... A Path to Recovery
Adoption Healing ... A Path to Recovery is a unique book. The reader is provided with a description of the unfolding of the adoptee’s personality from birth, detailing each developmental milestone along the way, followed by different methods of healing the adoptee’s wounds, including inner child work, visualizations, healing affirmations, and anger management. Every chapter includes a Myths and Realities of adoption section, a summary of the chapter and exercises to do on one’s own.
Adoption Healing “presents a clear, comprehensive, and
consistent approach to address the issue of healing in
book should be required reading by anyone serious about
attempting to resolve
emotional conflicts in adoption."
This “comprehensive and thoughtful book, offers a
to help members of the adoption triad heal lifelong
wounds. It is a welcome
addition to the growing library written by experienced
occupy both personal and professional roles in this
As an “author, teacher, and therapist, Joe Soll has
brought the essence
of adoption, its inherent pain to pen. His words
offer counsel for
the tragic separation that has occurred in the sacred
union of mother and
In “his gentle way, and with the expertise from years
of leading support
groups, Joe Soll teaches us how to face our deepest and
most painful feelings
- and survive... Joe's caring heart is with us every
step of the way.”
To read a chapter of the book, click
Part One: The Missing Self
Part Two: The Search for Self
Part Three: Toward Healthier Adoptions
Part Four: Getting Help
Part Five: The Challenge to Heal
Part Six: Appendices
Soll is a Diplomate
psycho- therapist, Diplomate Forensic Counselor, lecturer
and a former
adjunct professor of social work at Fordham University
internationally recognized as an expert in adoption
He is director and co-founder of Adoption Crossroads in
New York City,
a non-profit adoption search and support organization.
The director and founder of the Adoption Counseling Center in New York City, Mr. Soll is also an approved adoption counselor for the United Kingdom Department of Health, and a former member of Matilda Cuomo's 1993 Adoption Task Force. He is a fellow of the American Orthopsychiatric Association, the American Association of Grief Counselors and a member of the Council on Social Work Education.
Since 1989, Mr. Soll has organized and coordinated seven international mental health conferences on adoption, has been an expert witness in court about adoption related issues and has lectured widely at adoption agencies, social work schools, mental health facilities and mental health conferences in the U.S. and Canada.
Joe Soll has appeared on Radio and Television over 300 times, given over 150 lectures on adoption related issues and has been featured or quoted in over five dozen newspapers, books and magazines. He was portrayed as a therapist in a NBC Made-For-TV movie and played himself in the HBO Special “Reno Finds Her Mom.” He most recently appeared in the Global Japanese Network Documentary, “Adoption Therapist: Joe Soll"
Adoption Healing: $17.95 plus $5.05 S&H in the US via Priority Mail. 2nd Book in same order is $17.95 including S&H.
Orders shipped outside the US, S&H at an additional charge.
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|Reviews by Readers:
Reviewer: An adoptive mother from Arizona
Reviewer: An adopted woman from New York.
Reviewer: A birthmother from Pennsylvania
Joe Soll's book speaks to the fact that THEY were
really, really WRONG!
You never forget and you really can't even totally get
on with your life
on some levels. Giving a child up for adoption is a very
deep trauma and
tragedy for a woman, and many can't even survive it.
It's a form of soul-rape.
While Joe gives exercises, tools and rituals to adoptees
their experience and even begin to heal; he also
validates and acknowledges
the pain and deep sense of grieving and loss the
birthmothers live with.
And although I have read several women authors who have
written very eloquently
about birthmother pain; this is the first male author
that I've read who
has deep understanding, wisdom and empathy for US. My
heart was in my throat
during much of this book, but I also felt that Adoption
be required reading for Adoptees and Birthmothers, AND
those who love us.
This is an excellent and very well written book.
Reviewer: An adopted woman from Oregon
An adoption search and reunion is only part of the process necessary for those who were separated from their birthfamily to heal. This book helps in completing the healing process. Unfortunately, those affected by an adoption need to work on their issues through self-help support groups and books as there are very few mental health professionals who understand the affect of the adoption experience on the adopted person and birthmother. This book helps fill that gap.
Adoption Healing is not just for adoptees. Birthparents and adoptive parents can learn a great deal about what their child has endured through adoption, and ways in which they can help their child, whether a youngster or adult. Therapists can develop a treatment protocol for their adopted clients.
I have been waiting for a book like this since I started working with adoptees and birthmothers 14 years ago as a post-adoption emotional support group leader. It will help me help others.
Additionally, it will help me deal with my own trauma of being adopted at birth in 1950. Although, my reunion is years past (and a "good" one), I plan to go back through the book chapter by chapter and do the exercises. Just a quick read has already begun to effect my emotions.
Reviewer: An adopted man from New York
Reviewer, An adoptive mother from the U.K.
It is written by a social worker/therapist who was himself adopted, and he writes to all parts of the 'adoption triad' (particularly relinquishing birth mothers) as well as to the professionals. He has 'been there', both himself and in all he has heard over many years from his child and adult clients, and from the support groups and searching agencies he works with.
His basic thesis is that losing your birth mother by being placed for adoption means pain, pain and more pain, not just for the child but for both their families too. There is then a corresponding need for validation, validation and more validation of this pain and its effects, by the adults to the child. Linked to both of those needs (and this is where the healing in the title comes in), is openness, honesty and reality, rather than any sort of continuing denial of feelings or facts around adoption. He also advocates as much real-life contact as possible between child and both his families throughout childhood, as in divorce situations.
