Customer Reviews: Talking with Young Children about Adoption
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on February 21, 1999
My son was adopted at birth nearly 5 years ago. when I set out to find a book that would guide me through the many questions I knew would be coming my way, both from him and others, I went to my local library and poured through the many books on the subject. This book was, by far, the best one. I have read it cover to cover more than once and it has become my "bible" when taking to my son. This book actually anticipates the questions he will be asking me AND in the order he will ask them. I'm amazed at how accurate it is! Don't miss the chance to share the adoption experience in a way that is comfortable for you and most of all comfortable for your child.
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on April 8, 2002
In my opinion, you can't read this book too early. As a matter of fact, the earlier the better.
The first thing I realized in reading this book is how young the children are/can be when they start talking and asking questions about their adoption. They're beginning around the age of three in many cases! Our son is 15 months old now and I thought I'd have several years to read this book when in reality I need to be introducing him to the word "adoption" and other phrases about our adopting him now so that he's familiar with the words by the time he can understand them.
The book gives numerous stories of children and how they ask questions and talk about their adoption. What things are important to them to know. How they talk to their friends about adoption. How we as parents need to be truthful right from the very beginning. Explaining why the parents look different from the child. Talking about their tummy-mommy and who she is and why she let someone else adopt him/her. And how the children like to act out the day their parents first saw them (hundreds of times!) and how to deal with that when the child wants to alter the story.
It also addresses the issue of parents who decide not to tell their children about adoption.
This book will give adoptive parents ideas on how to talk (what to say exactly) to their children when they ask some difficult questions. Kids are smart! They ask thorough questions about their adoption and many times they'll ask the questions years before we think they will.
This book has helped me to prepare for my son's questions, whenever they come, and has helped me to see that it's okay to be "freaked out" at the idea of talking to him about it. It's put my mind at ease because now I have a better sense of what to say and how to say it. When to say it is up to your child. We don't have a lot of choice in the matter. When they want to know, they want to know! Or they may think we're hiding something bad from them. This book will help you along the path of discussion and prepare you for some questions and feelings your adopted child may have.
Excellent book for all adoption situations!
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on November 10, 1998
This is a marvelous book with great information about disussing adoption with young children. Our daughter is just 4 years old, adopted 2 years ago from Russia, and has suddenly been full of questions about her adoption. This book was on my bookshelf, browsed but not really referred to until now. It has been such a wealth of information and support. We have gained much insight into her feelings and emotions from the case studies presented. Every adoptive parent should own this book- you will be glad that you do!
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on September 1, 1999
Talking with your children about adoption is a potentially difficult, emotive and fraught task. This book provides examples of the types of questions that children might ask at different ages, and clear practical examples of the types of answers suitable for different ages and levels of understanding. There is always a fear that as parents, we might harm our child if we do not deal properly with the subject of 'where did I come from' . I found the book interesting, useful, and thought povoking.
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on August 31, 2001
As an adoptive parent, I have read lots of material about how to talk about adoption with my child. It was all well and good to practice what I was going to say, but the other books didn't prepare me for my son's reactions and that's where this book comes in. It helps you anticipate your child's questions and reactions to what YOU say at different ages in his or her development. Also to understand where these sometimes seemingly bizarre things are coming from.
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on September 27, 2003
Both authors instilled confidence in me because they themselves are adoptive mothers and are seeing the issue from the inside out. I wish I had had a book such as this when we adopted our child in 1969 at age 4 days. I was completely in the dark as to when and how to tell our little girl about her adoption. I only knew that she had to be told and presumed that it should be as early as possible. Watkins's and Fisher's book give the adoptive parent(s) helpful guidelines in understanding (anticipating) the young adoptee's questions and concerns and are encouraged to be as natural as possible talking to their children any time the children bring up the topic. I would like mention one research study that tells us when we can expect adoptees truly to understand the notions of birth and adoption. In their book, Openness in Adoption, Exploring Family Connections, Harold D. Grotevant and Ruth G. McRoy found that the mean age of children NOT understanding the meaning of adoption is 5.8, age range 4.9-8.8; the mean age of children fusing the two concepts of adoption and birth is 6.4, age range 4.7-9.6; only at the mean age of 7.5, age range 4.7-12.9, do children clearly differentiate between adoption and birth as alternative paths to parenthood and accept that the adoptive family relationship is permanent, but do not understand why; children at a mean age of 8.9, age range 5.4-11.9, differentiate between adoption and birth but are unsure about the permanence of the adoptive parent-child relationship. The children at this age fear that the natural parents might reclaim them. At the mean age of 9.5, age range 6.6-12.6 the children vaguely understand that their relationship with their adoptive parents is permanent because a judge, lawyer, doctor or social worker signed some papers. Only at the mean age of 10.5, age range 8.0-12.1, is the adoption relationship fully understood with its characterized permanency.
Gisela Gasper Fitzgerald, author of ADOPTION: An Open, Semi-Open or Closed Practice?
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on November 13, 2004
As an adoptive mother of two children, I have found this book to be incredibly valuable. It is easy to read, put down, and pick back up again after the kids are asleep! When we adopted our second child at 4 months, our 3 year old daughter was with us, so we were able to share her story as her new brother's unfolded. Prior to reading the book, we had decided to start telling the story as early as possible, but this book helped us to really understand why this is best for children. I appreciated the case studies of many different types of adoptions. I also liked this book, because it was not so overwhelming and scary as some adoption books can be. Finally, I took from the book that our children's perspective on adoption will be shaped by our perspective as their parents. Presenting their stories accurately and confidently as early as possible will help them to integrate this aspect of themselves into their whole being. Great book!
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on March 20, 2005
I loved this book, the first few chapters are academic but stress that childrens reactions to situations don't necessarily reflect the fact that they're unhappy with their adoptive status. My favourite example was if the child yells with anger "I don't want to be adopted", consider if they use the same anger when you give them a vanilla icecream instead of chocolate and you get "I don't want chocolate!"

The latter chapters are written by parents and relate a series of different ways children have bought up the adoption issue. It's good to read real life discussions between parents and children rather than a psychologists idea of what these discussions should contain.

Very reassuring book for those who have been to seminars focusing on attatchment disorders and the problems associated with adoption rather than the joy of adoption.
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on July 17, 2005
My husband and I both read this book. Although the initial portion was a bit lengthy and exhaustive on the research and imperical data information, the dialogues between parents and children were amazing to read. It was so helpful to prepare for the possible questions that can come up and to find out how other parents responded to their children. We found it expecially interesting to analyze the types of issues that came up for the children adopted under the various circumstances. We both felt that this is imperative reading for any adoptive parents in preparing to be as open and comfortable discussing the topic of their child's adoption with the child. . .and to learn about the various issues that can present themselves at the most unexpected moments. A must-read for any adoptive parent who wants to feel prepared to make his or her child feel reassured and confident about his adoption.
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on July 9, 2002
Well, I had gotten through almost half of the book and was about to stop reading it when it started to get better. The first half was a bunch of detailed psychological text book information that, for the most part, I did not agree with or care about- not much fact- just opinions. The second part did save it giving detailed examples and stories of real people and their adopted children: how to communicate to the children, how children communicate about their adoption, feelings of adoptees and adoptive parents, what children might be concerned about at different ages, etc. I would definitely say that it is a good book to refer to when communicating to young children.
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