Category Archives: Adoption Nation

‘Adoption Nation’ Press Release from PR by the Book

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    CONTACT: Babs Chandrasoma (512) 501-4399 x706

        The Changing American Family in the 21st Century:

A Provocative, Insightful Look at Race, Gay Parents, Embryos & More  

Foremost Adoption Expert Discusses his Compelling New Book, Controversies in the News

NEW YORK – The American family has been changing inexorably for decades; today, it is a new breed, an amalgam of diversity composed of single parents, divorced or stepparents, gay or lesbian parents, grandparents or legal guardians, biracial couples, children who don’t look like their parents or carry their DNA, children created through IVF treatments and egg or embryo transfers, children who came into their families through adoption from another country or from foster care, children and adults who are forming unprecedented, unpredictable relationships on the internet.

Adam Pertman, one of the leading authorities on these subjects, offers an insightful new way of understanding the “revolution” that touches all our lives: through the prism of adoption’s long history of shaping “alternative” families. His gripping, up-to-the-minute new book, Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families – and America (The Harvard Common Press, 2011, 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-55832-716-0, $16.95 paperback) provides a unique, thought-provoking examination of the historic changes enveloping us all – and it does so with a magnetic combination of engaging prose, gripping stories, perceptive perspective and exceptional research.

Readers will quickly understand why Pertman – who is Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, the pre-eminent research, policy and education organization in its field – is regarded as one of the most-articulate, best-informed and most influential experts in our country, and why Adoption Nation has been reviewed as “the Silent Spring of Adoption … quite simply, the most important book ever written on the subject.” For more reviews, go to:

 Pertman tells riveting stories and provides vital information about an array of topics in his book, and discusses even more in his newspaper op-eds, blog commentaries and media interviews, including:

·         The role of social media in transforming relationships, families and the institution of adoption itself.

·         The impact on communities (Jewish, Irish, etc.) of the multiracial, multiethnic families within them.

·         The negative consequences of lingering secrecy and stigmas on tens of millions of Americans.

·         The need to view adoption, foster care through the prism of social justice, diversity and inclusion.

·         The misunderstanding of stories in the news – from the Tennessee mother’s “return” of her son to Moscow, to the spiriting of children out of Haiti after its earthquake, to current events such as:

Ø  The decision by Illinois to halt Catholic Charities’ adoptions due to its policies on gay parents

Ø  The mother in Alaska just sentenced for punishing her child by making him drink hot sauce

Ø  The Missouri couple fighting Guatemala’s order for them to give up their 6-year-old daughter

Pertman is a story unto himself – a Pulitzer Prize nominee for his writing about adoption when he was a reporter for The Boston Globe, an immigrant from Poland whose parents were Holocaust survivors, a professional who transformed himself from journalist to award-winning child advocate, an adoptive father whose knowledge and passion have made him a go-to expert for the media around the world, including The New York Times, Oprah, Today Show, BBC, CNN, NPR, Fox News, Huffington Post and many more. Read his bio: and his blog:

To receive a review copy or to set up an interview, contact Babs Chandrasoma: or 512-501-4399 x706.

2011 Edition of ‘Adoption Nation’ has arrived!

I’m proud to announce the official publication today of my new book. I kindly ask my friends, colleagues, relatives and complete strangers to please consider buying a copy (or multiple copies for your own friends, colleagues, relatives and complete strangers). Here’s a link to purchase: or go to your local bookstore and, if they don’t have it, ask why and place an order. Feel free to forward this email freely, post it on your own website, blog, Facebook page, tweet it, etc.

I’m very proud of this book and hope it will make a real difference in people’s lives. Thanks immensely for your help and support.

Continue reading

Boston Book Launch Event on April 5, 2011

Join us on Tuesday, April 5th for the Boston Book Launch Event for Adoption Nation. The celebration will take place at The Inn at Harvard in Cambridge from 6:00 – 8:00pm.  Adam will read excerpts from the book and answer any questions you may have.  Books will be available for purchase and Adam would be happy to personalize your copy.  Complimentary hors d’ oeuvres and beverages will be offered.  Kindly RSVP to

Lessons from Harvard, B.J. Lifton . . . and Oprah

February 1, 2011

To read this column on The Huffington Post, go to:

I attended two events over the past weekend that, in very different ways, made me think of Oprah Winfrey (who is on the minds of many of us inside and outside the adoption world of late).

On Friday and Saturday, I participated in a national conference at Harvard University that focused on ideas to help the high number of African American children in our country’s foster care system. The conference didn’t address adoption much, but some speakers talked about the importance of children and youth maintaining biological ties, others touched on identity issues, and yet others broached the impact on parents and siblings of separating children from their families of origin. Those are all big, universal themes that affect tens of millions of Americans to varying degrees at various times of their lives. And, of course, they’re all significant concerns within the adoption community.

For a couple of hours in the middle of Saturday, I excused myself from the brain-straining conversation at Harvard to attend to a matter of the heart: I crossed the street in Cambridge to join a packed room of people paying tribute to B.J. Lifton, a spectacular human being and cherished friend whose recent death I still cannot quite believe or accept. It was a powerful, moving memorial service during which speaker after speaker directly addressed one adoption issue after the other, in particular B.J.’s passion for greater openness, honesty and restoring the right of adoptees to access their original birth certificates.

