Adopting the Hurt Child – Adoption Book Review


From the Cover of Adopting the Hurt Child: Hope for Families with Special-Needs Kids by Gregory C. Keck, Ph.D, and Regina M. Kupecky, LSW:

“Fewer and fewer families adopting today are able to bring home a healthy newborn infant. The majority of adoptions now involve emotionally wounded, older children who have suffered the effects of abuse or neglect in their birth families and carry complex baggage with them into their adoptive families. Adopting the Hurt Child addresses the frustrations, heartache, and hope surrounding the adoptions of these special-needs kids.

Children who have endured emotional and physical atrocities, failed reunifications, and myriad losses associated with multiple moves in the foster care system not only present unique challenges to their adoptive families but also impact greater society in significant ways. Integrating social, psychological, and sociopolitical issues, Adopting the Hurt Child explains how trauma and interruptions affect these children’s normal development and often severely undermine their capacity to function in a loving family and in society.

Written in a non-technical style accessible to a diverse audience, Adopting the Hurt Child brings to light grim truths, but also real hope that children who have been hurt—and often hurt others—can be healed and brought back into life by the adoptive and foster parents, therapists, teachers, social workers, and others whose lives intersect with theirs.”


5 hoots out of 5

Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 5 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

What I Thought:

Early in our foster care and adoption journey, our family was on vacation, and before getting on the road to come home, we stopped at an outlet mall. While perusing through a book store, I saw Adopting the Hurt Child, read the cover, and decided it was a must read. On the five-hour ride home, I devoured it, dog-earing pages and soaking in the wisdom.

This book introduces 1) attachment and how difficulties arise due to abuse, neglect, and impermanence, 2) issues with the child welfare system, 3) placement issues, 4) dreams versus realities, 5) the challenges of international adoption, 6) adapting to life together, 7) sibling issues, 8) “giving your child a history,” 9) effective treatment, 10) failed adoptions, 11) successful adoptions, 12) and life in the process of hurting and healing. So many aspects of life with our kids began to make more sense as I read this book. I understood why some of their behaviors, which seemed very abnormal and pathological, were actually quite normal for their circumstances and came to understand how those behaviors developed.

This is one of two books on our shelves that I return to often as a reference either to quote something for someone else or to remind myself of certain realities or find hope. It is a must-read for foster and adoptive parents. Stay tuned for a review of the follow-up book by the same authors—Parenting the Hurt Child—which focuses more on practical strategies.

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