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Two Little Girls: A Memoir of Adoption

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In Chicago, Theresa Reid and her husband had lucrative careers and a beautiful home. What was missing from their lives was children. But they knew in Eastern Europe, there were children who were missing parents-and they set out to find their family. This is Theresa's account of how Natalie and Lana came to be her daughters-a journey that takes readers not only to Moscow an In Chicago, Theresa Reid and her husband had lucrative careers and a beautiful home. What was missing from their lives was children. But they knew in Eastern Europe, there were children who were missing parents-and they set out to find their family. This is Theresa's account of how Natalie and Lana came to be her daughters-a journey that takes readers not only to Moscow and Kiev but into the deepest parts of a mother's heart. Reid addresses the issues that arise for many an adoptive parent- including the guilt over taking children away from their roots, and the slow, stumbling steps toward trust and tenderness that played out between them. For any parent, adoptive or not, this book offers not only a compelling story but valuable insights into the transformative power of loving a child.


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In Chicago, Theresa Reid and her husband had lucrative careers and a beautiful home. What was missing from their lives was children. But they knew in Eastern Europe, there were children who were missing parents-and they set out to find their family. This is Theresa's account of how Natalie and Lana came to be her daughters-a journey that takes readers not only to Moscow an In Chicago, Theresa Reid and her husband had lucrative careers and a beautiful home. What was missing from their lives was children. But they knew in Eastern Europe, there were children who were missing parents-and they set out to find their family. This is Theresa's account of how Natalie and Lana came to be her daughters-a journey that takes readers not only to Moscow and Kiev but into the deepest parts of a mother's heart. Reid addresses the issues that arise for many an adoptive parent- including the guilt over taking children away from their roots, and the slow, stumbling steps toward trust and tenderness that played out between them. For any parent, adoptive or not, this book offers not only a compelling story but valuable insights into the transformative power of loving a child.

30 review for Two Little Girls: A Memoir of Adoption

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This book sort of irritated me. Really a good thing that the author wrote that they wanted to show the narcissistic side and not show that saintly side, and to be honest. It's a memoir about a couple who adopt two little girls, not at the same time, and the whole process. The slimy side of the adoption world really shows through in the various agencies they work with. The couple, however - well, talk about mostly not likeable. Some people noted them not loving the kids immediately - that's not w This book sort of irritated me. Really a good thing that the author wrote that they wanted to show the narcissistic side and not show that saintly side, and to be honest. It's a memoir about a couple who adopt two little girls, not at the same time, and the whole process. The slimy side of the adoption world really shows through in the various agencies they work with. The couple, however - well, talk about mostly not likeable. Some people noted them not loving the kids immediately - that's not what got me, I thought that was totally normal, for biological OR adopted kids. I never thought they were bad PARENTS. It was a bunch of other stuff about them that got me. The father is a pediatrician and the mother is a child welfare bigshot. You would expect possibly a little less of a "baby shopping" feel, a little more concern for ethical adoption, and a little more curiosity about and respect for the countries their daughters came from. I found their lack of interest in the wider world abhorrent - they were quite the ugly Americans. For example, they had committed to a girl in Kazakhstan and then the war broke out in AFGHANISTAN - and it was clear that nothing had changed about adoptions in Kazakhstan or travel to there (two countries away, this would be at least like saying you wouldn't travel to Costa Rica because there is violence in Colombia), but they just abandoned the girl because it would be too frightening to travel there. Even before the Afghanistan thing, they were almost too terrified to go because it wouldn't be quite as developed as America. Their xenophobia and attitudes toward the people in the Ukraine and Russia were at times was astounding. She kept talking about everyone speaking Russian around them in the Ukraine - so many things wrong with that I don't know where to start. One - what does she expect? The whole world to speak English? Two - in Ukraine, they speak *Ukrainian*. She turns a trip into Kiev and Odessa into this huge ordeal because it's not just like the US, rather than having any interest in the people or the places around them. One more thing is that they left essentially a legit adoption agency to go back to a somewhat slimy one just to get a baby faster. They knew the one they had used for their first daughter was unethical, but they wanted things done faster, in their favor. It was quite ugly. I have no doubt about them as parents, they obviously love their kids, but their overwhelming fear of the world, their semi-baby-shopping, and the impression she gives that really, they would have liked adoptions to be like in 1950 with a white baby in their arms and sealed records, and to pretend to everyone that it was their biological baby left me with kind of an ick feeling from the whole thing. That said, it's interesting, shows some of the process, and the writing is fine. But I found myself yelling at the book a few times. 2021: Huh. Guess I had already read this one. My impression is pretty much the same. They'd use the unethical agent because "results" and didn't like the one who was too professional and didn't lie to them...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    This was both easy and hard to read. It's another memoir of international adoption. When the author and her husband found themselves childless in their late 30s they went looking abroad for children in Eastern Europe who needed a home. They found their first daughter in Moscow without too much trouble. But a few years later when they went looking for a second daughter, they had several false starts and failed adoptions before finding a little girl in Ukraine. I've never been interested in adoptin This was both easy and hard to read. It's another memoir of international adoption. When the author and her husband found themselves childless in their late 30s they went looking abroad for children in Eastern Europe who needed a home. They found their first daughter in Moscow without too much trouble. But a few years later when they went looking for a second daughter, they had several false starts and failed adoptions before finding a little girl in Ukraine. I've never been interested in adopting myself, but I'm always fascinated by these memoirs. The idea of selecting a child from somewhere in the world and then changing the whole course of their lives in one fell swoop has endless implications. Without the adoption the child would have a different language, different culture, different opportunities...and the child in question has no choice in the matter. All decisions are made by the adults. So I found this book interesting but also uncomfortable. Theresa Reid says in the beginning that she wanted to open up and be brutally honest about her thoughts and actions. But as we all know, just saying, "I want to be completely honest with you," rarely makes the next sentence any easier to hear. Theresa Reid's honest mind is a hotbed of racism, ethnocentrism, and white privilege, and it was probably uncomfortable to hear because I might have been thinking the same thoughts if I was in her shoes. I hope not. One of the passages that bothered me the most was when she was talking about Russians objecting to international adoptees swooping in and stealing their healthiest infants, their hopes of strengthening their country, especially when Russian families wanted to adopt them. Reid's response was that since she and her husband were rich and could provide better opportunities for children in a wealthy country like the USA, they should take priority over native adoptees. And sadly, I know many people who would find that statement to be completely logical. This book had good info for people looking to adopt from Eastern Europe. But if you're just casually interested in the subject like I am, I can recommend No Biking in the House Without a Helmet or The Waiting Child: How the Faith and Love of One Orphan Saved the Life of Another instead.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Leanna

