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In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories Paperback – June 15, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This book is the story of every person who has lived in an environment in which he or she didn't quite fit.... Yet, while the stories in the book are universal, they are also deeply personal and incredibly touching. You cannot read this book without being changed.

(Lifelines)

Extremely informative and emotionally compelling.

(Social Work in Health Care)

At a time when a post-racial society remains an elusive fantasy, In Their Voices is indispensable. This book represents the dinner party I wish my parents had thrown--full of interesting African-Americans whose wisdom I now know reflects my own experience. Whether formed through adoption or marriage, multiracial families looking for tools to raise healthy children of color will find Roorda's latest contribution to be a valuable resource.

(Phil Bertelsen)

Review

This much needed study brings hard facts and personal experiences to bear on an important subject too often dominated by dogmas and arrogance. It is a breath of fresh air in the fetid atmosphere of racial politics.

(Thomas Sowell, Stanford University)|

No one has contributed more useful empirical research on interracial adoption than Professor Rita Simon and her associates. In Their Own Voices is an important supplement to that scholarly tradition that will further illuminate one of the most interesting corners of race relations in American life. The stories told in this collection are fascinating, poignant, enlightening, inspiring. They deserve a broad audience.

(Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law School)|

This book's suggestion that American families find it easier to adopt children from other countries than to adopt transracially within this country is saddening. This is particularly so when we see hundreds of black children moved from one foster home to another. Those of us who believe in transracial adoptions owe Ms. Simon and Ms. Roorda a continuing debt of gratitude.

(Former Senator Howard M. Metzenbaum, author of the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994)|

In Their Own Voices sheds light on a very complex and controversial debate. The debate would be richer and wiser if those who seek to defend or condemn transracial adoption read this book first. It should be required reading for anyone who is thinking of adopting or has adopted a child from another race.

(Barbara Davidson, civil rights advocate and adoptive mother)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (June 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231118295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231118293
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Khatrina on October 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book and it let me see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Becaue I am adopted in a white home and Birracial the times have been hard however, with this book I feel like I am not the only one in that kind of situation. This book has helped me discover the true me, and also helped me to realize that if I am not true to myself I am only hurting myself. I wish there were more books like this on the market, and I would recommend it to anyone who is adopted or raising a minority child in a white home.
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Format: Paperback
This book is important for adoptees, adoptive parents and grandparents, as well as others who are loving and parenting across racial lines. While this is not a "how to" book, it is clear from the adoptees' stories what they believe their adoptive parents did well and what they wish their adoptive parents had done differently. It stresses the difficult issues but also reflects that transracial adoption can and does work. It helps parents to understand the importance of nurturing a relationship between the adoptive family and the adoptees' ethnic communities.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mae on June 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
In Their Own Voices is a well-written, powerful, honest and eye opening book about the lives of black and biracial individuals adopted into white families. For many who are for or against this type of adoption, especially in a racially divisive America, this book won't let you come to an easy conclusion about whether interracial adoption is good or bad for the adoptee or community involved. It challenges the reader to put aside his or her opinions and find the answers from listening to the stories of each individual in the book. It is about time there was a book like this. There should be more like it!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Chris Morgan on March 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is divided into:

1) A brief section on the academic research and political arguments on transracial adoption, written by a social science researcher; and

2) Interviews with women and men, conducted by an adult transracial adoptee; all interviews are with black Americans

As a potential adoptive parent, I found the book informative, particularly in how the interviewees reconciled their identities. Some interviewees have experienced severe identity issues exacerbated by adoption, some of their stresses were similar to challenges that most black people face in the U.S., and some of the interviewees don't seem to have had race or adoption be much of a hurdle in their lives. A common recommendation that interviewees make is that white parents of black children should make sure that their children have black peers--even if those peers are also transracially adopted--and that the children will long to be connected with black culture at some point so connecting them with the culture associated with their racial background from the beginning makes the most sense.

My main criticism is that the interviewer inserts her life and interests into the discussions so much that her leading questions make you wonder what people would have said if the interviewer had been able to be more neutral. There also is not much of a discussion of how the women interviewed seem to have much more in the way of identity issues overall than do the men. Does this mean that black males have an easier time raised by white parents than do females? This contrasts with my understanding that, overall, black women have an easier time being successful in school and later in the job market than do black men, for reasons of culture and discrimination.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Floyd on June 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
In Their Own Voices is a powerfully uplifting book that address the struggles faced by persons who are interracially adopted. This "tell it like it is" book appears to be the first of its kind to address interracial adoption from the adoptees' point of view. I commend both authors for having the guts to pursue such a project and the conviction to see it through. Floyd
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a must for any white couple looking to adopt african american or mixed raced children. It is a wonderful complilation of interviews of adult adoptees who were raised in white parent homes. Since every family make up, values, and religious beliefs are different you get a good range of opinions and experiences through the words of the adoptees themselves. Find out what strenthened these individuals and what didn't, maybe through they're experiences you can change the future of your own child.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K. Means on October 30, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think this is a MUST read for anyone choosing to proceed down the path of Transracial Adoption. While it might not be what you WANT to hear, I feel strongly that it says what we NEED to hear as painful as that might be. As a white mother of a Ethiopian baby girl, I heed the words of these adoptee's very seriously.

There is only one area in which I feel the author's fell short. For example, many of the bi-racial adoptee's would say that they were not accepted by some/many people in the black community. However, I felt the authors failed to be clear on whether that rejection was based on the fact that the adoptee's were bi-racial or that they had white parents(or perhaps both)- two very different issue's as I see it- both with their own set of responsibilites.

I also wish they would have had a clear profile of each person at the beginning of each chapter. For instance, it would be nice to know up front the race of the adoptee, the race of the parents, the age of the adoptee at interview(without having to do my own story problem to find the answer)etc. I'm also interested in knowing how -if at all- the views of children adopted internationally are different than children adopted domestically.

I will say that when I read the chapter about the girl (I forget her name right now) who was so estranged from the black community because of the lack of effort her white parents put forth on her behalf to keep her tied to her roots - I wept. How utterly tragic for this young woman to be faced with such an identity crisis. We owe these children so much more than just our love and guidence. We owe them their past as well as their future.
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