Joyce Maguire Pavao dedicates her book The Family of Adoption
in part to her two mothers, who died two weeks apart. "They both died of secrecy," she writes. "One could no longer talk, silenced by her disease. One could no longer think or remember.... I love and cherish what each of my mothers endured and imparted.... I refuse to have secrets and I work to change a system that perpetrates them."
Pavao is a nationally known family and adoption therapist who works with adoptive children and their families. Her authority and insight come from her combined experience both as a professional therapist and as an adopted child. In The Family of Adoption, Pavao describes the grief processes, dilemmas, and potentials for healing of birth mothers and adoptive parents. A strong advocate for adopted children, she discusses the difference between secrecy and privacy--a crucial distinction in adoption--and lends a strong voice to the movement for openness. Pavao is the first specialist to clearly identify and demonstrate predictable, understandable developmental stages and challenges for every adoptee (pointing out, for example, that adopted children tend to daydream, and may have a more challenging adolescence), and elucidates patterns that adoptive parents may witness as their children grow.
As adoption becomes more discussed and less taboo, the emotional road maps become clearer for adoptive families, birth mothers, and children of adoption. The Family of Adoption is a gentle, essential addition to the literature that will help guide families of adoption along the path. --Ericka Lutz
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We've long needed a book like Pavao's, which looks at adoption as an idea and a process . . . I recommend it to all readers who are affected by adoption, and isn't that all of us? --Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia
and The Shelter of Each Other
"A commitment to placing the best interests of the child first informs every page of this excellent study of the complex psychological and social dynamics of adoptive families." --Publishers Weekly
"[An] insightful, informative, and at times very moving look at adoption from all sides . . . What makes this book so helpful for anyone involved in the adoption process is the author's obvious respect for all parties, including parents, extended families, and even teachers, judges, and social workers. Instead of putting people off, [Pavao] encourages them to find new ways to empathize and cooperate, keeping the child's best interest at the forefront." --Diane Daniel, Boston Globe
"This very candid, honest book takes a look at infertility and the ambiguity of adoption that is often merely alluded to in other adoption publications . . . This book is a gift to anyone involved in adoption. Get it and read it more than once." --Chosen Family Magazine