Adoption Books for Parents
Being Adopted: The Lifelong for Search for Self by David M. Brodzinsky, Marshall D. Schechter and Robin Marantz Henig – One of the first books, and still one of the best, to explore the lifelong impact of being adopted and normalize the questions many adoptees feel. The authors use psychological and educational theory to construct a model of the normal yet unique stages of adoptee development. 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 podcasts: Adopting Out of Birth Order and Mental Health Issues with Adopted Kids
Twenty Things Adoptive Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge – This book, written by an adoptee, gives insight to understanding the nature of adoption from the adoptees perspective, which can be quite different than the adoptive parent perspective. With warmth and candor, Sherrie Eldridge reveals the twenty complex emotional issues parents need to understand to nurture the child they love–that he must grieve his loss now if he is to receive love fully in the future–that she needs honest information about her birth family no matter how painful the details may be–and that although he may choose to search for his birth family, he will always rely on you to be his parents. It gives a voice to children’s unspoken concerns, and shows adoptive parents how to free their kids from feelings of fear, abandonment, and shame. You can listen to an interview with author Sherrie Eldridge on the Creating a Family podcast: Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew
The Post-Adoption Blues: Overcoming the Unforeseen Challenges of Adoption by Karen Foli and John Thompson – Like any family-building method, adjusting to adoption can be difficult and isn’t always what parents were expecting when they were anxiously waiting for their child to come home. The Post-Adoption Blues is written for parents in the midst of the post adoption transition period months immediately following adoption. It openly acknowledges the very normal feelings of stress that adoptive families can encounter as they cope with the challenges and expectations of their new families and offers hope and compassion for parents dealing with Post Adoption Depression Syndrome. You can listen to an interview with author Karen Foli on the Creating a Family podcast: Transitioning Home – The First Months Post Adoption
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!
The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole by Lori Holden – Most adoption agencies agree that an open adoption is in the child’s best interest, but that means more than exchanging photos, sending emails, and occasionally visiting. It’s a lifestyle that can feel intrusive and inconvenient even in the best situations. That’s where this book comes in. 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. You can listen to an interview with author Lori Holden on the Creating a Family podcast: Open Adoption – Everything You Ever Wanted To Know
Adopting: Sound Choices, Strong Families by Patricia Irwin Johnston – Adoption is a lifelong decision, and this book tackles the tough questions that anyone considering adoption must ask themselves. Johnston guides prospective parents through four distinct phases of thinking about adoption: resolving personal issues (including infertility), understanding that raising a family formed by adoption is inherently different from raising a biological family, making educated choices about the type of adoption to pursue and understanding what will happen during the adoption process and after the child arrives. The book is a must-read for those who are just beginning to think about adoption, or who are in the early stages of the process. You can listen to an interview with author Patricia Johnston on the Creating a Family podcast: Adopting after Infertility
Adoption is a Family Affair! What Relatives and Friends Must Know by Patricia Irwin Johnston – Just because you have spent months, or even years, research every aspect of adoption doesn’t mean your friends and family have. This short book is crammed full of the ‘need to know’ information for friends and families, including who can adopt, why people consider adopting, how kids understand adoption as they grow up, and more. Passing out a few copies to your family when you tell them you’re adopting will save you from repetitive (and sometimes intrusive) questions when your child arrives.
Making Sense of Adoption: A Parent’s Guide by Lois Ruskai Melina – It’s normal for adopted children to have predictable and often unspoken concerns about themselves and how they joined their families. Making Sense of Adoption helps parents anticipate and respond to these concerns in ways that build self-esteem. It addresses questions like “When should I give my child the letter her birthmother wrote?” “How much of my child’s history should I share with friends and family?” and “How can I be sure we talk about adoption enough, but not too much?” Anything by Lois Melina is worth reading, and this is no exception.
The Open Adoption Experience – A Complete Guide for Adoptive and Birth Families by Lois Ruskai Melina – This excellent book is an authoritative and reassuring guide to the issues and concerns of adoptive and birth families through all stages of the open adoption relationship. It helps parents determine how much openness they are comfortable with, then covers how to get to know your child’s birthparents, evaluate the relationship and make a plan. It was written nearly 30 years ago, when open adoptions were less common, and some of the sections reflect that, but it’s still an excellent resource.
Raising Adopted Children, Revised Edition: Practical Reassuring Advice for Every Adoptive Parent by Lois Ruskai Melina – Written by an adoptive mother, Raising Adopted Children draws upon the latest research in psychology, sociology and medicine to guide parents through all stages of their adopted child’s development. It provides an overview of many issues surrounding adoptive parenting such as attachment, contact with biological family and adopting older children. A fantastic resource! As you can tell, I think the world of Lois Ruskai Melina’s books.
The Children Money Can Buy: Stories from the Frontlines of Foster Care and Adoption by Anne Moody – Part analysis, part memoir, The Children Money Can Buy chronicles Moody’s lifelong commitment to the world of adoption and foster care. Moody touches on the adoption sector’s ugly side, such as ‘baby buying’ and profit-driven adoption facilitators, but takes care to counterbalance these negatives, however, by also detailing the positive changes that have occurred in the field over the course of her career, such as the increase in open adoptions. Both a social worker and an adoptive mother, Moody provides compelling behind the scenes anecdotes that span state, international and domestic adoption. A a great read for anyone exploring adoption.
