“For Love of a Child” begins with the author’s own stories of her multiple connections with adoption – as the older sister of an adopted person, as an adoptive parent, and as a birth grandparent in an open adoption. The rest of the book is a collection of short stories by people with a wide variety of perspectives on the adoption experience. In fact, what is most impressive about this book is the diversity of the stories from adopted people, birth parents (mother and father), adoptive parents and extended family members. International, older child, open, sibling group, and private adoptions are all discussed as well as adoptions by single parents, stepparents, relatives, a lesbian couple, and even what it is like to grow up in a dysfunctional adoptive family. The stories cover the entire spectrum of closed to open, both in terms of relationships and attitudes.
Fortunately, Garfield allows each of these touching stories to stand on their own. So often writers who put together a collection of stories feel the need to comment on each story as an introduction to the reader. Garfield begins each chapter with the name of the person and a phrase from the story. This is an effective introduction that allows you to experience the story from the writer’s perspective and form your own impressions without interpretation from someone else.
In other book reviews, I have mentioned “Adoption Nation” (Adam Pertman) and “The Family of Adoption” (Joyce Maguire Pavao) as great “introduction to adoption” books for those interested in adopting or for extended family members. I’d like to add “For Love of a Child” to this group with the added note that this new one is probably the easiest to read and most approachable for those with no adoption background. Add it to your collection!
– Debbie Kaufman