A good book can serve many purposes. It can educate people, spark emotions, enlighten the mind, and provide entertainment. There are many wonderful books on the subject of adoption. Whether a reader is looking for reference material or seeking a story they can relate to, they will surely find a book to their liking. Listed below is a compilation of books for all types of readers.
Adoption Books for Children
Children’s books can be a great resource in explaining adoption to your kids, reminding them that they are loved, and encouraging conversation about their adoption story.
- Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born– Written by actress Jamie Lee Curtis and illustrated by Laura Cornell, this sweet and humorous picture book showcases the love and happiness an adopted child brings to their family as they recount the story of her birth and the family that was created. A great book for the little one in your life who loves to hear the story about how they came to join your family.
- Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale– This is a children’s book written by Karen Katz (and based upon her own experience). This tells the story of an international adoption and the story of the long and loving journey to bring baby home. This book is great for children adopted internationally and will surely warm the hearts of the parents who raise them.
- All About Adoption: How Families Are Made and How Kids Feel About It– This book is perfect for children who were adopted at any age and from any country. Dr. Marc Nemiroff and Dr. Jane Annunziata have compiled a helpful and educational book full of commonly felt emotions and frequently asked questions such as, “How did you find me?”; “Where did I come from?”; “Why was I adopted?” This book serves as a catalyst for conversation among parents and children and encourages open discussion. There is also an extensive afterword for parents with suggestions for answering even the most challenging questions.
- Joseph’s Unique Family Tree: An Adoption Story– If you are looking for a story based upon open adoption, this is a great choice! Author Elizabeth Greenwell tells the tale of Joseph as he learns to celebrate the diversity of family when he has to make a family tree for a school assignment. This story is great for adoptees, those working in the adoption field, and anyone who is looking for an easily understandable story that validates all members of the adoption triad.
- Sam’s Sister– This book focuses on the birth siblings of adopted children. When Rosa, a 5-year-old little girl, finds out that her mama is expecting a baby and is unable to raise him, she learns about the process of adoption. While she knows that she won’t be able to live with her new baby brother, “she will always be Sam’s Sister.” Juliet C. Bond has written this book to show that children who are adopted are valued by both of their families. It is a great read for any child who has been impacted by adoption in any way.
Adoption Books for Birth Parents
Placing a child for adoption creates emotions that are unique to birth parents. It is common for birth moms to feel that no one really understands them. Books written by and for birth parents can be very helpful as they navigate their emotions and search for solidarity with others who have been in similar situations.
- The Third Choice: A Woman’s Guide to Placing a Child for Adoption (Second Edition)- This book offers a comprehensive guide of resources for parents considering placing a child for adoption. Leslie Foge and Gail Mosconi have co-authored this book in hopes that it will provide much-needed support for parents facing a life-changing decision. This book takes an honest look at what to expect during and after the adoption process and has excellent reviews from its readers.
- Revealing You: A Journal for Birth Mothers– An important part of a birth mother’s healing during her adoption journey often comes from exploring her emotions and being able to express them freely and openly in a safe place. This journal offers just that. This journal guides birth mothers through many questions and helps them to work through their feelings post-placement. The author, Michelle Thorne, is a birth mother herself. Her hope was to create a book so that birth mothers know that they aren’t alone. It can be used as a personal journal, during one-on-one counseling, or in a group setting.
- Birthmark– Lorraine Dusky has written a book about being a birth mother in the 1960s. While open adoptions are much more commonplace now, during what was sometimes known as the “baby scoop era,” young women facing unplanned pregnancies were often shunned by their families and communities and sent away in secrecy to unwed mothers homes to have their babies. Many women were forced to place their children for adoption against their will. They were never able to see their babies or know anything about the families who adopted them. They were told to move on with their lives and not speak of their pregnancy, their birth children, or the adoption. Fortunately, adoption has come a long way over the years and birth parents have more rights. Records are becoming more easily accessible. While this book showcases the sadness and seriousness of adoptions during an earlier era, it remains beautifully written, relatable, and important.
- Birth Fathers and Their Adoption Experiences– Gary Clapton recounts the experiences of 30 birth fathers in this informative book. Birth fathers aren’t spoken about in the media and in books as often as birth mothers, so this book provides a unique and important perspective.
Adoption Books for Adoptive Parents
Adoptive parents often experience joy when building their family. However, there are situations and challenges that are quite unique to their situations as well. Books that provide encouragement, education, advice, humor, and understanding can be an excellent resource for those who have chosen to adopt.
- Encouragement for the Adoption and Parenting Journey: 52 Devotions and a Journal– This daily devotional is written by two adoptive mothers: Rachel Garlinghouse and Madeleine Milcher (who is also an adoptee). It is a Bible-based book that provides inspiration and support as well as reflection questions.
- Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew– Written by adult adoptee Sherrie Eldridge, this book helps adoptive parents to understand the emotions and questions that many adoptees face. This book can be an excellent guide for parents interested in learning how to relate better to their adopted child.
- Lifegivers: Framing the Birthparent Experience in Open Adoption– Written by James L. Gritter, this book is an excellent read not only for birth parents, but for adoptive parents as well as anyone who wants to learn more about the birth parent experience. This book can be helpful to adoptive parents in understanding the emotions that birth parents experience as well as learning how to interact with, honor, and respect them.
- While We Wait: Spiritual & Practical Advice for Those Trying to Adopt– The adoption process can be a long one. While there is eagerness and joy for the journey ahead, there can also be frustration and disappointments. The author (Heidi Schlumpf) writes on topics such as adopting after infertility, the unknown “due date,” and how to deal with rude strangers. This practical book is suitable for all adopting parents—married, single, those with or without other adopted/biological children, and those adopting domestically or internationally.
Adoption Books for Adult Adoptees
Adopted persons have a unique family dynamic. While they may know a great deal about the family that raised them, they may or may not know very much about their biological families. They may face a variety of emotions as they decide whether or not to reach out to their birth families and wonder how it will affect their current lifestyle. Some adoptees may struggle with not knowing their heritage or being able to trace their roots. There are others who may have a close relationship with both families, but would still like to find relatable reading material written from an adopted person’s point of view. These books provide information and inspiration.
- Searching For Me: An Adoptee’s Journey of Faith, Family, and Belonging– Scott Sullivan shares a touching personal memoir of his life’s journey as an adoptee. He struggles with questions, self-doubt, and anger with God. He speaks about searching for his biological family, his relationship with his adoptive family, and his eventual acceptance of God’s grace.
- Blending In: Crisscrossing the Lines of Race, Religion, Family, and Adoption– Barbara Ann Gowan is a reunited adoptee who has recounted her story in this emotional and inspirational book. The child of an interracial relationship in the 1960s, Barbara found herself in foster care before being adopted. The book recounts her inner conflict with her religion, race, and identity. It also follows her search for her birth parents, it speaks on overcoming adversity, and it shares strategies backed by adoptees and adoption professionals.
- Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness– This book traces an adoptee’s struggle to find their sense of self throughout life. She focuses on the symbolic and literal search for roots on the journey to becoming whole. Betty Jean Lifton is an author of several adoption books as well as being an adoptee and an activist. Her writing is eloquent and real. It has excellent reviews, especially from those adopted in previous eras.
Adoption Books for Extended Family
Friends and family of those touched by adoption often have questions, but they don’t always feel comfortable asking them directly to a loved one. Sometimes, those considering adoption (or those who have already participated in one) get tired of answering the same questions time and time again. These books can be quite helpful in explaining emotions and decision, providing education, and teaching about adoption etiquette.
- In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You to Know About Adoption (A Guide for Relatives and Friends)– This book has been called “the adoption book for everyone else.” This book is a great guide for grandparents, aunts and uncles, family friends, teachers/caregivers, and anyone else who is close to a family that has been built by adoption. This book contains advice, anecdotes, and enlightenment to help others understand adoption a bit better.
- Adoption Is a Family Affair!: What Relatives and Friends Must Know– When a family is considering adopting, they can sometimes be faced with rude questions, genuine concern, and remarks from well-meaning but misinformed loved ones. This book helps to address common myths and misconceptions about adoption. Presented in a conversational, no-nonsense format, the reader will learn the basics of the whole adoption process.
Adoption Books as Gifts
- My Family, My Journey: A Baby Book for Adoptive Families– Baby books have been a popular gift for years, but did you know there are baby books specifically for adopted children? This one makes a great gift for the expectant adoptive parents and their child. In addition to the typical milestones, this book has pages that commemorate the choices and experiences that brought the family together. It also has pockets for important papers and keepsakes!
- Personalized Adoption Books for Kids– If you are looking for a book to make your child smile, consider a personalized book! This website offers popular adoption-themed kids books that you can personalize with their name, photo, and a short dedication. Kids will feel like superstars with their very own personalized book.
- Guided Journals- These make a great gift for anyone in the adoption triad! There are many “All About Me” type books in bookstores and online. Some are also geared for children from their parents or grandparents, making them a great keepsake to pass down through generations. This may also be a great way for a birth mother to write down all kinds of tidbits about herself, her decision to place her child for adoption, and any information she would like her birth child to know. Blank journals and scrapbook kits make a great gift as well!
This is only a small sampling of the adoption-related reading material that’s out there. Your local library is a wonderful resource for finding adoption books in different styles and from many viewpoints. You may be surprised to find that there are many popular fiction books with adoption themes, too! Is there an adoption book that you would recommend? Feel free to list it below so that others can benefit from it, too!