Understanding the concept of adoption may be confusing for many children to understand. While it is important for caregivers to provide information and support when necessary, they may not have all the answers themselves. Here is a list of books and resources that can provide information and experiences from other adoptive parents about their adoption processes and also help children and teens to better understand the adoption process in age appropriate and engaging ways:
- The Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting: The Small Stuff, The Big Stuff and The Stuff In Between by Sally Donovan
In this unofficial guide to adoption, award-winning Columnist Sally Donovan shares hilarious stories drawn from her own life experiences. Donovan offers fun and savvy advice on how to handle the everyday trials and tribulations of being an adoptive parent – from feeling like you aren’t “good enough” to dealing with anxieties and meltdowns, to feeling strong enough to protect and nurture your child(ren). This guide offers a compassionate and refreshing take on parenting that seeks counteract with more serious and dense adoption manuals.
2. Attaching Through Love, Hugs and Play : Simple Strategies to Help Build Connections With Your Child by Deborah D. Gray
Written by therapist Deborah D. Gray, This book offers advice to parents who have difficulties forming bonds with their children – whether they are dealing with adoption, divorce, or other difficult situations. Dr. Gray uses techniques that are proven to help children bond with their caregivers- such as holding close eye contact or stroking your child’s feet or cheeks- and explains why maintaining routines is essential to helping children attach. This book not only offers insight as to why children struggle to attach, but is filled with positive, easy-to-use ideas that will help you to respond to difficult behaviors and meltdowns, as well as provide long-term strategies to assist with developmental skills as your child grows. This guide will give you warm and fun advice that will help you to enjoy the act of bonding with your child.
3. The Adoption Club Therapeutic Workbook Series By Regina Kupecky
Although this book is originally intended to be used as a guide for youth counselors and therapist to help children explore their feelings and behaviors surrounding the complex issues of adoption, this series of books can also be useful for adoptive parents. This set of 5 books is designed to help children navigate their feelings and behaviors while addressing emotional and psychological challenges adopted children often experience. These workbooks offer helpful ways for children to have fun while learning about themselves and their feelings.
4. Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections by Jean Macleod and Sheena Macrae
This book acts as a “what to expect” guide for adoptive families and offers helpful advice on how parents can meet the emotional and developmental needs of their adopted children. . Adopted children tend to come from loss, whether that loss is from loss of a birth family, loss of culture, loss of language etc. This guide seeks to address these issues and make parents more aware of how to navigate them. Some core issues that are touched on include: sleeping through the night, discipline and attachment, FASD, trauma and PTSD, sensory integration, speech and language delays, learning issues, food issues, racial differences etc. With 520 pages of information, this book is not intended to be read completely through in one sitting, but instead to act as a reference guide when you are seeking information about issues surrounding adoption and how it affects your child.
5. Talking With Young Children About Adoption by Mary Watkins and Dr. Susan Fisher
Many adoptive parents advocate for starting the conversation about adoption with their children at a young age and discussing the topic of adoption freely and openly. However, there are limited guidelines that exist for parents to prepare them for the various ways in which their children may respond to conversations surrounding adoption. In this book, two adoptive mothers who are a clinical psychologist and psychiatrist, offer insight into how children react to adoption, whether it is through verbal expression or physical expression (such as through play and personal interactions), as well as provide personal accounts from families who tell in detail how conversations with their children panned out.
For Children & Adolescents:
- Dear Wonderful You, Letters to Adopted & Fostered Youth by Diane René Christian & Mei-Mei Akwai Ellerman, PHD
This book is comprised of thoughtful and inspiring letters written by a global community of adult adoptees and adults who were fostered that are addressed to the upcoming generation of adopted and fostered youth. The mission of this collection is to help adopted and fostered youth to feel assured in the fact that there is an entire network of people who have gone through what they are currently going through, and that there is someone out there in the world who “gets them”. Parents can read letters from this collection to younger children, or gift this book to preteens and young adults.
2. In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories by Rita J. Simon
This book is a collection of interviews conducted with black and biracial young adults who were adopted and raised by parents who were white. The author combines the stories of two dozen individuals who come from a diverse range of religious, economic, political, and professional backgrounds, and questions them on how their experiences affect their racial and social identities, intimate relationships, and lifestyles. The book also touches on the history and legal issues surrounding transracial adoptions.
3. Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis Written for young children,Tell me Again About The Night I Was Born
is told from the perspective of a young girl as she urges her parents to tell her the story of her birth and adoption and reminisces over the details of this event; this book is a great bedtime story for young children, and gets them thinking about ways in which they can connect with and appreciate their own adoption stories.
4. Why Was I Adopted? By Carole Livingston
One adopted states that they received this book as a gift from their parents in grade school and still find the information to be relatable and relevant 15 years later. This book of illustrations depicts various forms of adoption, providing explanations for emotions that are often felt during the adoption process, and encourages open lines of communication between parents and adoptees.
5. Adopted Like Me by Ann Angel
This book is for children aged 8+ who have been adopted. Many people may not be aware of the famous inventors, musicians, and athletes who, just like them have been adopted. This book reintroduces famous names such as Bo Diddley, Nelson Mandela, and Marilyn Monroe etc. as adoptees and shines the light on the fact children who have been adopted have the same amount of potential and opportunity to pursue their dreams as anyone else.