Adam Pertman; 2000; Basic Books
One of the things that makes this book a pleasure to read is that it is written by a journalist with expertise in adoption, rather than an adoption expert or academic. Both can have good information, but in this case, the journalist’s is simply easier to read. The author, Adam Pertman, is an adoptive parent himself of two children. He won a Pulitzer Prize for a series he wrote about adoption in The Boston Globe, and it is very clear that he knows his topic.
Throughout the book, Pertman refers to the “adoption revolution” that he maintains is sweeping this country, and he makes a convincing argument. The revolution has both to do with the changes openness is making in adoption, as well as the impact that this and new types of adoption are having on families and American culture.
The book includes a well-researched history of adoption in the U.S., as well as information on various types of adoption and other trends. Pertman skillfully weaves his own and other’s personal stories throughout the book, as well as reminders of those who made the headlines. He addresses a broad range of topics, from the rights of adopted persons to their birth certificates to racial tensions to economic disparities and the impact of money. His writing is supported by detailed footnotes and a resource list at the end.
Pertman definitely has some strong opinions, but he has done his homework. If you are not a fan of openness in adoption, this book will either convince you otherwise, or make you really mad. Personally, I found Adoption Nation to be a strong affirmation of adoption, of all triad members, and of adoption’s value to our society. I highly recommend it!
– Debbie Kaufman