Adoption and Fostering
[Reviewed with Next Steps] `Combining thorough and pertinent research with practical wisdom drawn from years of personal experience, these books manage the rare accomplishment of being both informed and passionate. They provide a clear, accessible account of contemporary research and theory on the effects of trauma in infancy and childhood, along with a wealth of tested ideas, approaches and techniques for living and working effectively with children who have suffered such trauma… Both volumes should be of immense value to adopters, foster carers, social workers with looked after children, family placement workers and anyone who seeks to improve their understanding of child development and childhood trauma.'
`So little adoption research seems rooted in the real world. Now Caroline Archer, an adoptive parent herself, has written two working sourcebooks that seek to provide practical solutions to very practical problems. First Steps looks at adoption of what are described as "tiddlers and toddlers", dealing with everything from building a relationship to dealing with, say, the challenges of insecure attachment. For parents who adopt babies this book will be helpful. It uses popular psychology to make sense of child development theory and intersperses this with practical exercises. These look at life story work, contact with birth families, eating patterns, sleep and the over-riding importance of play. Archer is good here at alerting adoptive parents to those triggers which might re-awaken memories of earlier abuse or neglect… Next Steps deals with "tykes and teens". It looks at a similar range of potential hazards, such as addictive behaviour, sexual acting out and drug and alcohol use, all now, arguably, the birth-right of any parent. Of particular use here is a section called "Principles into Practice" where a range of scenarios is proposed with possible outcomes. These could also serve as training material. Both books are grounded in hard won experience.'
`Primarily aimed at adoptive parents, but of considerable use to foster carers of young children, this publication approaches attachment and developmental issues arising when even the smallest child is in your care. Extremely well researched, it offers practical, sensitive guidance through the dark areas of separation, loss and trauma in early childhood. It reassures that no problem faced as a result of your child's early experiences is insignificant or undeserving of a solution. Neither is the reader patronised by assumptions that some matters should already be common knowledge. Archer sets out purposefully to encourage confidence and thereby to enable enjoyment of the young life in your care, confessing this to be the book she herself would have welcomed 20 years ago.'
Professional Social Work
`This book is written by a parent who has direct experience of the difficulties that very young children can present to their new parents. The seven chapters are eminently readable and offer very useful methods of helping to understand and work to alleviate the hurt felt by very young children who have been or are in the process of being transferred to new permanent situations, whether by adoption or fostering. The chapters are not loaded with references for the reader to wade through, although the information is provided at the back of the book, along with a no-nonsense, very understandable glossary of the jargon (which has been kept to a minimum anyway). The style of the writer made me feel able to grasp immediately what she was trying to explain, with the illustrations involving the family of hedgehogs bringing the sensitivity of the content alive for me. The sense of intimacy in the book made me want to read more. It offers new parents and professionals everywhere a practical guide in a delightful, sensitive, and above all, informative way. I thoroughly recommend it and will go out and buy the next companion book "Tykes and Teens".'
from the Foreword by Dr Vera Fahlberg
`A "must have" book for both adoptive parents and for those professionals who help adoptive families forge new family ties…the author, herself an adoptive parent, addresses a wide variety of very complex topics with a marked sensitivity to the varying needs of children who may have had a wide range of early life experiences. Although in general the text is easy to read and understand, there is a glossary for those who might be unfamiliar with some of the terminology. References are made to well established issues as well as to some of the newer research on the impact of early abuse and neglect on brain development. I particularly appreciated the special focus on identifying abnormal arousal patterns and helping the child with these. Parents and professionals alike will value the specific ideas provided for coping with problem behaviours and for building closer family ties.'