This page is intended to be a resource for foster and adoptive parents and as such the books listed below are suggested readings and are not necessarily endorsed by Fostering Together. If you have any titles you would like to recommend that we add to this page, please email Fostering Together. If you own an electronic reading device such as a Kindle or a Nook, we also recommend that you visit your local library system and search their online book catalog for these titles which can be borrowed at no cost to you.
Adopting the Hurt Child; Hope for Families with Special-Needs Kids
by Gregory Keck
Most parents who adopt from foster care, over time realize that these children require unique parenting due to early trauma caused by multiple separations, abuse and neglect. The world is full of hurting kids who suffer from emotional trauma caused by someone they should have been able to trust. It’s a pain that lasts into adulthood if not healed and resolved. It is the new face of adoption. In this revised and updated guide to healing the emotional trauma of the adopted child, authors Gregory C. Keck and Regina M. Kupecky provide a clear picture of what it’s like to hurt and what it means to heal. Through advice, tips, and success stories of those who have been there, you’ll find valuable insight and hope.
Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections
by Jean MacLeod
Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections is a fabulous compilation of parenting advice for adoptive families that has never before been in one book. As an adoptive parent myself, I have been amazed at the sharing of wisdom and helpful advice that this book encompasses. This is the book I wish I had when I adopted my children. Every contributor is either an adoptive parent, an expert in the field of adoption, an adoptee, or a birth parent and I have learned so much of value for my own family by publishing this book. My hope is that this book will help many families navigate their own journey of adoptive parenting.
Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today’s Parents
by Deborah Gray
Gray, a clinical social worker specializing in attachment, grief and trauma, has penned a comprehensive guidebook for adoptive parents, taking an in-depth look at how children and families adjust. The author notes that many of today’s adoptions involve older children who may have been abused or neglected, or who may have spent years in institutions or various foster situations; due to their past experiences these children may have difficulty attaching to their adoptive parents. Explaining that attachment forms the template for future adult relationships, Gray stresses how important it is for adoptive parents to be patient in forging this new bond. She advises creating a high structure/ high nurture environment for the child, and instructs parents to find out about their child’s background. The book covers many issues, including cross-cultural and interracial adoption, religious concerns and other complications for attaching, such as ADHD and learning disabilities. Gray also includes a detailed exploration of developmental delays common in kids who have been adopted later in life. While the book is densely written, it will nevertheless be invaluable for adoptive parents. Gray compassionately helps readers form realistic expectations, while offering a myriad of suggestions for families and children striving to form lasting, loving relationships.
The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog
by Perry Bruce
It’s not often that a book is published on the neurobiology of trauma. It’s even less often that I would read one, be completely riveted by it, and then want to discuss it with everyone I meet. But Bruce Perry’s newly released book, The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog, meets all of those criteria and more, making it a must-read for parents, professionals and anyone who works with children. Child psychiatrist Bruce Perry has treated children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, witnesses, children raised in closets and cages, and victims of family violence. Here he tells their stories of trauma and transformation.
The Connected Child
by Karyn Purvis
Written by two research psychologists specializing in adoption and attachment, The Connected Child will help you build bonds of affection and trust with your adopted child , effectively deal with any learning or behavioral disorders and discipline your child with love without making him or her feel threatened. This book is a must-read not only for adoptive parents, but for all families striving to correct and connect with their children. The adoption of a child is always a joyous moment in the life of a family. Some adoptions, though, present unique challenges. Welcoming these children into your family–and addressing their special needs–requires care, consideration, and compassion. Written by two research psychologists specializing in adoption and attachment, The Connected Child will help you: Build bonds of affection and trust with your adopted child, Effectively deal with any learning or behavioral disorders and Discipline your child with love without making him or her feel threatened.
Connecting with Kids Through Stories
by Denise Lacher
Children whose early development has been damaged by abuse or neglect are notoriously difficult to reach. Through many years’ therapeutic work with adopted children and their families, Denise B. Lacher and Todd Nichols have developed an exciting and innovative technique which uses stories as the main mode for helping parents to communicate and connect with their troubled children. Connecting with Kids through Stories is an accessible guide to Family Attachment Narrative Therapy for the parents of adopted or fostered children, and for the professionals who work with them. Providing a thorough theoretical grounding, and detailed information on therapeutic techniques and how to assess progress, the book shows parents how to create their own therapeutic stories to promote increased attachment and improved behaviour in their child. The authors describe how different kinds of narratives can help with specific difficulties and illustrate their techniques with the story of a fictional family who develop their own narratives to help their adopted child heal.
