Saturday, January 8, 2011

Restorative Grief ~ Book Review for Adoption Reading Challenge 2011

The Chronicles of Munchkin Land is a blog that I follow and Jenna has come up with a fantastic idea for the new year. Adoption Reading Challenge 2011 is designed to help find great books about adoption and then share them with other bloggers. There are different levels to the challenge, meaning you choose how many books you will read this year, and the idea is to read the books and then review them so that other people can learn about all the literature that is available on this vast subject. Love the idea and I thank Jenna for heading up this exciting challenge! So here we go with the first book that I have read....

Restorative Grief: A guide to healing from adoption
Printed by Highway, A Division of Anomalos Publishing

Cynthia, whom is a birth mother, has written a fantastic book based on her journey as a mother who chose adoption for one of her children. It is not an autobiography, but rather it was written more like a workbook to help deal with all those emotions that a parent of relinquishment goes through. I only wish I could have found a book like this when I was 19 so that I could have understood the range of thoughts that I was having after letting go of my children.

Cynthia pours her heart out in this book, explaining her thoughts and fears in a very clear and concise way. She has a very brave outlook on her choices and her faith in God is a constant companion in this book. Not only does she share her thoughts about adoption and all her heart was going through at the time, but she also shares her faith. This faith of hers, one that is strong from page one, is what drives this book to help other women understand that healing comes from within and if you work hard, you can conquer those feelings that are driving you down.Allow me to give you the Chapter Titles and that will give you an idea of what is covered in this book, from the birth mother perspective:

1. You're home, Now What?

2. Empty Arms

3. Who is Raising My Baby?

4. Really? God is an adoptive Parents?

5. Despair

6. Loneliness/Emptiness

7. Depression

8. Disappointment

9. Separation

10. Anxiety/Fear

11. Anger

12. Helplessness

13. Jealousy

14. Stepping Out

Each chapter contains Cynthia's thoughts and feelings along with some of the scriptures that helped get her through those tough times, and not to mention answer those tough questions that she and every birth mother has. Then, she very graciously invites you to write in your thoughts, to explore what it is that YOU are feeling as you read the book. There is space to express your own emotions which is an absolutely brilliant way to show that learning more about yourself is what is needed to learn to live again. I loved the concept of it, and the verses that she shares really do bring to light the subjects that are discussed in the book. I can see how this would be an excellent book for those new mothers out there, but also can see how it could help any woman who has been through an adoption think about their journey and perhaps close some old wounds. Or at least patch the wounds.

I enjoyed the author's ambitious yet honest approach to telling her story. Again and again in this book, Cynthia says to the reader .. "I am here to help you, I want you to feel better and own your life." It is clear in this book that she was able to convey the message that women are not alone, there are others out here who have been right where you are and helping is one of the best ways to educate others in order to begin the healing. I think she has done an amazing job with this book, so helpful to the INDIVIDUAL who is reading it even though it was written for a mass audience.

Although it is a small book, it will take some time to read it. Cynthia designed this book to be read over time, week by week with each chapter. This way you can really process the tough questions she asked in this book, and I encourage you to take some time to answer them. They made me think very hard about some things, things I haven't thought of in years. Examples of some of the questions are:

Have you ever felt jealousy in your adoption?

Part of your despair is caused by your perception of failure. Do you feel like you've failed?

What are you fearful or anxious about right now?

Do you have anyone in your life that you hate letting down?

Think about the lonely feelings you may be having right now. Who or what are you lonely for?

Before adoption, what did you see for your future?

Post-adoption, has that future taken on a different look? Why?

Cynthia's positive outlook and ability to reach out and touch the reader is refreshing to say the least. Anyone who would pick up this book and read it would know that they have a friend in the author. Cynthia's ability to express herself and also let the reader know that they are accepted in her eyes could be very helpful to someone who is feeling a little overwhelmed in their grief and ability to heal their heart. Just a few of the passages that jumped out for me were:

From the Chapter Despair: "In one way, I hope your adoption experience will give you more compassion for everyone you encounter because we are all fighting some sort of battle every day." She goes on to say..."They also have broken places, and though they may only want to see you for the choices you've made, rise above their opinions. Leave their heads spinning when they realize you are bigger than your choices." I just love that!

From the Chapter Loneliness/Emptiness: "Should we rely on others to fix our loneliness? It may seem like the cure is to surround ourselves with people and relationships, but often we find the cure within." So very true, and so often just not recognized.

From the same Chapter: "You have the control inside you to change what you don't like about your life, and although you can't control others, there are changes you can make to each and every one of the relationships (you have) to improve your satisfaction with them." I believe with my whole heart that life is what you make of it, and this sentence says just about the same thing.

I would recommend this book to ANY and ALL birth parents to read and work with. Cynthia Christensen has done an amazing job with this book and her hope to help others out there with their grief is bound to happen. Very well written, and I commend the author for having the courage and determination to write such a book. If you are looking to understand how to help yourself with all that has happened in your adoption, then you would benefit greatly in picking this book up and devouring it yourself! You can find more information about Cynthia, as well as information about how to get her book HERE.

I would also like to thank Cynthia for being so kind to exchange books with me! I am glad to have "met" you and after getting to know you better through your incredible writing, I have no problem calling you friend! Thank you for sharing your soul and helping so many women out there know that they are not alone.

This book receives an 8 out of 10.


A Life Being Lived said...

I can't wait to read this book! Great review! It sounds excellent.

A Life Being Lived said...

Must have been kismet because this arrived in the mail yesterday! I fell asleep reading it and can't wait to finish it today. Highly reccommend it!