Our local Families with Children from China group brought Sherrie Eldridge of Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew fame to the DFW area for a presentation today. She spoke for almost 3 hours, and signed books, including her children's book, Forever Fingerprints, and her newest book, Twenty Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed (one downside to my new Kindle -- kind of hard to get a book autographed! I showed her the book on my Kindle, which she found interesting never having seen one before, and got her to sign the program!).
I was really pleased to see FCC bring her to speak. I think Eldridge is mostly thought of in terms of domestic adoption, since she writes as a domestic adoptee. I sometimes find that international adoptive parents and international adoption groups don't feel there's much to learn from domestic adoptees. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. As my friend Anne says, internationally adopted kids have all the same issues as domestically adopted kids -- loss of birth family, feelings of abandonment, rejection, & grief -- plus some, like loss of culture and country and transracial adoption issues on top of that. But that base of loss is the same.
The attendance was a little lighter than I would have expected -- maybe the general membership of FCC was less willing to believe a domestic adoptee had something to teach us than the leadership of FCC was. The audience that did attend, though was very receptive, I thought. Or perhaps the attendance was light because many adoptive families find it hard to take what Eldridge says in her first book. I've seen her condemned on adoptive parent discussion groups because people think she is saying in her book that all adopted kids are going to suffer psychological damage from adoption, that every adopted child is going to react the same way to adoption, and so on and so on. . . .
I think she put that belief to rest for this group. At one point, she was talking about the stereotypes that people outside of adoption have about adoption. She would then ask us to raise our hands if we thought it was true. One of them was, "Adoption loss causes irreparable wounds." Several people raised their hands -- after all, we do know that adoption loss is wounding. But she chided people for accepting that, saying that the wounds are not irreparable, that we have tools to help heal the wounds. Quite a positive message from someone often demonized by adoptive parents.
I'll write more about the presentation, but not now. I'm worn out! There were many things Eldridge said that I thought were helpful, and some things I thought were not. I promise to tell you more later. . . .