Academic journal article Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal

Making Sense of Adoption, A Parent's Guide

Academic journal article Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal

Making Sense of Adoption, A Parent's Guide

Article excerpt

Making Sense of Adoption, A Parent's Guide by Lois Rukai Melina Harper & Row, 1989.

Making Sense of Adoption is an apt title. We live at a time when few things make sense, so why should adoption? Like many things in society, it, too, is unravelling.

Lois Melina, an adoptive mother of two, has taken on the formidable task of guiding us through the malfunctioning closed adoption system. She takes up issues that just weren't discussed when the system was securely sealed-that is before the pill and legal abortion dried up the baby market, and babies like myself grew up to expose the psychological damage caused to parent and child alike by the closed system.

Ms. Melina covers many of the same subjects to be found in her previous book, Raising Adopted Children, but now she expands her terrain to include families formed through donor insemination, surrogacy and in vitro fertilization. Which gives us some idea how exotic and hi tech the once drab subject of adoption has become.

There's something here for everyone: for parents who don't know when or how to tell their child about adoption; for parents who need guidance with racially different or older placement children; for parents who are overwhelmed by acting out teenagers; for parents whose children who want to search for their birthparents.

I know many troubled adoptive parents who would have done anything for a book like this when they adopted years ago. Its mission is to prepare adopters for possible minefields built into the closed adoption system, so that they can avoid having everything blow up when their child reaches puberty or adolescence. Ms. Melina does not deny the sadness, pain and anger that adoptive children usually feel, but she does so in a reassuring way that will not threaten adoptive parents.

Much of what Ms. Melina says would have been considered revolutionary only a few years ago. (And, no doubt, still is by conservatives in the field, who still hang on to that discredited credo "confidentiality.") Even now, when adoption practise is opening from within, records remain legally sealed in all but three states, and most adoptive parents still feel threatened at the mention of birth parents. …

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