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A Peacock or a Crow
Stories, Interviews, and Commentaries on Romanian Adoptions

By Victor Groza, Daniela Ileana and Ivor Irwin

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Reviewed by Allison Martin

A Peacock or a Crow, by Victor Groza, Daniela Ileana, and Ivor Irwin, is the heartfelt story of adoption in Romania. The history of adoption in Romania and the impact of the history and circumstances on the people involved in adoption provide the central focus. Personal stories of adoption journeys to Romania alternate with factual but evocative chapters on the history of Romania, institutionalism and impacts on children, special needs of these children, and the history of Romanian adoption.

At the heart of this book is a deep compassion for the children of Romania, and a concern for those others who also care about them. A Peacock or a Crow is vital reading for those interested in Romanian adoption; it will also be influential for people interested in international adoption.. The issues it raises about the impacts of instutionalism and ethics of adoption practices are important to adoption from any country, even if the circumstances are far from being as extreme.

The authors of this book stand out in the growing field of adoption books because they are not adoptive parents, agency representatives or members of the media - however, they are all Romanian-Americans who care about the children of Romania. Victor Groza brings impressive credentials to bear in his analysis of the many facets of adoption, as Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and a prolific author and editor in the field of adoption studies. Daniela Ileana is a practicing social worker and a moving writer; she has first hand knowledge of its institutions as she was incarcerated in Romania for epilepsy before immigrating to the United States. Ivor Irwin is a professional writer and university lecturer, who contributes a "Gonzo journalist" chapter on an adoption conference.

Compassion for the children of Romania permeates the A Peacock or a Crow. While doing his part to highlight the special needs and intense problems that many of the children and families raising them face, Victor Groza is optimistic about the positive changes and healing that adoption brings to their lives. His take on institutional impacts is worthwhile reading for anyone interested in adoption from Eastern Europe, or in special needs and older children adoptions.

Like Victor Groza's other recent book on adoption practices (Clinical and Practice Issues in Adoption), the complexity of the issues in A Peacock or a Crow requires a careful reading of the book to understand the central message. For those willing to make the effort, your understanding of adoption issues and ethics will be much deeper when you are finished. I don't believe anyone who cares about children or adoption could read this book without being touched. Read our Interview with the Author.

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