Book review: ‘Could you be my parent?’ by Leonie Sturge-Moore

The premise
‘A book of stories – the stories of children who need[ed] a new, permanent family and the stories of those who have welcomed them into their homes.’

My response
An engaging selection of short reflections which explain why adoption is important, how to prepare for adoption and how to build a strong family unit. The anonymised case studies, chosen by the editor of BAAF’s Be My Parent magazine, convey the reality of the various stages of the process – from both the child(ren)’s perspective and the prospective parents’ point of view. The parental accounts of unexpected disruptive behavior (‘all hell broke loose’) and frustrations with social workers (‘February – heard nothing more from social services… June – still nothing from social services… July – finally! Social worker comes to visit’) were refreshingly honest and have helped to ‘brace’ for the emotional and practical struggles ahead.

‘On the first day we met I was scared. I didn’t know what my dad would be like. On the second day we met I found out and I will tell you. I found out that my dad was a nice man and I wanted him to be my father for the rest of my life… When I have a bad dream he cuddles me till it’s OK again. When I break the computer he fixes it and then it’s OK so I can play on it again.’ (‘Lucy’, 10)

What I found particularly useful
Some of the practical ‘coping’ strategies were helpful, such as retaining links to the child’s past (clothes, teddies, music, etc) to maintain a sense of continuity and security.

Best summed up with another quote: ‘Accept this is a time of change. Your life is going to be different and you will have to draw on your inner resources, but don’t put your life on hold. Remember to relax and to make time and space for yourself and, if applicable, your partner.’

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