Adoption Books for Parents
Modern Families: Parents and Children in New Family Forms by Susan Golombok. The research is coming in–parents and children in “new” families (single moms, same sex, IVF, donor, surrogacy) are doing just fine. In fact, they are thriving. Modern Families explores all the research on these new family structures. The author, Dr. Susan Golombok is the leading researcher world wide on how new forms of families are doing and how they affect children. While all this talk about research may sound dull, this book is anything but. Golombok has a way of making the research understandable and fascinating. The introduction talking about what makes strong families and good parents is one of the best summaries we’ve seen. Great book!
Encouragement for the Adoption & Parenting Journey: 52 Devotions & a Journal by Rachel Garlinghouse and Madeleine Melcher. We loved both the spirit and practicality of this book! A weekly devotional with a biblical passage and a couple of paragraphs discussing how it applies to the adoption and/or adoptive parenting journey. The authors are both adoptive moms and Melcher is also an adoptee. The adoption journey can be a roller coaster and this book provides support for both the ups and the downs.
From Pain to Parenthood: A Journey Through Miscarriage to Adoption by Deanna Kahler – From the author: “In addition to my personal story of what I went through to become a parent, I also offer suggestions and resources for others, including tips for dealing with grief, an adoption Q&A, a list of possible agencies, questions to ask an agency, etc.”
The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole by Lori Holden – This is one wise book. Sure, it is full of the practicalities of open adoption (the how-tos), but it is the spirit of this book that truly shines. This is a must read for every adoptive and expectant parent at the beginning of their adoption journey. Listen to the Creating a Family interview with Lori Holden “Open Adoption: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know.”
Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos – In this memoir, actress Nia Vardalos chronicles her journey through infertility and foster care adoption. Nia was interviewed on the Creating a Family radio show, and her story was discussed on the Creating a Family blog.
March Into My Heart: A Memoir of Mothers, Daughters, and Adoption by Patty Lazarus – A mother of two biological sons who decides to adopt a daughter after her own mother’s death. This memoir chronicles that four-year journey through the domestic infant adoption process.
Truly Yours: Wise Words on the Miracle of Adoption by Laura Dail. A collection of stories and thoughts about adoption in a newly-published edition. It is written with adoptive families in mind, and contains resource lists for both children and adults.
Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir by Jessica O’Dwyer. Although it is the story of a Guatemalan adoption, its appeal is universal to all adoptive parents—especially those who adopt internationally. I liked this book because it was well written and “a good read”, but I loved this book because of the way O’Dwyer handled the ethics of international adoption. It is tempting as an adoptive parent to become defensive, to gloss over the ethical dilemmas inherent when wealthy people from developed countries adopt babies from poor people in undeveloped countries. It is equally tempting for “reformers” to over simplify the ethics and the solutions. The reality is that often international adoptions are a blur where the white and black hats are not at all clear. O’Dwyer captures the gray with a refreshing lack of defensiveness or editorializing, allowing us to ponder what we would do if faced with the same situation. This book is well worth the read.
Real Parents, Real Children: Parenting the Adopted Child by Holly van Gulden and Lisa M. Bartels-Rabb. This is a great resource.
Raising Adopted Children, Revised Edition: Practical Reassuring Advice for Every Adoptive Parent by Lois Ruskai Melina. Another great book. It provides an overview of many of issues surrounding adoptive parenting, such as attachment, contact with biological family, and adopting older children.
Making Sense of Adoption: A Parent’s Guide by Lois Ruskai Melina. Anything by Lois Melina is worth reading. She is wise and practical.
The Open Adoption Experience – A Complete Guide for Adoptive and Birth Families by Lois Ruskai Melina is an authoritative and reassuring guide to the issues and concerns of adoptive and birth families through all stages of the open adoption relationship.
Twenty Things Adoptive Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge I agree with some things in this book and disagree with others, but I still consider it a must read for adoptive parents because it opens our eyes to differing points of view. The author is an adoptee and an adoptive grandmother. I interviewed her on the Creating a Family show and you can listen to the interview here.
