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The Lucky Ones

edited by Ann Rauhala ECW Press; $19.95

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The lucky ones: It’s a phrase most families touched by adoption will recognize. My husband and I heard it dozens of times as we carried our new daughter around the Sichuan province during our adoption journey, in 2002. "She’s so lucky" is something I’ve heard here in the states, too, from well-meaning strangers in produce aisles and parking lots. Of course, we know that we’re the lucky ones—a perspective shared by the contributors to a new collection of essays, edited by Ann Rauhala (The Lucky Ones; ECW Press; $19.95).

Though their backgrounds vary, the parents who contributed to The Lucky Ones have all had positive experiences adopting and raising their girls from China, so the collection has an upbeat tone. This is not to say that it sugarcoats adoption—contributors wonder about birthparents, worry about prejudice, and struggle to parent a child of a different culture.

I was especially pleased to see the two essays by teenage adoptees, both of whom offer useful perspectives on how adoption affects, or doesn’t affect, their lives. Fifteen-year-old Jasmine Bent writes, "I definitely do have a love for my birthparents, for giving me life and a chance for a future, but it’s a different love than the one I have for my parents. I love my parents because they have taken care of me as far back as I can remember."

Rauhala calls the book a keepsake for her daughter, to show how important her arrival was to her family. The volume would make a fine keepsake for any family.

Reviewed by Lee Tobin McClain, a professor of creative writing at Seton Hill University, and the lucky mom to a daughter from China.

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