Since this is a book review, I will start with my critique. The title of Confessions of an Adoptive Parent: Hope and Help from the Trenches of Foster Care and Adoption should have been HOPE and Help from the Trenches of Foster Care and Adoption: Confessions of an Adoptive Parent. Hope is the main theme of this book, and Mike does a wonderful job sharing that hope with his readers. In fact, I am thankful that Mike asked me to review this book because part of his message of hope hit home for me at a serendipitous time – and it had nothing to do with my child or anything about being an adoptive mother.
This is the kind of book, that I want to press into the hands of adoptive parents when the tough going starts to wear them down or feels like it levels up. When I offered adoption preparation courses, even as much as I warned people that adoptive parenting is advanced parenting and often requires more of us than others, I think many believed that things would get better with time. Generally it does, but there are also moments in life that trigger adoption issues. Adolescence is tough for everyone, but with the added layers of adoption, things can get extra complicated. Other triggers are less obvious or expected; sometimes we don’t even know what has changed, but suddenly adoptive parenting seems much harder than it was just a few weeks ago. In those moments, Mike’s reminders of hope can be priceless in keeping your sanity and remaining consistent for your children.
Confessions of an Adoptive Parent: Hope and Help from the Trenches of Foster Care and Adoption is like a dear friend bringing you a warm, fuzzy blanket and mug of hot chocolate, giving you a space to breath and re-charge. It provides comfort and reminds foster and adoptive parents that they are not the only ones who have lived through even the most shocking or devastating experiences.
In a wholehearted way, Mike tells stories about himself and his family to assure you that his message is not pie-in-the-sky hope nor any kind of easy answer. I also very much appreciate how respectful Mike is of his children as he shares without oversharing or dramatizing. The truth may sound dramatic to some, but Mike is not striving for dramatic effect. His message of comfort, hope, and companionship is consistent throughout.
As a former pastor, Mike skillfully explains Bible stories in a way to provide a greater understanding to his readers. I particularly appreciate the deeper dive into the story of Job. There are parts of that I will read again in the future. There is powerful and practical truth weaved throughout this book. I am so thankful that there is a Christian message on adoption that does not lead people to believe that love is all that you need and tells the truth of the pain and work and hope. Mike and Kristin Berry are the leaders on foster care and adoption that the Christian community needs.