Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reading about Adoption #2

I'm excited to share my second set of adoption-related book reviews. My first set of reviews is here.

Called to Adoption: A Christian's Guide to Answering the Call, by Mardie Caldwell

I wish I would have read this book when Mike and I first began thinking of adoption. One of the agencies we were considering sent it to me last summer. It was written by the agency founder and is an excellent resource book and introduction to adoption. Also, it's written from a Christian perspective.

When we first started considering adoption I was completely and utterly overwhelmed. After our first orientation meeting three years ago I was in tears on the way home. There seemed to be endless ways to pursue adoption, and way too much information available on the internet. Plus everyone I knew had different tidbits of advice from their personal experiences, or from "friends of friends'" experiences. I loved all the info, but it felt like a tsunami was coming my way and I had no way of absorbing anything valuable. I felt lost in a foreign country without a map.

The book provides an excellent overview of the different types of adoption (domestic, international, foster care, special needs, agency, private, etc). It gives guidance on home-study paperwork, how to wait patiently, determining the level of openness you are comfortable with, what to do with things go wrong, coming to terms with infertility, and funding adoption. There are stories from the author's personal experience as an adoptive mother and agency director. Each chapter ends with a nugget of "adoption wisdom", a relevant scripture verse, and spiritual encouragement.

It was so helpful to have a book providing the "big picture" of the world of adoption, while also offering practical advice and encouragement.

Breastfeeding Without Birthing, by Alyssa Schnell

Did you know that it's possible for a woman to induce lactation, even if she's never been pregnant? Our bodies are amazing!

One of the most difficult aspects of infertility is the loss of not being able to nurse our baby. Since we started trying to conceive five years ago I've had dreams of giving birth and nursing. It's always hard to wake up from the nursing part of the dream and be plopped right back into my infertile reality.

Naturally when I first heard of induced lactation I was ecstatic! By taking certain steps such as hormone supplements, prescription medication, herbal supplements, dietary changes, and/or regular stimulation and pumping women can induce lactation and produce brea.st.milk. While most women who have never breastfed can't satisfy all of their baby's dietary needs, they can produce a substantial amount with dedicated effort.

Of course I needed details.This recently published book is the perfect resource. The author is a lactation consultant and has lots of experience. The book discusses creating a support network, successful latching and attachment, basic steps for inducting lactation, and tips for difficult situations. I was so excited while reading this book. While it will take lots of patience and perseverance, I really really really hope I can put the instructions into practice, and hopefully nurse our baby.

The Call to Adoption: Becoming Your Child's Family, by Jaymie Stuart Wolfe

As we've pursued adoption I've heard it said that adoption is a "calling." It makes sense that God may call some couples to adopt, but that it may not be everyone's vocation. Since our pursuing of adoption is almost entirely prompted by infertility, I wanted guidance in discerning if God was indeed calling us to adopt, or if we were plowing forward just because we wanted a family. I think it's actually a little bit of both. Thankfully God uses our desires to lead us where he wants us to be.

I ordered this book to help me reflect on adoption as a "call". The author and her husband had seven bio children and felt God calling them to adopt from Russia. They traveled to Russia and adopted a little girl. Throughout the book the author shared her own story. It was filled with personal examples of the ups and downs of the adoption process, waiting, paperwork, the adjustment period to bringing her daughter home, attachment, and helping her family become a unified body.

Each chapter starts with an inspiring scripture and closes with a meditation/prayer.

I really loved the spiritual aspect of the book, and it would make a great devotional. Personally I think it would be more helpful for someone adopting internationally, or in the midst of post-placement. The issues and experiences of the author were more related to adopting an older child, or helping her child adjust to life within her existing family. Those are circumstances that I am not preparing for just yet. I think this book will be more helpful in future years.


  1. Love your book recommendations and it's good you are getting knowledgeable on the subject! I read adop.tivefamilie.s.com on the net...which has been a great resource for me. I also get the magazine. I've thought about nursing but I don't think I want to take the hormones, etc...and I don't think it is right for me. Other adoptive mothers have done it and loved the experience.

  2. This is SO helpful - thank you!

  3. These are great recommendations! I especially love the "Breastfeeding without Birthing" information...that is so interesting, and amazing. Praying as you discern and move forward!!!

  4. If we ever get to a place to start adoption we are going to be calling you! Thanks for putting this together!

  5. Thanks for the reviews! It looks like you are going into adoption with your eyes wide open, ready to face whatever may come.

  6. Love these posts!! And I own that first book b/c we looked into Life.time for a little while too. I should probably read it. :) This is a weird question, but did that book, "Called to Adoption", come in an envelope that smelled like baby powder? I swear they scented their envelope or maybe even the book itself to make me want babies. Haha! Weird!

    1. that's hilarious! I can't remember what the book smelled like when it came, but I wouldn't put it past Lifetime. They were pretty hardcore in their recruiting efforts. :)