Handbook on Thriving as an Adoptive Family: Real Life Solutions to Common Challenges
by David Sanford
Adoption is a high calling from God, and the Christian home primary soil for planting seeds of faith. But how will post-adoption challenges affect this growth? Most agencies do a great job of connecting families with children who need a forever family. Not many prepare you for the unexpected issues—an adopted child fighting with his new siblings or not wanting to be touched or showing signs of reactive attachment disorder (RAD). The more you know, the more confident you will be to meet the unique needs of your adopted child and your entire family. This distinctly Christian book will equip readers to be successful adoptive parents. Packed from cover to cover with information, advice, ideas, and resources, Handbook on Thriving as an Adoptive Family will inspire and inform parents committed to making adoption work. Handbook on Thriving as an Adoptive Familyis the one parenting resource that provides comprehensive, topical, Bible-based solutions for the inevitible challenges after adoption.
I Love You Rituals
by Becky Bailey
I Love You Rituals offers more than seventy delightful rhymes and games that send the message of unconditional love and enhance children’s social, emotional, and school success.Winner of a 1999 Parent’s Guide Children’s Media Award, these positive nursery rhymes, interactive finger plays, soothing games, and physically active can be played with children from infancy through age eight. In only minutes a day, these powerful rituals will help prime a child’s brain for learning, help children cope with change, ennhance your child’s attention, cooperation, and self-esteem, help busy families stay close and affirm the parent-child bond that insulates children from violence, peer pressure, and drugs, and much more. Easy to learn and especially effective in stressful situations, I Love You Rituals gives parents, grandparents, caregivers, and teachers inspiring tools to help children thrive.
LifeBooks:Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child
by Beth O’Malley M.Ed
“In LifeBooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child, Beth O’Malley provides the adoptive parent with a unique, invaluable, practical, highly recommended, step-by-step guide for explaining the truth of their child’s history in ways that the child can understand, accept and feel good about. Drawing upon her seventeen years of experience and expertise as an adoption worker to write clearly and informatively for a non-specialist general reader. The result will help any adoptive parent to assist their child in creating a record of his or her life from birth using words, photos, graphics, and artwork in the form of a “LifeBook” that is more effective than a general scrapbook or traditional baby book.
Parenting the Hurt Child; Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow
by Gregory Keck
In this sequel to their Adopting the Hurt Child (1998), Keck and Kupecky explore how parents can help adopted or foster children who have suffered neglect or abuse. They begin by outlining changes in adoption and fostering procedures in recent years and use case studies to document the friction and disruption introduced into a household when a hurt, adopted child is brought into the family. The authors examine attachment disorders and control issues as well as parenting techniques that work (praise, consistency, flexibility, anger management) and those that don’t work (punishment, withholding parental love, grounding, time-outs, deprivation). They highlight the symptoms of abuse and options for therapy. Foster or adoptive parents need to claim the role of parent in the child’s life, the authors advise, suggesting ways to deal with teachers and other authority figures in the child’s life. The book includes a variety of resources on, among other topics, finance, therapy for siblings and parents, cultural differences, and marriage counseling.
Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft
by Mary Hopkins-Best
Toddler Adoption looks at the unique joys and challenges of adopting and parenting a toddler. When a child aged is adopted between the ages of 12 to 36 months, they 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. Written by a specialist in children’s development who is also an adoptive parent herself, this fully revised and updated edition of the go-to-source on adopting toddlers is essential reading for both parents and professionals working with adoptive families.
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew
by Sherrie Eldridge
The voices of adopted children are poignant, questioning. And they tell a familiar story of loss, fear, and hope. This extraordinary book, written by a woman who was adopted herself, gives voice to children’s unspoken concerns, and shows adoptive parents how to free their kids from feelings of fear, abandonment, and shame. With warmth and candor, Sherrie Eldridge reveals the twenty complex emotional issues you must understand to nurture the child you love–that he must grieve his loss now if he is to receive love fully in the future–that she needs honest information about her birth family no matter how painful the details may be–and that although he may choose to search for his birth family, he will always rely on you to be his parents. Filled with powerful insights from children, parents, and experts in the field, plus practical strategies and case histories that will ring true for every adoptive family, Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew is an invaluable guide to the complex emotions that take up residence within the heart of the adopted child and within the adoptive home.
