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Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self (Anchor Book) Paperback – March 1, 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
Ingeniously integrating psychological and educational theories, the authors construct a model of the normal yet unique stages of adoptee development.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A rather thin volume that nevertheless will reassure adoptees that it is usual for questions about adoption and birth parents to persist throughout life. Using Erik Erikson's stages of life as a framework, Brodzinsky (Psychology/Rutgers) and Schechter (Psychiatry/Univ. of Pennsylvania), here writing with Henig (Your Premature Baby, 1983, etc.), call upon years of experience as researchers and counselors in the field of adoption to describe the continual adjustments that adoptees make as they grow from infancy to old age. Most moving is the litany of losses that move adoptees to grieve, often unknowingly. Even infants only a few months old show signs of mourning their first caretakers. Later, the authors say, adoptees may confront the loss not only of a birth family but of a personal and genetic history. The latter is particularly painful when it is time for young adults to begin their own families. Such life crises often kick off a search for birth parents. But the book's authority is undermined by what the authors frankly admit is the rapidly changing environment of adoption, where secrecy and shame are now rarely invoked and searches are often unnecessary. Open adoption-- in which the birth mother is known to and is often closely attached to the adoptive family--and increasingly available birth records eliminate the information gap that most often causes stress in adopted families (although open adoption may create its own set of stresses, the authors point out). Replete with anecdotal material, this offers few new insights but does lay out issues of development that only adoptees face over the course of life. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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This book is not written by adoptees, but rather by two of what I would say are the most known adoption researchers and writers out there. I agree with other commenters that more adoptees should write books.
Does a perfect book out there exist where no one disagrees with a line written or where every person who reads it identifies with everything in it? No. This book is no exception.
This book is a brief lesson on the psychology of Life Span Development as experienced by the adopted person. It acknowledges that how an adopted person approaches each developmental task may be different than their biologically-raised peers, something many people do not realize. It acknowledges that each adoptee is different. To me, if not most importantly, it perfectly explains how a wide range of emotions experienced by adoptees and how they work out the incongruencies and loss in adoption are OK. Too often are those of us that point out loss and that not everything is wonderful all the time greeted with the "angry adoptee" label or told that our feelings and thoughts are wrong.
This book suggests, perhaps not as directly as some would like, that how a non-adopted society views adoption and how adoptees ought to feel needs revision and that it's time to start listening to the adopted persons rather than telling them how to feel.