Sunday, March 8, 2009

Outsiders Within

When I first heard about Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, I was anxious to read the collection of essays by adult adoptees. I finally brought it home and my husband looked at the description and declared his intent to not read it. So I lectured him on the importance of reading all sides of the adoption experience. We have to know the bad as well as the good. In order to enjoy a postive family experience, we have to look at those who have walked this path and learn from their failures and successes.

Well, I'll agree with him that this particular book is not a "must read". The idea is excellent; our society cannot move forward until we examine the mistakes of the past and work to rectify them. However, most of these essays attempt too much. The authors get bogged down in generalized statements. Several times, I ended up skimming an essay because the author made blanket statements of "fact" that struck me as biased and without proof. I no longer had any desire to hear their "truth". It wasn't just that my beliefs were challenged, it was a complete assault on reasoning and logic.

There were a handful of essays out of the 30 that were powerful and challenging. The authors tended to stick to one aspect of transracial adoption, obviously the aspect that was most pertinent to their story. They relayed facts and statistics and anecdotes about their outside status that made me think and feel the power of their story. In those 5 essays I have some new food for thought; some previously held beliefs that I will rethink. But this is one adoption book that I will return to the library

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