Fun and Inspirational Books for Adoptive Parents
Sailing to Jessica by Kelly Watts – Sailing to Jessica is more of a sailing adventure book bookended by infertility and adoption. I love this rollicking so much that I devoted a full blog post to my review.
The Eye of Adoption: The True Story of My Turbulent Wait for a Baby by Jody Cantrell Dyer- This memoir chronicles one woman’s journey through domestic adoption after suffering from secondary infertility. It includes an interview with her child’s birth mother.
Geezer Dad: How I Survived Infertility Clinics, Fatherhood Jitters, Adoption Wait Limbo, and Things That Go “Waaa” in the Night by Tom LaMarr – LaMarr’s humorous journey to parenthood follows one man from blissful ignorance to infertility and ultimately to adoption and manages to be honest, serious, and funny all at the same time. Tom and his wife, Sam, focused on careers and enjoying life as a couple until Sam was in her mid 30s. They got pregnant soon after they started trying, but miscarried. Thus started 6 years of infertility treatment, and much heartache. Tom tells the story from the male perspective, which is rare in the world of infertility and adoption literature. One of the things that I appreciated in this book was LaMarr’s honesty about the ambivalence they experienced. Tom was ambivalent about becoming a father in general, and an older father in specific. Sam was ambivalent about adoption. Tom was ambivalent about IVF. Through much talking and compromising, they were eventually able to find the right path for them—domestic infant adoption. Tom was also a guest on the Creating a Family radio show in December, 2015.
Everything You Ever Wanted by Jillian Lauren – Everything You Ever Wanted is the story of infertility and the adoption of an 11-month-old boy from Ethiopia with special needs with compassion and deep understanding gained from life in the trenches. Lauren and her husband, Weezer bassist Scott Shriner, adopted a Ethiopian baby they thought was healthy. As he grew they realized his behavior was often out of control. He was ultimately diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and sensory processing disorder. This is the story of how they helped him heal, and at its core its a love story between a husband and wife and between a mother and her son. Phenomenally written and beautifully poignant, I highly recommend this book.
Carried in Our Hearts: The Gift of Adoption, Inspiring Stories of Families Created Across Continents by Dr. Jane Aronson- This is simply a delightful book consisting of 75 essays by adoptive parents–some famous and some just famous to their kids. It coverers all aspects of the adoption journey and all types of adoption, although perhaps slightly weighted towards international. You can easily devour it in one sitting, which I’ll admit is what I did, but better yet would be to stretch out the enjoyment by reading one essay a day or whenever you’re feeling in need of a little inspiration. And yes, you’re allowed to skip around and can sneak read the essays by “famous” adoptive parents.
The Russian Word for Snow: A True Story of Adoption by Janis Cooke Newman- Review written by Camille M. from the Creating a Family Facebook group: “This book is about a family who comes to realize that they are destined to adopt as they fall in love with a little boy’s video. He is in Russia and all the Dr.s say they shouldn’t move forward, but in their gut they know the DR.s are wrong. Finally they meet a Dr. who takes his environment into account and that gives them the confidence to move forward. Much of the book takes place in Russia and during the process. This was in the ’90s when adoptions from Russia were just starting out. It is wonderfully written, you feel like you are actually in Russia when you are reading it. It is definitely a MUST READ adoption story.”
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.
Becoming Patrick: A Memoir by Patrick McMahon- is the story of McMahon’s search for his first mother. After he overcomes the challenges of existential angst, bureaucratic roadblocks, and unemployment, the phone call to his first mother releases a torrent of long-buried feelings. During a sometimes turbulent long-distance unfolding, he absorbs her shocking revelations and comes out as gay once again. Their eventual reunion creates a profound bond, even as he navigates waves of conflicting emotions, merges past with present, and embarks on a new future rooted in truth and insights into the universal quest for identity and human connection.
The Women Who Raised Me: A Memoir by Victoria Rowell- The author spent her life in foster care. This book is a tribute to the women who raised and mentored her, including her mentally ill birth mother. This book highlights how love triumphs biology every time. Ms. Rowell has succeeded as a well known TV actress (“Diagnosis Murder” and “The Young and The Restless”) and founded a non profit to help children in foster care.
A Passage to the Heart: Writings from Families with Children from China edited by Amy Klatzkin- A really nice collection of essays (about 100) that cover the Chinese adoption process from first thought to parenthood. Would be a fun collection to read while you wait.
Pushing Up the Sky – A Mother’s Journey by Terra Trevor- A memoir written by the mother of several internationally adopted and birth kids. Among other things, the author talks about how families adjust when an older child is adopted out of birth order.
There is No Me Without You: One Woman’s Odyssey to Rescue Africa’s Children by Melissa Fay Greene- I loved this book about the AIDS orphans of Ethiopia. Although Greene acknowledges that international adoption is not the perfect nor final solution, she does address it as one solution for the children currently in need of homes. I agree. She’s also a great author and an adoptive mom.
China Ghosts by Jeff Gammage- One family’s adoption journey to China.
Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited by Paula Berstein and Elyse Schien
Daughter of the Ganges by Asha Miro- The author was born in India and adopted into a loving home in Spain as an almost 7 year old. She returns to India in search for the missing pieces of her early life and ultimately a search for biological family.
Dim Sum, Bagels and Grits: A Sourcebook for Multicultural Families by Myra Alperson- Alperson adopted her daughter from China as a single mom. I like this book for many reasons, mostly the voice and the the fact that she includes the stories of adult transracial adoptees. Great book if you are considering adopting across racial lines.
Swimming Up the Sun: A Memoir of Adoption by Nicole J Burton- This memoir of an adult adoptees search for her birth family. This is a good book to read it you aren’t certain why an adopted person would want to search. Interesting and well written.
Lost Daughters of China by Karin Evans
Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son: Abandonment, Adoption, and Orphanage Care in China by Kay Ann Johnson- Kay is a researcher in the field of how the Chinese view adoption and an adoptive parent of daughter from China. Both her roles influenced this book. I loved it and highly recommend it.
Mei Mei Little Sister: Portraits from a Chinese Orphanage by Richard Bowen- A collection of portraits of children growing up in Chinese orphanages. Proceeds go to support the Half the Sky Foundation if bought through their web site. These are truly stunning and touching pictures
Love in The Driest Season: A Family Memoir by Neely Tucker- This is just a plain old fashioned good read that happens to be about adoption. It is the true story of the Tucker’s adoption of a daughter from Zimbabwe. They were living in Zimbabwe at the time so the adoption was not a typical international adoption, but the intense love of these parents is typical. This is a great book to read while you wait for your child.
Welcome Home! An International and Nontraditional Adoption Reader edited by Lisa Schwartz and Florence Kaslow
Moving Heaven and Earth: A Personal Journey into International Adoption by Barbara Birdsey
Love Like No Other: Stories from Adoptive Parents edited by Pamela Kruger and Jill Smolowe
The Exact Same Moon: Fifty Acres and a Family by Jeanne Marie Laskas – A very fun read by a gifted author and mother to of two girls from China. It is uplifting, but also very real. I love her writing style.
Daughter from Afar: A Family’s International Adoption Story by Sarah L Woodard
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch- This is a children’s book, but it always struck me as more for the parents than the kids. My kids hate this book because it always makes me cry, but I love it.
China’s Lost Girls – a DVD by National Geographic
Image credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks