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Adoption Nation
By Adam Pertman
Adoption Nation
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Review by Allison Martin

I recently read a cartoon in the Sunday comics with the "humorous" punch line that the difference in a teenager's sleep patterns from his parents might indicate he was adopted. This confused view of adoption highlights just how important a book like Adoption Nation is for the adoption community. In Adoption Nation : How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming America, Adam Pertman explores the attitudes toward adoption in our society, present and past, and examines the impact of these attitudes on the lives of the adoption triad members (adoptees, adoptive parents and birth parents). A reporter for the Boston Globe for many years and the adoptive father of two children, Adam Pertman is well versed in the popular attitudes and issues of adoption. Adoption Nation is based on a collection of articles he wrote for the Globe, which earned a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize.

Adoption Nation brings to life the major impact adoption has on our society, while looking at many of the more critical issues facing the adoption community today. Because we are so influenced by our society, and in fact seem to be a great source of curiosity to the media these day, this book is crucial to adoptive parents. In addition, we need to understand the broader issues at work around us - which can have long lasting emotional and legal consequences.

Major topics discussed in Adoption Nation include adoptee access to birth records, open adoptions, unethical practices in domestic and international adoption, diverse feelings and issues of each of the triad members, legal and moral issues for triad members, and much more. One of his major themes is the need for acceptance by our society of adoptees as full and equal members in their family. Adam Pertman's own adoptions were open, domestic, private adoptions, and his personal experience is reflected in the book. Written primarily for adoptive parents, but covering key issues for the whole triad, Adoption Nation helps to set the individual experience of the adoptive family into the big picture of society as a whole.

Adam Pertman lays out his views in great detail, illuminating each point with personal stories of triad members, expert interviews, and historical perspective. He is aware of some of the issues that adoptive parents worry about, and while sympathetic doesn't hesitate to push at the boundaries of our beliefs. He doesn't hesitate to tackle controversial subjects, such as adoption ethics, and this alone will make his book interesting for those open to different views, even if you don't agree with every opinion. Adoption Nation will be useful in bringing your own journey into perspective, as it examines the state of adoption today, with its flaws and successes, but most importantly as it highlights the strength and importance of the adoptive family.

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