These books provide two excellent resources for families as they help their children adjust to a new life in their home – Attaching in Adoption and Nurturing Adoptions by Deborah Gray. The first book was published in 2002 and my children were already fourteen years old (adopted domestically). I immediately wished I had read it years before, but even then it had helpful little parenting techniques that were beneficial. In one of her vignettes, the father says to the child who was pushing the limits, “I wouldn’t be a good parent if I let you do” such-and-such. That struck me as a different approach and the next time I faced a situation where my kids were trying to get away with things that would not have been good for them, I tried it out and voila’ they looked at me and said, “Oh” and stopped. They looked at me like, “I suppose you have to be a good parent” and backed right down. I’m not saying that this became my number one method of interaction, but the little insights that Deborah gives in this book go beyond attachment issues themselves.
The first book centers on a discussion of the importance of attachment, how it happens, what interferes with it and what can be done to help a child attach to their new family. Deborah has worked with very difficult children and her book is full of examples of experiences of families and the ways they have dealt with attachment and have become healthier. The book is well written and readable whether you are an adoption professional or adoptive parent.
The second book, Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience after Neglect and Trauma, published in 2007, has more emphasis on the experiences a child has had before they entered their new home and how these experiences impact the child and their ability to attach to their new family. The book is divided into two sections, the first half is a discussion of the impact of neglect and trauma; the second half are specific interventions and things that a family or therapist can do to help the child relax and re-learn about life in a new way and with new responses. Again, this book is very readable for parent or professional and well worth the cost! Both have been out long enough that there should be low-cost used copies readily available. Both books are a treasure of information, insight and resources. I recommend them highly!
For more information on Deborah Gray please go to http://www.deborahdgray.com/!
Kathy L, MA