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Adoption Nation: How The Adoption Revolution Is Transforming America Hardcover – October 3, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Edition edition (October 3, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465056504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465056507
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,822,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Based on a series of articles that he wrote for the Boston Globe, Pertman combines journalistic research and personal anecdotes in this stimulating overview of the trends and cultural ramifications of adoption. His views come through loud and clear: families should be "out" about their adoptive status, children should be told that they were adopted as early as possible and all members of the adoption "triad" (birth mother, child and parents) should try to stay in close communication. Suggesting that adoptive families have benefited enormously from the country's increasing acceptance of racial diversity, Pertman argues that the controversial 1994 Multiethnic Placement Act (which stipulates that transracial adoptions can not be legally prohibited) is a strong step forward in placing the interests of the individual child over those of an abstract, race-based notion of family. He also suggests that adoption itself has helped to instigate social change: in its role as an "institutionalized means of forming non-traditional families," adoption may help gay, multiracial and single-parent families gain greater social acceptance. Even so, Pertman contends, adoptive families are still subject to many hurtful stereotypes (e.g., the irresponsible birth mother; the selfish adoptive parents). Perhaps most harrowing is his discussion of the effect of "laissez faire" capitalist thinking on adoption policy and the largely unregulated nature of the "industry" that has sprung up around it (e.g., one woman tried to sell her baby on eBay; the highest bid was $109,100). This disturbing and hopeful book will primarily attract adoptive families and policy makers, who will find that it has much to say about our changing definitions of family, race and community. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Pertman brings a reporter's skill and adopting parent's concerns to this comprehensive look at the process of adoption. After years of incremental change, adoption is undergoing a revolution: states are revising laws and agencies are simplifying rules. Pertman also examines the trend toward opening adoption for singles, multiracial families, gays, and the middle aged. Although adoption is still fundamentally private, it is no longer shrouded in the secrecy of the past as more states allow for open adoptions and balance the rights and desires of birth parents, adopting parents, and adopted children. Pertman examines the history of adoption from the foundling homes of the nineteenth century to current trends that are "advancing the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity that is a hallmark of Twenty First Century America." This book is a valuable resource for adoptive families, readers considering adoption, or anyone concerned about trends in family formation. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Anyone with adoption triad members involved in their lives should read this book.
B. Betzen
Adam Pertman, CEO of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, gives readers a comprehensive view of how far we have come in adoption reform.
Sherrie Eldridge (Fishers, IN)
All members of the adoption triad -- including birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents -- will find parts of themselves in this book.
Frederic G. Reamer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Pam Hasegawa on October 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Most of us tend to gravitate toward books that either affirm or stretch our deepest beliefs. I read Adam Pertman's ADOPTION NATION because I met him early on in his research for the 1998 Boston Globe series, watched him thoroughly explore the many facets of this complicated and bittersweet social institution, and knew that finally someone was working on a book that looked at the big picture of the "adoption revolution" that is truly transforming America. That book is here, and put into the hands of policy-makers who truly care about the best interests of children, it can make an enormous difference in the future -- and the integrity -- of adoption in America. A charming aspect of this brilliant examination of adoption's impact on our society is that through personal vignettes, Pertman eloquently illustrates how the revolution has been shaped not by professionals but by people who have lived adoption. His respect and compassion for all the voices in the adoption experience make this an unforgettable book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Wilson on November 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Adoption Nation is a well written book that should be read by all - not just by those people affected or "touched" by adoption. For decades, the subject of adoption has been "off limits". Birth parents had long been shamed into "forgetfullness", Adoptees were taught it wasn't nice to ask questions about their status as adoptees, and Adoptive Parents were afraid to speak of it. In fact, to this day, even the lawmakers and judges project negative tones with regard to adoption. It's time the world opened their eyes to adoption and embrace it. There is no reason that Adoption should have negative over tones surrounding it all in the name of secrecy. Finally, with Adoption Nation and with adoption reform movements all around the country, Adoption and adoption triad members are coming out of the closet and the stigmas are beginning to be washed away! My hat is off to all who actively work for adoption reform and especially to Adam Pertman for writing such an eye opening and compelling book! Everyone deserves truth, dignity and honesty!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Marilyn M Waugh on October 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In a perfect world, adoption would not exist. However in the year 2000, thousands of infants and children still need homes and we, as a society, must actively work towards making this process humane and compassionate for all involved. Adam Pertman, in his well researched and beautifully written award winning book, explains how adoptions were done in previous decades, details the recent changes that have improved the process and speculates on future practices. As a reunited birth mother who relinquished a son in 1970, it is gratifying that this book was published; this should be required reading in all college curriculum dealing with social work and psychology.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Albert S. Wei on October 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Pertman brilliantly and methodically maps the long-hidden political and social landscape of American child adoption. His pen and sextant miss little: from the most heroic, through the most poignant, to the most disturbing. He precisely places seemingly dissonant features of this landscape and then clearly plots the linkages between them. From the rubble of post-Communist Bucharest to the bully pulpit of resurgent American extremism to the halls of power on Capitol Hill, he praises the meritorious and exposes the depraved. In doing so, he presents a powerful case for an end to the secrecy and lies - both personal and political - that have long-dominated American adoption practice. And when confronted with the all-too-pervasive venality, injustice and fanaticism, Mr. Pertman does not hesitate to take aim with his rhetorical gun... and open fire.
This is a profound, sometimes uplifting, sometimes horrifying and altogether necessary book. Buy it, read it, send it to your legislators, and then run for public office yourself.

A.S. Wei, Special Advisor to Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Fred Greenman, Legal Advisor, American Adoption Congress on October 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A magisterial and page-turning survey of the state of adoption today and of current adoption issues. Comprehensive summaries alternate with gripping, illustrative individual stories. Pertman frankly states his positions on controversial issues.
If you have to restrict yourself to one book on adoption, this is the one to get.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gisela Gasper Fitzgerald on September 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an exciting and informative roller coaster of the history of adoption. The book ranges from the history of and regrettable reasons for secret adoptions, to the explosion of openness beginning in the 1970's with its empowerment of birthmothers and the selling of babies by private agencies and on the Internet. The reader is offered the conflicting anecdotal records of openness, of the issue of opening up past secret adoption records, of reunions between parties of closed adoptions, and of keeping all future adoptions open. But Adoption Nation is prejudiced toward open adoption and leaves out the conclusion of the largest longitudinal study published in 1998 by Harold D.Grotevant and Ruth G. McRoy, Openness in Adoption, Exploring Family Connections (Sage 1998). These authors state: 'The clearest policy implication of our work is that no single type of adoption is best for everyone. Thus, we believe that a variety of adoption arrangements should be possible by practice and by law.' These authors warn that the long-term impact of openness for all parties in the adoptive kinship network is not known and longitudinal research is necessary to answer this question. The authors found in an earlier smaller study that semi-open adoption seemed to be the least harmful to the families involved in adoption. Literature tells us that we continue today, in both public and private adoptions, not to focus on what placement might be the best for the child, but on what is best for the families, agencies or adoption professionals. We think that if the adoptive and birth parents get on well, then open adoption is good for the child too for all ages, and for all developmental stages. But is it? One thing seems certain from Adoption Nation: Secrecy in adoption is a thing of the past.Read more ›
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