Reimagining Adoption

What Adoptees Seek from Families and Faith

Non-Fiction - Relationships
260 Pages
Reviewed on 07/15/2019
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Author Biography

An adoptive mother of two now-adult children and a former foster parent, Gayle H. Swift is also a certified coach, a co-founder of GIFT Family Services (Growing Intentional Families Together, an NLP practitioner, and a former teacher. Gayle is a passionate adoptee rights advocate and believes that her books offer a valid way of supporting adoptees and their families as they navigate through adoption complexity with empathy, understanding, and validation. A fifty-four-year survivor of ovarian cancer, she believes in the joy of the present moment and the blessing of family relationships. In her travels with her family, Gayle has zip-lined in Costa Rica, Paraglided in Peru, hiked to the Sun Gate above the citadel of Machu Picchu, and trekked glaciers in Antarctica and the Arctic but parenting proved to be the greatest adventure of her life.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

Reimagining Adoption: What Adoptees Seek from Families and Faith by Sally Ankerfelt, M.Div. and Gayle H. Swift, CPC throws light on how children thrive in their adoptive families. This book will help readers understand how to become better Christian parents, how to clarify Christian adoption beliefs and practices, how to process the pain of losing birth parents, how to deal with the pain and loss of the adoptee and many other topics related to it. Readers will experience sadness and empathy as they read the book and will open their eyes to the realities of adoption. The book also gives effective ways to reshape the way Christians look at adoption. It is always important to look at the adoptee's voice and this book captures their honesty and courage while sharing their stories. This is also a good way to help readers understand how to serve the adoptees and their families, and how their church families can offer them better support.

This book is informative and the Adoption Attunement Elements listed will help to bring harmony into the relationships of all those touched by adoption. The approach to the topic is fresh and new, making it an engaging read as it addresses the factors that lead to adoption, the painful realities that are associated with it, and the practical ways to support the adoptees and their families. The authors also highlight the complexities that exist around adoption and how the adoptive family should value and honor the ways of the adoptees. It is a relevant topic that needs to be addressed and the authors have handled it extensively and methodically, helping readers realize the sensitivity that surrounds adoption.

Joann DiStefano

When Gayle Swift gave me a copy of the book to read, I already knew basically the content, since Gayle and Sally had had various conversations with me and our other partner, Susan while they were writing the book. However, until I read the book, I did not know how truly inspiring and informative it would be for the religious community. As I have come to realize, over the course of raising my own children, adoption is not the “fairy tale” answer that society wants it to be. Adoption is very complex, and it takes a village, i.e. a community, such as a religious one, to make it work the best for each member of the adoption triad. Through the novel and groundbreaking concepts in this book, we are asked to look at “new ways” of making a family “whole” and to discern what is best for the situation that has unfolded. By exemplifying true compassion, this book helps us to understand how attunement guides us to build better bridges for the bonding and attachment issues that arise. Because of the disconnect that adoptees feel due to their loss at birth, this book informs us that we need a society that understands and can help with the healing process, or, in the alternative, finds new ways to keep the adoptee connected to their roots. Gayle’s and Sally’s ideas are revolutionary but much needed if we, as a community and especially as a religious one, are to break the cycle that has caused many adoptees to live a traumatic life. I highly recommend this book for Gayle and Sally are able to exhibit the candor that is needed today to underscore the cultural myth that adoption is the bandaid required for the family in turmoil. Rather, it is only one alternative, and, as this book shows, the religious community, based on its own bible and beliefs, must look at and support other alternatives that maybe a better fit.