Books To Help Explain Adoption To Birth Siblings of Adopted Children

Explaining Adoption To Birth Siblings Of Adopted Children

Sam’s Sister by Juliet Bond

Sam’s Sister by Juliet Bond (ages 3-7) – This is the only book I’ve found written specifically for birth siblings of adopted children. Rosa’s mama is pregnant, but she can’t keep the baby. Instead, she’s arranging an open adoption. Sam’s Sister follows Rosa as she navigates her mother’s grief, meets the family who will adopt her baby brother, and learns ways to cope with her own feelings of loss. Eventually, Rosa learns that even though she won’t live with her brother, she will always be Sam’s sister.

The Mulberry Bird

The Mulberry Bird by Anne Braff Brodzinsky (ages 6-10) – Mother Bird is looking after her baby bird in the forest, when a huge storm scatters her nest. Try as she might, she just can’t give him the protection he needs. She faces a choice: continue to struggle on her own, or give her precious baby bird to another family who can care for him in their strong, secure nest. In this classic adoption picture book for children, common issues in adoption are addressed―from the enduring force of a birth parent’s love and contact post-adoption to the importance of nurturing an adopted child in his or her new environment. I found that none of my kids would voluntarily read The Mulberry Bird by themselves, but I used it as a read aloud when they were about 8 to stimulate discussion. I had varying degrees of luck with discussion, depending on the kid.

WISE Up Powerbook

W.I.S.E. Up! Powerbook (ages 6-16) – Created by the Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE) in 2009, the W.I.S.E. Up Powerbook is designed to help adopted children and children in foster care learn how to confidently handle their story and answer questions from others on their own terms. The book presents realistic situations that adopted and foster kids are likely to encounter, and guides parents and kids through different approaches to answering. Organized around the acrostic W.I.S.E., kids learn that they can Walk away, reply that It’s private, choose to Share something, or Educate others. I used this as a discussion starter to be read to my kids when they were in early to mid elementary school and then left is where they could access it when they were older.

A Blessing from Above by Patti Henderson

A Blessing from Above by Patti Henderson (ages 3-7) – Every night before she goes to sleep, Mama Kangaroo prays under the stars for a baby to love and hold. One day, as she rests under a tree, a baby bird falls out of its crowded nest—plop!—right into her pouch! Mama Blue Bird keeps a nestful of babies, but is okay with her “littlest one” being adopted by a kangaroo since she knows “her nest was not big enough for all her chicks.” It doesn’t explicitly discuss adoption from a birth siblings perspective, but is a good way to introduce the subject.

The Rainbow Egg by Linda Hendricks

The Rainbow Egg by Linda Hendricks (ages 5-10) – Hope the chicken lives in the woods, but when she lays an egg and has no nest for it, she realizes she must find a nest for her egg. Her search leads her to the Rainbows who want an egg desperately, but cannot lay an egg no matter how they try. A nice look at adoption from the first parent’s perspective and a good way to start a discussion about why birth parents might choose to place a child for adoption.

We Belong Together

We Belong Together: A Book about Adoption and Families by Todd Parr (ages 3-6) – Parr does it again with a wonderful book about adoption for young kids. In a kid-friendly, accessible way, this book explores the ways that people can choose to come together to make a family by showing one perspective on the adoption experience. With an understanding of how personal and unique each adoption is, and that not everyone comes to it in the same way, Todd Parr’s colorful art explores the meaning of family.

Mr. Rogers Let’s Talk About It: Adoption

Let’s Talk About It: Adoption by Fred Rogers (ages 4-8) – An oldie but a goodie. You can always count on Mr. Rogers, who had an adopted brother, to deliver a sensitive and calming introduction to any topic. This book opens the door for adopted children and their parents to safely talk about their good and sometimes not-so-good feelings in a book about the joy of belonging and the love that unites families. It applies to all forms of adoption. Dated and can be difficult to get a copy, but a wonderfully supportive text.


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Image credit: John-Morgan