Sherrie Eldridge is an award-winning author of seven books, including the best-selling Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew. (We believe it is essential reading for adoptive parents.) Her classic book, 20 Life-Transforming Choices Adoptees Need to Make, is being reissued by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. the book is available for pre-order. Official launch date is March 21. Sherrie, an adoptee and a staunch advocate for adoptive families writes, LIVES the adoption journey, connects with adoptees’ hearts and validates their experience. She is the founder of “Jewel Among Jewels Adoption Network, Inc., a non-profit, faith-based educational organization which offers resources to anyone touched by adoption–foster care and adoptive parents, birth parents, adoptees of all ages, social workers, mental health professionals, and university training programs. http://www.sherrieeldridge.com/”(from the JKP Website)
What is the main message of 20 Life-Transforming Choices Adoptees Need to Make
The main message of the book is that we are responsible to choose options that lead to healthy lifestyles and relationships.
What feedback do you receive from adoptees and their parents?
I interviewed nearly 70 adoptees for the original book. It was so enlightening for all of us. The main comment from adoptees was, “I didn’t know other adoptees felt the same as me. I feel like I’ve been through therapy!”
How can families whose religious beliefs vary widely from your own find value in your message?
The second edition is toned down a lot when it comes to references to God. I hope that readers will bring their own beliefs and weave them throughout the pages. One woman wrote on amazon.com that she was Buddhist but that she could simply apply her own beliefs where God was mentioned.
After all, maturity is searching for truth and tossing the rest.
As far as my own beliefs, I can’t completely wipe them out of my writing because it is who I am.
As a committed voice for adoptees, you’ve written many books. What is the unifying message you seek to convey?
I seek to convey that relinquishment is traumatic but that with hard work, adoptees can overcome and champion what once brought them down, such as feelings of abandonment, etc. We adoptees need to do our work, but then we need to “get over ourselves” and move on to maturity.
What is the most important thing adoptive parents can offer their children? (Beyond unconditionally loving their children)
The most beneficial thing is the ability to parent wholeheartedly. By that, I mean that the parent/s have grieved their own losses and are not afraid of the child’s loss. Without that prior grief work on the parent’s part, attachment cannot occur.
“You are a unique weaving together of nature and nurture into one marvelous human being, with awesome potential.” (my quote!)
How can parents create a context of openness that reassures children and invites conversation on both the easy and the difficult aspects of adoptive family life?
Parents can create openness by making adoption a common topic in the family. If kids are resistant, which they very well may be, put out feelers. “I wonder where you got that love for horses.” Or, “I wonder if your birth father had zits on his face as a teen.”
These comments tell the adoptee that its not only okay to talk about adoption, but that it is a welcomed topic.
How does respectful/positive language benefit adopted children and their families?
Positive adoption language honors the birth parents. “We LOVE your birth parents.” This communicates unconditional love to the child. “Oh, they must love all of me because I came from them.”
Of course, there’s always the negative aspect question that arises. “How can you honor parents who are in jail, etc.?” You honor their position as the child’s parent, not the performance. Always assure the child that negative, painful lives are the result of poor choices and that you will help him/her to make good, healthy choices.
When parents live with a high AQ* (Adoption-attuned Quotient) how does the entire family benefit
I am not familiar with this term. I would guess you mean “adoption savvy?” The whole family would be able to take a deep breath because everyone feels understood and there are no subtle pressures to perform to perceived expectations.
10. How does the move toward Open Adoption benefit adoptees? What drawbacks, if any, do you see?
Open adoption is a wonderful event and lifestyle, but it is not the panacea once thought of. Yes, we adoptees can see our birth parents often, but sometimes this creates rejection for us because birth parents may not keep their word. Adoptive moms STILL get the misplaced anger even though the birth mother is in the adoptee’s life. Each family needs to find what works best for their child….always with concern for the child’s well-being, not the parents.
is available for preorder. Jessica Kingsley Publishers officially launches this new issue on March. 21, 2015. It will be available in both paperback and Kindle formats. Read GIFT’s blog post on Forever Fingerprints