Adopting After Infertility

Patricia Irwin Johnston

Adopting After Infertility

Reviewer: Allison Martin

Adopting After Infertility is a well informed and unique commentary of adoption and infertility issues. Although many parents investigate and chose adoption as a means of having or expanding their family after struggling with infertility, few resources are available to address the these issues simultaneously. Patricia Johnston is active in RESOLVE and adoption activities (including writing and publishing a number of well know books on adoption), and she brings a knowledgeable perspective to the topic which few authors can match.

The first three chapter of Adopting After Infertility focus on ways to confront issues of infertility and prepare to move on to planning for a family. Patricia Johnston writes that, "in the midst of infertility we are called upon to make the decision to be parents" and to consider new roles, expectations and possible outcomes. This section describes a means of sorting out the various emotional and practical issues and to form a plan for joint decision making.

The primary focus of Adopting After Infertility is a discussion guide to help perspective parents work their way through pre- and post-adoption issues and activities. The middle chapters cover the adoption process from the perspective of an advocate for adoptive parents. Issues discussed include society and family reactions to adoption, resolving infertility, working with adoption professionals, feelings of powerlessness and frustration engendered by the adoption process, types of adoptions and and children, contact with birth parents, and differences of adoptive families. The last chapters address life after adoption for the whole family. This well informed section provides a number of insights on attachment, coping with society, family and school, affirming cultural heritage of the adoptive and birth families, and other psychological adjustments for successful adoptive families. Throughout the book, Patricia Johnston calls upon her personal experiences and provides summaries of influential ideas and books to elaborate upon her theories of the adoption experience. This book encourages readers to approach their adoption experience in an informed and thoughtful manner, as it addresses many of the political, psychological and practical issues of adoption.

Example quote from the book:

Of course what adopters want is to be the best possible parent to their children no matter how that child arrives. The intermediaries who assist in adoption will provide valuable assistance in preparation for parenting, but, parents, don't stop there! While you wait, read and listen to tapes - everything you can lay your hands on - beginning with the materials listed in the resource section. Attend adoption seminars and workshops sponsored by agencies, hospitals, adoptive parents groups, RESOLVE chapters. Join a parent group, at least to get their newsletter, but hopefully to spur your active participation (many of them have parents-in-waiting sub-groups or support groups).

Adopting After Infertility. Patricia Irwin Johnston. 1996. Perspectives Press; ISBN: 0944934102

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