Books for Adults on Foster Care/Foster to Adopt

Foster care books


A Guidebook for Raising Foster Children by Susan McNair Blatt, MD – Written by a pediatrician, this book is a down-to-earth guide for how to raise foster children. It frankly discusses common issues, both big and small, and offers practical suggestions for resolving them, including when to call in a professional. A fantastic resource for any family raising foster children.


A Child’s Journey Through Placement by Vera Fahlberg, MD – An insightful and practical guide, this book provides valuable resources and tools for social workers, adoption professionals and foster parents. It outlines the significance of attachment and separation, the developmental stages specific to adoptive children and and gives straight-forward advice on how to minimize the trauma of moves.


Adopting The Older Child by Claudia L. Jewett – One of the classics of adoption literature, and for good reason. This book traces the process of adopting an older child from the the honeymoon period, through the testing phase and on to the full integration into a family, and offers practical, caring advice on how to handle the unique struggles of each phase.


Do You Want to be A Foster Parent? by Sharon Davis – Written by a foster mother, Do You Want to be A Foster Parent? is part memoir, part parenting guide. Davis shares actual anecdote from her ten years of fostering children of all ages. She doesn’t shy away from the more difficult aspects of foster care, and addresses issues such as confrontation, suicide attempts and run aways, but also never loses her sense of humor or her faith in the process.


A Survival Manual for Foster Parents by Ellen Cirino – This thirty-eight page guide to foster parenting written by a former therapeutic foster parent might be short, but it’s chock-full of practical ideas and solutions for situations that are unique to foster care. Cirino covers both the highs and lows of foster parenting to provide a candid look at what foster parenting is really like.


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 of issues surrounding adoptive parenting such as attachment, contact with biological family and adopting older children. A fantastic resource!


The Foster Parenting Manual: A Practical Guide to Creating a Loving, Safe and Stable Home by John DeGarmo – A comprehensive book with practical advice from fellow foster parents on common issues within the foster care system such issues such as school support, internet use and birth parent contact. DeGarmo, himself a foster parent, gives straight-forward advice on how to make your foster child feel safe, secure and loved at their temporary home.


Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens by Debbie Riley, M.S. and John Meeks, MD – This book is aimed at helping adopted teens and strengthening the family unit. It 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. It also discusses the six most common adoption “stuck-spots” for adopted children as they age.


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.  We interviewed Sherrie Eldridge on one of the first Creating a Family radio shows.


The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis – This book is often the first book that parents read when adopting a child past infancy or a child “from a hard place”. What I appreciate as much as Dr. Purvis’s wisdom is her warmth and compassion for both the child and the parents and her basic philosophy of “focus first on connections and then on corrections.” You can listen to my interview with Dr. Purvis on the Creating a Family radio show.


Adopting the Hurt Child: Hope for Families with Special-Needs Kids by Dr. Gregory Keck and Dr. Regina Kupecky – This book is packed full of great information on understanding children who have been abused and neglected. The companion book, Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow, is also a must-read. We have interviewed both Dr. Keck and Dr. Kupecky on the Creating a Family radio show.


Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft by Mary Hopkins–Best – Adopting a toddler or preschooler presents unique challenges (and opportunities) to adoptive parents. If you are adopting a child 4 or under, this is a thought-provoking book full of practical ideas and suggestions. You can listen to my interview with Mary Hopkins-Best on the Creating a Family radio show.


Image credit: Randy Martin

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