Book Review: Secrets To Your Successful Domestic Adoption

Secrets To Your Successful Domestic Adoption:  Insider Advice To Create Your Forever Family Faster, by Jennifer Joyce Pedley

I want to state at the outset, because this could be misunderstood, that I reviewed this book as part of my own self-education as a CASA concerning adoption [1] as well as in order to provide a companion volume to a book I am reading for a publisher on the same subject, as is my fashion.  I feel this could be misunderstood because the author appears to deliberately target this book at nontraditional adoption situations, and as a single person who is being compared in the sense of being nontraditional to gays and lesbians, and given the author’s stridently anti-conservative tone throughout, I found much in this volume to offend.  Perhaps it was not the author’s intent to offend, but unfortunately that is what happened, and the offense was in a predictable way given the cultural politics of adoption, and the fact that the author’s worldview and my own are deeply opposed.  This book is more evidence, if any more is necessary, that even the act of writing a book where there is considerable agreement (a concern for the well-being of the child and a support for adoption) can be made problematic by the larger cultural politics of the age.

This book is a short one at just over 200 pages and is divided into five parts and 22 chapters.  The author begins with a discussion of adoption as the second choice (I) and second best adoption with chapters giving the case for domestic adoption (1), choosing the least bad option for those in difficult pregnancies (2), the problem of fertility in there being too much for some and too little for others (3), open adoption as a resolution to be comfortable with awkwardness and discomfort (4), and the difficulties of adoption agencies (5).  After this the author talks about how oxymoronic “simple reproduction” is (II) with chapters about the many roads to adoption (6), the home study (7), the ICPC (8), and finding professional help in adoption (9).  This leads to a discussion about marketing for a baby’s adoption (III) with discussions about the oddness of writing letters (10), setting up adoptions online (11), using print ads (12), issues of payment (13), and the steps of intermatchment (14).  The author then talks about some of the aspects of adoption that lead to tears (IV), including issues of counseling and stress (15), adoption ceremonies as rituals (16), and what happens when someone becomes a mom (17).  Finally, the author closes with a discussion of adoption as forever (V) with a look at exhaustion (18), the issue of parental identity (19), dealing with siblings (20), humorous discussion about the language of adoption (20), and birthmothering (21).

Overall, one’s opinion about this book will depend on a wide variety of factors.  Those who are less traditional than I am will likely find much to appreciate, as this author spends a lot of time writing about adoption for gay couples.  Unfortunately, for this reader at least, the book is definitely a disappointment, and the author everywhere shows her political biases, not only in her misrepresentation of statistics about adoption, but also in her inveterate hostility of for-profit adoption agencies, which she uncharitably compares to used car salesmen.  Regrettably, although the author brings a great deal of personal experience in multiple facets of the adoption process, her political biases and worldview prevent her from being a worthwhile authority and greatly hinder the enjoyment as well as the informative value of her writing.  Had the author been less prejudiced in favor of her own cultural and political agendas, this book would have been of considerably more value.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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