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Adoption Therapy: Perspectives from Clients and Clinicians on Processing and Healing Post-Adoption Issues Paperback – October 3, 2014
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In a world that offers precious little adoption competent therapeutic support, this book shares how some have found their way through the thickets of inadequate post-adoption services and the failures of the mental health system to find the supports that are right for them.
Martha Crawford, LCSW
Laura Dennis' anthology Adoption Therapy is a broad-reaching exploration of a wide range of clinical issues related to adoption. ... Therapists will have a guidebook to help them practice in an informed, competent, and non-pathologizing way.
Addison Cooper, LCSW
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Other than that one huge flaw, so far the book is a VERY good read. I REALLY like the chapter of red flags to watch for when trying to find a therapist to work on adoption issues. This book is a MUCH needed resource. I HIGHLY encourage fellow adoptees, parents, caregivers, mental health professionals and anyone else interested in adoption to read this. You might be surprised at all the information that is in here.
Most of the stories are based on the Closed Adoption experience. But the lessons learned have great value not only for adult adoptees and their families but also for those adopting now as well. With raw honesty, they reveal the painful costs of secrecy, shame and disconnection from identity and birth family. They tell of loyalty binds in which adoptees felt compelled to choose valuing their adoptive families at the cost of denying their interest in their origins and birth families. Some adoptees were fed outright lies. Adoptees tell how they floundered without adequate empathy, validation and support for the profound demands that adoption placed on them. Parents and professionals alike, delivered insufficient support. Choosing to see only the benefits adoption offered, they turned a blind eye and responded through rose-colored glasses. Yes, many benefits accrue to a child adopted into a loving adoption-attuned home. But too often, inadequate preparation, education and support is provided. As a result, these adoptees experienced great challenges in learning how to navigate life as an adoptee.
Adoption Therapy unmasks the myth of adoption as the "perfect" solution AND offers insights and strategies for solutions. While the current trends in adoption practice move towards more openness, cultural resistance persists as well as cultural denial of the emotional and identity costs adoption creates.
Many of the personal stories shared in Adoption Therapy, allow us to peek behind the veil of personal privacy to learn of the private struggles that adoptees confront. Often they struggle/d without support from therapists, friends, and sadly occasionally without the empathy and understanding of their adoptive parents.
This ignorance must be remedied. Parents, therapists, adoptive parents must become thoroughly immersed in the reality of adoption grief, loss/identity issues and the neurobiological effects that result from adverse prenatal experiences. Our culture must wake up to the realities and make the appropriate changes to support adoptees, birth parents, and their families. Adoption Therapy offers a wonderful tool for opening, minds, hearts and spirits so that when adoption is the choice, it can be a gentler, more affirming experience for the adoptee. Gayle H; Swift, ABC, Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture Book
A brief glance at the topics, listed on the back cover, offers a sense the contents and tone of the book, which is a refreshing break from the preachy tone of many of these books. (It isn’t that I don’t love these books, it is that I often find myself parsing fact from opinion).
One of the things that separates this offering from some others is how it ties together some well researched, documented and foot-noted conclusions. At the same time, the book is not so academically oriented as to be a stumbling block to the reader. There is a wide range of included topics -everything from sealed records to a chapter on “conceived by rape.” (And even this vignette is told in a highly readable, matter-of-fact way).
The timing of this book could not be better. As more states modernize their legal requirements and adoptees gradually gain access to original birth certificates, more people will find themselves looking for some help in dealing with new information available to them. Adoption Therapy is the only book I’ve found that begins a roadmap towards that type of help. As such, it would be a great companion to many of the standards and classics, biographies and memoirs out there.
“My purpose here is not to describe how to work with these issues…but to suggest where to look for the work that needs to be done.” This quote, from the section by Karen Caffrey, LPC, JD , summarizes the over-all point of the book..all the answers are not contained inside but readers will soon find themselves asking some “new” questions.
We (those touched by adoption in some way) might be spending so much time addressing legal matters (custody, sealed records, available of social services to newly organized families) that we forget to take care of ourselves mentally and emotionally) a fact driven home by several of the contributors to the anthology.
I found the book to be edifying from an emotional and educational standpoint, as an adoptee, as a daughter and as a mom. Over-all it is a thought provoking, mind-expanding book which should be read by people who are interested in adoption issues, whether they are interested in therapy or not.