I was asked to participate on a book tour by I’m a Reader, Not a Writer and was happy to join in. The book Open Adoption, Open Heart: An Adoptive Father’s Inspiring Journey by Russell Elkins is a quick read that I think would behoove all perspective adoptive families who are thinking of going through a domestic infant adoption.
While my experience with adoption has been with International Adoption, a good friend of mine is a birth mother in an open adoption and I have learned so much through her on this topic. Several parts of this book were very positive, to name a few:
What an open adoption looks like was nicely portrayed. It is an ever changing relationship that can be tricky at times, but beneficial for all parties involved, especially the child. Elkins pointed out that the agreement of an open adoption is not a legal one and that the adoptive parents may make changes as they wish. This is something I find particularly unethical and hope will change in the future.
His honest emotions of worrying the potential birth mom would change her mind or would want more communication than they wanted may rub some people the wrong way but I respected how he shared his real emotions though, not just the ones that others would approve of. His story telling allowed you to be apart of the journey and show the changes in his thoughts and fears.
The terminology was positive and modern. Birth family, birth mother, birth father was all used and explained with respect. I appreciated that they didn’t treat the potential birth mother as a baby factory as unfortunately some do.
How he and his wife shared their story with their friends, family and church was interesting to read. It always amazes me what people feel they can say to one another with subjects of infertility and adoption.
A couple of things I felt negative towards deals with how this couple dealt with the birth father. They encouraged the birth mom to contact him and let him know of her plans, but I couldn’t help but think that there would be a legal route to go about contacting him so they could learn his side of the story. It seemed they just relied on one side of the story and we all know that every story has two sides. Moving the potential birth mother out of state to their state to circumvent the birth father’s rights is just plain wrong. She had family and a home where she was at. While they all got to know each-other better living together, I cannot help but think that a fifteen year old girl in a strange place with no loved ones close by was a bit intimidated. Most teenager girls I know don’t even want to complain to a waitress that her food is cold, let alone tell a couple who is supporting her that she has changed her mind or is having second thoughts. The situation could have easily been interpreted as coercive, even with the best of people. I felt for his mother, learning that she was a grandma with a grandchild out there somewhere that she couldn’t see. I hope that as time passes there will be more communication between the families so the child will know his birth father and family a bit more.
As I mentioned above I think that Open Adoption, Open Heart is a good book for potential adoptive parents to read. I encourage those at the beginning of the adoption process to think out some of the hard scenarios that may come up, to recognize that an open adoption is no co-parenting. Having more loving people in a child’s life may seem complicated at times, but will be worth it for everyone’s sake in time.
Check out what others have to say about Open Adoption, Open Heart on the blog tour at I’m a Reader, Not a Writer. There is also a $25 gift card up for grabs for this book tour!
This book and review also gives me book number five towards my goal of six adoption books this year for the Adoption Reading Challenge 2012. Three fiction and three non-fiction! Yeah me.
( I was given a free E-book copy of the book above from I’m a Reading, Not A Writer in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was given.)