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Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother Paperback – January 10, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

About three years ago, the author and her husband, both Jewish, adopted a male baby at birth. Their child, whom they named Ari, was the birth son of two 18-year-olds, a Mexican-American mother and an African American father. In this candid memoir, Wolff relates her mixed feelings about bringing up a child from a different cultural background. Although she deeply loves her son, she is concerned that a biracial adoption may have made his future life harder. She also discusses her fears--groundless, it turns out--that Martie, the birth mother, would return to claim her child. Although the author's frankness is disarming and she has bravely made the decision to maintain contact with Martie and to allow her to visit Ari, she makes sometimes harsh or patronizing judgments about Martie's life choices. Wolff's commitment to her son comes across here as absolute, but she makes clear she harbors many ambivalent emotions about the adoption that will be of interest to other adoptive parents of biracial children.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"What a great book! You won't be able to put it down." Sharon Roszia calls this "An insightful, totally honest must-read." Betty Jean Lifton says: "Jana Wolff takes the myth and denial out of adoption and uncovers its real secrets." Jamie Lee Curtis says: "This is a wonderful book." Adoptive Families magazine calls it: "Truly a treasure...the book identifies with poignancy and humor the very real and complex emotions of adoption." -- Tapestry Books
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 167 pages
  • Publisher: Vista Communications; 1 edition (January 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967214319
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967214313
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #561,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was recommended by my home study agency. Before ordering I read the prior reviews and was somewhat concerned the book might be too angry or negative to have any message for me. I am writing to reassure those who might have similar concerns.
Note first, the book is dedicated to the authors mother and the adopted child's birth mother. Second, the author is sharing an open adoption, largely of her choice and entirely of her effort. The adoptive couple hope to provide the child, as he matures, an opportunity to know his biological family. Third, while the author admits (as those of who have tried and failed to conceive must), she doesn't understand how the birthmother can separate herself from her child, she also acknowledges the character and strength it must take to perform that unselfish act.
Anger? Frustration? Yes, there are those emotions. Kept in a 'secret thought' context, fair emotions. Those of us who find ourselves in stable marriages, educationally, and financially independent but infertile, relying on a social worker and a birthmother for a 'stamp of approval', can not help but feel anger at the irony of the situation.
There are a few 'bad' words, (I believe I noted 4), but far fewer than you hear daily if you live and work in soceity.
Far more important is the illustration the author provides of the roller coaster of self doubt and emotion adoptive parents experience. It is reassuring to know 'you are not the first to tread those waters'. Also, her experience with racism is invaluable to those of us who have adopted/will adopt children of a different race.
I do recommend the book.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book in which Wolff dares to say aloud the thoughts many adoptive parents (including me) have during and after the adoption process. Her willingness to share the deep-down gut-level truths about her own experience really moved me, as did her sometimes painful honesty and her great sense of humor. I laughed and cried and laughed some more and then gave the book as a gift to everyone I thought would be interested: other adoptive parents, my daughter, friends who are birth mothers who gave up their children for adoption. Everyone I've given the book to has loved it. I only wish Ms. Wolff had written it 28 years ago when I was reading every book I could find on adoption, but not finding any that paid much attention to "secret thoughts." When people learned our family (husband, wife, two sons) was adopting, they thought we were (or should be) somehow "better" or "nobler" than other people. I knew we weren't, of course (oh, secret guilt!). This book illumines the truth that in most adoption cases,there are few heroes (no villains, either); each of us (whether birth mother or adoptive parent) brings our own mix of circumstances, needs and motives (and secret thoughts) to the process, but hopefully share one characteristic: love for our children. Thank you, Jana Wolff, for writing this brave and important book.
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Format: Paperback
FINALLY an author who's willing to write about adoption with honest emotions....not "politically correct" mumbo-jumbo!
Ms Wolffs refreshing approach to adoption was like a breath of fresh air after all the "Dear Birthmother" type books us adoptive parents are given to read by adoption professionals, who can't relate.
Her realistic, honest, humorous, touching story is something WE CAN ALL RELATE TO but feel guilty for thinking. FINALLY a book that looks at adoption WITHOUT the rose colored glasses.
A MUST READ for adoptive families and adoption professionals!
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Format: Paperback
The thoughts of an adoptive mother are not so different from the thoughts of a biological one, or so I've been told. If one is truely honest about it everyone is plagued by the "what ifs". What if my child isn't healthy, what if I don't bond with my child,what if this whole thing is a mistake, what if my child is, heaven forbid, ugly! I found Jana Wolff's book enjoyable, easy to read, and a wonderful confirmation that one shouldn't be ashamed of the random thoughts and worries that zing around in one's head as you wait for the adoption process to take its course.
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By A Customer on April 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a soon-to-be adoptive mother, I was really glad to find a book that describes, with sometimes painful honesty, the mixed emotions and feelings that go into the decision to adopt and the adoption process. It truly is difficult and very much a rollercoaster ride. I have to say, though, that I felt angry at times at the author's occasional use of foul language and her strongly negative attitudes toward adoption. If I were the social worker doing her homestudy, I probably would not have approved her for adoption and would have strongly recommended she seek counseling. Yes, we all have feelings of anger and resentment that we cannot produce biological children, but in my darkest days I haven't been as bitter as her book showed her to be. I hope her son doesn't ever read this book.
I am glad I read it, though. Even with my negative feelings about her attitudes, the book made me see that I'd better evaluate my own attitudes about adoption, especially in regard to birthfamilies. I think it's a book that needed to be written, although I felt it was pretty negative much of the time.
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