Book Review: You Can Adopt

This post was originally published on on March 12, 2010. Republished here with permission.

youcanadoptbookI love Adoptive Families magazine!* I read every issue cover to cover. I even read the ads. Last year, they announced they would be publishing You Can Adopt: An Adoptive Families Guide, by Susan Caughman and Isolde Motley. I immediately wanted to buy the book, and I did so as soon as it became available.

Because of Christmas, I didn’t actually start reading the book until January. And because of work and being a mom (OK, fine, and reading Twilight fan-fic. I admit it.), I didn’t finish it until the end of February.

Long story short: Buy the book.

It’s an easy, interesting, and informative read. I like the stories from Adoptive Families readers, which are located on practically every page of the book. Essays that have previously appeared in Adoptive Families are reprinted here as well. It’s a great mix of practical information and enjoyable asides.

The book is aimed at an audience that is new to adoption, but I believe even experienced or well-read adoptive parents can learn a lot from the book. I write about adoption practically every day, but I still learned quite a bit.

I do have some criticisms, of course. The last chapter of the book, titled “Will We Live Happily Ever After?”, is a collection of statements from adoptees. All of the statements are sunshine and roses. I understand that the editors want to paint an optimistic picture of adoption, but a wider variety of responses would be more helpful to readers. One of the statements was written by Phil Bertelsen, a transracial adoptee and filmmaker. I know he’s done a frank film about the challenges of growing up in an interracial family, but his statement doesn’t reflect that at all.

I would have liked to see more specifics about state laws. I know that laws can change, and the authors want to keep the book as timeless as possible, but even some pointers to where adoptive parents can find the laws would be useful.

I was also left wanting more. The material in the book is very broad but not necessarily deep, especially in some subjects. I would have liked to see more in-depth looks at the different types of adoption. A scant 33 pages is devoted to the differences between domestic and international adoption.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. I wish it had been available five years ago. However, I’m glad that it exists to help my family with the next go-round.

* Unfortunately, Adoptive Families isn’t published as a magazine anymore. They’re online only.

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