Open Mike: Beyond Good Intentions

I'm guessing that many of you have read Cheri Register's book Beyond Good Intentions. Back when my husband and I adopted, there were a number of adoptive parents who were extremely popular - Lois Melina was one, and Cheri Register another. Cheri Register's first book Are Those Kids Yours? was one of my favorites, and I believe it is still offers good insight into transnational and transracial adoptive parenting from an adoptive parent's point of view.

So when Register wrote Beyond Good Intentions, I was anxious to read it and bought it as soon as it was available. There's no question that I wanted to see if her parenting experience had paralleled mine in any ways. And I wanted to see if she had changed her mind about any of the issues she wrote about in Are Those Kids Yours?

But I'm not going to share my opinions yet, because I want to hear what you have to say first. So what do you think? As with all Open Mikes, all points of view are welcome, anonymous comments included!

What are your thoughts on Cheri Register's Beyond Good Intentions?


MomEtc. said…
I think her book is awesome and a must read for parents who adopt transracially.

I will say this though....almost NONE of what she said would ever have occurred to me on my own, prior to adopting. I don't think this should be the first book that people run out and read when they are thinking about adopting. I think reading this book first would have been too much for me to handle at once and I may have just put it down. I'm glad I had already done a good amount of reading, and talking to adoptees before picking up this book.
Kathy said…
Margie, I read "Beyond Good Intentions" a while ago. I thought
the book was very eloquent and I liked the way Cheri divided up the chapters by different aspects of her thoughts and feelings about international adoption.

I have to admit that I also felt a disconnect with some of her book. I don't know if this is because my children are still young, or if it is because we don't live in a similar geographic location. Or, it could be that I am hoping that it will be different for my kids. And,
I do think that Korean and other adult adoptees have made an impact on the lives of the younger ones.
Well, I haven't read it but I will now! Thanks for the heads up.

zoe said…
I have both books, though it's been a couple of years since I read ATKY?, and several months since BGI. I'm anxious to hear your critiques!

I will say this, regarding what I remember from my first readings of each book: When I read ATKY?, I was pretty much completely ignorant of the consequences/responsibilities of choosing international adoption. To hear someone talk about aspects of it that weren't pure joy was upsetting and probably one of the things that started me on the journey of trying to learn a more truthful understanding of this type of family make-up. Also, there were concepts discussed that aren't talked about so much in agency preparation programs, but were things that I had wondered about on my own. So, it was good for me at the time I read it. It stretched my thinking in some areas, and in other areas it reinforced a few of the questions I had about the 'popular' view of adoption.

With regard to BGI, I have to say I loved it the first time I read it, and I just quickly skimmed through it again in order to comment here. My second (quick-glance) impression is that I still think it is a must-read for people even CONSIDERING transracial adoption. Just seeing the chapter titles again renewed my belief that these are concepts that people should be aware of as they consider TR adoption: 'Wiping Away Our Children's Past'...'Believing Race Doesn't Matter'...'Keeping Our Children Exotic'...and on and on, right through the last chapter - oooh, yeah - I DO think this should be required reading, because it goes a long way in challenging many of the can-do fantasies that potential APs have about transracial adoption (what I mean by that is that if people are thinking only about having a child to call their 'own', or to do a 'good deed' by adopting, or they are attracted to the thought of experiencing another culture through TRA - all reasons why people DO adopt - this book will help with seeing the errors that are present in so much of the pre-adoptive thinking out there).

Can't wait to hear your opinion and I'd love to discuss the books more if you want, either here or via e-mail. :)
Dana said…
I loved BGI and was very very nervous when we gave it to P2H's a-mom to read because she was the classic 1970's "we'll pretend he's white and never talk about Korea and everything will be wonderful" kind of a-parent. She took it better than I thought she would, but did say that she thought parts of it were "too harsh".

My only criticism is that I think if it had been written by an adult adoptee and not an a-parent, some people wouldn't take the advice so seriously. Anything negative would've been brushed off as the rantings of a miserable, ungrateful person.
cavatica said…
I think Beyond Good Intentions is a very important book. We're still waiting to adopt and I've read it and I'll read again while we're raising our daughter. I wrote about it in a post on my blog -

I don't think it's an easy book to read, but it's important and makes you think. I think everyone who adopts internationally needs to think about the issues raised in this book. I haven't read her other book.

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