Cross-Cultural Adoption: How to Answer Questions from Family, Friends, and Community


"Coughlin and Abramowitz offer useful insight for answering questions inevitably asked of adoptive families. Cross-Cultural Adoption is an invaluable tool for parents adopting internationally."

—Claudia–Jacqueline Semar, M.Ed., director of family services, Commonwealth Adoptions International, Inc.

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"Coughlin and Abramowitz offer useful insight for answering questions inevitably asked of adoptive families. Cross-Cultural Adoption is an invaluable tool for parents adopting internationally."

—Claudia–Jacqueline Semar, M.Ed., director of family services, Commonwealth Adoptions International, Inc.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
"Where is she from?" "Who are her `real' parents?" These and other questions are regularly asked of parents who have adopted internationally. In this slender volume, Coughlin and Abramowitz, both lawyers and adoptive parents, offer responses tailored for various audiences. Part 1 features appropriate answers for children, while Part 2 encourages adults to treat the adopted child like any other kid. Part 3 supplies cultural thumbnail sketches of countries from which many children are adopted (e.g., China, Russia, Guatemala, and Korea). The authors cleverly fill a niche here, but many of these questions are covered in more substantial books, e.g., Brette McWhorter Sember's The Complete Adoption & Fertility Legal Guide (see next page). For larger public libraries. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780895260925
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing, Inc., An Eagle Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 7/28/2004
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Introduction xi
1. The Questions Kids Ask
What does "adopted" mean? 5
Where is she from? 7
Why did they go all the way over there to adopt a child? 9
Who are her "real" parents? 11
Why didn't her "real" parents want her? 13
Was she abandoned? 15
Why does she look different? 17
Is she my real cousin? 19
Where was she before she was adopted? 21
Why didn't they just have one of their own? 23
Why are there so many little girls, and not as many boys? 25
Did she have a different name when she was born? 27
How much did they pay for her? 29
Will she be able to understand me and speak English? 31
What if they want to give her back? 33
What if she wants to leave them and go back to her birth parents? 35
Will she remember where she was born or who her birth parents were? 37
Won't she feel sad when she finds out she's adopted? 39
2. Do's and Don'ts for Grown-Ups
Do treat her like any other kid 45
Do support her when curious strangers ask questions 46
Do respect her privacy 48
Do treat prospective adoptive parents the same as expectant parents 49
Do acknowledge and celebrate the differences 50
Don't introduce her as adopted 53
Don't say how "lucky" she is 55
Don't assume adoption is a second choice 56
Don't jump to conclusions about the birth mother 57
Don't tell us we're sure to have "our own" now 58
3. Want to Know More About Her Birth Country?
The People's Republic of China 65
Russia 77
The Republic of Guatemala 85
The Republic of Korea (a.k.a. South Korea) 93
The Republic of Kazakhstan 101
Ukraine 107
The Republic of India 115
Socialist Republic of Vietnam 123
The Republic of Colombia 133
The Republic of Haiti 141
Appendix Resources for Learning More About Adoption 149
Acknowledgements 153
Index 155
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2012

    Good resource for extended family

    Easy to read book, written in question and answer format. If a couple is pursuing an international adoption, there is no point in reading this book. It is very simplistic and does not cover any issues the adopting family may face. That being said, I think this would be a very useful book to pass along to family members who may not know much about international adoption or may not have much cross-cultural experience.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    Good questions to think about, Better for International Adoption

    The first part of this book had excellent questions to think about if you are adopting trans-racially or internationally. It gave great answers to consider as well and the rational why the answers are appropriate. The second part of the book is country-specific and helps you understand cultural norms and beliefs. If you have a country in mind, this is great. If not, its really not all-inclusive (of course it would be extremely difficult to include ALL the potential countries). However, it does a good and engaging job for the ones it discusses.

    I originally picked it up because I am considering trans-racial adoption, but only the first part of the book really applied to me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2004

    A Great Book for Anyone Touched by Adoption

    This is a book you can read in one sitting. It has simple clear answers for the questions both adults and kids have about adoption and the format is very user friendly. I'd highly recommend it not just for families who are/have adopted but also for teachers, pastors... anyone who knows anyone who is adopted!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2004

    Educational for whole family

    As soon to be adoptive parents we found this book extremely helpful in educating other adult family members and young nieces and nephews. I highly recommend to any one looking for ways to give answers to those around you regarding adoption.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2004


    This is a great book -- something that belongs on all of our shelves with international adoption so prevalent these days. This book deals frankly and accessibly with all of the questions that children have when another member of the family adopts from a different country. If your child knows any other adopted children, these questions are bound to surface. The authors also provide valueable insight into the cultures from which many Americans are adopting these days. Very well done.

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