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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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Paperback, Jan. 7 1999 --  
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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
Format:Paperback
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
Format:Paperback
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 Easily Assimilated Adoption Wisdom June 30 1999
Format:Hardcover
Joyce Maguire Pavao has been a familiar speaker at adoption reform and adoptive parent conferences for many years. Her wisdom, gentleness, and skill as a master story teller have enlightened many through the spoken word. It is a real joy to finally have her work in writing.
Emily Dickinson said "tell the truth, but tell it slant". That is exactly what Dr. Pavao does in her stories and anecdotes of adoptees and adoptive families in therapy, and in her pioneering work in open adoption. Rather than boring us all with theory, she lets the lives of her clients speak for themselves, and teach many lessons about the value of openness and honesty in adoption, and the healing power of truth and love.
This is a book that is easy to read--I read it through in a few hours--but one you will come back to again and again if you work with members of the adoption triad, or are yourself a person affected by adoption. As an adoptee herself, and a long-time activist for adoption reform, Dr. Pavao brings a special empathy to her work with adopted children and families, and with adult triad members. Unlike a previous reviewer here, I would take Dr. Pavao's writing over the pompous, empty platitudes of David ("I Am The Walrus")Brodzinski any day!
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By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Pioneering therapist Joyce Maguire Pavao's book should be read by all persons or pairs who wish to adopt. It examines the perspectives of all adoption triad members: birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted individuals. It contends that adoption is about finding families for children, not the other way round. The founder and director of the Center for Family Connections (Cambridge/New York), Dr. Pavao says she employs case studies because they pack emotional wallop and yet instruct. This is certainly the case. Within the first 30 pages, opportunities for tears abound - and so do clear descriptions of the hearts and minds of participants in the adoption process. With 20 years' experience as a provider who 'gets it' and a lifetime as an adopted person, Dr. Pavao has certainly earned the right to write on adoption (as few others have), and her language is intensely felt. The Open Door Society's ODS News calls this work "truly the most insightful and healing book on the adoption shelf." For anyone who offers professional services to a member of the triad, this book is a necessity. Dr. Pavao's inclusive, accessible style of writing makes The Family of Adoption especially successful. New England's Adoptive Families Together, Inc. (member of Adoptive Families of America and winner of a 1999 North American Council on Adoptable Children/NACAC award as Outstanding Parent Group) acquired copies for each of its support groups' libraries - I know, since I facilitate one such group! I'll say it once more: For anyone who offers professional services to a member of the triad, this book is a necessity.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding, wisdom and compassion
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,... Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best "All Around" Adoption Book!
The Family of Adoption is a great adoption book. Dr. Pavao has insights gained from being an adoptee and from working with adoptees. Read more
Published on June 15 2001 by Jan King
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a book by Dr. Joyce Pavao!
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... Read more
Published on March 7 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars a powerful little book for EVERYONE concerned with adoption
This extraordinary little book, with its carefully chosen anecdotes and clear, direct message, is the best book available about adoption and being adopted. Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2001 by A. Schauer
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!
"The Family of Adoption" should be read by everyone involved with adoption. The book is easy to read - Dr. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 1999 by Jaz
5.0 out of 5 stars I've been waiting for this book.
I've been waiting for this book because I attended a workshop by Dr. Pavao several years ago and thought she had very good insights. Read more
Published on Aug. 3 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best book on adoption I've read
"The Family of Adoption" is clearly the best book on adoption I've read to date. Pavao gives adoptive families fantastic food for thought delivered with unrivaled humor... Read more
Published on July 19 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not unique
The book jacket states that Pavao "is the first to demonstrate that there are often predictable and understandable developmental stages and challenges for all adopted... Read more
Published on Nov. 23 1998 by Colleen M. McDonald
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