More Love, Less Panic: 7 Lessons I Learned About Life, Love and Parenting After We Adopted Our Son From Ethiopia is a must read for parents.
Initially I was interested in this book because I love adoption stories. My brother is adopted from El Salvador and his addition to our family is one of the happiest memories of my childhood. Yet, Knobler doesn't just write about things that will pertain to parents of adopted children. I found his lessons very applicable to my own parenting.
Each chapter focuses on something Knobler learned about parenting because of the addition of Nati, the child he and his wife adopted from Ethiopia. Yet, I could find myself in these lessons with my own biological children.
In one lesson Knobler writes about wanting to change Nati, to trade in his exuberance and joy for some of Knobler's own Jewish worry. Until he realized that he should appreciate Nati for who he is, not try to change him into what he is not. Learning that lesson has helped Knobler enjoy Nati and delight in his son's happiness. What a good lesson for all parents - me included!
Nati was five years old when he was adopted, and had to say goodbye to his biological parents. Knobler met Nati's mother briefly, but his father had already died after becoming sick from a blood transfusion. I believe that every single day Knobler realizes the enormity of what these people gave up and can appreciate the role he now plays in Nati's life.
Reading this book, I took away more than seven lessons. Knobler's underlying theme about the importance of parenting and shaping a life are front and center from beginning to end.
When things start to get a little hairy at home, when I'm feeling impatient and am short with my children, I hope I remember to reach for More Love, Less Panic and remind myself what is really important in parenting my children.