damage. If each of us were to develop a genuine, fond commitment to the people of another place, we might keep some other family's hopes and dreams from washing away.

**Cheri references this earlier in the chapter regarding a mudslide in Sao Paulo, Brazil that buried a community of women and children living in fifty shacks on a hillside.

And so, we continue to sit on the fence, read, pray, and wait...


  1. Is this the "One Step Forward" you posted back in October? How exciting! I just met a couple hubby knows at the grocery store yesterday. They have adopted two children (one boy, one girl) from Russia. They were adorable!

  2. Wow! You have a very good memory! Yes, this is what my "one Step Forward" post was about.

    It is an exciting and frightening time all rolled into one.

  3. Our number of children doubled in size through adoption, as well. We have domestic adoptions, though, and I haven't read this book. It sounds great!

    One of my favourite blogs is by a lady who is passionate about adoption. Her address is if you want to check it out.

  4. Evey once in awhile when I have a little extra free time (haha), I do skip over to Kimmie's blog. What an awesome story (or I should say stories) she has to tell!


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