by Heather Bock
Don’t miss a chance to win a copy of this book: read down to the end!
I received the opportunity to read and review this book in exchange for my honest opinion on this blog at the end of last year. I didn’t delete the email, but I wasn’t excited about it because at that time, although I was longing to someday become an adoptive parent, I wasn’t sure when that day would ever come. In January, however, I was surprised when God seemed to start fulfilling my dream, and we set in motion the process to adopt through foster care. Around a month ago, I was cleaning out my inbox and discovered the email about this book again. This time, I was excited to read it!
I read this book while I was on a vacation with my mother and more than once I laughed to myself at the disparity between my surroundings and the content of this book. I think most people probably choose light fiction to relax with by the pool in the summer. Not me. I read about traumatized children bringing major distress to their foster and adoptive parents.
The intended audience for this book is mainly foster or adoptive parents already in the trenches, struggling hard with the children they have taken in, and needing hope. I, on the other hand, am still hopeful. I had heard some hard stories from a lot of people, so I expect that, but I certainly don’t feel like I’m drowning yet. This book, however, was good for me because it gave me a healthy dose of caution. It made me realize I needed to drop everything I possibly could before we take on this challenge.
Mike Berry writes about his experience with his wife fostering more than 23 children and adopting six of these, describing some of the plentiful hardships that have arisen along the way. As he has spoken at several adoption conferences and writes a popular blog, also entitled Confessions of an Adoptive Parent, he has met many people who have taken the same journey. In this book, he recounts their difficulties, too.
His main message over and over, to the point of being repetitive, is that we can have hope, and we are not alone. This idea that so many adoptive parents are struggling, that they are not alone in it, didn’t give me hope–it scared me. I still have the naïve idea that maybe it won’t be so bad for us. I know, though, that when I’m in the midst of the hard times, I will be thankful for this message. I know this message is helpful for those who feel isolated and lonely.
I appreciated Berry’s transparency, and I was encouraged to hear that he still had hope for even those of his children who were struggling the most. First, he had the longevity of parenthood to watch some of his kids go through difficult times but come out healthy and healed on the other side. Second, and most importantly, he depended on the promise of Scripture: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).
The first half of the book is focused on the message that we are not alone in going through hard times with our foster/adoptive children. The second half is more about finding hope. He recommends building an effective support system because no one should try to make it on the adoptive journey alone. He also advocates remembering that the sun is still shining behind the clouds in the middle of the storm, and the storm will eventually pass. Another strategy he gives is to think long-term. We might not know how much impact we are giving until years later.
Scattered throughout the book are inset highlighted sections containing helpful, often practical information, such as tips on how to help an extended family understand adoption, advice for how to help your marriage through foster care/adoption, or suggestions on how to have a positive relationship with your child’s birth parent. These are short but packed with wise guidance.
If you are in the middle of fostering or adopting in a difficult situation and feel like you’re drowning, this book will give you hope and encouragement to continue the fight to swim well. I know I’m going to hold onto my copy until that day.
I might be holding on to my own copy, but thanks to Harvest House Publishers, I have a second copy that I get to give away! If this is a book you or a friend or family member needs, you can enter my giveaway by subscribing to my blog:
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Giveaways are open to residents of the continental U.S. and Canada who haven’t won a prize from me within a year only.
I will announce the winner on Saturday, August 18, so look for it! If I don’t hear from the winner within a week, I will draw another name. Thank you!