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The Family of Adoption


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About the Author

Joyce Maguire Pavao, founder of the Adoption Resource Canter in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is also the CEO of Center for Family Connections in Cambridge and New York. She is a lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and has lectured at Smith, Wellesley, UCLA, USC, and Antioch, among other universities.


A commitment to placing the best interests of the child first informs every page of this excellent study of the complex psychological and social dynamics of adoptive families. Pavao, an adoption therapist and the executive director of the Center for Family Connections in Cambridge, Mass., was herself adopted as an infant. She believes strongly in the necessity of pre- and post-adoptive counseling for both birth and adoptive parents, although she acknowledges that there is a serious lack of trained professionals for this purpose. According to the author, such counseling is essential if adoptive parents are to understand and be able to work with their child through the developmental stages common to adoptees, such as feelings of loss, school problems and a desire to learn about their past. Pavao's analysis is comprehensive, and she considers all types of adoption, including transracial, special needs, international and foster care. Drawing on adoption stories culled from her practice, she shows how the adopted child, birth parents, adoptive parents, as well as other family members benefit from such contact and openness. She is convinced that those who are adopted have a right to learn as much as possible about their past and suggests, for example, that international adoptees be allowed to visit their country of origin to better understand their roots. Adoption, Pavao writes, "is not about finding children for families, but about finding families for children." (Aug.)

We've long needed a book like Pavao's, which looks at adoption as an idea and a process . . . I recommend it to all readers who are affected by adoption, and isn't that all of us? --Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia and The Shelter of Each Other

"A commitment to placing the best interests of the child first informs every page of this excellent study of the complex psychological and social dynamics of adoptive families." --Publishers Weekly "[An] insightful, informative, and at times very moving look at adoption from all sides . . . What makes this book so helpful for anyone involved in the adoption process is the author's obvious respect for all parties, including parents, extended families, and even teachers, judges, and social workers. Instead of putting people off, [Pavao] encourages them to find new ways to empathize and cooperate, keeping the child's best interest at the forefront." --Diane Daniel, Boston Globe "This very candid, honest book takes a look at infertility and the ambiguity of adoption that is often merely alluded to in other adoption publications . . . This book is a gift to anyone involved in adoption. Get it and read it more than once." --Chosen Family Magazine

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