I found it refreshingly real to have it again affirmed that adoption of itself is not the solution to anyone's pain, least of all the child's, and is only potentially the beginning of the healing process. Nancy Verrier speaks loud and clear through much of what Joe Soll has to say, which to my mind further validates both books. I could imagine that for those who haven't yet braved "The Primal Wound” itself, this book might be a less harrowing and easier to assimilate introduction to the realities of loss and pain in adoption.
Reunions, too, cause both pain and dynamic regression. "This is a good thing ", says Soll, "not a bad one. Reunion brings the adoptee back to the initial trauma, and revisiting the trauma is the only way to heal. " Soll strongly makes the point throughout, that however unpleasant or difficult reality turns out to be, it is enormously to be preferred than an aching void of unknowingness. It is, he claims, easier to live at peace with reality eventually, than with conflicting and confusing fantasies that only fragment and torment one in their grip. Yes, knowing two mothers can be confusing, "but not half as much as knowing one and fantasizing about the other ". Soll emphasizes that searching for birth parents is unlikely to be any reflection on what was offered by adopters, but a necessary part of the adoptee completing the whole and working towards the formation of the 'authentic self and identity.
The author writes simply but persuasively, in short sentences with frequent repeats of key points. Some key points and quotes are in display boxes, making it much easier to take in what each chapter is about. The book is broadly chronological, and each chapter lists the frequently found myths and then the realities commonly encountered at each life stage of the adopted person. The developmental tasks of @Y childhood are particularly well covered, with no room for doubt as to the massive additional work-load carried by the adopted child in relating, in both fantasy and reality, to two sets ofparents. I was struck by the suggestion that 'ghost parents' can give rise, in an adopted child without the reality of birth parent contact, to the same sort of disabling 'phantom pain' experienced after amputation of a limb.
This is a book brim-full of practical suggestions to the hurting person, child or adult, such as journal-keeping and pillow-punching, and dialoguing with one's 'inner child', if not with one's therapist or support group as well, while reading it and experiencing each new wave of emotion. He clearly regards both therapist and support group as essential outside supports, which may not initially strike all readers on this side of the Atlantic positively. And anyway, we might say, chance would be a fine thing over here. His answer would doubtless be earlier access to specialist professionals, long before adolescence might be seen as masking the real issues. And there are many helpful comments on why he feels that the ages of six to eight offer the best 'window of opportunity' for therapeutic intervention for adopted children. This is the 'age of cognition', after which there is (without help) greater risk of the ”fracture of the personality ...and descent into belief in one's unlovability", There are also many helpful comments about healing through anger management and channeling (recycling toxic waste), through finding the right vocabulary for pre-verbal experiences, and through grief and mourning. He also has helpful comments on panic attacks, the inner child and visualization techniques, affirmations and the giving of respect (by society and by one's self).
This book is particularly good on the schooling, employment, and relationship difficulties adopted children and young people so often face. Until there has been some degree of healing, Soll maintains, none of these areas can go forward smoothly or positively, as so many of us know only too well. But the difference with this book, is the emphasis he then puts on to what can actually be done about it.
I think that just about everyone with any
interest in adoption
could not fail to have their eyes wider opened by this
book, apart from
any who might still be determined to view adoption
itself in a 'happy-ever-after'
golden glow that wipes away any tears in an instant. I
was struck by the
value this book could have for several groups:-
There is a particular issue around 'telling' a child he was adopted, that Joe Soll emphasises. He stresses that this should be in no way an isolated instance, something too terrible ever to mention again. He urges adoptive parents to create a climate of free speech, both verbal and non-verbal, that enables the child to keep raising issues and hurts and fears around his pre-adoption life and the people that were in it, throughout his childhood and on into adulthood. Ongoing talking about adoption and why it was ever necessary are, he maintains, enormously more important than the initial one-off disclosure, and is in itself a crucial part of the healing process. Old hat, you might think, but Soll makes the point that where for whatever reason there is not that open communication within the family, there is by definition the need for professional help from outside it
There is a final comment I might make, about his references to adoptive parents. I do feel there are one or two rather sweeping statements in this book about us in general, that do not quite fit with the idea of equal partnership between all parties in adoption, and make one wonder what era he is talking about. For instance, there is quite a bit about our own assumed 'unresolved infertility issues' clouding our abilities to focus on our children' s needs. And, more worryingly, there is even the suggestion that adoptive parents have "no way ofknowing the inner pain their child i.'} suffering", and can neither see nor understand it, let alone help in the recovery process, which many ofus would take issue with. Nor does he specifically mention any other of the traumas that most of today's adopted children have experienced on top of that 'primal wound', but in talking of all adoptees as 'survivors' he is presumably applying the same principles to their healing and recovery from these other traumas too.
But even after those niggles, this book leaves you in up-beat and prose\ytising mode. Having faced in these chapters the depths and disasters he describes, I am left with an urge to tell others of it and of the benefits it could have for so many of us and our children, and their' other mothers' .It is at the same time profoundly deep and real, and also reassuringly pragmatic and positive, bringing a wealth of healing possibilities into the range of all.