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Talking With Young Children About Adoption

 

 

 

Talking With Young Children About Adoption
by Mary Watkins,

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.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Book Description
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.

 

5 out of 5 stars Authoritative and enlightening, September 27, 2003

  Reviewer: Gisela Gasper Fitzgerald from USA

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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