Review of the Anthology: Parenting as Adoptees by Adam Chau & Kevin Ost-Vollmers

This is an adoptee-centered anthology I recently discovered. It is from 2012 and the contributing authors are diverse and make important observations and points about life as an adopted adult who becomes a parent. I was curious about this book because I definitely believe that being an adopted person has influenced in some ways how I have parented and provided for my children, and it has made me extra watchful regarding their child development. 

The second entry by Bert Ballard, Ph.D. references the concept of intergenerationality, also known as multi-generationality. This concept is about patterns of behaviors and thinking being passed on throughout various generations of a family and how these patterns are disrupted when adoption occurs. It can be a good or a bad thing, but it is part of the loss adoptees experience regardless. This sense of loss plays into how we parent our own kids because we want to shield our children from having these gaps and losses. We often work extra hard to compensate to make up for what we did not have as children. In my case, I have worked above and beyond to make sure my kids and grandkids have an abundance of family heritage information plus photos and videos. 

Other ideas such as genetic ping (also referred to as genetic echo) and adultism (when opinions and decisions are made in favor of the adults’ interests and needs more than the children’s) are addressed in this book. For some adopted people, having biological children is healing and therapeutic because we now finally have a biological family member with whom we can mirror. For others it heightens our need to search for genetic family since the birth of our babies creates more questions. Until recently it has not been common knowledge that learning disabilities can be inherited as well. Trans racial/national/cultural adoptees also are hit hard with losses, confusion and bewilderment as to how to now explain their experiences to their own children.

This is a great resource for anyone seeking to understand the thinking or mindsets of adopted adults, and the twists and turns when navigating the dynamics of blended families through adoption. It is also a reminder that being an adopted person never stops, even when we grow up and that our children can become adoptees by default with losses and unanswered questions during their lives.

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