    I read Two Little Girls several months ago, and I was astonished by Theresa Reid's honesty. She is very open about her feelings, or lack thereof, for her two adopted daughters. On several occasions, she talks about not loving her second daughter as much as her first. I appreciate Reid's honesty. She wants to give an accurate description of the adoption process (or, at least, her adoption process), but I couldn't help but imagine her daughters reading this account as teenagers or adults. They woul I read Two Little Girls several months ago, and I was astonished by Theresa Reid's honesty. She is very open about her feelings, or lack thereof, for her two adopted daughters. On several occasions, she talks about not loving her second daughter as much as her first. I appreciate Reid's honesty. She wants to give an accurate description of the adoption process (or, at least, her adoption process), but I couldn't help but imagine her daughters reading this account as teenagers or adults. They would definitely need therapy as much as I do. The reviews I read about the novel, however, focused less on Reid's honesty about her children and more on her descriptions of Ukraine. One reviewer was deeply offended on behalf of Ukrainians. Reid's descriptions are bleak, often heartbreaking, and honest. Ukraine is like a family member to me. I can say whatever I like about her, but no one outside the family has the right to make any criticisms. But Reid's evaluation of Ukraine did not offend me. Indeed, her descriptions made me miss the country. The inconsistencies and inconveniences she comments on are two reasons why I love Ukraine. I often have nightmares that I return to the country to discover it completely Westernized.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    This was a book that really got to me. If you are considering international adoption, it is a must read. Riveting, scary, honest- and in the end, a family. I do feel that not all of the authors opinions about domestic adoption are valid in all states or circumstances. However, her honesty about her fellings during the process are well worth the read! A catalyst for many discussions in our house(ALWAYS the mark of a good book!)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

    The author’s honesty is paramount in this book about the 2 international adoptions (Russia) that she and her husband successfully completed. She minces no words and is totally honest about her feelings. She describes the miles and miles of red tape, political snags and the many setbacks and disappointments along the way. This is a must-read for anyone considering international adoption and a heartwarmer for anyone.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I found the beginning of this book pretty engaging. By about midway, I was getting frustrated for them (I'm sure that is how they felt as well). I wonder how Lana will think about this when she gets older. I found the beginning of this book pretty engaging. By about midway, I was getting frustrated for them (I'm sure that is how they felt as well). I wonder how Lana will think about this when she gets older.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessi

    Not the best adoption memoir I've read. Frankly the author's attitudes about adoption in the first few chapters bothered me, and probably affected how I viewed the rest of the book. Not the best adoption memoir I've read. Frankly the author's attitudes about adoption in the first few chapters bothered me, and probably affected how I viewed the rest of the book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ryann Barker

