SUGGESTED READING FOR ADOPTIVE
PARENTS AND ADULT ADOPTEES
Brodzinsky, D. M., Schecter, M. D., & Henig, R. M. (1992).
Being adopted. The lifelong search for self. New York:
Kirk, H. D. (1964). Shared fate. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press.
Kirk, H. D. (1981). Adoptive kinship: A modem institution in need of reform. Toronto: Butterworth.
Lifton, B. J. (1977). Twice born: Memoirs of an adopted daughter. New York: Penguin Books.
Lifton, B. J. (1988). Lost and found (2nd ed.). New York: HarperCollins.
Lifton, B. J. (1994). Journey of the adopted self. A quest for wholeness. New York: Basic Books.
Sorosky, Arthur, Annette Baran, and Reuben Pannor. The Adoption Triangle: Sealed or Open records and How They Affect Adoptees, Birth Parents, and Adoptive Parents. New York: Anchor Books, 1978.
Trollope, Joanna. Brother and Sister. London: Bloomsbury, 2004.
Verrier, Nancy Newton. The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child. Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1993.
DENIAL AND THE THERAPIST:
Therapists may be easily misled by the adoptive parents' insistence that adoption has no relevance to their child's psychopathology. It is important for therapists to look beyond the family taboo and to help parents acknowledge the importance of adoption to themselves as well as their child.
In the transference of the adoptive parents, therapists may come to represent the birth parents. Unfortunately, once the child begins to form a bond with the therapist, adoptive parents may feel threatened by their child's potential attachment and even pull their child out of therapy. It is advisable to address these feelings early, when they may still be managed.
THE VALUE OF HONEST IN ADOPTION
What is known about the adopted child syndrome suggests the advisability of opening sealed adoption records and revising current adoption practices to foster honesty and openness. The syndrome is an extreme outcome of the practice of minimizing or ignoring the adopted child's quest to understand his or her origins. The current emphasis on anonymity in adoption encourages the denial of feelings and distorts understanding of the true complexities involved in the adoption process (Chapman, Domer, Silber, & Winterberg, 1987a, 1987b). However, even full disclosure of the identity of the birth parents and the reasons for adoption may not fully correct the pathogenic conditions. In such cases, it is also necessary for
parents and therapists to acknowledge-and work through-the child's intense, ambivalent attachment to both sets of parents and his or her identifications with both.
These findings also have relevance in the screening of prospective adoptive parents. A genuine acceptance of normal, age-appropriate aggressive and sexual behavior as well as the ability to identify unacceptable behavior are particularly important qualities in prospective adoptive parents. Above all, they should possess a willingness to acknowledge and discuss openly and honestly the potentially difficult, conflict-laden issue of adoption.
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