Top critical review
Offensive and inaccurate depiction of adoption
Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2020
I'm a fan of Catherine Ryan Hyde's books. I've read or listened to all of them. Other than the fact that she doesn't seem to know the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist I always find them enjoyable. This book however is rough. I haven't quite finished and it's painful to continue. The main characters are pathetic and self centered. For example Anton can't figure out why his girl friend doesn't want the ring belonging to the woman he really loves hanging in her face during sex. Edith wants children but doesn't take into consideration that adopting a baby at almost 50 will give a teenager a mother who is almost 70.
My husband and I adopted 2 children in our 30s. They are now 17 and 20. I'm sure adoption was different in the 80s but I can't imagine it was close to adopting a puppy which is how it's portrayed in this novel. Two people who are not married go to an agency and look at children who apparently live there? as if they are visiting an animal shelter. The agency owner who is never identified as a licensed social worker has no problem with the fact that Edith and Anton have known each other for weeks and are not married but want to foster to adopt. She shows up for the first meeting, which I guess is supposed to be the home study, with a five year old child in tow. She really knows nothing about these people that she's exposing the child to and has no idea what information they might disclose in front of the child who is sitting right there during the discussion. The child has already shown signs of an attachment disorder. It is not normal for a 5 year old to crawl into the lap of a stranger. All 3 adults keep using the phrase "child who is not your own" when referring to adoption. If you think this is acceptable language about adoption then you shouldn't adopt. This child will be "your own". There doesn't seem to be any concern about the stability of this new, rushed marriage. The child is corrected by the agency owner for asking about Anton's hand which is ridiculous. The child has a right to know. There is apparently no requirement for parenting classes or learning information about the needs of an older child. Everyone involved seems to need this badly! Aside from a few mentions of paperwork this adoption is done in a very irresponsible manner.
Edith and Anton then look at adopting a baby that is not even born yet and again expose the child to the first conversation with the teen mother. The first child is still a foster child and nothing has been explained to her before the meeting.
Everything about this depiction of adoption in this book is horrifying. Children are not puppies and decisions about adoption should strongly consider what is best for the child not just what the potential parents want. If you want to adopt please find a reputable agency. Adoption is great but not this way.