New Book Tells Parents to Let Go of Qualifiers and Focus on Being Parents

Madeleine Melcher's new book is "Dear Adoptive Parents, From an Adoptee"

Rachel Garlinghouse January 08, 2016
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Madeleine Melcher is the author of three books, including the newly released Dear Adoptive Parents. As an adoptee, Melcher wants to inspire, encourage, and prod parents to, as she so often says, be the parent their children need.

I had the opportunity to preview Melcher’s latest book, and it’s exactly what parents need right now.  And not just current parents, but those preparing to adopt for the first time.   Recently, I interviewed Melcher to learn more about her latest book and the important messages she shares:

Garlinghouse: What is your connection to adoption?

Melcher: As a baby, I was left with friends by my birth mother—she did not return. Eventually it was reported to the government and I became a foster child until, at 14 months, I was welcomed by my forever family. I also grew my family through adoption. I have worked to ensure that adoption portfolios and profiles are honest and ethical through my blog Our Journey to You. Expectant parents and families who are hoping to provide a home and family for a child deserve that. I have been blessed to lend encouragement through faith in the adoption devotional I co-authored: Encouragement for the Adoption and Parenting Journey:  52 Devotions & a Journal. And now have my latest project, my book Dear Adoptive Parents – Things you need to know right now – from an adoptee.  I also take any opportunity I can to be a voice for the over 100,000 children who are not only in foster care but who are waiting and available to be adopted into a forever family, TODAY. Over 23,000 children age out of foster care without a forever family each year. That is not okay.  (All of my books are available on Amazon.)

Garlinghouse: What prompted you to write Dear Adoptive Parents?

Melcher:  This is really a project I HAD to do for myself and for the parents that regularly asked me—it is something that kept visiting me over and over again until I just wrote it. I think that people who are adopting today are left feeling like they have to have a qualifier before “parent,” left to feel they can never be enough for their child, left wondering if they can do anything “right” for their child, wondering where to begin in introducing their child’s story and how to help their child. I wanted to answer to some of those questions and concerns.

Garlinghouse:  Why was it important to you to cross out “adoptive” in the title?  What is the significance of that choice?

Melcher: I have several very core messages I wanted to bring home to parents who read this book and one of them is to be the parent your child needs you to be—whatever that is. To BE THE PARENT. My mom helped with homework, dealt with teen angst and tears over boyfriends, caught throw-up in her hands, and would have fought an angry bear for my sister (who came biologically) or me. My mom would have done anything I needed—there is nothing ADOPTIVE about that—it is being a good parent. Children need and deserve loving PARENTS- period.

Garlinghouse: What is the overall feeling you hope your readers take away from your book, and why?

Melcher: I hope parents walk away with a renewed sense of strength in themselves and their family relationships. I hope that this book helps in putting the focus back on THEIR child rather than every single voice screaming out in the adoption world. I hope this book empowers parents to be the parent their child needs in every way.

Garlinghouse: What’s next for you?

Melcher:  I will continue to tell people about the children waiting in foster care—because we are never, ever, ever too old to need a family. I am looking forward to connecting with more parents on my Facebook page (Dear Adoptive Parents, From an Adoptee), and hearing from parents what they took away from my book, but most of all I will just be living life. I think that is what a majority of adoptees are doing because adoption is how we came to be with our families, not a way of life. My most important role and title in this world is “mommy” and that is what I will continue to give my heart and daily efforts to: in whatever ways my children need. I hope all those who read my book will do the same.

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Rachel Garlinghouse

Rachel Garlinghouse is the author of "Come Rain or Come Shine: A White Parent's Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children," "Black Girls Can: An Empowering Story of Yesterdays and Todays," and "Encouragement for the Adoption Journey: 52 Devotions and a Journal" (co-authored with Madeleine Melcher). Rachel's adoption education and experience has appeared on MSNBC, NPR, Huffington Post Live, ABCNews.com, Babble, Scary Mommy, Portrait of Adoption, Slow Mama, I Am Not the Babysitter, and more. Rachel is a mom of three children, adopted domestically and transracially. Learn more about her family's adventures at White Sugar, Brown Sugar or on Twitter @whitebrownsugar.


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