Some books on the topic of adoption try to teach you what to do, while other give an account of a family personal experience with it. Then there are books that, by offering a much wider view of adoption, have a go at explaining what adoption actually is, and “Adopting the hurt child” does a remarkable job at that.

Read on if…

You are considering adoption, training to adopt, or you have adopted but haven’t read this book yet.

About this book:

“Adopting the hurt child” was one of the books recommended to us in our adoption training. We were given a long list of over a dozen books, followed by a generic request to “read what we could” out of that. I found that approach a little confusing, but thankfully Lisa, our social worker at the time, pointed us to this particular book, and I’m glad I listened.

The first time I read this book I found it really tough. This wasn’t because the concepts in it are too difficult to grasp, or the language used too technical. It was the first book on adoption I ever read, and reading it forced me to review many of my assumption about adoption; that’s what made it “tough” for me.

This book helped me to fully understand many of the concepts taught during adoption training that I wasn’t ready to hear. I had to have the same concepts written down, read about them page after page, for me to adjust my expectations and continue in the adoption process with some kind of awareness.

I’d recommend anyone approaching adoption for the first time to read this book, understand its content, and carry on hoping for the best in their own adoption journey.


Adopting the hurt child, cover

What I liked:

  • Reframes the expectations around adoption.
  • Uses short real life examples to illustrate every concept clearly.
  • Explains the typical behaviours resulting from attachment issues, rather than attachment theory itself.
  • Explains adoption the way the child experiences it.
  • Gives an objective account of some of the failings of the adoption system, and how this affect the children in care.

What I didn’t like:

  • It paints a rather negative picture of adoption by showcasing the worst and most serious cases of attachment disorders. It mentions that these are rare only in the last chapter, which might scare some people off, but could also be intentional.
  • Prescribes some controversial and outdated treatments supposedly aimed at mitigating attachment issues.
  • References and statistics apply to the US, although the important principles are pretty much universal. A person who is approaching adoption for the first time might often wonder if the content is relevant to where they live. It is. 🙂

Adopting the hurt child, thumb

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