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Black Fatherhood, Adoption, and Theology

A Contextual Analysis and Response

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Michael Lee Cook

Black Fatherhood, Adoption, and Theology: A Contextual Analysis and Response is a qualitative exploration into the complex intersection of Black fatherhood, adoption, and theology. It is primarily based on the narratives of three Black adoptive fathers who formally adopted non-kinship children. The book takes a closer look at these experiences through the three dominant phases of an adoption experience and gives specific attention to the sociological, psychological, and theological dynamics at play. Ultimately, the book provides a constructive pastoral theology of adoption that sets forth guidelines of care for this population of adoptive fathers as well as others with an experience of adoption.
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Once in a great while a student comes along who is able to embody the gifts, graces, and disciplines of one’s vocation, and to write from the perspective of that “vocatio” in innovative, distinctive, and compelling ways. Writing thusly within the discipline of pastoral theology, and through the pastorally imaginative creation of this text, Michael Lee Cook is one such young scholar and practitioner. In this book, Dr. Cook has woven together in a rich tapestry the heretofore disparate threads of Black fatherhood and adoption, and he has done so with a keen eye toward both clinical and, especially, theological considerations of this deeply important topic. In so doing, he has contributed in new and important ways to the field of pastoral theology, and to the integrated disciplines which inform it, namely theology and the human sciences.

Michael’s point of debarkation is the theology of Howard Thurman, who knew that, theologically understood, we are all adopted children of God. ← XI | XII → Indeed, it is in this light that Michael begins his experiential narrative of the adoption, with his wife Crystal, of their son Myles Alexander. Thus, using a narrative approach, he explores both his experience and that of three Black adoptive fathers and their journey of formal adoption of non-kinship children.

Utilizing a qualitative research design, Dr. Cook’s investigatory template is guided by what he refers to as the Adoption Experiential Cycle, a theoretical tool developed specifically for this project. Taking into account emotional,...

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