(I really need a Kindle so I can stop lugging books around the world with me.)
I read The.re Is No Me With.out You while I was living in Thailand several years ago. (This is the Bible of Ethiopian adoption circles.) And while it was very interesting I think that it only scratches the surface of the myriad issues relating to HIV/AIDS, adoption, orphans and vulnerable children and child protection. In fact, in my opinion, it has created a situation where we tend to glorify a woman who, despite very good intentions, didn't always do the best for the children in her care. It is also a book that, taken only for surface value, has the potential to set us up to believe that international adoption is the only answer for Ethiopia's children.
There is so much more to getting involved in child welfare work than good intentions or international adoption. For anyone who wants to start delving deeper here are books that I'd like to recommend. I think every single one exemplifies the idea that good intentions are not always enough. Life is so complicated. Poverty, conflict, disease, family identity, cultural differences in the way children are viewed and treated... they all make it much more complicated that we can even fathom from here.
Here are some recent favorites:
Here are some recent favorites:
This was such an interesting book. I read it in one day! It is about the Russian orphanage system. A damaging system - like all orphanage systems. It really hit home for me why kids with special needs are the most in need of adoption and how good intentions are not enough to be an adoptive parent.
I don't normally read collections of short stories. But I found this book several months ago and devoured it. It is hard to read. I think some people might come away from it thinking - obviously my adopting a small child out of Africa is the solution. But I didn't. I think the message to come away with is that the life of a child is complicated - complicated by poverty, disease and conflict - adoption is only a tiny bandaid. What are we doing to make system changes in the world? What are we doing to make the world a better place for children to live - in their own societies?
So. So. Interesting. I spent 2 years in graduate school exploring this idea - that every single "solution" in development could potentially create another problem. A very good read for Christians who feel called to "do something." Neither I, or the book, are saying that we shouldn't be working for change. But it is so important that we have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to actually accomplish what we set out to do.
This is the adoption book I've enjoyed most so far. It is very practical. Early in the process I got a lot of my information about adoption and adoption terminology ("gotcha day" "forever family" etc.) from reading blogs. But this book helped set me on a better path to understanding how the way that we phrase things, days that we celebrate, how we celebrate and even the way we view our adoption story can have serious implications for our child and her view of herself. It helped me create a new framework for the way we will talk, think, and celebrate in the future.
An AMAZING true story about a child soldier. So complicated. Family, conflict, reunification, reintegration, instutionalization, trauma, psychosocial therapy, art therapy, Africa. It has it all.
Happy reading isn't exactly the right way to end this. Challenging reading!