Monday, March 15, 2010

Parenting the Hurt Child

Every adoptive family needs a copy of Parenting the Hurt Child by Gregory Keck and Regina Kupecky. Even if you think your adoption situation was idyllic, adoption by definition involves a loss for the child at its center.

I love this book because the authors treat adoptive parents with such respect; they are viewed as the only parties who have the power to bring healing to the child by teaching him to attach to them. A therapist can help, but the job belongs to the parents. It's full of lots of practical instruction on fostering attachment--things that are fun and doable, and great for keeping *any* child firmly attached (hello teenagers!).

And they view home-schooling as a non-issue, a refreshing change for child welfare professionals.

I'm giving this book a whole-hearted endorsement.


mrs boo radley said...

Thanks for the recommendation!

TRS said...


I was adopted as an infant. All of three weeks old I'm told. As far as I know, I never had any adjustment issues. so I'm a bit skeptical when anyone suggests that adoption is traumatic.

My older sister was adopted at age three... so there was obviously an adjustment there.
My brother (also older) was adopted as an infant (not sure how many weeks) but unlike me, he has always felt that someone gave him up - where as my view was that my parents wanted me so badly. I don't even think of the birth mother rather than with extreme gratitude for doing what had to be hard to do - but obviously the right thing.

Adoption is beautiful - and normal.
I don't think society should point at it as something not normal. It's just another way to make a family.

Happymom4 aka Hope Anne said...

Good. Thank you for pointing out one of the truly helpful books on the market for parents. In light of the tragedy in CA, it's esp. important that the good books be widely advertized. More parents need support and resources. I also found much in Dan Hughes book to be very, very helpful. We'd made a lot of good progress with our Dd by the time we encountered that book, so I sometimes joke that it was the "final puzzle piece" --still, it's VERY important to get that final piece found and put into the puzzle!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the recommendation. We are in the process of adopting and I am looking forward to reading this. Have you also read "Adopted for Life" by Russell Moore? We were very encouraged!
Thanks for all the great ideas,
your writing and photography, sharing your family's blesses me!

Anna said...

No suggestion that adoption isn't "normal". Just that the children who are adopted experience losses as well as gains. No surprise there.

KAlexaLott said...

I have ALWAYS enjoyed your blog and read it almost daily, but today I believe it is truly a God-send!

We are in our third month of foster care with a little six year old girl who has already experienced a lot of trauma in her life. It's one of those sad cases where mom/dad did just enough to traumatize her, but not enough to easily prove them unfit.

Our social worker is wonderful and sees great change since she came to live with us, and the goal now is for her to be permanently placed with us and adopted. But, terminating dad's parental rights will not be easy, and most likely stretch well into a years worth of counseling, court hearings and documentation.

As you can imagine, H is caught in the middle and it is taxing, both on her and us as exposure to dad effects her behavior with us. I think this book may be just the ticket we need!

Can you tell me if this book also gives advise on ways to help your own biological children deal with the changes that having a troubled child in the home can bring? That is currently one of the biggest struggles we are facing.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Anna said...

Kim, it does address the other siblings. In ways that I found particularly freeing and refreshing. Blessings on your family as you parent your new daughter. said...

Thank you, Anne.
We have not adopted but would like to although we have been told 3 things. 1) We already have 4 children and probably would not be considered due to that 2)someone told us we would have to foster first in order to domestically adopt. 3) We are military. My husband is a pilot. We have been told that this it is not a consideration for adoption in most cases. We do not know if this is true, I suppose it depends on which state we live in and what type of adoption?!
However, we have many friends who have adopted and I am sure we will find this book helpful to read and past on!


Laryssa Herbert said...

Thank you so much for sharing about this book. We are prayerfully considering adopting an African-American sibling group. We are a White family with two young children (10 and 4). We go to a mixed race church and have such love for the fatherless. Your family is such an encouragement to me.

Hopewell said...

Second that recommendation with a nod toward going all-out to find an experienced therapist. Makes life much, much nicer for both the child and the parents.

Rae B. Bunton said...

Thanks for this. My husband and I just adopted a five year old and for his age, he already gone through a lot. We hope that, on top of our own efforts to love and care for him, we would be able to help him heal the bruises and scars of his experiences. We hope that this book will be able to help us. Thanks!

Rebecca said...

This is a wonderful book and I am so thankful that you pointed out "loss" as a commonality in all adoptions.
To the commenter before me- a book that may speak to much you are experiencing is The Connected Child.
It isn't as pertinent to the domestically adopted infant but it is a must read for a child being adopted internationally or as an older toddler/child domestically.

Mrs. MK said...

Thanks for sharing, Anna. We are praying about adopting next year, and are learning and gathering all we can. Thanks!

Lucy said...

I agree with your recommendation. One of our children was adopted at 18 mo, and is now 6 - there are definite signs of the trauma he suffered and he has needed a lot of help to cope with life, and the extra support will be ongoing for him. Our other child was adopted at 6mo and had less trauma and disruption, and is now almost 3. She too shows signs of the harm in her life. Both are happy and lovely and "normal", but they are not able to handle things as their peers generally do. Attachment fostering activities have been so helpful.

Loretta said...

Anna, I think your book recommendation is a very useful one for many adoptive families.

Our daughter, who is almost 20 years old now, is adopted. We've had her since she was 1½ days old and she has never had any issues with her adoption. We've always been very open with her about the adoption and we have all the information (including addresses and phone numbers) that would allow her to connect with her birth parents, but she isn't interested. Because we have a good medical history for her, and we know the 'whys' of her placement (I spent a good bit of time with her birthmother before my daughter was born), she simply doesn't have the many questions that often plague adoptees, even when they're happy in their families. But a dear friend's daughter, also adopted at birth, also with good information from her birth families, has seemed almost haunted by her adoption. I thank God that our case has been an easy one, but I know there are many that aren't so easy.

Thank you for this book recommendation.

thecurryseven said...

This is one of my favorite adoption books. Actually, it's one of my favorite parenting books. I found it to be a wealth of wisdom for raising children. I try to reread it every so often. Your post reminds me it's been a while since I picked it up...guess it's time to go dig it out again.

Becca said...

Thank you for the recommendation. It looks like a very helpful book. Our family is currently going through the process of adopting an infant from the United States. My mother (Kirstin, who also commented on this post) and I have really enjoyed your blog. I definitely recommend Adopted for Life. It is a great book!

TRS said...


Wasn't suggesting that YOU suggested it was anything other than normal. Just tossing in my opinion.

In fact, about 6 months ago I stumbled on a thread on YouTube featuring a bunch of videos from children who resented their birth mothers for giving them up. (calling them selfish, declaring that they felt lonely and unloved)
I was stunned, (and a little peeved) I had never seen anything like that before and it had never occurred to me that anyone would feel anything but extreme gratitude to the person who selflessly endured 9 months of pregnancy to give their child to someone who could better care for them.
Selfish? Compared to abortion? I can't wrap my head around it.

Anyway, I'm just back here to add... that I guess there are many many different adoption circumstances... and therefore many ways to navigate it.

Anything that helps.

Anna said...

I think too, that the issues are wider than the child's feelings towards the birthparents. A child could be grateful to birthmom, and at the same time grieve over his loss, or have difficulty attaching.

So glad adoption has been such a positive experience in your family--in mine too!

Adrienne said...

We heard Gregory Keck speak at a Conference in '97 prior to adopting inter-country ~ he was a very interesting speaker and seemed passionate about his work with traumatised children.

You are so lucky in the USA with the enormous amount of knowledge there is about traumatised children and dealing with it. We have struggled for 12 yrs with parenting a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, with professionals who have an extremely limited understanding of the issues. It is only the support group we have in our city of five other sets of inter-country adoptive parents (all with similar issues), which has kept me sane and got us through.

dorothy said...

Thank you for the recommendation. I've just put the book on hold at my library. I have also been enjoying "Adopted for Life". I so enjoy your blog.

Katie said...

Anna, I'd love to one day read about how Bella came to be a part of your family.

Sarah W said...

thanks for the recommendation. we've just finished up our classes to adopt through the state of MO and now are finishing up paperwork and home-study stuff. looking forward to following you blog more. my sister randomly found it as she searched for homeschooling information so it's wonderfully Providential. :)

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