How to Create a Successful Adoption Portfolio by Madeleine Melcher. Great resource for adoptive parents creating their adoptive parent profile. Lots of practical advice and creative ideas. Melcher covers it all from soup to nuts. Listen to the Creating a Family show interview with Madeline Melcher on How To Prepare an Adoptive Parent Portfolio here.
Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul: Stories Celebrating Forever Families by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and LeAnn Thieman L.P.N. This is a collection of heart warming stories (I know that is an overused adjective, but in this case, it’s true) about adoption and the families created. I’m a sucker for the Chicken Soup books and this one is no exception.
China Ghosts by Jeff Gammage. This memoir is written by a father adopting from China, which is a nice change from the usual and gives us interesting insights of his journey.
Faces of Layla: A Journey Through Ethiopian Adoption. Photography by Emma Dodge Hanson, text by Melissa Fay Greene and Jennifer Armstrong. A wonderful photo essay book of the children and caretakers at Layla House in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Adopting: Sound Choices, Strong Families by Pat Johnston. This is Pat’s latest book and is terrific. It incorporates the information from several of her previous books, including Adopting After Infertility. I interviewed Pat for the radio show, Creating A Family. You can listen to our interview here.
The Post-Adoption Blues by Karen Foli and John Thompson. This is really more a book about the post adoption transition period and provides some helpful suggestions for parents who are in the midst of a difficult adjustment. I interviewed Karen on the Creating a Family radio show – Transitioning Home.
Adoption Lifebook, a Bridge to Your Child’s Beginnings by Cindy Probst A workbook style book for international adoptive families focuses on explaining your child’s unique story. Not specific to your child, but to internationally adopted kids in general. Good resource.
Beneath the Mask by Debbie Riley, M.S. and John Meeks, M.D. Aimed at helping adopted teens and strengthening the family unit. This book offers a step-by-step assessment process; clinical intervention strategies; a wealth of case histories; treatment resources and therapy tools; and writing & art therapy samples. The book discusses the six most common adoption “stuck-spots” for adopted children as they age.
Black Baby White Hands: A View from the Crib by Jaiya John. Dr. John was the first black child in the history of New Mexico to be adopted by a white family. In this emotionally honest memoir he talks about being raised in a white family. He was loved deeply by his adoptive parents, but still faced confusion and difficulty. It is through the love of his family that he puts all the pieces of past and future together.
Adoption is a Family Affair! What Relatives and Friends Must Know by Patricia Irwin Johnston. I like most books by Pat Johnston and this is no exception.
Adoption Today Although not as popular or as slick looking as the other adoptive parenting magazine, this is a jewel of information and shouldn’t be overlooked.
While We Wait: Spiritual and Practical Advice for Those Trying to Adopt by Heidi Schlumpf. This book is written by a mother who has struggled through the adoption process herself. It is designed to offer spiritual grounding for frustrated and stressed-out prospective parents who are waiting for children. Each reflection is followed by a prayer for God to comfort and help prospective adoptive parents. Specifically, chapters address the choice to adopt, coping with different seasons and special holidays while waiting for an adoption to come through, the emotions and challenges faced by people who are waiting with prospective parents, the range of emotions felt by those who are waiting, coping strategies for dealing with the wait, and spiritual resources to sustain prospective parents.
Finding Aster by Dina McQueen. This Ethiopian adoption story, is a fascinating memoir that follows one woman’s journey to motherhood via international adoption. The title could just as easily have been, Finding Dina, for it is truly a memoir of discovery for the author as she relives the life decisions she has made leading up to the maternal evolution to become a mother.
Labor of The Heart: A Parent’s Guide to Decisions and Emotion in Adoption by Kathleen L. Whitten, Ph.D. Dr. Whitten combines her expertise as a developmental psychologist with her experiecne as an adoptive mother to guide parents through the challenges of adoption decisions.
Being Adopted: The Lifelong for Search for Self by David M. Brodzinsky, Marshall D. Schechter and Robin Marantz Henig – One of the first, and still one of the best, books to explore the lifelong impact of being adopted and normalizing the questions many adoptees feel. This book has been life affirming for many adoptees and should be a must read for every adoptive parent. Dr. David Brodzinsky has been interviewed on several Creating a Family Radio shows: Adopting Out of Birth Order and Mental Health Issues with Adopted Kids
Image credit: pbemjestes