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Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families -- and America (Non) Paperback – March 17, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Adam Pertmanwrites on family and children's issues for the Boston Globe. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his reports on adoption and has been awarded the Century Foundation's Leonard Silk Journalism Fellowship, the Year 2000 Media Award for exceptional dedication and commitment to children, and was honored by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption for Adoption Nation. He and his wife live with their two adopted children in Newton, Massachusetts.

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Product Details

  • Series: Non
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Common Press; 2 edition (March 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558327169
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558327160
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #581,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Bardsley on April 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
I'm a sucker for any book I see on adoption, because my parents adopted my own sister at two weeks old. It was an open, public adoption in California that involved two and a half years of waiting but was virtually free. I was nine years old.

Adoption Nation by Adam Pertman is the definitive book on adoption as far as I'm concerned. It is well written, meticulously researched, and tells balanced stories about all of the potential blessings and heartache that come with adoption for the major parties involved: adopted child, adoptive parents, and birth parents. If you were ever considering adoption in any form, this would be the first book to read.

I do have a pretty serious critique of Adoption Nation that comes from my own myopic view of adoption. This books does not devote any time whatsoever to the effects adoption have on the minor parties involved; namely the biological children of adoptive parents.

My parents bonded with my sister and knew 100% she was their daughter before they even met her. I however, looked at my newborn sister for the first time with the nine-year-old equivalent of "What the f---?" In retrospect, I could probably have benefited from counseling! Thankfully my sister and I are very close now. It turns out that my Mom was right and I did end up being thankful to have a sister.

Most children have nine months to watch their mom's bellies grow; all the while learning that the baby that comes out will be their flesh-and-blood sibling. Biological children of adoptive parents do not have this same preparation. Suddenly they just have a sibling.

I think that in adoptive parents' eagerness to protect the feelings of the adoptive child, there can be unintended consequences to the biological children.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jeannine on May 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Adoption Nation, by Adam Pertman, is a powerful book that emphasizes the crucial need for continued adoption reform. A true advocate for all participants in adoption, Pertman illuminates for the reader a frank, poignant and balanced history of adoption, shining a spotlight on the myriad and often controversial issues associated with this different way of creating a family. This book is unlike some advocacy books whose authors promote their causes through inflammatory, detached or off-putting writing. Adoption Nation is a compelling read because Pertman is able to hold onto an emotional connection to the many complicated political, legal and personal adoption issues while simultaneously presenting a balanced, objective, and insightful assessment of these concerns. This book is a comprehensive one, covering such controversial and significant issues as an adoptee's fundamental right to her original birth certificate, negative consequences of secrecy, inconsistency in adoption legislation and policy, benefits of open adoption, the growth in single-parent and gay/lesbian-parent adoptive families, and intercountry and transracial domestic adoption, name but a few. Pertman eloquently describes the changes in the process he calls an adoption revolution while aptly capturing the intensity of the challenges involved in giving adoptees the voice they need to provide them with the fundamental rights they deserve. And for Pertman, advocating for adoptee rights does not mean neglecting the needs of birth and adoptive parents as he illustrates the legal and political dilemmas of adoption reform without losing site of the emotional complexities for all adoption participants. Adoption Nation is a wonderful book that puts adoption center stage as a formidable force in the changing landscape of family and society.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SaraKruger on May 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book covers all aspects of adoption in America. The author is clearly in favor of open adoptions in terms of relationships among triad members (adoptive parents, birth parents, and adopted children) and transparency in adoption in general. He goes into great detail about each component of adoption, how it has changed over the last 60 years, and how it still needs to change. He is so clearly in favor of bringing all aspects of adoption into the open that it has the feel of an agenda -- the other perspective is introduced but only to refute it. But it's persuasively refuted. He includes lots of case stories of couples who have adopted. I enjoyed that he devoted chapters to each member of the triad so the reader learns a lot about each perspective.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kitty Poundstone on May 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Adoption Nation is an amazing, eye-opening book about the great, wide world of adoption. It is very helpful if you would like to develop a broad perspective on this phenomenon - from the history of adoption (fascinating) to the current landscape of domestic and international adoption (fascinating).

My husband and I are just at the beginning of the process of considering adopting a child. We had never even thought about many of the issues that Pertman raises, and we are really glad that we read this book at the beginning of our journey to find our child.

Although we LOVED this book, we do have a few criticisms:

First, and most relevant to our family, which consists of one US citizen and one non-US citizen, Pertman's discussion of domestic and international adoptions does not address the intersection of the two. He addresses mixed race families, but not mixed nationality families. We mixed nationality families face a very particular set of challenges. We're finding that we're not [something] enough for different governments and different agencies - not American enough, not Chinese enough, not this, not that. We're sure we'll figure it all out, but we would have loved to hear about global adoptions, where parents and kids might have multiple countries of residence and different passports. It's more common than you might think, but maybe we're still just a teensy tiny fraction of the world of adoption.

Second, Pertman has a tendency to repeat himself. The writing and structure could be tighter, but it didn't stop us from considering this a page turner.

Third, Pertman raises many extreme cases in order to make the various points he is trying to make.
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Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families -- and America (Non)
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