The book has a more practical and realistic feel since the author willingly shared her own experiences as an adopted child. One characteristic of the book that should be noted is the way the author categorized the whole book. Covering the essentials not limited to the adopted child alone.
The author also generously shared insights about the needs of the birth and adoptive parent. It is very important to know the rationale behind her principle that the whole process of adoption does not only include the adopted child but the other individual surrounding her as well. Her book has admirably captured and discussed this principle.
In the book, the author well discussed the processes that the birth parent and the adoptive parents. This part recognizes the fact that even the parents (birth and adoptive) may go through the process of grief and experiences dilemmas as well.
In line with this, the book stated that the parents (birth and adoptive) may also need to go through the process of healing. To further strengthen this fact, the author mentioned that there is a need for the adoptive parent to undergo counseling since this will help the adoptive parent to better understand and have a healthy relationship with the adoptive child.
The book mentioned that an adopted child may go through “developmental stages” such us feelings of loss, experiencing problems in school and the wanting to know about their past. The author mentioned that the adopted child have every right to know as much about his or her past.
The adoptive parents should be open to this fact. Apart from this, the author was able to clarify the different challenges and developmental stages that the adopted child goes thru. She said that these are normal. They may be challenging, but they are a normal process that the adopted child goes thru.
In the book, it is stated that adoption “is not about finding children for families, but about finding families for children.” The items discussed in the book are somehow a reminder that the best interest of the adopted child should always be the priority of the parents.
In the first part of Chapter 1, the author said that “There have always been mothers and fathers who have not been able to, or not chosen to, or not been allowed to, parent their children…” This is a sad fact that Joyce Maguire Pavao has beautifully placed into proper perspective.
The birth parents have had their share of criticism from many because they gave up their child. But it is important to remember that the birth parents have reasons as to why they chose to give up their child for adoption. Birth parents need the same understanding, perhaps, as that of the adopted child.
This book presented us with the reality that adoption is a commitment more than anything else. It is a process that needs the cooperation of both the birth and adoptive family of the child.
Openness of both families is essential to the growth and better development of the child. It is important to accept that the adopted child will go thru confusing stages that may prove to be a challenge for the parents.
But because of the commitment that the parents choose to make, these challenges, when faced properly, may prove to be the cause of a better relationship with the child. While the family (parents and child) are going through the different challenges that the process of adoption brought about, it is critical for the parents to remind themselves that the best interest of the child should always be the main concern.
A lot of people have different opinion with regards to adoption. Some may even have negative notions about it. Apart from the usual challenges that an adoptive parent may face while going through the process of adoption, the opinions and reactions of the people around them is another thing that they would need to deal with.
It is not enough that the adoptive couple alone understand and is happy about adopting. It is vital that they have the support and understanding of the people they care about.
The book “Adoption is a Family Affair” is perfect for the families and friends of the adoptive couple. Patricia Irwin covered the different areas that families of the adoptive parents should know about. Areas such as who can adopt, reasons behind the decision of adopting, kids understanding adopting and much more.
She made the whole adoption process something that can be and should be shared amongst family members and even close friends. This book is a helping hand to the families and close friends of the adoptive couple, for them to better grasp then reality of and better understand the decision made by their loved one.
Patricia Irwin herself is an adoptive parent, given this, she may as well have experienced the confusions of her family and friends about her decision to adopt. She has a clearer understanding of the need for the people who the adoptive couple cares about to know as much fact as possible with regards to adoption.
It is important that the author pictured in the very beginning of her book that there can be a negative reaction from the people the adoptive parents care most about when the couple decides to share the information of adoption to them.
Like most of us, of course we would love for it for the people we equally love to feel the happiness and excitement we feel when we decide to adopt. And as the author clearly illustrated, this is not always the case.
The book acknowledges valid fears and concerns of the families and friends of the adoptive parents. Some of the valid concerns that the author discussed were the permanence of adoption, whether the child will be different from them or will not fit, the racial difference, should grandparents include the adopted child in their will, how can the family have deeper bonds with the child, etc.
These are all valid concerns and important. In fact, the adoptive couple may have thought about all these things themselves.
Patricia Irwin was great in giving solutions or suggestions on how to deal with these fears and concerns. Some of her solutions were as simple as the family members spending time with the child to create a deeper bond, giving assurance to the family members that adoption is permanent, and the like.
One interesting part of the book is where the author gave examples of the possibly irritating comments given by friends and relatives of adoptive couples upon knowing of the couples’ decision to adopt. These comments show how uninformed some people are about adoption. It illustrates how some people, no matter how closely related they may be to the adoptive couple, can be insensitive about the whole adoption process.
There were financial related comments where it appears as if the child is someone the adoptive couple picks from a shelf display of children and pays for it at the counter. Some comments were just downright insensitive and would not be expected to have come from well educated individuals.
Of course, we cannot expect everyone to be knowledgeable about adoption. As the book illustrated, the families and relatives of the adoptive couple may be confused and misinformed about adoption.
This book has truly been informative and is useful for the family and friends of the adoptive couple. It plainly made clear the issues that the adoptive couples may go through in connection with the possible reactions, confusions and hesitations of the people around them who they wish to be a part of the adoption process.
Pavao JM. The Family of Adoption. Boston: Beacon Press; 2004
Johnston PI. Adoption is a Family Affair. Indianapolis: Perspective Press;