Author interview and Book Review for Renée Henning’s “Mystery and the Adopted Child”
All children are a mystery to their parents to some extent. Yet adoptive parents face many more questions than birth parents about a child’s past and heredity. This book of articles written over 24 years discusses people adopted from around the world and their sometimes surprising behavior.
Q. What is Mystery and the Adopted Child about?
A. All children are a mystery to their parents to some extent. Yet adoptive parents face many more questions than birth parents about a child’s past and heredity. My book of articles written over 24 years discusses people adopted from orphanages and foster care around the world and their sometimes surprising behavior.
In short, adoptees tend to be fascinating and complex individuals who sometimes mystify their families and others. The book gives readers answers to various mysteries relating to adoption. The stories in the book are real.
Q. You talk about mysteries concerning adoptees. What are some examples?
A. To start, why did an infant need to bang his head repeatedly to get to sleep? The article on sleep provides the reason. What food-related problem resulted in a four-year-old with a sensational throwing arm? The food article gives the answer. Why did a boy insist on a belt and undergarments so tight that they left welts on his body? The article on touching tells why. In articles on romance, sports, etc., Mystery and the Adopted Child looks at pre-adoption experiences, subsequent events, and how problems got solved.
Q. What is your background?
A. I’m an attorney and an international author. My adoption-related articles have been published more than 50 times, but I also write on other subjects. My articles have appeared in WE Magazine for Women and in other publications in North America (e.g., Washington Post), Europe (e.g., Oslo Times), Asia (News Lens), Africa (e.g., Modern Ghana), and Oceania (e.g., Freelance).
Q. What inspired you to write about adoption?
A. I’m an adoptive mother and an adoptive aunt, including to young adults from Russia, Asia, and Latin America. I’ve always found people who were adopted intriguing. They’re the product of two families and, often, two continents, and they usually had a tough start in life. (I admire people who overcome adversity.) For various reasons, I learned a lot about adoptees over the years, and I wanted to share that knowledge.
Q. Is the book intended only for adoptive parents?
A. No. A number of children discussed in the book were in foster care before being adopted. Therefore, foster parents should find the book helpful in dealing with foster children, and therapists should find it useful in treating foster and adopted children. Furthermore, most people have an adoptee in their lives as a relative or a friend. I hope the book will get them to appreciate more the struggles of that individual.
I also wrote Mystery and the Adopted Child for people who were themselves adopted. The book should lead some adoptees, including minors, to a better understanding of the impact of a difficult past on their lives today. My wish is that their improved understanding will lead them to a brighter future. As the article on the past says, yesterday is written, but tomorrow belongs to you.
Renée Henning is an attorney and an international writer on adoption and other subjects. Articles by her have appeared in publications in North America (e.g., Washington Post), Europe (e.g., Oslo Times), Asia (News Lens), Africa (e.g., Modern Ghana), and Oceania (e.g., Freelance). Her adoption-related articles have been published more than 50 times.