BOOKS: Adoption
The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child
Nancy Verrier

Verrier, an adoptive mother, teacher, and therapist, believed love could conquer all when she and her husband adopted a three-day-old infant girl. Her parenting experience led to ten years of research to understand the complex dynamics of the adopted person. While our society and many potential adoptive parents view adoption as a panacea for unwanted children, Verrier helps us see the deep wounding and pain that festers and grows inside the adopted person. This pain—or primal wound—is physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. This is a painful book to read. Yet, it is only by walking through the pain of grief and loss that we are able to heal ourselves.

The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for Physicians, Parents, and Providers
Laurie C. Miller M.D.

Since 1989, American families have adopted more than 230,000 children from other countries. Many of these children have lived in crowded conditions, sometimes with poor standards of hygiene, inadequate nutrition, and limited numbers of caregivers. Some suffer from endemic infectious diseases. Upon arrival, practitioners often fail to recognize the unique concerns of this group. This text provides an overview of the specialized medical and developmental issues that affect internationally adopted children, offering guidelines to the physicians caring for these children and their families before, during, and after adoption. The reader will learn how to advise families prior to an international adoption, how to perform an effective initial screening assessment of the newly arrived child, and how to recognize and manage developmental and other more long-term problems as they emerge.

Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: From Your First Hours Together Through the Teen Years
Patty Cogen

In this book, child and family therapist Patty Cogen, guides parents in promoting an internationally adopted child's social and emotional adjustment, explaining how to help a child adopted between the ages of six months and five years bond with his or her new parents, become a part of the family, and develop a positive self-image that incorporates both American identity and ethnic origins. Other topics include how (and why) to tell the child's story from the child's point of view; how to handle sleep problems and resistance to household rules; and how to encourage eye contact, ease transitions and separations, and deal with problematic anniversaries (birthdays, adoption day, Mother's Day).

Parenting the Hurt Child : Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow
Gregory Keck and Regina M. Kupecky
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The authors explore how parents can help adopted or foster children who have suffered neglect or abuse. They begin by outlining changes in adoption and fostering procedures in recent years and use case studies to document the friction and disruption introduced into a household when a hurt, adopted child is brought into the family. The authors examine attachment disorders and control issues as well as parenting techniques that work (praise, consistency, flexibility, anger management) and those that don't work (punishment, withholding parental love, grounding, time-outs, deprivation). They highlight the symptoms of abuse and options for therapy.

Weaving a family: untangling race and adoption
Barbara Katz Rothman
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Weaving together the sociological, the historical, and the personal, Barbara Katz Rothman looks at the contemporary American family through the lens of race, race through the lens of adoption, and all—race, family, and adoption—within the context of the changing meanings of motherhood.

Love in the driest season: a family memoir
Neely Tucker
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When veteran reporter Neely Tucker, a white man from Mississippi, came to Zimbabwe, his goal was to report on the country's political meltdown. But when a doctor at an orphanage forced him and his black wife to take home an infant abandoned at birth in order to save its life, their lives swiftly focused around adopting that infant.

The Road to Evergreen: Adoption, Attachment Therapy, and the Promise of Family
Rachael Stryker

The Road to Evergreen is an expertly written, ethnographically rich treatment of reactive attachment disorder (RAD). Rachael Stryker repositions RAD as more than a medical behavioral diagnosis; she argues that it is in fact a symptom of overwrought desires of private, nuclear kinship that revolve around children as emotional assets.The Road to Evergreen features extensive interview data from adoptive parents, adopted children, and social service providers both in the United States and Russia. Rachael Stryker clearly gained the trust of these individuals, in many instances developing ongoing relationships that lasted for several years. She is obviously a gifted interviewer and does an admirable job of seamlessly weaving vignettes into the text. These rich interview materials are very effective and give the reader a real sense of the experiences of the people involved.

Faces of Layla - A journey through Ethiopian adoption
Jennifer Armstrong, Emma Dodge Hanson

Faces of Layla, a book of stunning photographs of children at Layla House orphanage in Ethiopia by Emma Dodge Hanson, foreword by Melissa Fay Greene and text by Jennifer Armstrong. Emma Dodge Hanson captures the lives of the children at Layla House.

I'm chocolate, you're vanilla: raising healthy black and biracial children in a race conscious world
Marguerite Wright
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Young black and biracial children are unable to understand racial prejudice. In fact, developmentally they are incapable of understanding the concept of race.A child's concept of race is quite different from that of an adult. Young children perceive skin color as magical even changeable and unlike adults, are incapable of understanding the mature concepts surrounding race and racism. This essential guide for parents and teachers of Black children, offers clear, well-grounded advice of the things children need to know about race to build self-esteem.

Black Baby, White Hands: A View fron the Crib
Jaiya John
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July 15, 1968, a black baby becomes perhaps the first in the history of New Mexico to be adopted by a white family. Here is a brazenly honest autobiographical journey through the mind and heart of that child, a true story for the ages. BLACK BABY, WHITE HANDS, is a poetic, lyrical waterfall of jazz splashing over the rocks of pain, love and the honoring of family. Magically, this book finds a way to sing as it cries, and to exude compassion even as it dispels well-entrenched myths.

Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption
Jane Jeong Trenka

In thirty personal essays, research-based studies, poems and accompanying artwork, transracial adoptees "challenge the privileging of rational, ‘expert' knowledge that excludes so many adoptee voices." Conceived by the editors as "corrective action," the collection offers an eye-opening perspective on both the "the power differences between white people and people of color, the rich and the poor, the more or less empowered in adoption circles" and the sense of loss and limbo that individual adoptees may feel while "living in the borderlands of racial, national, and cultural identities."

In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories
Rita J. Simon

This book is the story of every person who has lived in an environment in which he or she didn't quite fit… Yet, while the stories in the book are universal, they are also deeply personal and incredibly touching. You cannot read this book without being changed.

Two Little Girls: A Memoir of Adoption
Theresa Reid

For parents hoping to adopt, self-reflection is the key phrase. Future parents of an adopted child need to be completely honest about their ability to parent and, although it may sound strange, about the type of child, including sex, age, and health factors. This book explores with an unflinching honesty one couple's soul-searching and sometimes painful journeys as they adopted, first, a Russian girl from Ekaterinburg and then a Ukrainian girl from a town near Odessa. Reid details her and her husband's desires, fears, doubts, anger, and frustrations–and, finally, their joys. Although the first adoption went comparatively smoothly, the second was filled with stumbling blocks, in both the U.S and Ukraine. Still, through luck and perseverance, they triumphed. This book is an excellent primer for those in the early stages of the adoption process, especially foreign adoption, and a wonderful story of a family's growth.