I loved this book. It’s big but I plowed through it in a few days at the beach. It’s non-fiction, but reads like a diary or novel. It was a nice break from some of the heavier stuff I’ve been reading. Sally Donovan shares her story about infertility and the experiences that led her and her husband to adoption. They live in England and adopted biological half-siblings through the foster care system at ages 1 and 4. Although their experiences are, in many ways, quite different than mine, I was able to relate in many more ways than I expected. She goes into parenting with eyes wide open, fully willing to do whatever it takes to help her children overcome the neglect, abuse, and trauma of their pasts. She shares about the struggles of getting her children the right help, including finding support from people who truly understand the effects of trauma associated with her children’s early experiences. She doesn’t give up and fights to get her children what they need to heal, including even switching schools.
She has a fun writing style and has a great sense of humor. I caught myself laughing out loud several times through the book. I sympathized with her stories about getting stares when her children weren’t “behaving” in a social acceptable way, because I’ve been there. I also completely identified with the descriptions of her child’s need to touch (and sometimes inadvertently destroy) everything in sight, and how difficult that can be to manage. She discusses one of her children’s difficult behaviors in depth, including rage, verbal abuse, destruction, and inability to cope in some situations. I also enjoyed reading about her experiences with friends and some of the other parents at the schools who didn’t understand her parenting experiences, assuming that she was just a “new mum,” and that “all kids do that.”
For parents who have already brought children home through adoption, you’ll identify with and laugh through this book. For parents who are waiting to bring children home through adoption, you’ll get a look into some of the behaviors and experiences you may be dealing with in the future. And for readers who haven’t or aren’t intending to adopt, you’ll get a glimpse into the life of adoptive parenting. Sally Donovan does a beautiful job of sharing her story, her experiences, her feelings of loneliness and misunderstanding, her unconditional love for her children, and her willingness to stop at nothing to give her children what they need to heal. This is an inspiring book filled with honesty and hope.