Book Review: The Complete Guide to Foreign Adoption
The Complete Guide to Foreign Adoption: What to Expect and How to Prepare for Your New Child
By Barbara B. Bascom and Carole A. McKelvey
Pocket Books, 1997
Television broadcasts of starving and neglected Romanian orphans in the early 1990s sent thousands of unprepared parents-to-be into the mazes of multiple bureaucracies. Thrilled and shell-shocked parents negotiated baby-flights with screaming children who had never been outside grim industrial orphanages. Once home, many families faced the challenges of unforeseen physical and psychological problems.
OK, maybe it was the flu I was getting over, but I wept all through The Complete Guide to Foreign Adoption by Dr. Barbara B. Bascom and Carole A. McKelvey.
Don’t get me wrong—this is no soppy tearjerker. While it contains the human elements that made me cry—toddlers throwing tiny hands over their faces in a cringing movement so common that the authors call it the “orphan salute,” and unloved children needing to learn to smile and laugh—it only does so in order to educate adopters-to-be with the vital facts needed to avoid adoption delays, disappointment, and disaster. The book includes true tales of beauty, purpose, and love. It’s about all the things that can go right, and all the things that can go wrong when, say, because of a lack of proper information and documentation, parents adopt a child so emotionally damaged by years of neglect that she cannot form attachments.
Focusing primarily on the Romanian “orphan” situation but applicable to any overseas adoption, this book provides everything you need to know about international paperwork, what to bring, what to expect at the orphanage, how to create an “adoption plan,” and how to deal with your new child’s potential special needs.
The authors both believe that all children can be saved and conclude that all foreign adopted children should be considered special needs kids. In their thorough way, they then provide a list of resources to begin working with the challenges. This comprehensive, in-depth book about every aspect of intercountry adoption will be invaluable to anybody who plans to adopt a child overseas. I ended up knowing far more about the subject than I knew there was to know.
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