upside down

Hope for adoptive families and the lowdown for those who love them.

upside down: understanding and supporting attachment in adoptive families

“Upside Down is a terrific help to these families and those of us that want to wrap around and be there and be present for those families.…This will be a great resource for you to get for them and for you to read, too, and be that friend. What does it mean to be a friend of an adoptive family? Shannon’s book Upside Down covers that.”
Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family 

“A candid self-help book about forming bonds with adopted children…A thoughtful, faith-based read that provides engaging insights on attachment issues.” — Kirkus Reviews


Buy it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and WestBow Press.

Download the cheat sheet here. It’s free, printable, and instant.


Upside Down is bringing hope to adoptive and foster families.

It is educating, training, and equipping communities around these families to provide help without harming.

When I originally wrote this book as a series of posts, I got emails, messages, and phone calls every day from adoptive, foster, and even biological parents who were going through the same stuff – but they thought they were alone. They thought they were going crazy.

Some of them were done with church.

Some of them were done with their marriage.

Some of them, for the sake of their younger children and their entire family, were done with adoption and had to disrupt. That means they had to give up their adopted child to be adopted by another family – and face all the judgment, condemnation, and assumptions from a society that doesn’t know what goes on behind the scenes and is also unwittingly ignorant of the role they may be playing in the disaster and heartache these families endure.

None of this should ever happen. Adoptive families should never feel alone and be left by the communities around them to quietly implode behind closed doors.

They needed people to understand how to support families working through attachment issues so they could intentionally be part of the solution, instead of unintentionally being part of the problem.

These families are in our neighborhoods and churches, on the front lines of the mission to reduce the orphan crisis. They need their communities to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Without that support, they live in isolation.

The overwhelming theme from the people who wrote to me was, “This is what I’ve wanted to tell people for so long. I wish everyone who knows our family could read this.”

We can intentionally be part of the solution.  In less than a hundred pages, Upside Down provides tools, information, and insight that transforms an outsider’s assumptions into an insider’s powerful perspective.

I am grateful for a church, family, and community that has been humble enough to learn about these needs in spite of the inconvenience and against-the-grain-ness. And I’m grateful for the honor of writing this book that is being used to train churches and save marriages and families. There’s hope here.

What the reviews are saying:

Upside Down is a great resource for adoptive parents and the ones who love them, wisely and compassionately shining a light on the deep challenges involved in parenting children with wounded hearts. If you are such a parent, this book will help you feel supported and understood.  If you know and love such a family, you will come away from this book with a whole new level of understanding, and be better able to support your loved ones.

Mary Ostyn, author of Forever Mom: What to Expect When You’re Adopting

Shannon writes with raw, real, and hopeful narrative. We would recommend this book to any adoptive family facing attachment issues with their child, and to those who desire to understand and support them.

—Mike and Kristin Berry, founders of Confessions of an Adoptive Parent

Upside Down, Understanding and Supporting Attachment in Adoptive Families by Shannon Guerra is an amazing resource of help to those who have friends and family who have adopted. The approach is both funny and sobering at the same time. It gives a glimpse into the trials parents of adopted children face, gives suggestions on boundaries, and shares real stories and insights from parents in the adoptive trenches. It is a must read for every friend and family member of adoptive families. You will learn a lot…and learn you have much to learn. I had no idea of the effects of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). I am humbled to read this book. I will recommend this book. I will reread this book many times. Read it for yourself and begin the journey of understanding and the support that is deeply needed.

—Ed Waken, pastor of ValleyLife Church

Over five years ago Jesus led our family of three to join our hearts with God’s heart through the journey of foster care and ultimately adoption. Now, three infant girls later, our “forever family” of six is in the thick of our new journey with both its joys and its challenges. As a pastor of a large church and a father of four (plus a german shorthair), it isn’t very often that I come across someone who so clearly “gets us.” Yet, Shannon has captured the life of an adoptive family in a way that brought me to tears time and again as I read the words from her heart on the pages of her book.

If you want to understand and support adoptive families or if you just want to know someone is “in it with you” as an adoptive family, Shannon’s book is a must read!

—Jonathan Walker, lead pastor at Church on the Rock

Upside Down shares stories and perspective from dozens of adoptive, foster, and biological families healing through the spectrum of attachment issues, from general attachment concerns to Reactive Attachment Disorder. It explains how communities can provide support without causing further damage to a hurting child and more isolation to the families working so hard to heal them. Topics include:

  •  the reality behind the rose-tinted movies
  •  the why behind the weird limits
  •  the tangle of community
  •  what adoptive families really wish for…besides coffee
  •  sample letters for care providers
  •  links and further resources

The message of Upside Down is two-fold: Adoptive families are not alone, and the communities around them can be equipped to make sure they never feel that way again. Available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and WestBow Press.

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upside down — 2 Comments

  1. Should these children be treated with “tough love ” and discipline, or taught by softness, kindnesses,hugs, encouragement, self esteem building techniques, and good example when acting in an “undesirable ” expected fashion, when they can’t help the way they are behaving.

    • Great question, Eileen. I would answer, Yes, all of the above – but the only ones on the “soft” side should be the child’s parents (and later, other trusted adults who understand the necessary boundaries) until the kiddos can handle softness from others. :)

I love to hear your thoughts.