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Today I’m reviewing “Because I Loved You: A Birthmother’sView of Open Adoption”, by Patricia Dischler.
It’s a relatively short book, and an easy read for those of us who’ve been in the adoption world for some time, especially as birth mothers. It’s well-organized, and I love the way that she intersperses her own story with practical advice.
I would say this book would be best for expectant mothers considering adoption. The story begins from the moment she found out that she was pregnant and her circumstances at that point, so that’s when the advice begins as well. Patricia describes her book the best at the very beginning of chapter one when she says, “This book is about being pregnant when you hadn’t planned to be and about making a decision to keep your baby or place your baby with an adoptive family.” She goes on to say, “This is one of the hardest decisions you will ever make in your life, and there is no single right decision for every woman or girl who faces an unplanned pregnancy.” I very much appreciated the latter quote as society as a whole still tends to dump two choices in our laps when we’re faced with an unplanned pregnancy – abortion or placement, and even those aren’t compatible choices. There isn’t one right choice when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, and I strongly believe society as a whole shouldn’t ever force someone to make a decision like adoption if it’s not the right choice for them. Adoption was the right choice for me, but I’m not assuming it is for everyone. On this, Patricia and I are in wholehearted agreement.
I particularly liked her analogy when speaking of beginning an open adoption. She brings to memory the game that a lot of counselors can make you play where you close your eyes and fall backwards into someone else’s arms, trusting that the person will catch you and not let you fall. She then says, “This is what open adoption can feel like in the beginning, except you have no reason to trust the person who is supposed to catch you because it’s a stranger. They haven’t done anything to gain your trust, and, likewise, you’ve done nothing to earn their trust. A birthmother blindly trusts strangers to love her child as their own, to let her know he’s happy, and to never deny her existence. Likewise, adoptive parents trust a stranger to give up her child, to make them a family, and to never tear them apart.” I truly appreciated that she not only brought in the birth mother’s position, but also the adoptive parents’ positions.
Patricia actually gave me not only the copy of her book that I read and am reviewing for you now, but she sent an extra copy for me to give to my daughter’s parents. I thank her for her generosity! My daughter’s mom just told me that she finished reading the book and that she agrees with my sentiment that it’s definitely a book geared toward expectant moms that are considering the choice of adoption. I would add that brand new birth moms would benefit from reading this as well to give them some idea of the road ahead, and potential adoptive parents and their families might also benefit if they’d like to see open adoption from a birth mom’s point of view.
Thanks again, Patricia, for allowing me to read your book!