August 7, 2023

Book Review: It Takes More Than Love

 

I was so excited when I heard Brittany Salmon share about her new book, It Takes More Than Love: A Christian Guide to Navigating the Complexities of Cross-Cultural Adoptions. As an adoptive parent and an adoption professional, this resource has been so needed. The author, Brittany, speaks from the hard-earned wisdom she has gained from her own adoption experiences and from seeking out the perspectives of every member of the adoption triad.

We know that adoption is complex by its very nature. It is essential that as adoptive parents, we consider the loss our children and their birth families experience. When adopting a child of another race or culture, there is added loss. There will be an inevitable disconnection that the child will face from their culture, language, customs, and/or community. Even when a child gains the safety and stability of a loving family, it does not negate the loss they will experience. So often, families say “yes” to fostering or adopting a child of another race or culture with the very best of intentions. They know they have love to give and resources to offer. They believe optimistically that with love and stability, the child will not have to struggle significantly with feelings of grief, identity formation, and isolation. It can be easy to focus on checking boxes, paperwork, and the many steps that make up an adoption process, that one may overlook taking time for honest reflection about all the ways they will work to honor their child’s unique background. This book is an invitation to examine one’s heart, motivation, attitude, and posture as they enter into or navigate a transracial-parenting journey.

Have you ever considered what it is to be a race-conscious parent? To acknowledge the racism and racial biases that still exist in our culture and society is heavy and difficult. Sitting with the knowledge that beyond the walls of your home, your child may experience hurt, prejudice, or injustices because of their racial or cultural heritage is heartbreaking and heavy. It Takes More Than Love offers parents practical tools for strengthening cultural and anti-racism training so that we can better advocate for and empower our children.

In addition to acknowledging that racism is present in our culture, the author notes how essential it is to actively resist “colorblind” parenting. There have been many transracial adoptees who have bravely spoken out about the harm they experienced in well-meaning families that embraced a colorblind mentality in relationship to their race or ethnicity. Rather than ignoring our children’s ethnicity, it is our responsibility to embrace and celebrate their differences. A quote by Latasha Morrison was included on this topic saying that “In the love of the family of God, we must become color brave, color caring, color honoring, and not color blind. We have to recognize the image of God in one another.” What a beautiful reminder that God’s beautiful, diverse design for humankind is significant and worthy of seeing and valuing. In transracial or transcultural parenting, it is essential that parents must help their children see the beauty, strength, and dignity in their ethnic heritage so that they can develop a strong racial identity. It Takes More Than Love offers invaluable tools for loving and supporting their children well through the complexities of cross-cultural adoption. This is a challenging, honest, rich, and insightful book that I hope will become a staple for hopeful foster and adoptive families who are considering becoming multicultural families. I believe it would be helpful for parents who are already at any stage of their transcultural parenting journeys as well.

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