Twenty Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed
by Sherrie Eldridge
A companion book and sequel to adoption expert Eldridge’s 20 Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, this offers prospective, new, troubled or experienced adoptive parents a combination self-help manual, sourcebook and emotional touchstone featuring 20 ways to confidently and competently address the specific challenges of raising adopted children. Adopted as an infant (at age 47 she met her birth mother and learned she was the result of a rape), Eldridge is sensitive to all aspects of the adoptive parents’ journey and adroitly tackles many difficult, loaded issues including the importance of telling children the truth—positive and negative—about their origins as soon as possible, communicating heart-to-heart even when angry, when to seek professional help and understanding their own needs as well as their children’s. The author’s accessible information coupled with an accepting, understanding tone and personal insights will educate and reassure readers. Each chapter opens with a story about a family problem that is bound to resonate with readers and has imagined letters to parents from the young child, teen and adult adoptee’s point of view.
by Sarah Schuette
(Pre School-Grade 2) Celebrate the diverse family groups that make up our world! Positive, clear text helps emergent readers understand different family relationships, while recognizing the bonds that all families share. —These titles look at the structure of different types of families. They have a reassuring tone and present matter-of-fact information. Each volume contains 110 words or less, and the large, clear text appears on clean white pages. The families photographed are of varying ages, races, and ethnicities. Each title ends with a similar sentence: “—family members love each other.” While this may or may not be true in readers’ experiences, the books do remain completely positive about the various family situations.
Bringing Asha Home
by Uma Krishnaswami
(Kindergarten-Grade 3) Just a couple of months after Arun wishes he had a sister with whom to celebrate Rakhi Day, his parents announce that they are adopting a girl. As he awaits his new sibling’s arrival, he carefully crafts a special paper airplane, pretending that it is flying to India to bring her home. After more waiting, Dad finally retrieves Asha, who gives Arun the rakhi bracelet she clung to during the flight. An author’s note provides additional details about adoption and the North Indian Hindu holiday that celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters, symbolized by a bracelet given by the sister. Realistic illustrations spread across the pages in muted colors and show well the characters’ range of emotions.
by Deborah Hodge
(Pre School-Grade 2) Emma Li Ming, who was born in China, is happily ensconced in her new home in North America. But as she and her brother make cookies to resemble their family, she is dismayed that hers is the only one decorated with raisins and black licorice for eyes and hair, in contrast to her fairer relatives. When she comments, “I want to look like everyone else,” her affectionate grandma suggests that they read the story of Emma’s adoption as a reminder of the great joy and happiness that she has brought to their family. Grandma counsels that “It’s not how we look that makes us a family, Emma. It’s how we love each other.”
by Sherrie Eldridge
For adopted children, learning about their beginnings and how they understand what that means to them is a process. It doesn’t happen at one point in time, but rather throughout the experiences of life. In this heartwarming children’s book, Forever Fingerprints uses a common occurrence-a relative’s pregnancy-as a springboard for discussions on birthparents, where adopted children are before they are born, and how that makes one little girl feel about it. Lucie is excited to feel a baby moving in her Aunt Grace’s tummy but it makes her think of how she understands her adoption story in a different way. The tools offered in this book help her to create a unique connection to her birthparents, allow how she is feeling to surface and to be discussed, and give Lucie’s parents the chance to reinforce their love for her, to empathize with her feelings and to honor her past.
Heart of Mine
by Dan Hojer
(Ages 4-6) In this sentimental look at international adoption, told in folkloric style, a mommy and a daddy who “longed for a child to take care of and love” are united with a little girl born on the other side of the world. The parents are overjoyed when they learn of Tu Thi’s birth. Preoccupation with their new daughter becomes foremost as they announce her birth to family and friends, realize that the “child of their hearts” was born on Valentine’s Day, think and dream about her as they prepare their home for her. The intimacy of the story is enhanced by watercolor-and-pencil vignettes that show compact characters with rounded, smiling faces, abstract landscapes, and comfortingly curved shapes, all rendered in shades of blues and oranges.
