chapter  13
15 Pages

“Likening” the “other”

Identifying and dis-identifying in adoptive parenting
WithBillie A. Pivnick

Whereas much of the adoption literature approaches adoption from the outside in, this chapter presents interactions from pivotal moments within one adoptive family’s life. These dialogues are discussed in terms of the developmental issues they illustrate. Since adoptive families are formed differently than biologically similar families, they present unique challenges to parents, teachers, and therapists. Adoptees must be helped to find themselves in relation to family members, whether lost, imagined, or present. At the same time, talk alone may lead to misunderstandings and empathic failures. Because adoptees often enact troubling emotions that lack words or seem unrelated to the present context, these families must be assisted in adopting conversation as a means of connection.