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The Post-Adoption Blues: Overcoming the Unforeseen Challenges of Adoption
By Karen J. Foli and John R. Thompson
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Review by Allison Martin

The Post-Adoption Blues is a different look at adoption than most other books, as it provides an introduction to a number of challenging issues adoptive parents might encounter during and after adoption. This book came about as a consequence of Karen Foli's difficulty in bonding with her baby daughter early in her adoption. As a couple, Dr. Foli and Dr. Thompson used this as a starting point to highlight many of the emotional aspects of adoption with which parents might struggle. Their belief is that by identifying and accepting difficult emotions and circumstances, parents can work through them to achieve feelings of love and acceptance. If not, they are concerned that these negative emotions can fester, perhaps even leading to 'the blues' or even clinical depression.

The Post-Adoption Blues comprises of three main sections: expectations of yourself as a parent, expectations of your child, and expectations of others. It explores the possible disconnection between expectations and realities of your adoption and the adoption process. In doing so the authors define a number of these possible discrepancies and issues - exploring these ramifications, providing real life examples and quotations, and listing possible solutions. Examples of expectations parents harbor include, "I will immediately feel that this is my child" and "I will handle the changes in lifestyle that parenting brings." Examples of coping solutions the authors suggest include preparing oneself beforehand by reading about adoption, attachment, developmental and parenting issues; finding professionals to talk with on difficult topics; and staying in touch with the adoption community. Excerpted quotes from professionals on related topics, interspersed in side bars, are particularly insightful.

I think this book will be useful to a parent (or perspective parent) who finds themselves struggling with feelings of sadness, frustration or anger. It will affirm that these are feelings that others have felt and offers suggestions for coping with these emotions.

It is likely that parts of the book will be more pertinent than others, depending upon your circumstances and personality. In their attempts to bring all adoption issues to light that might have negative baggage, the authors have included a formidable list of possibilities, touching on many aspects of adoption. However, the accumulated list is not likely to be representative of a typical adoptive parent. For example, some issues are most appropriate to certain kinds of adoption where special needs or older children offer unique parenting challenges. Nonetheless, the approach of bringing a host of issues to the discussion table is commendable and results in a valuable resource. This is sure to be an important source book for those preparing to adopt, for parents who have already adopted, and those who comprise the support system for an adoptive family.

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