Friday, October 18, 2013

Are We There Yet?

Adoption, special needs adoption in particular, has always been a matter close to my heart.
As a member of a family blessed with special needs I grew up with a personal understanding of the challenges facing families that break the mold. For reasons I don't fully understand adoption has always been equally interesting to me.
I even convinced my husband to put our wedding "kiss auction" proceeds towards the adoption funds of some EE orphans with special needs. I often take time to find one or two children on advocacy sites or who's families are on the way and keep them in my prayers.

In light of this interests I was so grateful to receive a copy of "Are We There Yet?" by Sue and Hector Badeau.

The book itself kept a fast pace throughout it's 500+ pages which is understandable. I can hardly imagine how the family selected the carefully chosen memories of their 22 children, 2 through birth and 20 through adoption, and the life they live together. Relying heavily on narrative, quotes, and conversation the book reveals the "rollercoaster" of life with a large and, at times, complicated family.

Some of the highlights of this book are the stories. From camping adventures to ponies, the joy of each new addition to the pain of addictions, loss, and financial hardship the stories due to their birthing from real life are rich and draw in readers, especially for those with interests in adoption, working with families, etc.  . .

The Badeau's are real in the hardships that accompany adopting older children, sibling groups, interracial children,  and disabled children who each bring their own personalities, histories, and, sometimes, difficult prognosis. That said, they are also equally honest about the joys that come with having such a large family and the unique approach that breaking out of the stereotypical 2-3 child household can bring.

As they mention, they are not saints, they are not exploiters, simply a real family living life together and willing to invite others to share glimpses of their day to day.

This book could serve as a helpful introductory level book for those looking into adoption due to the balance with which the story is shared.

That said, some readers may be frustrated at the pace of the book. It is fast paced tackling 4 generations and over 3 decades, leaving some stories feeling unfinished or hurried and out of step in there telling.The reason for this is unclear. Some reviewers also have stated their frustration with how certain stories, such as Raj's, are obviously missing large chunks. While this is frustrating for those who enjoy completeness, I think it is helpful to remember this is a story in progress . . . unwritten in its finality. Some of these obvious gaps could very easily be seen as attempts to protect the privacy of individuals who have their own lives and intricacies left to work out.

Are we There Yet? was an easy read though it's subject matter could rarely carry the same label. Their faith stands evident throughout the text and throughout their family. I believe this book would be best appreciated by those who are interested in adoption, children's rights/ child workers, and those of the Christian faith.

This book was provided free of charge for my honest opinion

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