Books on Toddler and Older Child Adoption for Adoptive Parents

older child adoption books

Adopting Older Children

Adopting Older Children: A Practical Guide to Adopting and Parenting Children Over Age Four by Stephanie Bosco-Ruggiero, MA; Gloria Russo Wassell, MS, LMHC; and Victor Groza, PhD. – This is a wonderful resource full of practical and hopeful tips for parents who have adopted a child over age four from foster care or through international adoption. This thorough guide lists the issues an older adopted child faces and provides a comprehensive overview of problems and how adopting parents can successfully deal with them, including critical information about developmental issues; problems related to the adoptee’s emerging sense of self, including sexual orientation and cultural identity; and other special needs that children may have. The adoption therapist authors do not gloss over potential problems, but they don’t exaggerate them either. You can listen to an interview with the authors on the Creating a Family Radio Show/Podcast.

Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents

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.

Another Place at the Table

Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison – The authentic story of one woman’s experience as a veteran foster parent.  It is a tale of life at our social services’ front lines, centered on three children who, when they come together in Harrison’s home, nearly destroy it. It is the frank first-person story of a woman whose compassionate best intentions for a child are sometimes all that stand between violence and redemption. You can listen to my interview with the Kathy on the Creating a Family Radio Show/Podcast.

Toddler Adoptions: The Weavers Craft

Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft by Mary Hopkins–Best – Adopting a toddler or preschooler presents unique challenges (and opportunities) to adoptive parents. Children adopted between two and four years old often show signs of cognitive and emotional immaturity, which can cause behavioral and relational issues. This book offers support and practical tools to help parents prepare for and support the toddler’s transition between the familiar environment of their biological parent’s home or foster home to a new and unfamiliar one, and considers the issues that arise at different developmental stages. It highlights the challenges that parents are likely to encounter, but also gives positive guidance on how to overcome them. You can listen to my interview with Mary Hopkins-Best on the Creating a Family Radio Show/Podcast.

Adopting a Toddler

Adopting a Toddler: What Size Shoes Does She Wear? by Denise Harris Hoppenhauer – An indispensable guide offering great insight and practical advice for those preparing to adopt a toddler. Adopting a Toddler is filled with essential parenting information and answers many questions that adoptive parents ask, including questions about changing a name, choosing a crib versus a bed, beginning potty training, and what size shoes to buy. It includes sections on the toddler wardrobe, the nursery, child safety, mealtime, bath time, selecting a pediatrician, medical considerations, international adoption travel, and includes pre and post adoption resources.

Adopting the Older Child

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.

Our Own

Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child by Trish Maskew – Based on the author’s experiences as an adoptive mother and foster parent, as well as interviews with numerous adoptive families, adoption professionals and adult adoptees, Our Own explores both the joys and the challenges of older child adoption. It addresses topics such as how to deal with school and language difficulties, how to handle difficult behavior such as tantrums and lying, recognizing how grief affects your child’s behavior and testing and treatment for mental health and medical issues.

Parenting Your Adopted Older Child

Parenting Your Adopted Older Child: How to Overcome the Unique Challenges and Raise a Happy and Healthy Child by Brenda McCreight – A practical guide providing adoptive parents with all the information and tools they need to overcome difficulties and develop a healthy, loving relationship with their adopted child. The book includes a step-by-step to identifying a child’s unique needs and wounds, and explores how to create a supportive home environment and develop the skills needed to ally with your child against each challenge. A good overview for anyone adopting a child older than two.

The Connected Child

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.

Siblings in Adoption and Foster Care

Siblings in Adoption and Foster Care: Traumatic Separations and Honored Connections by Deborah N. Silverstein and Susan Livingston Smith – The sibling relationship is emotionally powerful and critically important, giving us a sense of continuity throughout life. So what happens when a child loses contact not only with his or her parents, but with siblings too? That is what happens in thousands of cases each year inside the child welfare system. This book is a comprehensive resource on issues facing siblings during foster care or adoption – both biological and adopted, and discusses practical ways to nurture sibling bonds and mental health strategies to support those relationships, as well as the legal rights of siblings to be together and issues in international adoptions.


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