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The Family of Adoption: Completely Revised and Updated Paperback – February 20, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; Reprint edition (February 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807028274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807028278
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Joyce Maguire Pavao dedicates her book The Family of Adoption in part to her two mothers, who died two weeks apart. "They both died of secrecy," she writes. "One could no longer talk, silenced by her disease. One could no longer think or remember.... I love and cherish what each of my mothers endured and imparted.... I refuse to have secrets and I work to change a system that perpetrates them."

Pavao is a nationally known family and adoption therapist who works with adoptive children and their families. Her authority and insight come from her combined experience both as a professional therapist and as an adopted child. In The Family of Adoption, Pavao describes the grief processes, dilemmas, and potentials for healing of birth mothers and adoptive parents. A strong advocate for adopted children, she discusses the difference between secrecy and privacy--a crucial distinction in adoption--and lends a strong voice to the movement for openness. Pavao is the first specialist to clearly identify and demonstrate predictable, understandable developmental stages and challenges for every adoptee (pointing out, for example, that adopted children tend to daydream, and may have a more challenging adolescence), and elucidates patterns that adoptive parents may witness as their children grow.

As adoption becomes more discussed and less taboo, the emotional road maps become clearer for adoptive families, birth mothers, and children of adoption. The Family of Adoption is a gentle, essential addition to the literature that will help guide families of adoption along the path. --Ericka Lutz --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A commitment to placing the best interests of the child first informs every page of this excellent study of the complex psychological and social dynamics of adoptive families. Pavao, an adoption therapist and the executive director of the Center for Family Connections in Cambridge, Mass., was herself adopted as an infant. She believes strongly in the necessity of pre- and post-adoptive counseling for both birth and adoptive parents, although she acknowledges that there is a serious lack of trained professionals for this purpose. According to the author, such counseling is essential if adoptive parents are to understand and be able to work with their child through the developmental stages common to adoptees, such as feelings of loss, school problems and a desire to learn about their past. Pavao's analysis is comprehensive, and she considers all types of adoption, including transracial, special needs, international and foster care. Drawing on adoption stories culled from her practice, she shows how the adopted child, birth parents, adoptive parents, as well as other family members benefit from such contact and openness. She is convinced that those who are adopted have a right to learn as much as possible about their past and suggests, for example, that international adoptees be allowed to visit their country of origin to better understand their roots. Adoption, Pavao writes, "is not about finding children for families, but about finding families for children."
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Buy this book and treasure it!
A. Schauer
It's the first book that I recommend to anyone interested in or touched by adoption.
M. Maco
Dr. Pavao understands adoption from a variety of perspectives.
LDM29

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By maireaine@hexatron.com (Mary Anne Cohen) on June 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Joyce Maguire Pavao has been a familiar speaker at adoption reform and adoptive parent conferences for many years. Her wisdom, gentleness, and skill as a master story teller have enlightened many through the spoken word. It is a real joy to finally have her work in writing.
Emily Dickinson said "tell the truth, but tell it slant". That is exactly what Dr. Pavao does in her stories and anecdotes of adoptees and adoptive families in therapy, and in her pioneering work in open adoption. Rather than boring us all with theory, she lets the lives of her clients speak for themselves, and teach many lessons about the value of openness and honesty in adoption, and the healing power of truth and love.
This is a book that is easy to read--I read it through in a few hours--but one you will come back to again and again if you work with members of the adoption triad, or are yourself a person affected by adoption. As an adoptee herself, and a long-time activist for adoption reform, Dr. Pavao brings a special empathy to her work with adopted children and families, and with adult triad members. Unlike a previous reviewer here, I would take Dr. Pavao's writing over the pompous, empty platitudes of David ("I Am The Walrus")Brodzinski any day!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. Maco on February 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
As an adoptive mother, I have read and collected a shelf full of books on the subject of adoption. Joyce Pavao's well researched and thoughtful book, The Family of Adoption, is one of the very best. It's the first book that I recommend to anyone interested in or touched by adoption.

Joyce Pavao, herself adopted, encourages the reader to look at adoption from all perspectives. She shows us that understanding the important connections that exists between birth family, adoptive family and adoptee is essential to appreciating the complex emotions that accompany these bonds. Her careful explanations helped me to understand that although our daughter's birthmother is half a world away, she has always been a very real part of our family. Pavao uses poignant examples, selected from her years a therapist, to illustrate how adoption effects all members of the triad. Her use of real life scenarios brings much needed clarity to some very complicated concepts and makes this book very readable.

Included in the chapters devoted to the adoptee at various ages, is useful advise on how to talk to your child about adoption in age appropriate ways. She also gives simple, understandable advise for parents to help their children process information and feelings in different ways at different developmental stages. She helps the reader understand how each new developmental stage presents a unique set of challenges for the adopted person and how some seemingly troubling behaviors can result.

In The Family of Adoption, Pavao presents a very complex subject in a very straight forward and understandable way. She also provides useful and practical advise in a book that that is ultimately informative and very readable.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A. Schauer on February 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This extraordinary little book, with its carefully chosen anecdotes and clear, direct message, is the best book available about adoption and being adopted. It changed the structure of life in my family, and I give it to family members, teachers of my adopted children, and anyone else who is looking for clarity in the complex world of adoption. When you finish reading you will understand loss in adoption, you will understand what Dr. Pavao means by the "Family of Adoption", you will know how to listen better to your adopted children so that you can really hear what they are telling you, and you will be a better parent, teacher, grandparent, or friend. Buy this book and treasure it! I have read almost all adoption books published in the last ten years in the USA, and this is without question a beautiful, powerful and poignant work, and one of the best.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Pioneering therapist Joyce Maguire Pavao's book should be read by all persons or pairs who wish to adopt. It examines the perspectives of all adoption triad members: birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted individuals. It contends that adoption is about finding families for children, not the other way round. The founder and director of the Center for Family Connections (Cambridge/New York), Dr. Pavao says she employs case studies because they pack emotional wallop and yet instruct. This is certainly the case. Within the first 30 pages, opportunities for tears abound - and so do clear descriptions of the hearts and minds of participants in the adoption process. With 20 years' experience as a provider who 'gets it' and a lifetime as an adopted person, Dr. Pavao has certainly earned the right to write on adoption (as few others have), and her language is intensely felt. The Open Door Society's ODS News calls this work "truly the most insightful and healing book on the adoption shelf." For anyone who offers professional services to a member of the triad, this book is a necessity. Dr. Pavao's inclusive, accessible style of writing makes The Family of Adoption especially successful. New England's Adoptive Families Together, Inc. (member of Adoptive Families of America and winner of a 1999 North American Council on Adoptable Children/NACAC award as Outstanding Parent Group) acquired copies for each of its support groups' libraries - I know, since I facilitate one such group! I'll say it once more: For anyone who offers professional services to a member of the triad, this book is a necessity.
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