Book Review - "Dear Birthmother" and "A Letter to Adoptive Parents"

Recently I finished reading Kathleen Silber's Dear Birthmother: Thank You for Our Baby.  This book was co-written by Silber and Phyllis Speedlin and focuses on the experiment carried out by Lutheran Social Serivces of Texas in which birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents exchanged letters to one another via the adoption agency.

This book really helped me to better understand the feelings of birth parents (particularly birth mothers) have regarding the adoptive families into which their babies are placed.  The letters were candid and most made no attempt to hide the pain that they continue to feel years after they place their children for adoption.  I also thought the birth parents did a beautiful job of writing to their children about where they came from and why they were placed for adoption, something I feel is SO important to the ability to form a personal identity.

As always, this book gave me a lot to think about.  I can see why our agency recommends adoptive parents read this book, since it really highlights how personal contact between members of the adoption triad is the best thing for everyone involved.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is struggling to decide whether or not open adoption is for them.

Another book I just finished reading (I say book, but really it's more of a transcript of a speech - only 22 pages, including references) is A Letter to Adoptive Parents on Open Adoption, by Randolph W. Severson. This speech implores adoptive parents to let go of their misinformed feelings and fears they have regarding birth parents, and attempts to describe the consequences this can have on all parties involved in adoption.  This book is, unfortnately, out of print and extremely hard to find.  If you are interested in reading it, I highly suggest contacting your local library to see if they participate in Interlibrary Loan.  If they do, you should be able to borrow this book from one of the 4 libraries world-wide that have it in their collections.  Perhaps your local university library is one of the libraries that has it?  They are located at Bethel University (ST. Paul, MN), Brigham Young University (Provo, UT), Carroll University (Waukesha, WI) and University of Sioux Falls (Sioux Falls, SD).  Visit WorldCat.org for more information.

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