A few months ago I reviewed The Primal Wound, Nancy Newton Verrier’s book about the unavoidable impact that separation from the biological family (especially mothers) places on adoptees. I mentioned that while the book was a bit dated since it was written in the early 1990s, there was a lot of value in it because it articulated and normalized things that many adoptees feel. One of the primary complaints of Verrier’s first book is that it of lays out a problem without a solution. (This wasn’t my complaint, but I’ve seen adoptive parents mention it online.) Another issue that I mentioned was that because of the original publishing date, it would be nice to have more updated research in the book.
As somewhat of a response, to these complaints, in the early 2000s Verrier followed up Primal Wound with Coming Home to Self. This newer volume is much lengthier than the first book. That is because it is a self-help smorgasbord designed to help all members of the adoption triad as well as their loved ones, counselors, and therapists. It also describes “the primal wound” in the language of trauma and neuroscience.
As much as I’m appreciative of Nancy Newton Verrier and her first volume, I found this book lacking. Rather than serving as a revelation and catalyst for self-knowledge and growth as the first book did, this one felt more like a mashup of general self-help advice about growing up and taking charge of your life. There are also somewhat frequent references to Dr. Phil and the “Ask Marilyn” column from Parade magazine. Those may have made more sense in 2003 when the book was published, as would the references to kids and their baggy jeans.
I don’t recommend this book. Instead, for struggling adoptees I’d recommend The Primal Wound and counseling.