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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to succeed as an adoptive parent read this book, June 7, 2011
This review is from: 20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed..Discover the Unique Need of Your Adopted Child and Become the Best Parent You Can (Paperback)
If you are an adoptive parent (counselor or social worker) this book is important. Readers who have experienced adoption or who know anyone well who has will understand the contents of this book. Those who have no experience with adoption may misconstrued the book's contents as something it is not. It's all in the perspective of the beholder. Many questions adoptive parents and extended family members have about adoption are here. The bibliography is filled with roughly 125 references. Sherri Eldridge has focused in this book (one of three books of "The Eldridge Trilogy"*) on how parents can approach a wide range of situations in which adoptive parents find themselves. This book is a god-sent for adoptive parents who just can't seem to find ways to deal with their child as s/he grows physically, cognitively, emotionally and socially. Kids become more "aware" of adoption and all that it encompasses gradually. Each child's awareness is different as they age. The book is divided into 20 chapters, each chapter ends with valuable Support Group Discussion Questions. These support questions are also helpful if you don't have, or want/need, a support group. The chapters include such things as knowing when and how to talk about birth and adoption, being different as a "good thing" and what comforts your child; it addressed guilt, perfectionism, stress, "real-parent" questions, and much more. Chapter 5 includes a chart that plots the adopted child's changing view of adoption from infancy through late teens. This chart covers four categories of development: cognitive, emotion, social and adoption awareness. It's invaluable because it provides a basis for a parents' understanding of how to talk with their child and what s/he may or may not be understanding. If this sounds technical or sterile, it is NOT. Most chapters include a section called "Listen to Your Child's Heart" which posses certain questions your child may be asking or thinking at different stages in their development. For example:

When I'm young, I'll think about my birth parents.
If our family has a spirit of openness where we talk about my birth family often, I will feel sad sometimes. At bedtimes, I might think about my birth mother and cry. I miss her. If you got me when I was young from foster care, I'll still love my first mom, even thought she didn't take good care of me.
When I'm a teen, more thoughts about my birth parents will surfaces my body changes..
As a teenager, I may wonder if I look like my birth parents. When pimples invade my face, I'll wonder if my birth father had them, too. When my female body becomes shapely, I'll wonder if I'll look like my birth mother. When I'm asked about my background by others or physicians during a physical exam, I will be embarrassed and may act like being adopted is no big deal. But, when I look in the mirror, not only will questions about my appearance surface, but also deeper identity issues. "Who am I"? Who are they?" What would they think of me? Would they want to meet me?...........I'm trying to get back what I lost when I lost my birth family.

As with all of Sherri Eldridge books, she recognizes that the child's need and the parents need are inexorably linked. Her web site ( also dovetails well with the books*; it includes frequent hints on addressing with many issues. As with her books, there are always comments and encouragements and practical suggestions during important calendar dates which have an impact on adoptees and their families: birthdays, mother's day, father's day, etc.

*I highly recommend "The Eldridge Trilogy" which consists of "Twenty Things...; Questions Adoptees Are Asking (about beginnings, about birth family, about searching, about finding peace)" and "20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed (Discover the secrets to understanding the unique needs of your adopted child- and becoming the best parent you can be)." These should be required reading for every adoption counselor or social worker involved in adoption, every adoptive parent, and when age appropriate, every adoptee.
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