Oprah’s name didn’t come up at either event, but it was impossible for me, and I’m sure for many others, not to feel her presence. That’s because the media superstar’s revelations last week – that her mother had placed a child for adoption nearly 50 years ago, that she had now reunited with her half-sister, that she had herself given birth to a baby when she was 14 – along with the commanding images and emotional words of all three women, brought myriad adoption issues into the homes of a huge number of Americans to an extent they probably have rarely, if ever, experienced before.

At their core, of course, they were the same issues that resonated at both events I attended over the weekend. What one of the most famous and respected women in the world did was provide televised testimony for some essential truths: that people who create lives never forget them, and deeply grieve their loss; that everyone wants to know from where and from whom they came, regardless of their circumstances; that sibling relationships are innately powerful magnets, rivaling those that draw together parent and child; and perhaps most pointedly and poignantly (and certainly most clichéd), that truth and honesty beat all the alternatives, in adoption as in other aspects of life. Without question, they lead us onto the road to healing, however difficult and complicated the journey might be. Continue reading

Praise for “Adoption Nation”

“This book is an invaluable resource on all aspects of adoption.” —Deborra-lee and Hugh Jackman, adoptive parents

Adoption Nation is a treasure. It is the most complete book on adoption—ever—by one of the most eloquent, knowledgeable experts in the field.” — Sharon Roszia, co-author of The Open Adoption Experience, program manager of the Kinship Center

“Groundbreaking . . . courageous, penetrating, engaging, and deeply personal. Adoption Nation is a remarkable piece of work.” —David Brodzinsky, co-author of Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self

“The personal, cultural, economic, and geopolitical worlds meet in Adoption Nation. … Pertman’s work is engaging and accessible, and it doesn’t flinch from the controversies that make adoption less than it can and should be.”— Harold D. Grotevant, Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Adoption, University of Massachusetts

Adoption Nation provides a wonderful overview of the key issues in adoption today. It is creative, insightful, and a must-read.” —Ruth McRoy, co-author of Openness in Adoption: Exploring Family Connections

“A comprehensive and humane book about how adoption is changing families—indeed, the very idea of family.” —Ellen Goodman

“Adoption Nation is a wonderful resource, deep and insightful, written by one of the finest reporters I have ever known.” —James McBride

“An important, hopeful, ambitious, and sometimes haunting book.” —Boston Globe

“Adoption Nation is essential reading.” – Chicago Tribune

“By far the most important book on adoption in decades, Adoption Nation is must reading.” —Reuben Pannor, author of The Adoption Triangle

“Adoption Nation is a powerful book that’s a joy to read.” —The late Dave Thomas, founder of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

“An essential resource . . . and a call to arms for policy-makers, Adoption Nation is a celebration of a great American institution.” —Congressman William Delahunt

“Adoption Nation is a must for those who want to understand how and why the adoption scene is changing—and the way it affects us all.” —Betty Jean Lifton, author of Journey of the Adopted Self

“Adam Pertman is one of the most thoughtful voices on the range of contemporary adoption issues.” – Susan Soon-keum Cox, Vice President of Hold International Children’s Services

“An incredibly ambitious book—comprehensive, compassionate and compelling.” —Pam Hasegawa, Editor, Adoption News Service

“Adoption Nation is a profound, sometimes uplifting, sometimes horrifying, and altogether necessary book. Buy it, read it, send it to your legislators.” —Bastard Nation, the Adoptee Rights Organization

“Adam Pertman dares to ask provocative questions about current adoption policy and reform, challenging old belief systems while encouraging new, critical thinking.” —Delores Teller, former president, American Adoption Congress

“A wonderful book that I urge academics, policy-makers, and general readers to use; it is a great read. . . . I will never think about adoption in the same way after reading Adoption Nation.” —Professor Robert Drago, Labor Studies and Women’s Studies, Pennsylvania State University

“Adam Pertman’s meticulous research and graceful prose make Adoption Nation a must-read for everyone interested in the way adoption is transforming the American family. His book has been invaluable to me.” —Professor Susan M. Schultz, University of Hawaii, Manoa

“Offers the reader what can be found nowhere else: a fascinating, comprehensive overview of adoption in American today. Teachers and students in many fields—from history to social work to law—should turn to Adoption Nation for the indispensable context it provides for their studies.” —Elizabeth Samuels, University of Baltimore Law School

“Adoption Nation puts forth the issues in a manner that is at once informed and concerned. Pertman nicely balances fact with illustration. It is these ‘real people’ illustrations that make the issues understandable to the students in my classes.” —Debrah Lewis Fravel, Ph.D., CFLE, Human Development and Family Studies, Indiana University

“Adoption Nation is a gift to the curious minds on campuses nationwide starving for the truth about systems that impact America’s families and children. The (sometimes) mysterious adoption arena is gravely limited in powerful and factual academic resources, and this text fills those gaps in understanding the life and process of growing families in our country.” —Liz Dumbaugh Martin, MSSW, Director, University Training Consortium Project, Kent School of Social Work/University of Louisville

“I would recommend Mr. Pertman’s fine book not only to those personally touched by the adoption experience, but also to anyone who works with individuals and families, or who teaches about them in a wide variety of disciplines. Adoption Nation offers an illuminating view of issues which are of central importance in the lives of millions of people. The book is a thoroughly researched, comprehensive, and illuminating depiction of adoption in the USA, its history, present state, and, one hopes, its future.” —Howard Katz, M.D., Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst; Instructor, Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry; Supervising Analyst, the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute