Book review: ‘An Adoption Diary’ by Maria James

The premise
Billed as ‘A couple’s journey from infertility to parenthood’, it is about their experiences of adoption through a voluntary agency in 2002–2004.

My response
I liked being able to follow their story from initial enquiry through to the adoption order and beyond, seeing the timescale and some of the details. The writing is quite emotion-led: there’s a lot about their feelings (both positive and negative) and I would have liked more information about the paperwork (what were all the forms?) and the visits (eg more direct quotations from those involved). The matching process we will go through is different from the one the author describes, as we are unlikely to be ‘competing’ with other prospective adopters for any given child/children.

Quotation
‘To reach inside the mind of a mixed up and scared little boy and see the world through his eyes is a humbling experience. … What we take for granted may be viewed in a wholly different light. Nothing can be expected to be as “normal” for an adopted child – and who decides what is normal anyhow?’ (p134)

What I found particularly useful
This would be a useful book to lend to friends and family who are impatient for news and don’t understand the timescales involved, or who need to understand about the differences in parenting adopted children and birth children. I didn’t feel I learnt anything new from it, but can think of several of our friends and family who might benefit from reading it.

Conclusion
A little bit out of date in terms of the matching process, and doesn’t contain any amazing revelations, but it’s another useful tool to use in explaining adoption to family and friends.

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2 thoughts on “Book review: ‘An Adoption Diary’ by Maria James

  1. I really like your review, and agree with you. I lent it to my best friend, who found it more useful than hubby or I did. She very much enjoyed the writing style and found it easier to read than the BAAF book for family…

    • Thanks for your comment, Stix – glad you agree! Are there books you’ve found particularly helpful? We’re preparing our portfolio for panel and have about 12 book reviews in it at the moment (our social worker calls us her most well-read couple!) – I have a stack of about another 10 books that I’m working through but always love to hear recommendations… 🙂

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