Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Connected Child

Of all the books I have read on adoption (and I have read a lot), The Connected Child by Karyn B. Purivs Ph.D., David R. Cross, Ph.D., and Wendy Lyons Sunshine has to be one of the most positive and helpful ones out there! So for those of you who have been following our journey or are simply interested in adoption, I give you a review and some thoughts on this book. It is one of two that will be traveling with us to the Philippines. I will (hopefully) blog about the other one soon too.

As I said in the first paragraph, The Connected Child is one of the most positive books regarding adoption that I have read to date. I have read time and again, that when it comes to adoption, loving your child is not enough. The Connected Child agrees, but it takes it one step further by stressing that you must show love to your child no matter how tough it gets -- and some days it is going to be very tough, or so I have been warned. You love them and you find help for them when they need it and you can not give them the help they need. The Connected Child explains how to be deliberate with your adopted child. Deliberate in teaching them eye contact, teaching them that you're the boss, and yes, even deliberate in loving them because let's face it, when you've had one frustrating moment after another with any child, you don't always feel particularly loving.

The Connected Child also gives psychological history/explanations for why an adopted child reacts to various situations the way he/she does. Of course every child is different, but their hurts and griefs no matter how they deal with them are very real.

One of my favorite chapters is Proactive Strategies to Make Life Easier. Some of this is common sense -- especially if you are already parenting biological children, but it's still a good reminder. In this chapter, the parent learns (or is reminded) that to enable life to go more smoothly, you need to anticipate your child's actions and reactions to various situations. You can then prevent the building of a little time bomb, or diffuse the bomb before it explodes. For example: Say you are going to the grocery store. Grocery stores for many adoptive children are pure eye candy and can overstimulate them very quickly. The colours, the shapes, sizes, scents, etc. Especially for a child who didn't always know where his/her next meal would come from, the grocery store can rapidly become overwhelming. Your best option as a parent, it not to take them at all, but we know that sometimes it is unavoidable. So your next plan should be to get in and out as quickly as possible. In the meantime, before you arrive, you need to prepare your child. The Connected Child goes on to explain the strategies you can use to prepare your child. Things such as a feather light touch on the child's chin to remind him/her to make eye contact and then giving clear directions on what they can and can not do in the grocery store. Then letting them know that they can make two choices of things they can bring home, for example, a pack of gum and a type of cereal. Finally, the child is asked to repeat what is expected to happen while in the store and what they may choose to bring home. If misbehaviour begins in the store, again with the feather light touch, insistent eye contact and repeated questions.  For myself, above all, I am reminded to be patient, patient, patient! (As if waiting five months to get our travel notification isn't enough to teach me patience :oD!)

The chapter on proactive strategies to make life easier, is not the only helpful chapter though. There is one on helping build and support healthy brain chemistry through eating and vitamins and minerals, one on dealing with setbacks, and even one on how to help you finding healing for yourself. Adoption is not easy and sometimes our adopted children will bring out feelings, memories, etc., in us that we never knew existed.

Even though I am bringing a few novels on the plane, The Connected Child just might be the only book I read on that 19.5 hour flight, it is that good!

Hopefully next week, I will have time to share with you the one other adoption book that I think we will get quite a bit of use from.



  1. Good stuff, Deborah!
    I have a friend who adopted three children 8 years ago. I'm so glad she is a believer and has never wavered from God's plan. It's tough right now, but nobody said it wouldn't be.

  2. so helpful to have awesome writers in life!!!
    I am so happy for you guys!!!

  3. This is great Deborah! Would you be okay with me re-posting it on Adoption Magazine? Let me know!

  4. My mom read this book! She loved it, and found it very helpful! :) So happy you're finding help! Praying for your amazing journey!

    ~Michlyn Fisher


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