Saturday, October 14, 2006

Weekend Reading

Beyond Good Intentions by Cheri Register was recommended by Zoe a while ago. Here is another blog post at To China and Back with an extensive review summarizing all the chapters. I requested the book from the library and started reading it the other day. It is very good; very challenging and giving me a lot to think about. Actually, it is making me sad because it is reminding me how difficult this transracial parenting stuff is. Mainly, she is telling us again in the first few chapters that we can't take away our children's pain; loving them and being good enough parents is a good goal but it will not guarantee that they do not suffer deeply from their own pain. Even really good parents are going to have children that are suffering and struggling and acting out sometimes. You can do all sorts of supportive things and give them the best environment but they have to walk their own path and find their own way through their trauma. It is making me sad to think these happy, delightful, charming, beautiful children are going to struggle through adolescence and I am going to have to witness their struggle and share their pain. Not news to anyone, I know, but still it feels heavy on my heart these evenings when I finish all my chores and curl up with my book in the quietest time of my hectic day.

Register takes ten different assumptions or beliefs that parents enter adoption with and shows how they might harm your children, in spite of your good intentions and loving hopefulness. I am beginning to see that quite a few of them seem to be built on fear and the desire to avoid acknowledging the pain our children may carry. I am really glad to have the chance to look at these ideas with the perspective of a mom who has raised two adopted Korean daughters. She has such wisdom and grace in her words. I highly recommend this book to everyone in a transracial family or raising adopted children. As I continue reading the book I may have more to say in further posts. I welcome your comments if you have read the book or have any reaction to my thoughts here.


1 comment:

jane said...

I just finished this book myself. I have to confess that I felt pretty good reading most of it, as I think we've avoided some of the biggest problems Cheri discusses (thanks to much of the reading I've done and education encouraged by our adoption agency). The last chapter, where she talks about not appropriating the child's culture, rung too true. I think we're walking a narrow line on this one. How can I help my son connect to his Ethiopian culture and his black American community without pretending that I can interpret these cultures and communities for him? That's a lingering question for me.