Healing the Adoption
A Book for Adult Adoptees, Their
Families, and Therapists
by Nancy Parkhill
Bookman Publishing, 2004
Reviewed by Barbara
new book was written by our own Nancy Parkhill, whose therapy practice
specializes in adoption issues, particularly for adult adoptees.
Nancy herself was adopted in early childhood,
along with her full sister. A sweet picture of her appears on the front cover
of the book.
Although she includes some incidents and facts
from her own life, the book is not primarily a first-person account of her
story, but is written for individuals and families with adoption connections
and for other therapists working with the adoption triad.
She intersperses her own conscious memories
of her childhood with the voice of Little Nancy, as she imagines
the internal thoughts she might have had before her conscious memory, and
then comments from the adult therapist perspective. This is an effective
way of helping the reader understand technical terms in concrete ways, and
should be extremely helpful to adoptive parents as well as to adult adoptees
who might read the book for their own self-healing.
She encourages the use of a journal and lists
questions from time to time to aid readers in developing their personal journal
concerning their own adoption experiences.
This book would be especially helpful for adoptees
contemplating search, or during their search, as they explore their thoughts
and feelings and prepare to meet their birth family, or deal with the possibility
of not being able to meet them.
It would also be very beneficial for adoptive
parentsboth those whose adoptees are searching or contemplating search,
or for those currently raising adopted childrento avoid some of the
pitfalls that can happen when parents are well-meaning but ill-informed.
For instance, many adoptive parents consider
changing a childs first name to one of their own choosing. For an infant
at birth, that is probably not a big issue, but for a child who already knows
its name, that will be a life-long issue.
Nancys original name was Peggy, and when
her adoptive parents changed her name to Nancy, her toddler perception was
that Peggy had somehow died and she had become Nancy.
The equivalent situation now is most likely
to be adopting a child from China or Eastern Europe, where the child is already
old enough to have a definite self-image relating to a name. Prospective
adoptive parents would do well to read Nancys personal experience with
having her name changed.
This book was not written to address birth-parent
issues, hut would be helpful for a birth parent contemplating search and
reunion, or in the early stages of reunion, as it would help prepare them
for questions the adoptee will have, and the issues the adoptee will bring
into the relationship.
This book focuses on the adoptees experience
without resorting to blaming and shaming birth parents, as some other books
aimed at helping adoptees unfortunately do.
It also does not portray an unrealistic,
happily-ever-after viewpoint of reunion. The reader wishes fervently that
the author could have had a happier reunion experience, but also sees that
she did not let that define the rest of her life.
We are excited that Nancy has been able to
write and publish this helpful book, and we look forward to her next one.
Nancy will also be at the AAC Conference in
Kansas City, MO, April 1-3, 2004, to sell her book. She is interested in
meeting people who would like to share their stories for a future book
Excerpted from the April 2004
edition of the Operation Identitiy Newsletter
© 2004 Operation Identity