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Adoption: Your Step-by-step Guide
By Mardie Caldwell
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Review by Allison Martin

Adoption: Your Step-by-step Guide addresses the major areas of the private adoption process from many aspects, including the emotions, the realities and the specifics. The suggestions, summaries and checklists are helpful and informed in this area. They are rounded out by numerous examples of personal stories, both from the Internet and her experiences. There are not many books on domestic adoption; this is a welcome resource for anyone interest in learning about the process of direct or facilitated adoption in the United States.

This Guide is divided into two sections; a discussion of the adoption process and a long listing of online adoption resources. The main focus, and the strength, of this book is the process of private adoption in the United States. Major dilution topics include finding a birthmother, funding your adoption, legal parameters, open adoption and communication, adoption risks and scams, and using the Internet for your adoption. Additional topics, such as international adoption and special needs adoptions are addressed, but post adoption issues are not covered; readers will want to pursue these via other resources, such as those referenced in the second half of the book.

The second half of the book is a gigantic list of adoption resources, over 160 pages. Public agencies, private adoption agencies, facilitators, family resources, infertility resources, international adoption resources, magazines, photolistings, financial, attorneys and more are included. A complete catalogue of Internet adoption resources would fill several books, therefore this is a selection of resources rather than a comprehensive summary. However, there are so many types and numbers of resources in this large listing that everyone is sure to find something useful.

Mardie Caldwell is the founder of Lifetime Adoption and host of the radio talk show Let's Talk Adoption. She has facilitated over 130 private adoptions in the US; this book provides the benefits of her professional experience. Her advice on avoiding scams in all areas of adoption rings true and will be useful to anyone adopting, in any venue. Also useful is her detailed overview of "Dear Birthmother" letters and other forms of advertising. I did find that a few times the discussions of birthparents was more impersonal than I feel comfortable with, but this may be in part due to the difference in adoption culture. Overall her writing style is both sympathetic and straightforward. This is a useful guide for anyone interested in completing a private domestic adoption.

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