Monday, December 06, 2010

Scott Simon's "Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other" Celebrates Adoption

Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other is a celebration of adoption, written by broadcaster Scott Simon. The book provides an intimate and heartwarming look at Simon and his wife Caroline's adoption of two girls from China, whom they clearly love deeply.  Their struggles with infertility, their adoption journey and their daily challenges of raising two strong, independent young girls are all covered with the wink and a smile delivery that one comes to expect from listening to his NPR show, "Weekend Edition with Scott Simon."

For anyone who has adopted internationally, Simon's stories of his family's adoption trips to China will bring back memories.  The hotel room banter of nervous parents trying to win the affections of a child, who wants absolutely nothing to do with them, will not be unfamiliar.  The raw emotions that accompany this heart wrenching journey to family are practically universal.  The moments are fun to re-live with him again.  And, he tells of these moments in a way that does not mask the pain, but that makes us laugh at the absurdity of plying our children with warm baths and noodles.

Our goal is to show our children that we can provide for them, and that they can love us, because we truly love them. However, that trust has to be earned over long periods, often times again and again. The unique challenges that adoptive families face do not end when our children have reached a point of seeming calm.

In addition to sharing his personal insights and experiences, Simon seeks out others whose lives have been touched by adoption. In a world where the media loves to call out adoption status when associated with serial killers and psychosis, Simon introduces the reader to a host of well-adjusted and downright happy adoptees.  This is not to say that he makes light of the challenges or heartache that some of these individuals and families face. He chooses, instead, to focus on the positive, on the tenacity of the human spirit and of people's capacity for unconditional love.

In its whole, Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other is a love story. It is Simon's ode to his family, and it truly is a celebration of adoption. I struggled with this book and its "love conquers all" theme. At one point, when discussing the primal wound adoption theory, Simon says " I think that the love my wife and I give our daughters can help bind whatever wound they have and make them strong."

I've seen first hand when love isn't enough in adoption. I wish he would have given more credence to the reality that abandonment can hurt our children very deeply -- to a point where our love can't always fix it. However, as a friend recently pointed out to me, as adoptive parents, we often spend our time reading about "when things go wrong," so that we can avoid or amend these issues. Simon's book is a celebration of all that can be right with adoption. And if it leaves you with a warm heart and a smile, well, that's not such a bad thing.



Anonymous said...

Do you people have a facebook fan page? I looked for one on twitter but could not discover one, I would really like to become a fan!

Bethann Buddenbaum said...

You can find ChinaSprout here on Facebook: