Author: Angie K. Elliston
Genre: Biography and Memoir
Book: Phoenix Bound
Experience the joys and struggles of adoption. Be a ‘fly on the wall’ of a family who adopted 13 children: 7 from the foster care system, 2 privately, 2 internationally, and 2 from adoption disruptions.Tweet
Addressing the Struggles of Adoption
Interview by Jenny Fulton
Angie K. Elliston is an author and mother with a huge heart for hurting people. While she usually writes non-fiction, she’s also planning on venturing into the genres of fictional stories as well. Her latest book, Phoenix Bound, is a memoir about the joys and struggles of adoption.
Concerning what prompted her to write this book, Angie said, “My goal is to help educate others, especially the professionals, neighbors, relatives, and friends of adoptive families. These people can play a role in the success of an adoption. Their words and actions can either create division or help keep a family together.”
Angie’s experiences have shown her that the adoptive family dynamic is unique in its potential issues, the children’s extreme emotions, and the parents’ reactions to it all.
“If there was more support, rather than criticism and judgement, would foster and adoptive families raise healthy young adults? I think so. They say it ‘takes a village to raise a child,’ but that isn’t necessarily true. The village can destroy the very fabric of the adoptive family’s security, stability, and happiness.”
She does agree, however, that it “takes a trauma-informed village to raise a troubled child.”
“Families with troubled biological children have also been able to relate to my story. One of my readers has read my book at least three times. Validating how others feel and what they’re going through helps them heal and understand their struggles from a different perspective – from the viewpoint of someone else who has gone through it.”
The idea to write this book was planted by a neuropsychologist who truly understood and loved Angie’s children as she and her husband did. He encouraged Angie to write a book about their struggles to help others understand what they were going through.
“When a professional like me writes a book,” he said, “people see it differently.”
“He wanted it from my perspective,” Angie shared. “I’m guessing I wasn’t special. I’m guessing he begged several clients to write a book, but I mustered up the fortitude it took to follow through.”
Knowing there were many others who needed help gave Angie the push she needed to persevere through the challenges of finding the time and words to write.
“So many adoptive families are too exhausted, deflated and isolated in their overwhelming emotions to follow through, so I feel like I did it for them. The fact that my husband and I went through the struggles of adopting alone motivates me to help others. None of us were meant to be an island, especially when we’re struggling.”
“How did writing this book impact you?” I asked.
“Writing your own story gives you a sense of peace and healing. I can now put my struggles and difficulties on a shelf, only reliving them when I so choose. I no longer feel I must roll it around in my mind, rehashing it and hoping for a different outcome. Although my life’s story is now out there for others to critique and minimize, I feel it’s important for people to hear and personally experience through my words on a page.”
Some of the key themes in Phoenix Bound are family, compassion, commitment, and drive.
Angie and her husband learned many hard lessons throughout the process of their thirteen adoptions and it’s with a heartfelt wish to help others and bring awareness that she openly and willingly shares their failures and successes.
“We learned that Love is not always enough for traumatized children. We learned that professionals working with adoptive families are not educated in PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) now called DTD (Developmental Trauma Disorder) and other typical adoptive issues. I am not blaming the professionals themselves, but the institutions they work for. These disorders have been known and understood for many years. They are no secret and they are not new.”
“What do you hope readers come away with after reading your book?” I asked.
Angie said she hopes her book will bring understanding and compassion to the struggles faced by adoptive families and other families who struggle with traumatized children. She prays the readers will be quick to understand and slow to judge.
“I think people have become more judgmental and, well, meaner, with the digital age. We no longer look the person in the eye as we say cruel things, so it’s that much easier to do. We forget the person on the other end is a human with the same feelings and inner workings as us. I would like to be part of ending this.”
While Angie acknowledges that, just as in every other walk of life, there will always be the “bad eggs” of adoptive families – those who are naturally inclined to evil and doing evil things to an adoptive child, she also affirms that most adoptive families go into adoption with pure and noble intentions stemming from a good heart.
“Unfortunately, many of these good-hearted adoptive families are also naïve and uneducated in the ramifications of taking a traumatized child into their home. If we understood more of what we were getting ourselves into, would we be more prepared, more compassionate, and more competent to deal with their potential issues? I think so.”
There are many hurts and needs among today’s homeless children. May this book provide encouragement and/or a good starting point of understanding for those who have been called to reach out and minister to these children.
In addition to the content in the book, Angie’s website includes resources for everyone in the adoption triad (child, birth family, and adoptive family) and for the professionals, families, and friends of those in the triad.
Book Blurb for PHOENIX BOUND
An adoptive mom of 13 shares her struggle raising traumatized children is an unfettered detailed account of one family’s adoption experience in America. This honest heart-felt story will explore how they navigated through the obstacles and trials of raising thirteen children, society’s expectations, and their eventual rise from the ashes of destruction to start a new life. The goal is to educate, support, raise awareness, and challenge all those associated with adoption.