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The Family of Adoption: Completely Revised and Updated [Paperback]

Joyce Maguire Pavao
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 7 1999

Full of wonderful stories that give insight into a wide variety of adoption issues, now revised in light of recent developments, The Family of Adoption is a powerful argument for the right kind of openness in adoption. Joyce Maguire Pavao uses her thirty years of experience as a family and adoption therapist to explain to adoptive parents, birthparents, adult adopted people, and extended family, as well as to those who work with children professionally the developmental stages and challenges one can expect in the life of the adopted person.

The Family of Adoption is truly the most insightful and healing book on the adoption shelf.

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From Amazon

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for everyone Sept. 14 2003
This is a great resource for adoption members (and anyone else) who want to understand the developmental stages and clinical issues in adoption. Pavao, an adoptee herself, was only told once of her adoption and after that "no one would talk, no one would explain." She grew up with the poisonous idea that "people who have secrets about them think there's something wrong with them." When she met her birthmother, the secrecy continued. No wonder, today, as a "family-system thinker," Pavao works to change a system that perpetuates secrecy and in so doing The Family of Adoption is meant for everyone in the world of adoption, but with focus on the best interest of the child. Pavao points out that birth and adoptive families are not the only ones responsible for the family of adoption. She deplores the fact that to this day material on adoption in medical school texts are lacking. The nation's psychiatrists, pediatricians, obstetricians, gynecologists and general practitioners are taught next to nothing about adoption. Law schools, too, neglect to give lawyers and judges a broader framework within which to view adoption and serve each client and case. Social workers too get inadequate training to work with complex families, as do professors in psychology programs. Pavao points out the "sad change of events" today which shows that adoptions in the U.S. are not based on a deliberation about the child's welfare but on business considerations. Her informative book tries to stir both public and private adoptions in the direction of seeing what placement would be the best for the child, and not best for the family, agency or adoption professional. I heartily recommend this book to the general public.
Gisela Gasper Fitzgerald, author of ADOPTION: An Open, Semi-Open or Closed Practice?
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5.0 out of 5 stars simply the best March 6 2002
As a mother of a 8 year old, foster to adopt daughter, this book is so helpful to know what her feelings are of her birth parents. Even though she is old enough to remember and honesty state where her parents went wrong, she still loves them. This book helps me to understand the value of her being connected to her birth family. That the connection is not broken with the legal signing of adoption papers. That she will always have the connection and that I had better do my part in helping her understand what it is all about. I met Joyce Maguire Pavao last Nov. when the State of Maine Dept.of Human Services had her as a guest speaker to celebrate National Adoption Month. I thought she knew her stuff, then. She didn't have her book for sale that day like most speakers do, it wasn't until recently, while in a local book store that I saw it. I grabbed it and couldn't put it down. Now, I'm buying several copies for others, that I know who have adopted. The book really covers the issue of national and international adoption. And the feelings of all involved. It really is simply the best book I've read on adoption,(and I have enough books on adoption to start a small library!!!)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding, wisdom and compassion Aug. 8 2001
By A Customer
This book is a gem. It is full of undersanding, wisdom and compassion for all involved in adoption. It goes beyond generalities and charts the changing needs that birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptees face in the different stages of their lives. I particularly like the way the author identifies the special issues for adoptees and their families as 'normative crises' rather than 'pathologies'. I am buying extra copies for my therapist friends.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best "All Around" Adoption Book! June 15 2001
The Family of Adoption is a great adoption book. Dr. Pavao has insights gained from being an adoptee and from working with adoptees. She helps families understand the thoughts, needs and realities from the adoptee perspecitve. This is one book that I recommend to all adoptive families. A must have! It is required reading for our families.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a book by Dr. Joyce Pavao! March 7 2001
By A Customer
Joyce Pavao is the voice of reason in today's world of adoption. I have had the pleasure over the years of hearing her speak - she has a child-centered, open and loving approach for children who cannot be parented by those who gave birth to them - and I am thrilled to finally have her words written down. I keep buying this book and giving it away, over and over again. I highly recommend this book to everyone in the world of adoption, foster care, and to families of divorce/custody.
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This extraordinary little book, with its carefully chosen anecdotes and clear, direct message, is the best book available about adoption and being adopted. It changed the structure of life in my family, and I give it to family members, teachers of my adopted children, and anyone else who is looking for clarity in the complex world of adoption. When you finish reading you will understand loss in adoption, you will understand what Dr. Pavao means by the "Family of Adoption", you will know how to listen better to your adopted children so that you can really hear what they are telling you, and you will be a better parent, teacher, grandparent, or friend. Buy this book and treasure it! I have read almost all adoption books published in the last ten years in the USA, and this is without question a beautiful, powerful and poignant work, and one of the best.
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