While We Wait: Spiritual and Practical Advice for Those Trying to Adopt by Heidi Schlumpf – Written by a mother who has struggled through the adoption process herself, this book is designed to offer spiritual grounding for frustrated and stressed-out prospective parents 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. A great resource for anyone suffering through the adoption wait.
Labor of The Heart: A Parent’s Guide to Decisions and Emotion in Adoption by Kathleen L. Whitten – Dr. Whitten combines her expertise as a developmental psychologist with her experience as an adoptive mother to guide parents through the challenges of adoption decisions. Would-be adoptive parents cycle through grief, anger, fear, anxiety, frustration, and guilt. All of these emotions cloud decision-making, at exactly the time that adoptive parents are making life-altering, irrevocable decisions. Whitten separates fact from fiction and leads parents by the hand through the many emotional rollercoaster that is adoption.
The Addicted Child: A Parent’s Guide to Adolescent Substance Abuse by Richard Capriola – A non-technical guide for parents to better understand the issues of adolescent substance abuse. Information is provided on identifying and finding treatment, common substances used by today’s young people, and the issues surrounding addiction such as self-harm, disordered eating, and more. The author also includes how to find a counselor and how to know it’s the right fit, with the right help for their child.
From Beyond the Skies by Juli Boit – Juli Boit brought a tiny baby into her home 5 days after his mother passed away during child birth in Kenya. They named him Ryan and adopted him through a complicated international adoption process. When Ryan was six months old, he and two of his siblings were diagnosed with sickle cell disease. Thus the journey of accessing the best possible care for the three children began for Juli and her husband Titus. This is a story of love and courage, and the new life one finds when in the darkest of places.
A Daughter To Many by Kari E. Wiseman – This is the story of an adoptee who faced incredible hardship, abuse, and trauma during her challenging childhood. Her adoptive family relinquished her to a faith-based residential school at the age of thirteen, where she lived to adulthood. There she learned skills for hope and healing. As an adult, she and her husband searched for family history and uncovered surprising information that changed her life forever. This book has strong faith-based themes and thus might not be suitable for every family.
A Love-Stretched Life by Jillana Goble – The author shares stories of her life as a parent by adoption, foster care, and birth to with others who are facing the curveballs that life throws. She offers a wealth of encouragement and hope for navigating the messy in- between of life as you thought it might be and what it really is, including how to prioritize connection and acceptance. She also offers suggestions for advocacy and hope for the vulnerable children in the foster system and for those who care for them.
You’ll Forget This Ever Happened by Laura L. Engel – The story of a birth mother who was forced to relinquish her baby for adoption during Baby Scoop Era, including her experiences of living in a home for unwed mothers and learning to live without her son. She shares her story of trauma, reunion, and learning to find hope through it all.
Adoption, It’s Worth It! by Kimberly Purnell Moody. Are you an adoptive parent who has wondered how to explain adoption to your child? If the answer is yes, then this book is for you. With over twenty years of experience in Child Welfare, the author has created this self-help guide for parents to explain adoption to their young child. (birth to five years of age) This book includes special features for readers, such as a note section and practical tips for parents. It would pair nicely with the author’s children’s book, “Chocolate Chip Cookies, Anyone?”
Adopting Alyosha by Robert Close – Author Robert Klose, a single, unmarried man, wanted a son so badly that he overcame seemingly unsurmountable barriers to realize his goal. This book is a personal account of his 3 years proceeding through the international adoption maze and serves as an instructional firsthand manual for single men wishing to adopt. In the end, Klose adopts a little boy from Russia who changes his life forever. His book is a combination travelogue, journal, and above all, love story. “Adopting Anton” is the author’s second book, chronicling the adoption of his second son from Ukraine.
You Should Be Grateful by Angela Tucker — We have long been fans of Angela Tucker, and this book has increased our admiration. It provides great insight into transracial adoption from the adoptee’s point of view. And somehow, in the midst of providing really valuable information, Angela has succeeded in writing a really great book that keeps you interested from beginning to end. She intertwines her own personal story throughout, and you feel compelled to keep reading to find out what happened next. We highly recommend.
With An Open Heart by Lisa Murphy — This book chronicles the inspirational true story of the Murphy family, who chose to adopt a little boy with a serious medical condition from an orphanage in China. Their faith-filled story of love and loss demonstrates how living with an open heart and trusting in God’s greater plan can result in unexpected blessings. *Please note that proceeds for this book are donated to orphan care ministries.
Love at the Border: An Adoption Adventure by Anna Maria DiDio — The author shares an intimate behind-the-scenes look at her family’s journey of their international adoption of an older child. Having been raised in an orphanage in Mexico, six-year-old Priscilla said she wanted a home of her own, but leaving behind her biological mother and the women who raised her is devastating. She also leaves behind her language, food, culture, and friends while learning how to be a daughter and a sister. In this fifteen-year memoir, author Anna Maria Didio reveals her struggles as an adoptive mother and breaking down barriers as she creates her family. Recommended to inspire readers interested in international adoption.
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