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WAITING for Baby: Dad’s journey, too

By Ann Tatko-Peterson
Wednesday, May 21st, 2008 at 8:37 am in Adoption.

cover(“Waiting for Baby” is a closer look at adoption and my family’s personal experience as we go through the process. It will appear every Wednesday in the aPARENTly Speaking blog.)

This is our journey. It’s something I’ve had to remind myself a few times as my husband and I considered and then started the process of adopting. Right out of the gate, I was 100 percent certain adopting was right for our family. My husband didn’t see it as quite so black-and-white; he had a lot of questions that needed answering first. It was the first time in our marriage that we entered a territory where we wanted the same thing but took different paths to deciding what would be best for us.

So later, with the questions answered and the big “let’s do it” decision agreed upon, I was still a little too wrapped up in my end of this journey. All the research, reading books, finding the right lawyer or agency, arranging to attend an Open Paths meeting to learn more about adoption — that became my life, often stretching late into the night and fueling bouts of insomnia. Only after we attended our first meeting with an adoption lawyer, when it seemed as if we simply couldn’t afford adoption, did reality give me a swift smack. This was affecting my husband as profoundly as it affected me. How had I lost sight of that fact? Maybe largely because the adopted dad’s perspective doesn’t usually get the attention given to the mom’s.

Fortunately, the new book “The Brotherhood of Joseph” has changed all of that.

Author Brooks Hansen has written five highly regarded novels. His prose in fiction is remarkable, but his foray into nonfiction is truly spellbinding. “The Brotherhood of Joseph” (Modern Times, $24.95) takes readers deep into Hansen’s real-life journey of finding and adopting his son, Theo. It is a gut-wrenching look at the physical and emotional toil of infertility treatments, then the complicated navigation through adoption.

One line on the book’s inside flap prompted me to pick it up — and read the rest of the book late into the night. “Offering men a chance to be heard and women a rare opportunity to view the struggle with infertility from a male perspective, ‘The Brotherhood of Joseph’ brings to life the anger, frustration, humor and sense of helplessness that come to dominate the husband’s role.” Hansen’s story is remarkable enough to make for a compelling read. For anyone who has experienced infertility or considered adoption, it’s also an eye-opening account that will change your perspective completely from my to our.

It’s also a book worth sharing. In the comments section below, suggest a book — any book on any subject matter, not just adoption or impending parenthood — that was an eye-opener for you. Before next Wednesday, we will draw a name from all the contributors and send that person a copy of “The Brotherhood of Joseph.”

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