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Lifegivers and Daily Givers — The Roles In An Adoption

October 9, 2023

Following is a book review on Lifegivers by James L. Gritter; article written by Shelby Kugler. We offer this and several other adoption books in our new Lending Library.

Lifegivers “examines all the ways in which birthparents are marginalized” and fights for the case that “adopted children are best served when birthparents and adoptive parents work together to ensure that the birthparents remain a part of their children’s lives.”

Through the use of real experiences and interactions, Lifegivers not only challenged my perspective on open adoption and the relationship between birth and adoptive families, but caused me to address a lot of my preconceptions.

The author discusses how our negative perspective on open adoption is often rooted in a fear of the unknown and of people who are different from us. This book challenged me to not be fearful of an expectant mother deciding not to place at the last moment, reminding me that “women who consider open adoption are exceptionally committed to their child.” This was a good reminder for me as the book addresses the birthfamily and adoptive parents as a team, with the commitment of the birthmother adding value to that team. The author talks a lot about a birthmother’s experience—how she will feel a great deal of loss and how the lack of available information and open discussions on adoption can reinforce a birthmother’s feelings of isolation and doubt. Gritter talks about how the hush-hush history of adoption makes it difficult for birthmom supporters to bring up the topic of adoption. He says this reluctance to bring up the topic causes supporters to not be of as much assistance as they could be. It was a great reminder and challenge to me to move past the barriers of fear and history to offer support.

Gritter identifies birthparents as “lifegivers,” adoptive parents as “daily caregivers,” and both adoptive and birthparents as those who joyfully affirm the life of the child. These titles help affirm the tasks of each parent involved and, as well, promote the task of the team of parents as they all move ahead with the goal of caring for the child they treasure. Gritter offers the reminder that adoption agencies should approach the expectant parents as their “first clients,” with the goal for adoptive families to be prepared to meet the needs of the expectant families. Gritter warns that the opposite approach should never be taken, as the primary goal should not be for expectant parents to strive to serve the adoptive families.

Lifegivers offers up many great reminders that stirred preconceived ideas I had always carried about adoption. I feel this book played a positive role in the way I experienced the process of adoption in the past few months. I would recommend it to anyone seeking to learn more about how they can serve and love birthparents in a way that shares Christ’s name and promotes the ultimate goal of loving the child.

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