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Brothers and Sisters in Adoption: Helping Children Navigate Relationships When New Kids Join the Family

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What about the kids already there? How do they do when a child with a challenging past joins a family by adoption?

When experienced parents decide to adopt an older child or a sibling group, they jump through all kinds of bureaucratic hoops - background checks, interviews, group meetings, reading assignments, classes, etc. But most often the typically developing children these adults are already parenting (whether through birth or adoption) are left out of the process, informed ...

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Overview

What about the kids already there? How do they do when a child with a challenging past joins a family by adoption?

When experienced parents decide to adopt an older child or a sibling group, they jump through all kinds of bureaucratic hoops - background checks, interviews, group meetings, reading assignments, classes, etc. But most often the typically developing children these adults are already parenting (whether through birth or adoption) are left out of the process, informed that a new kid is coming, and simply expected to "adjust" to the addition of another sibling.

The addition of a child with a history of neglect or trauma cannot be a seamless transition. The expectations of everyone involved - parents, new siblings, and, yes, professionals facilitating the adoption - must be realistic, taking into account that the new child will need special attention that may take away time and attention from the already resident kids, that family life is likely to be turned topsy turvy until appropriate counseling and support are in place, that relationships will change.

Therapist Arleta James is certainly not the first person to recognize this, but she is the first to do something about it. Brothers and Sisters in Adoption offers insights and examples and sturdy, practical, proven tools for helping newly configured families prepare, accept, react, and mobilize to become a new and different family meeting the practical, physical and emotional needs of all its members. These well prepared and supported families are the ones who thrive!

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Therapist James, who has many years of experience as an adoption professional, presents a superb, exhaustive handbook on adoption that fills a void in the literature. She focuses on issues surrounding families, with children who are flourishing, considering adopting children who have experienced complex trauma, including abuse, neglect, or abandonment. She delves deeply into the mental health issues of these children, which can be complicated by the existence of other adopted children. She concentrates on navigating the emotionally trying dynamics of the relationships among children who are thriving and those who are struggling, underscoring the needs of the typically developing children. Throughout the book, James includes stories of the adoptive families she has helped in her sessions. Numerous additional appendixes include a super preadoptive training model for typically developing children, an adoptive family safety contract, and an extensive listing of additional resources. This scholarly review of the adoptive literature combined with solid, pragmatic, and professional advice is a superb guide to a specialized topic. Required reading for all helping professionals working with child protective services or with adoptive families.
—Dale Farris

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781849059060
  • Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Limited
  • Publication date: 12/15/2011
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Arleta James, MS, PCC, has been an adoption professional for a dozen years. She spent several years as a caseworker for the Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption Network placing foster children with adoptive families and then as the statewide Matching Specialist. She now works as a therapist providing services for attachment difficulties, childhood trauma and issues related to adoption. She was the 1999 Pensylvania Adoption Professional of the Year. She is currently on staff at the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio.

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Table of Contents

1. The Development of Realistic Expectations. 2. Pre-placement Preparation. 3. Taking Stock: Are We a Family for a Child? 4. "Getting to Know Him:" Dads in Adoption. 5. Joining "Waiting" Families and "Waiting" Children: Matching is not an Exact Science. 6. Moving to the Adoptive Family: Through the Eyes of the Child. 7. When a Child Leaves the Family: Displacement, Disruption and Dissolution. 8. Post-placement: The Family Becomes Immobilized. 9. Mobilization: Becoming a "New and Different" Family - Part 1. 10. Mobilization: Becoming a "New and Different" Family - Part 2. 11. "We're All Grown Up:" Turning 18 and Beyond.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted September 21, 2012

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    A Mom's Choice Award Recipient!

    This title is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.

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  • Posted September 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Mom's Choice Awards Recipient!

    Brothers and Sisters in Adoption is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS's Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, and New York Times best-selling Author; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. . Parents and educators look for the Mom's Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted December 27, 2010

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