Foster Care: General Books
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, distills his many years as a foster parent into straight-forward advice on how to make your foster child feel safe, secure and loved at their temporary home. An excellent resource.
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. The book also features practical advice on case planning, managing behavior and direct work with children, and throughout are case studies and exercises which provide opportunities for further learning.
Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today’s Parents by Deborah Gray – A classic adoption book and a comprehensive guide for prospective and actual adoptive parents on how to understand and care for their adopted child and promote healthy attachment. Attaching in Adoption gives parents practical strategies to enhance children’s happiness and emotional health. It explains what attachment is, how grief and trauma can affect children’s emotional development, and how to improve attachment, respect, cooperation and trust. Simply the best! Gray has also written a companion book–Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience After Neglect and Trauma–for professionals. You can listen to several interviews with Deborah Gray on the Creating a Family Radio Show/Podcast.
Adopting The Older Child by Claudia L. Jewett – One of the classics of adoption literature, and for good reason. Adopting The Older Child gives an in-depth examination of the older child adoption process, including the the feelings and reactions of everyone involved. Jewett characterizes the entire adoption journey from the viewpoint of each participant without neglecting the red-tape snafus that can delay or distress, and uses five composite cases to illumine the more common stumbling blocks and dividends. It traces the adjustment stages from 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.
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. The book attempts to address the needs of the children going through the system and provide helpful information about health, behavior, school, and many other aspects of a foster child’s life. A fantastic resource for any family raising foster children.
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.
The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family 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.” This is an excellent parenting book for all parents regardless how their child joined the family, but it pays special attention to addressing the sometimes complex and confusing behaviors of foster/adopted children. 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.” After reading this book, you will feel hopeful and energized. You can listen to an interview with Dr. Purvis on the Creating a Family Radio Show/Podcast.
Stranger Care: A Memoir of Loving What Isn’t Ours by Sarah Sentilles –This memoir reads like a love letter to the foster child who could not stay in the home where she was loved and cherished. After the author and her husband decided to adopt via foster care, they begin years of starts and stops including the navigation of the “complexities and injustices” of that system. Finally, they bring home Coco, a 3-day-old infant. In their journey, the author learns what it means to mother, to love, and ultimately to let go. “You were never ours,” she tells Coco, “yet we belong to each other.”
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.
Welcome to The Foster Lane: Parenting Advice from a Coach Who’s Been There by Sarah Salisott – Written for parents of children who have experienced trauma- namely due to foster care involvement, this book is encouragement and practical support for foster parents who are interested in moving from barely surviving to thriving. The author is a Certified Parent Coach who seeks to offer compassion and real-life solutions to the common challenges that foster parents face when serving children in the foster system.
The Grandfamily Guidebook: Wisdom and Support for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren by Andrew Adesman and Christine Adamec – This is a timely resource as grandparent-led families are on the rise in our culture. The Grandfamily Guidebook offers expert advice and helpful insights as grandparents navigate issues of finances, legal considerations, and medical issues common when grandparents and grandchildren become a grandfamily. There are practical tips on topics such as self-care, difficult relationships with birth parents, grandchildren’s school issues, changes to social life, and how to address grandchildren’s behaviors that are rooted in trauma and neglect. stem from a difficult past.
Trash Bag of Memories by Jessica Castillo – A former foster youth’s story of bouncing around in care before landing in a home where her adoption ultimately failed. The author’s stories are snippets of her memories and experiences shared with the purpose of raising awareness, inspiring change, and offering hope for healing.
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.
Now I Am Known by Peter Mutabazi — After running away from home and surviving for years on the streets of Kampala, Uganda, author Peter Mutabazi was found and supported by a man who changed his life. “Now I Am Known” is Peter’s inspiring true story. After his days as a street kid, he worked for the Red Cross, emigrated to the United States, fostered countless children, and is a single adoptive parent. In his book, he reveals the transformational power of taking risks, learning to forgive, overcoming self-doubt, breaking negative patterns, and believing in a better future marked by hope and purpose. Mutabazi continues to advocate for vulnerable children. His story is sure to inspire.
The Seven Core Issues Workbook for Parents of Traumatized Children and Teens by Allison Maxon and Sharon Roszia — Authored by two of our favorites, their latest book addresses the seven core issues of loss, rejection, shame/guilt, grief, identity, intimacy, and mastery/control and how they relate to trauma. This workbook helps parents identify and address their own core issues so that they may more effectively support those of their children. The book’s principles are applicable to any child, tween, or teen who has experienced trauma. Includes parent-friendly explanations, activities, and exercises designed to nurture growth and healing for families. To access our course, “Seven Core Issues in Adoption and Foster Care,” featuring an interview with Allison Maxon, click here.
Raising My Brother’s Child by Scott Hilton — Drawing on his personal experience of three decades caring for hurting children, the author shares the details of nearly a hundred stories that address behavior management, attachment issues, trauma, and breaking social and genetic generational curses. With an emphasis on practicality, each chapter ends with guidelines for parents raising children who are not theirs by birth, but by love.
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