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*Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience After Neglect and Trauma* by Deborah D. Gray
Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience After Neglect and Trauma
by Deborah D. Gray
Perspectives Press 510 pages July 2007 Hardcover    

Nurturing Adoptions is the new best friend of those working to connect abused and neglected children, available for adoption, with prospective adoptive parents. Deborah Gray's book will no doubt prove to be an invaluable reference material and should be on the bookshelf of every professional and volunteer working to facilitate such adoptions.

According to AFCARS, as of September 30, 2006, approximately 799,000 children had been served by the various child welfare agencies across the country. Of those, state agencies played a role in the adoption of 51,000 of those children. More than 120,000 were waiting to be adopted, and 79,000 had already been through the TPR (Termination of Parental Rights) process, making them eligible for adoption. The statistics are staggering. The foster care system was never designed to be a permanent place for children, and with concerted effort and attention to detail, children should not have to linger in foster care for years. Deborah Gray's book provides a roadmap to nurturing successful adoptions.

In Part One of the book, Gray provides concise, well-written segments concerning the ever-changing nature of the adoption process; provides explanation of the disorders that are common among children who have suffered abuse, trauma, and neglect; and the effects such experiences have on a child's development and ability to form attachments. Having the topics broken down with respect to the child's age is certainly a benefit and not something I've found, in general, in other reading on the subject. Far too many other books take a one-size-fits-all approach that is simply ineffective in application.

In Part Two, the author undertakes the task of outlining the roles of the personnel integral to the process of rebuilding a child's ability to trust, to accept help, and to develop coping mechanisms for the future, specifically with regard to healthy relationships with their new family members, teachers, and peers. Particular emphasis is placed on identifying the child's unique behaviors and being observant for changes in those behaviors. The author also takes time to talk about how regular routines may become disrupted and offers suggestions on getting back on track, utilizing family, spiritual, and community support resources for success and taking time to reflect on the successes, however small, the family has. Caseworkers and other professionals in the adoptive process are encouraged to help adoptive families prepare for the challenges they will face post adoption, and to establish and model good communication techniques, the foundation of success.

As a volunteer advocate for abused and neglected children for the last eight years, I find Deborah Gray's book to be packed with insight, and useful information. Its perspective is different than the purely clinical tone of other books on the same subject. The author gives practical examples and ideas that nearly anyone can implement that will work in tandem with established procedures. I certainly plan to make this book a part of my reference shelf for use with current and future cases.

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