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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From Publishers Weekly
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. Pavao, an adoption therapist and the executive director of the Center for Family Connections in Cambridge, Mass., was herself adopted as an infant. She believes strongly in the necessity of pre- and post-adoptive counseling for both birth and adoptive parents, although she acknowledges that there is a serious lack of trained professionals for this purpose. According to the author, such counseling is essential if adoptive parents are to understand and be able to work with their child through the developmental stages common to adoptees, such as feelings of loss, school problems and a desire to learn about their past. Pavao's analysis is comprehensive, and she considers all types of adoption, including transracial, special needs, international and foster care. Drawing on adoption stories culled from her practice, she shows how the adopted child, birth parents, adoptive parents, as well as other family members benefit from such contact and openness. She is convinced that those who are adopted have a right to learn as much as possible about their past and suggests, for example, that international adoptees be allowed to visit their country of origin to better understand their roots. Adoption, Pavao writes, "is not about finding children for families, but about finding families for children."
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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