Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew (Sherri Eldridge)

This book is a truly helpful resource in helping adoptive parents understand some of the issues of grief and loss that their adopted children will face throughout their lives. Despite the fact that adoption is a great thing, and that healthy families are brought together and thriving through adoption, there are issues that many adopted children will face. It is their parents' responsibility to become knowledgeable about the issue, triggers that may set off sadness and anger for adoptees, and the important of validating their children's feelings and empathizing with their kids as they hurt. The adoptive parent must realize that even though the child is being welcomed into a loving and excited family, some type of rejection took place (almost always tragic circumstances or through a birth parent's inability to raise their child) first. Some adoptees struggle with this more than others. The most important thing is for the adoptive parents to realize that these feelings are legitimate, and to guide their child to grieve in a healthy way. The worst thing adoptive parents can do is to ignore or repress these feelings of sadness, grief, and loss. 

According to this book, written by an adoptee, the best things adoptive parents can do are to validate their children's feelings, frequently assure them in many ways that they are welcomed and worthy, and to recognize and honor the biological differences between them. Adoptive parents should also respect their child's confidentiality. They should talk to their child about how much information regarding their adoption should be shared, and to respect the child's boundaries and preferences in this. With transracial adoptions, the fact that they are adopted will be obvious to many. The adopted child, however, still should maintain control over the details that are shared about his or her adoption. 

The fact that this is written by an adoptee makes it the most valuable resource on this topic. I've read a lot of research about what scientists and child development specialists and child psychologists and pediatricians say about parenting a child through adoption. Listening to the voice of an actual adoptee carries much more weight. 

There are many helpful lists and suggested responses to children's questions and expressions of fear or sadness in this book, which make it a handy reference guide throughout the child-rearing years. 


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