    As an adoptive parent, I loved her candor.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Boris

    This was a well written true book. The author telling the story of her daughter's adoptions. An average person could not have adopted these girls, the amount the was spent and the amount of time off would not be possible for many people. This was a well written true book. The author telling the story of her daughter's adoptions. An average person could not have adopted these girls, the amount the was spent and the amount of time off would not be possible for many people.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

    I absolutely loved the author's honesty! It was refreshing to read an international adoption story that didn't revolve around Christian views. I absolutely loved the author's honesty! It was refreshing to read an international adoption story that didn't revolve around Christian views.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katie Kenig

    Adoption books are special to me, as we're going through the process of adopting right now. Sometimes they're hard for me to read, which this one was, because I'm impatient with the process and want to bring my kids home. Sometimes they're beautiful love stories of families becoming what they are. Sometimes they make me angry, because I second-guess the choices that the parents make. This book was all of those and more, and it was a very well-written and lovely book. Two Little Girls is the story Adoption books are special to me, as we're going through the process of adopting right now. Sometimes they're hard for me to read, which this one was, because I'm impatient with the process and want to bring my kids home. Sometimes they're beautiful love stories of families becoming what they are. Sometimes they make me angry, because I second-guess the choices that the parents make. This book was all of those and more, and it was a very well-written and lovely book. Two Little Girls is the story of one couple who experience infertility after waiting until they are older to attempt to conceive. They are not particularly driven to be parents, but believe that it would enrich their lives, so they pursue international adoption to bring home their children. They wind up with a lovely family of two beautiful girls, but to get there, they take a long and very difficult road. My husband and I considered international adoption. It is very expensive, something that wasn't a hurdle to the very well-off couple in this book. It is very time consuming and requires taking long periods of time away from work, sometimes on very short notice. This is also not a problem for this pair, but would have been impossible for us. Those are only two of the issues that made us *not* choose international adoption. The last was that we aren't super-concerned with many of the things that drives this couple. They want little children, toddler age or younger. They want a clean bill of health without special needs. They want children that look like them. They specifically want girls. The times where I got angry with this couple usually involved their almost obsession with the way the children looked or whether or not they had special needs. To parents like us, who are looking for children with special needs and who could not care less if they looked like us physically, it's a little mind-boggling. We know - my husband and I - that there are absolutely no guarantees in life. None. You could bring home a perfectly healthy baby that could turn out to have leukemia in a few years, or who is profoundly autistic, or a whole bunch of other stuff. Refusing children with special needs bothers me, because you just never know. And basing it on looks? I'm not even going to get started on that one. So yes, I got angry. But you know, through reading this book I came to be less angry and more compassionate about the whole situation. You can only handle what you can handle. There are kids out there whose biological parents put them up for adoption or surrender them to social services because they have special needs. This isn't an adoptive-parent-only issue. And there *are* some special needs that we have said we can't handle right now, mainly because of where we live, but if we were truly altruistic, wouldn't we address that in some way? So yes, I came to understand. If you're in the process of adopting, and are curious about other methods of adoption and the hurdles they include, this would be a good choice for you. If you are considering eastern European adoption, this would be a great book for you, as it has a pretty clear overview of what visiting these orphanages and staying in these countries involves. Overall, it's a brutally honest memoir of one couple's story, the good and the bad, and is compelling and very involving.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I was really interested in how international adoption worked - after reading this memoir, I am shocked that so many people think that international adoptions are "easier" and "more certain" than domestic ones!! Wow! I was also surprised to find in the book such honesty from the author about her feelings about adoption and adding children to her home. As a foster care worker, it was a real challenge to read some of her thoughts/feelings, especially given her extensive background in child abuse pr I was really interested in how international adoption worked - after reading this memoir, I am shocked that so many people think that international adoptions are "easier" and "more certain" than domestic ones!! Wow! I was also surprised to find in the book such honesty from the author about her feelings about adoption and adding children to her home. As a foster care worker, it was a real challenge to read some of her thoughts/feelings, especially given her extensive background in child abuse prevention. But it gave me reason to pause and question my own thoughts/feelings - and how honest I am being with myself sometimes.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Amazing what these people had to go through to get their second daughter. The author is frank about all the thoughts that pass through the heads of parents who are going to adopt. For example, how they have to start "selecting" right away - gender, age, race, health - and what that's like. These parents had apparently no limit on the amount of money at their disposal to adopt a child, so it is a picture from that viewpoint. That said, she tries to make a case for people adopting as opposed to sp Amazing what these people had to go through to get their second daughter. The author is frank about all the thoughts that pass through the heads of parents who are going to adopt. For example, how they have to start "selecting" right away - gender, age, race, health - and what that's like. These parents had apparently no limit on the amount of money at their disposal to adopt a child, so it is a picture from that viewpoint. That said, she tries to make a case for people adopting as opposed to spending tens of thousands of dollars on fertility treatments and such.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Theresa tells the story of the journey to parenthood with her husband Marc, with insightful self exploration and amazingly good humor, all things considered. The story has a happy ending -- they become the parents of two very different girls, each of whom has grown into an amazing child with the love and support of her family. A wonderful read whether or not you are considering adoption; a must read if you are!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle Urist