My Adopted Child, There’s No One Like You
by Dr. Kevin Leman
Every child is special. And every child deserves to be recognized for what makes him or her unique. Now birth order guru, Dr. Kevin Leman, and his artist son, Kevin Leman II, offer parents the perfect way to tell their adopted child just how wonderful he or she is. A read-to-me children’s picture book, My Adopted Child, There’s No One Like You conveys love, acceptance, and a sense of individuality to adopted children. The combination of Dr. Kevin Leman’s trademark humor and his talented son’s artwork makes this book a wonderful gift.
My New Family
by Pat Thomas
(Ages 4-7) Children are sometimes upset to discover that they have been adopted. This book helps them understand how lucky they are to have to have loving, adoptive parents—and how lucky their parents are to have them! A First Look At.. is an easy-to-understand series of books for younger children. Each title explores emotional issues and discusses the questions such difficulties invariably raise among kids of preschool through early school age. Written by a psychotherapist and child counselor, each title promotes positive interaction among children, parents, and teachers. The books are written in simple, direct language that makes sense to younger kids. Each title also features a guide for parents on how to use the book, a glossary, suggested additional reading, and a list of resources. There are attractive full-color illustrations on every page.
by Judith Caseley
(Pre School-Grade 2) This heartwarming picture book tells about Melissa and her newly adopted sibling, Kika, who barely speak the same language but must now become sisters. The story alternates between the first-person viewpoints of each girl, making it easy for readers to relate to both characters. From excitement to apprehension and jealousy to generosity, the two youngsters share their emotions as they discover what it means to be a family. The colorful, naive cartoons keep the narrative lively, with many amusing details, including a grocery list on the fridge, a sunflower-shaped nightlight, and a well-loved stuffed puppy. The illustrations lend a comfortible feel and make it fun to flip through the pages again and again. This is a lovely story for family sharing, particularly for children with new siblings in their lives.
The Red Thread
by Grace Lin
(Pre School – Grade 3) Lin offers a contemporary fairy tale, using a story within a story to weave in a Chinese belief that “an invisible, unbreakable red thread connects all who are destined to be together.” It begins with an Asian girl asking her Caucasian parents to read a favorite story “again,” thus introducing the main story: a royal couple both suffer a mysterious pain in their chests that nothing can remedy or explain, until a peddler gives them magic spectacles that allow them to see a red thread bound tightly around their hearts. They follow its loose end for days, crossing a sea, the pain gradually easing, until they reach a small village in a foreign land and find a gurgling, smiling baby at the end. A wise old villager tells them, “This baby belongs to you.” Bright illustrations and vivid language will likely appeal even to preschoolers.
We Belong Together
by Todd Parr
Popular author-illustrator Parr illustrates the rewards of family ties in this heartfelt, supportive book geared toward adopted children and their parents. In each double-page spread, Parr completes the phrase “We belong together because . . .” with poignant explanations that touch upon basic, tangible needs (“You needed a home . . . and I had one to share”) as well as emotional ones: “You needed someone to say ‘I love you’ . . . and we had love to give. Now we all have someone to kiss goodnight.” Cheerful, friendly artwork, with thickly outlined forms and characters and a bold rainbow palette, inclusively depicts an array of children and families and emphasizes the rewards of adoption for adults and children alike. Apart from the subtitle, the text never uses the word adoption nor refers to the adoption process, keeping the focus squarely on the universal joys of sharing hearth and heart.
You’re Not My Real Mother
by Molly Friedrich
(Pre School-K) An adoptive mother tells her daughter all of the reasons why she is a “real mother,” even though they do not look alike – “does a real mother drive to Parker’s house to pick up Polar Bear [her stuffed animal] when you’ve left him there?” Page after page of heartwarming examples are presented as the parent and child are portrayed in large, realistic-looking, mixed-media illustrations. One spread shows them frolicking on a trampoline surrounded by yellow forsythia bushes; the girl’s happiness is clearly expressed on her face and the mother seems to be jumping right off the page. Adoptive parents will welcome another chance to show their love through the sharing of this cheerful book.
Zachary’s New Home: A Story for Foster and Adopted Children
by Geraldine M. Blomquist
This story for adopted and foster children describes the adventures of Zachary the kitten, who is taken from his mother’s house when his mother is unable to take care of him. The book follows Zachary as he first goes into foster care and then is adopted by a family of geese. Zachary experiences the expected and true-to-life feelings of shame, anger, rebelliousness, and hurt, and his adoptive parents struggle with their own feelings during Zachary’s tougher times, until Zachary finally finds a place he can call home. The poignant story is brought to life by Margo Lemieux’s detailed, evocative drawings.