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Adoption Reunion - Ecstasy or Agony? [Paperback]

Evelyn Robinson

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Book Description

Dec 15 2009
A reunion between family members who have been separated by an adoption can be a very emotional event. For most people there is great joy and excitement, but for some there can be anger and disappointment. Sometimes there is a mixture of both ecstasy and agony. Evelyn Robinson has written this book to help to explain that mixture of feelings and to increase understanding of the emotional dynamics of the reunion experience. Although the author lives and works in South Australia, the information in this book is pertinent to anyone, anywhere in the world, who is interested in the outcomes of adoption separation and reunion. Australia has led the English-speaking world in providing legal access to adoption information, which can facilitate reunion between adults separated by adoption. When children are adopted, they are no longer legally related to any member of their original families ie the family of their original mother and the family of their original father. When they become adults, however, many adopted people are reunited with their families of origin. This book contains a selection from the many discussions which Evelyn has had around adoption separation and reunion over a period of more than twenty years.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Clova Publications (Dec 15 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0987193120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0987193124
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.7 x 1.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #461,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for adoptive parents Dec 28 2009
By Jane Edwards - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Evelyn Robinson's third book of insights into the adoption experience is a must read for adoptive parents. After a discussion of the impact of reunion on adoptees and birthparents, she provides specific information via a question and answer format. Although she addresses all members of the triad, her answers to adoptive parents are the most valuable because adoptive parents tend to be the most uninformed of the three groups. Adoptive parents often feel left out of the reunion process or worse, rejected by the child they raised from infancy to maturity. Many adoptive parents have thought of themselves as the only parents; consequently they consider the birthparents interlopers.

Robinson explains patiently that adopted children have always had two sets of parents and that reunion is not a rejection of the adoptive parents. It is rather a recognition of the adoptee's original family and a widening of his circle to include them.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Resource for all Dec 1 2009
By SFP - Published on
This is the third of Evelyn Robinson's books on adoption loss, and for many, may be the most valuable. Her stated attempt in this book is to provide a ready reference on adoption loss and recovery for those who do not wish to explore the subject in more depth, or who might be less inclined to read a more substantial or a more narrative book. She has accomplished that purpose.

The book is divided into three sections:

Adoption Loss and Grief
In this section, Robinson situates the grief caused by family separation in the context of grief reactions in general. She shows the similarities of this loss to other losses and provides some quick, short reference notes from other authors to substantiate what she says. She deals first with the loss of mothers, and then with that of those who were adopted. There is a succinct sub-section on the disenfranchised grief which adoption loss creates. FAQs in this section are those of mothers.

Personal Recovery
Personal recovery is defined as addressing the effects of adoption separation on individuals. She describes re-grief therapy and why it may help those suffering from adoption loss. The FAQs which follow this section are those often asked by those who were adopted.

Interpersonal Recovery
Interpersonal recovery addresses the long-term impacts on relationships between family members who have been separated by adoption. In this section, she describes the four tasks in mourning the loss that has occurred:
* to accept the reality of the loss
* to work through the pain of the grief
* to adjust to the changed environment
* to move on with life

She addresses the reasons that grief arises at reunion, and describes how it may manifest, including some of the complicated grief reactions that may arise. She also addresses reunion outcomes and why some mothers and people adopted may decline a reunion. Questions addressed in this section include those of adoptive parents and family members.

Each section of the book defines the topic in two sub-sections, provides some hopeful methods in a third and then in the forth sub-section, lists some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Answers. For many people these questions and answers will form a ready set of notes for how to respond when the questions come up. We're not all able to think quickly on our feet. I was personally impressed with the neutrality of her responses to what are often some offensive questions.

Robinson is able to re-frame many a question's underlying bias to a more helpful way of looking at the situation. For example, when asked about the trauma that surfaces upon reunion, Robinson reminds us that the reunion did not cause the trauma; adoption separation causes trauma. Though it may have been repressed for decades, the surfacing of the trauma's effects is the sign of unresolved grieving finally being recognized.

Both because of its succinct summary of main lines of research and its clear compassion, this is an excellent first resource for those contemplating or dealing with a reunion. It will form a valuable resource for those who deal with mothers and people adopted in reunion. I would recommend this as a foundational book about adoption in anyone's library.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buried grief April 15 2013
By Patricia D. Wight - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was the first book I read on adoption reunion after my relinquished son contacted me. The book helped me begin to see how deeply wounded my son and I both were and started me on a path of grieving over my loss. It had never occurred to me to expect anyone to sympathize with me much less send me a "sorry for your loss" card. For someone of my generation, someone who was in denial and had been part of the "baby scoop era" it was an extremely enlightening and helpful read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated and not helpful Jan. 13 2013
By Ms. Davina M. Collier - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book could do with some re-editing or updating based on what is now known about the forced adoption policies of the past. Some of the information presented in this book is biased, not helpful and potentially damaging to the possibility of reunions. Robinson writes in a cold and clinical way and this makes this book not user friendly at all. In light of all of the new research and information on adoption separation and the impact of that on mothers and children, this book is dated.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic April 1 2013
By Debbie Gagnon - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book filled with very useful information. I am in the early stages of a reunion and this book has helped me tremendously

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