The Adoptive Parents' Handbook (Paperback)

A Guide to Healing Trauma and Thriving with Your Foster or Adopted Child

By Barbara Tantrum, Deborah Gray (Foreword by)

North Atlantic Books, 9781623175153, 256pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2020

List Price: 19.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


The essential guide to parenting adopted and foster kids--learn to create felt safety, heal attachment trauma, and navigate challenging behaviors and triggers.

Parenting an adopted or foster child is a joyful, exciting, and beautiful experience. It can also be challenging, overwhelming, and make you think: can I really do this?

From navigating difficult behavior to understanding their inner emotional worlds, parenting an adopted or foster child brings unique gifts and challenges. Children who have been adopted or shuttled through the foster care system experience trauma at a much higher rate than other kids--more so than veterans--which can make it difficult to trust, relax, regulate their emotions, and connect with their new families. Learning how to heal attachment trauma, attune to your children, identify triggers, and create felt safety is essential to providing the loving, supportive, and stable home they need to thrive.

Therapist (and adoptive mom) Barbara Tantrum has written the book she wishes she had when she began her own foster and adoption journey. Broken into four sections--creating felt safety, teaching emotional regulation, discovering identity, and living and thriving with PTSD--The Adoptive Parents' Handbook is informed by both evidence-based research and personal experience. It highlights practical strategies and provides real-life examples to address questions like:
    How do I help my adopted child adjust?
    Is this kind of behavior "normal"?
    How do I foster attachment and trust?
    What if I feel like I'm in over my head?
Written for parents of adopted and foster kids of all ages, The Adoptive Parents' Handbook offers up real resources for handling sleep issues, food hangups, anger, fear, and reactivity. Tantrum also provides guidance on navigating transracial adoptions, working through parents' own hangups, and recognizing signs of developmental and psychological conditions.

About the Author

BARBARA TANTRUM, MA, LMHC, is both trained and experienced in trauma-informed therapy. This includes working with children, adoptive families, adult survivors of trauma and abuse, and marital couples. She is the co-founder of Northwest Trauma Counseling, a Washington State-based private practice specializing in trauma related to adoption and foster care, and author of their PATCH Protocol, a trauma-informed model therapy approach focused specifically on addressing trauma-related issues. A graduate of the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology with a Master of Counseling Psychology, she conducts training sessions regularly for groups, including social workers, teachers, adoptive and foster parents, as well as other support groups. In her personal life, Tantrum is herself a foster/adoptive mother and sister. This is her first book.

Praise For The Adoptive Parents' Handbook: A Guide to Healing Trauma and Thriving with Your Foster or Adopted Child

“This book answers so many of the questions I didn’t know how to ask as a foster and adoptive parent. . . . [It is a] book parents will turn to again and again.”
—Sherry Colomb, child welfare trainer and foster and adoptive parent
“As I read this wise, well-researched and well-lived book, I could feel my heart clouded by the complexity, heartache, and confusion parents feel when one of their children has known significant trauma. . . . After I finished reading, I understood why there is rich hope and joy for those who embrace this privilege.”
—Dan B. Allender, PhD, professor of counseling psychology and founding president of the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and author of The Healing Path and Healing the Wounded Heart

“Tantrum has written a must-read handbook for parents who are considering or
are currently in the throes of the adoption experience. It is a wonderful mix of personal and professional information necessary for a successful adoption journey.”
—Cynthia Ridgway, licensed mental health counselor and adoption and trauma specialist 

“Easy to read, well organized, and full of information backed up by current research. Highly recommended for all foster and adoptive parents.”
—Cathy Wright, foster and adoptive mother