Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Review of Thriving as an Adoptive Family


This book is an excellent resource for anyone considering adoption, in the process, or having adopted a child.  It deals with all types of adoption: international, infant, and foster care.  The editors, David & Renee Sanford, have collected articles and stories from adoptive parents and professionals.  The book is broken into four different sections: Becoming an Adoptive Family, Life Issues from Birth to Adulthood, Unique Identity Issues, and Special Challenges.  Each section has both articles by professionals, such as counselors, as well as stories by adoptive parents about the difficulties and issues they faced with an adoptive child.

Starting off with welcoming the child home, they editors then frame the first section by dealing with attachment disorders and bonding with the child, familial relationships, developing a support network (something I can't highly recommend enough, even if you are at the beginning of the process.  We are involved in an adoption and foster care group and it gives you a perspective from parents at different stages), and ends with Nurture & Discipline.  This last section is important to understand since traditional methods of discipline (such as time outs, deprivation, grounding, and corporal punishment often do not work with a child raised in an orphanage).  Rob Flanegin also breaks up the 4 phases of adjustment relating to adoption.  They are:
1. The Honeymoon Period
2. The Settling-in Period
3. The Testing Period
4. "I'm more a part of the family than not" stage

The second section breaks up into different age groups: from infant to adolescence and the challenges each age raises in an adopted child.  This section deals with both cognitive, identity and physical development, as well as talking about adoption with the child at various ages.  It covers the effects orphanage care has on a child.

Part three is the shortest section of the book and deals primarily with issues such as grief and loss and ethnic identity.  Ron Nydam provides 7 steps to helping an adopted child resolve their loss:
1. Face Your Own Sorrow
2. Lead the Conversation
3. Ask Questions About Sorrow
4. Honor Birthparents, Birth Story, Birth Culture
5. Practice Openness in Adoption
6. Join the Sadness and the Anger
7. Be Ready to Seek Professional Help

Along with the first section, the last is the longest as it confronts the difficult challenges of dealing with sexual abuse, the effects of drugs and alcohol, and physical and learning disabilities.

All of the chapters are written from a Christian perspective and offers encouragement and solid advice for any adoptive parent.  The authors all offer wisdom on the emotional, social, and spiritual challenges that adoption brings to a family.

I recommend this to anyone who is considering adopting, is adopting, has adopted, or is the extended family member of someone who's adopted (this latter group is dealt with in terms of how their reaction can have a real impact on the parents and the adopted child).

Now this is a great overview book, so if you are looking for a book that is more detailed on specific subjects (such as attachment disorder) then you can go to the resource guide in the back for the authors and titles of other books dealing with subjects related to adoption or to the websites listed.


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