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Nurturing Adoptions

by Deborah D. Gray Perspectives; $26.95

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Since its publication in 2002, Attaching in Adoption has become a cornerstone of adoption literature. Now Deborah Gray follows up with Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience After Neglect and Trauma. A theoretical, yet practical, guide, Nurturing Adoptions is a vital resource for clinicians, adoption professionals, and parents alike.

Drawing on studies conducted by leading neuroscientists, as well as her own therapeutic cases, Gray deftly describes how untreated traumatic stress in infants and children can affect emotional regulation, social responses, memory, attention, and concentration. Gray also hopes that Nurturing Adoptions will serve as a call to action. A generation ago, the majority of adoptions were of newborns. But increasingly, older infants and children are adopted from domestic foster and international placements, and few parents are given much information about neglect or infant trauma, or about the risks of not addressing them, leading to, in Gray’s opinion, a growing public health disaster.

But one that’s not without a solution. Gray beautifully explains the role of attachment in developing internal systems for coping with stress. Using vignettes from case studies, Gray illustrates the roles of parents and therapists in healing hurt children. Destined to become another classic in adoption literature, Nurturing Adoptions is an important, sobering, and, ultimately, hopeful treatise on the impact of early trauma, and the transformative power of therapy and mindful parenting.

Reviewed by Heidi Holman, an adoptive mom who’s researched and written about the effects of trauma and sensory deprivation.

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