Book Review: The Open-Hearted Way To Open Adoption by Lori Holden with Crystal Hass

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If you are an adoptive parent like me, chances are you have stumbled on Lori’s essays on Adoptive Families magazine, read her advice columns on Open Adoption, or checked her blog at some point.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Adoption creates a split between a child’s biology and biography. Openness is an effective way to heal that split.[/perfectpullquote]

The book “The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption” written with inputs from Lori’s daughter’s birth mother Crystal is a guidebook of sorts to navigate openness in adoption. The book is laid out clearly, moving from why open adoption to how do we do it.

What I love about this book:

The book is well laid out. The topics are concise, small chapters lending itself to being read in parts as needed and when applicable.

It makes no assumptions about where you are on the adoption journey. Lori starts at the very beginning (thinking about adoption) and goes all the way to recognizing adoption is a way of life. The baby you adopt goes on to become an adult and openness in adoption matters at every point.

Lori Holden Open Hearted Way to Open Adoption

Throughout the book, Lori has incorporated voices from the adoption community. Birth parents, Adoptive parents, Adoptees, Social workers. The layout makes it easy to understand when the narrative voice changes.

The use of examples when navigating the hard parts i.e., identity formation and complex situations that arise when practicing openness in adoption. By the use of her own family as an example, Lori makes it easier for the reader to visualize similar circumstances in their own families.

The Appendix is a veritable goldmine of resources in terms of books and works online.

What could be better:

I wish adult adoptee voices were a little more strident, talking about issues in the first person. I wish birth parents had gone into detail on how openness affects them and their families.

A good part of what is discussed in the book is available online. If you are someone who has been following conversations on openness in adoption, all of the information available online is in the book. It then is a matter of convenience, being able to access it in one place.

A good many domestic adoptions involve crossing racial and cultural borders. I wish the book had a section on navigating changes in culture, food, religion and navigating the world around us in a post-racial time and how openness helps with that.

Overall, this book is a definite buy if you are someone considering adoption (especially US domestic adoption). It will make a great gift to anyone who is thinking about adopting or wondering about what openness in adoption looks like.

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Also read:  On Belonging and Becoming...A Special Essay


If you are interested in purchasing the book from Amazon, click here. (this is an affiliate link. Purchasing your copy using this link will help us earn a small commission and keep this website going at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support). 


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About Suchitra

Suchitra is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at theParentVoice.Com. In a previous life, she has worked as a journalist, and a professor of Communication Studies before trading professing for parenting full-time. She is the author, co-author, and co-editor of three academic books. She is also a dot mandala artist and runs a small business from her home studio.

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