Talking with Young Children about Adoption

( 3 )

Overview

Current wisdom holds that adoptive parents should talk with their child about adoption as early as possible. But no guidelines exist to prepare parents for the various ways their children might respond when these conversations take place. In this wise and sympathetic book, a clinical psychologist and a psychiatrist, both adoptive mothers, discuss how young children make sense of the fact that they are adopted, how it might appear in their play, and what worries they and their parents may have. Accounts by twenty ...
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Overview

Current wisdom holds that adoptive parents should talk with their child about adoption as early as possible. But no guidelines exist to prepare parents for the various ways their children might respond when these conversations take place. In this wise and sympathetic book, a clinical psychologist and a psychiatrist, both adoptive mothers, discuss how young children make sense of the fact that they are adopted, how it might appear in their play, and what worries they and their parents may have. Accounts by twenty adoptive parents of conversations about adoption with their children, from ages two to ten, graphically convey what the process of sharing about adoption is like.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This book, designed to help adoptive parents, as well as professional counselors and therapists, deal with questions youngsters ask about their adoption, contains revealing conversations between parents and their children, aged two to 10, from 20 families of all kinds--single, lesbian and interracial, among them. Psychologist Watkins ( Waking Dream ) and psychoanalyst Fisher (coauthor of To Do No Harm ) are themselves adoptive mothers. Stressing that ``the adoptive family integrates diversity,'' and that ``children come into families in different ways,'' the authors seek to prepare parents to acquaint children with their origins through frank talk, stories and play. The children's contribution in the book shows them ready to face reality, for the most part; their comments are probing, humorous and touching. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300063172
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 270
  • Sales rank: 389,702
  • Product dimensions: 6.09 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: From Telling to Sharing: Changes in Adoption Practice 1
Ch. 1 Adoption and the World of the Parent 11
Ch. 2 Adoption Research 25
Ch. 3 Adoption and the World of the Young Child 57
Ch. 4 Stories of Parents and Children Talking Together about Adoption 94
Teddy and Anna 95
Teddy: I don't want [my birthfather] to find me. He'd take me away. He'd change his mind.
Anna: You know, [in adoption] somebody wins and somebody loses.
Laura and Maya 101
Laura: Mommy, you're not really really my mommy, are you?
Maya: Let's call [my birthmom] Forsythia.
Jeff and Melissa 123
Jeff: Why didn't my real mom want me? ... I think she didn't like me.
Melissa: I was always wanted. My parents who adopted me wanted me even before I was born.
Ian and Elizabeth 130
Ian: How fast did you go, Mommy, to get me in the car?
Elizabeth: Then I was in Daddy's tummy!
Mehera 145
Mehera: Adopting means you love a baby very much and go find her.
Kathy and Aaron 152
Kathy: Who is right, Mom, my birthmom or Jane [who will keeps her baby]?
Aaron: It's okay, Mom. You have me now.
Daniel Joo Bin: Family Lost and Found 157
Daniel: You're Oma. That means "Mother" in Korean.
Virginia and Jonathan 162
Virginia: Mom, why would a lady who grew a baby give the baby away?
Jonathan: I so sad I didn't grow in your uterus, Mommy.
Nora 172
Nora: Some kids have lots of mothers.
Max and Lani: Twins in an Open Adoption 178
Max: Okay, Sis, first I'll marry our friend; then I'll marry you, and one can be the birthmom and one can be the adopted mom.
Lani: I wish I had been in your womb.
Paul and Steven 184
Paul: Joey is lucky because his mom is three things - his mom, his birthmother, and his teacher. Why can't you be three things?
Steven: When will I ever see my sister again?
Margaret and William: Adoption as "No Big Deal" 203
A Birth and Adoptive Father 207
Richard: Where the kid came from seems sort of bookish, abstract.
Afterword 217
Appendix A: Two Families Who Decided Not to Talk with Their Young Children about Adoption 221
Eric: One-Time Telling 221
Jeremy and Chloe: Deciding to Postpone Telling until Latency 222
Appendix B: Adoptive Comments, Questions, and Play Sequences of Adopted Children in the Stories, Arranged by Age 225
References 243
Index 253
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    Really like this book..the first part has a lot of detailed info

    Really like this book..the first part has a lot of detailed information on different adoption studies. The 2nd part of the book contains stories from parents showing how they talked to their children. It really shows that every child/family is different and gives lots of ideas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2008

    A reviewer

    This is really a wonderful resource for adoptive parents. It provides so much insight into how children process adoption: what their thoughts, questions and worries are at different developmental stages. This is a book that will help parents discuss adoption with their children and present it as a wonderful way of building families, while acknowledging the inherent loss and grief associated with adoption. The book includes real examples of conversations between children and their parents and/or peers, that are very useful. Christine Mitchell, author and illustrator of Welcome Home, Forever Child: A Celebration of Children Adopted as Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Beyond

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2003

    Authoritative and enlightening

    Both authors instilled confidence in me because they themselves are adoptive mothers and are seeing the issue from the inside out. I wish I had had a book such as this when we adopted our child in 1969 at age 4 days. I was completely in the dark as to when and how to tell our little girl about her adoption. I only knew that she had to be told and presumed that it should be as early as possible. Watkins's and Fisher's book give the adoptive parent(s) helpful guidelines in understanding (anticipating) the young adoptee's questions and concerns and are encouraged to be as natural as possible talking to their children any time the children bring up the topic. I would like mention one research study that tells us when we can expect adoptees truly to understand the notions of birth and adoption. In their book, Openness in Adoption, Exploring Family Connections, Harold D. Grotevant and Ruth G. McRoy found that the mean age of children NOT understanding the meaning of adoption is 5.8, age range 4.9-8.8; the mean age of children fusing the two concepts of adoption and birth is 6.4, age range 4.7-9.6; only at the mean age of 7.5, age range 4.7-12.9, do children clearly differentiate between adoption and birth as alternative paths to parenthood and accept that the adoptive family relationship is permanent, but do not understand why; children at a mean age of 8.9, age range 5.4-11.9, differentiate between adoption and birth but are unsure about the permanence of the adoptive parent-child relationship. The children at this age fear that the natural parents might reclaim them. At the mean age of 9.5, age range 6.6-12.6 the children vaguely understand that their relationship with their adoptive parents is permanent because a judge, lawyer, doctor or social worker signed some papers. Only at the mean age of 10.5, age range 8.0-12.1, is the adoption relationship fully understood with its characterized permanency. Gisela Gasper Fitzgerald, author of ADOPTION: An Open, Semi-Open or Closed Practice?

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