This Issue









Vol. 5, No. 1 • November 2000

Book Review
by Becky Burmester

I am always on the lookout for books that will help me become a better foster parent. Earlier this year a friend told me she was reading a book that I just had to read (this after I bent her ear about the Dave Pelzer series of books). The Primal Wound, by Nancy Verrier, was this "must read" book. It is available through the North Carolina Foster Parents Association (NCFPA) webpage link to for $13.50. If you buy the book through this site, your purchase will benefit NCFPA.

The Primal Wound is written about adoptees, but the story it tells allows birth parents, adoptive parents, and for foster parents to recognize the very real emotional issues facing all children who have been separated from their birth parents. Quickly and systematically Verrier debunks the myth that raising children adopted at birth is just like raising children one has given birth to. Any foster parent could quickly affirm that each child placed in foster care presents a unique opportunity to demonstrate an empathic understanding of the child's life prior to placement in foster care.

Nancy Verrier writes from personal experience—she is an adoptive parent—as well as from the experience she has gained as a trained clinical psychologist. Her book is not written as a textbook, but is written to be easily read and then to be deeply pondered. This book could serve as invaluable resource for older teens placed in out-of-home care, foster parents, adoptive parents, social workers, Guardians ad Litem, judges, and therapists—anyone seeking understanding of the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual affects of adoption. While the focus of this book is the "wound" of adoption, I believe that the premises hold true for each and every child placed out of home for whatever reason.

The Primal Wound provides an excellent starting point for those who care for and about children to begin to rethink some of the things we recommend as being in the "best interests" of children. This book offers foster and adoptive parents the opportunity to understand more fully the child(ren) they care for who sometimes drive them wild with seemingly contradictory behaviors. Nancy Verrier manages to make sense of the nonsensical behaviors of those placed away from birth family and to give hope to all involved. This book truly is a "must read" for those who care for children.

I had wanted to review a second book for this column, but was unable to obtain a copy in time. I have read about When Katie Was Our Teacher, by Amy Brandt. This book, published by Redleaf Press, is aimed at young children and helps them deal with the loss of a loved caregiver at a day care center. This book could be an excellent resource for foster parents saying good-bye to a young child.

Thanks to all who responded to the review of the books by Dave Pelzer. Please stay in touch.

Perhaps you have a book that I should read. We are only as strong as our weakest link, and each of us continues to grow and learn as we seek to improve the lives of North Carolina's children.

If you would like to suggest books for this column, please e-mail me at [email protected].


Becky Burmester is a foster parent and a member of the North Carolina Foster Parent Association.

Copyright 2000 Jordan Institute for Families