The Post-Adoption Blues
By: Karen J. Foli, Ph.D. and John R. Thompson, M.D.
Reviewed By: Jon Henshaw, M.A.
Adoptive parents realize that they did not give this child life, but they desperately want to give this child a life.
The mission of The Post-Adoption Blues is to examine the challenges of adoption, and to alleviate feelings often experienced during and after the adoption process. More specifically, the authors' state the following as their goals:
- Narrow the differences between what is expected during the adoption process and what is actually experienced in order to lessen stress and depression.
- Teach adoptive families to confront stress and depression by allowing them to express the very real pain they're feeling; this will create opportunities for growth.
- Open dialogue on post-adoption emotions in order to contribute to better-prepared adoption experiences. Concentrate on securing for adoptive parents the care and help they need.
- Increase awareness and usage of effective coping strategies to help deal with stress and depression.
- Describe and better understand the specific vulnerabilities of each type of adoption, be it domestic (open or confidential), international, foster parent, or kinship.
In the book, the authors tackled difficult, but all-to-real fears that many adoptive parents experience. Some of them included concerns about parenting skills, and worries about how attached they will or will not become with their child. They described the following scenario regarding attachment:
Falling in love with a child that smells different, looks different, and behaves differently than you expected can be difficult. In some cases, immediate and visceral feelings of rejection of the child ensue. Then overwhelming panic grabs you as a you realize that you have no idea what you need to do to change the situation.
The authors provided concrete and practical advise for coping with most (if not all) of the stressors adoptive parents can experience. Along with covering expectations -- what parents should expect from themselves, their child, friends and family, etc. -- the inclusion of coping techniques will help most parents better survive each difficulty as it may arise.
Throughout the book, the authors included small snippets called thoughts from an expert. The snippets were quotes from other experts in the field. They seemed to help solidify each point the authors were attempting to make. Another helpful element was case studies. The authors supplemented their work with real-life case studies, which in turn made each point more personal for the reader.
The Post-Adoption Blues is a well-researched, thoughtful, and useful tool for couples who are contemplating adoption, and for parents who are already there. Without hesitation, I would recommend this book as required reading for anyone who is considering or already experiencing the adoption of a child.