    A loving but wrenching journey through the bureaucratic nightmare of adoption. In the end, she and her husband have two adorable little girls, from Russia and the Ukraine. She is deeply grateful for them. Her husband, enormously supportive and helpful (and as a pediatrician, he could sleuth out disabilities that were never spelled out for them), is with her all the way. A very moving, edifying tale. A page-turner, too.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    It makes you realize how trying the whole adoption process really can be. It was nice to have someone else put into words some of the things I have been feeling. The book follows a very long and difficult journey, but it does have a happy ending. If you are thinking of adopting or just want to know more for the sake of someone you know, it's a good book to read. It makes you realize how trying the whole adoption process really can be. It was nice to have someone else put into words some of the things I have been feeling. The book follows a very long and difficult journey, but it does have a happy ending. If you are thinking of adopting or just want to know more for the sake of someone you know, it's a good book to read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I really enjoyed this book. I loved how real it shared about the adoption experiences, even though many parts of her thought process differed from mine. I also really loved the author's voice throughout the book, I felt like I was talking to a friend telling me about the experiences, not listening to a speaker at a conference. Great read, started and finished it in a day. I really enjoyed this book. I loved how real it shared about the adoption experiences, even though many parts of her thought process differed from mine. I also really loved the author's voice throughout the book, I felt like I was talking to a friend telling me about the experiences, not listening to a speaker at a conference. Great read, started and finished it in a day.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelle

    This is the author's story of her and her husband's struggle with international adoption. She had a lot of interesting things to say and it made my heart break for all of the children who are without parents. It also makes me hate the bureaucracy. I wasn't crazy about the author. She did things that bothered me at times, but I appreciated her honesty. This is the author's story of her and her husband's struggle with international adoption. She had a lot of interesting things to say and it made my heart break for all of the children who are without parents. It also makes me hate the bureaucracy. I wasn't crazy about the author. She did things that bothered me at times, but I appreciated her honesty.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Micaela

    Some parts were very frustrating because of the difficulties they faced. Reid tells her story in a very unapologetic way, showing warts and all, and what came out was a very beautiful and loving story about family, love, and parenting.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    I felt like I was on the journey with this couple as they adopted two little girls from another country. I loved her honesty about wondering if she could love someone else's child as if the child were her own. I felt like I was on the journey with this couple as they adopted two little girls from another country. I loved her honesty about wondering if she could love someone else's child as if the child were her own.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    the story of a couple's journey through the international adoption process... twice. the author is very candid and is just as hard (if not harder) on herself than she is on everyone else the story of a couple's journey through the international adoption process... twice. the author is very candid and is just as hard (if not harder) on herself than she is on everyone else

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Wu

    Very emotional and compelling book. You're right there with the author as she struggles through the process twice. Very emotional and compelling book. You're right there with the author as she struggles through the process twice.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    The story of a woman who built her family through adoption and her journeys around the world to do so. Amazing story.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This is a very interesting account of the logistics and emotions involved with adopting a child.

  25. 4 out of 5

    ~steph

    Almost done with it. At first I was really annoyed by the author's "this is how I would feel if I were adopted" scenarios, but as the story progresses, it's very hard to put down! Almost done with it. At first I was really annoyed by the author's "this is how I would feel if I were adopted" scenarios, but as the story progresses, it's very hard to put down!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A very interesting story about a couple's adoption journey. I definitely learned quite a bit and it was a fast read. A very interesting story about a couple's adoption journey. I definitely learned quite a bit and it was a fast read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    This was a beautiful honest book. It tells the moving story of the reality of adopting overseas. It was a quick and moving read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Great book! This was the first story of Eastern European adoption that I've read and actually really enjoyed. I would highly recommend it. Great book! This was the first story of Eastern European adoption that I've read and actually really enjoyed. I would highly recommend it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy

    A totally engrossing memoir about the trials of international adoption; could not put the book down

  30. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    I thought the honestly of the author was amazing. She says the things that others wouldn't dare. It was an interesting journey to follow. I thought the honestly of the author was amazing. She says the things that others wouldn't dare. It was an interesting journey to follow.

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