Allison's Book Bag

Adopted: The Ultimate Teen Guide by Suzanne Buckingham Slade

Posted on: October 2, 2012

Adopted: The Ultimate Teen Guide by Suzanne Buckingham Slade has the look and feel of a textbook. This is a turn-off. On the other hand, it is one of the most informative books for young people which I have read.

To be honest, I can’t exactly pinpoint why it feels like a textbook. The glossy cover has photos of adopted teens, along with a rounded title in bold font. Nice enough. The inside design features a wealth of text features such as headers, subheads, photos, captions, sidebars, definitions in bubble balloons, and footnotes. All well and good too. Perhaps, it’s that everything is in black and white. Or that the design is uniform but also kind of stagnant. Or that are numerous credits to professionals and an abundance of footnotes.  Maybe, it’s the writing style. While easy to read, it’s not all that invigorating and so after a while I started skimming parts.

Interracial adoption

Interracial adoption (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet if I look past its textbook feel, Adopted: The Ultimate Teen Guide delivers on the promise of its title. Chapter One talks about what it means to realize one is adopted. One needs to grieve the loss of birth parents, take time to understand this dual identity of being born to one set of parents but being raised by another set of parents, and advocate for understanding of what it means to be adopted. Chapter Two talks about how to fit in, once one grasps the concept of adoption. How does one relate to birth parents and adoptive parents? How does one connect with siblings, who may or may not adopted? How does one fit with peers? Adoption involves so many questions! Chapter Three talks about the different types of adoptions and the laws which govern release of information. My list could go on, because there are eleven chapters–each of which explore a different aspect of adoption. There are also chapters on birth parents, international adoption, transracial adoption, and adoption of older children from the foster care system. Adopted: The Ultimate Teen Guide certainly provided me with a well-rounded coverage of everything I might want to know on the topic.

As for this content, Slade presents in it in a variety of ways. To name a few:

  • Definitions: Real means authentic, genuine.
  • Historical tidbits: Did you know that historians have found records of adoptions back to over 4000 years ago?
  • Statistics: About 840,000 teens in the United States today are adopted.
  • How-to lists: To have a successful first meeting with a birth parent, choose a neutral place to meet, bring along one person to keep you company, make a small album of pictures from your life, plan for an hour or two meeting, and decide how to get in touch again.
  • How-to sidebars: If you want to adopt internationally, you must fill out paperwork, receive a referral, wait before the child is released, and maybe make several overseas trips
  • Creative Artwork and Writings from Adopted Teens
  • Quotes and Real Life Stories from Adopted Teens
  • Expert Answers to Teen Questions

Adoption: The Ultimate Teen Guide stands out from other books in my round-up. It isn’t simply about the emotional experience of adoption. Nor is just the facts about the process. Rather, it both recognizes the feelings of adoptive teens, while also arming them with whatever kind of information they might need.

My rating? Bag it: Carry it with you. Make it a top priority to read.

How would you rate this book?

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