Just weeks ago, my four year old son asked for a little sister. That question resulted in an interesting conversation, but there was probably a striking difference from what would have been talked about in most homes. You see, my little boy didn’t just want to know where babies come from; he also wanted to know more specifically how adoption works and what story our (potentially) new baby—as a family who has grown through adoption—would have. In that moment, I did everything I could to recall what advice I had heard from adoption workshops, social workers, our adoption medicine specialist as well as the books I’d read.
Read Related: 5 Steps to Take if You’re Thinking About Adoption
Because you may be preparing to grow or already have grown your family through adoption, here are six books that might give you guidance when you most need it.
Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: From Your First Hours Together Through the Teen Years by Patty Cogen A friend recommended this book to me this year, and I am so glad she did. This thorough book covers everything from identity and attachment to independence and mixed heritage. Explaining what a child needs to know about adoption and also the concept of helping internationally adopted children—who have shown in research to have a harder time managing their feelings—I am certain this book is going to get a lot of use at our house.
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adopted Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge This book directly points adoptive parents to the fears and unspoken concerns of their children. From needing honest information about their birth families to the fact that a feeling of loss is natural for adoptive children, this book serves as an invaluable guide to families.
Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today’s Parents by Deborah Gray With a thorough mix of case studies and research, this comprehensive guide covers how to understand and care for a child who has been adopted in order to promote healthy attachment, enhance happiness, and promote positive emotional health. Parenting techniques to match a child’s emotional needs and stages as well as checklists help parents assess how things are going.
Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft by Mary Hopkins-Best Written by a child development specialist who is also a parent through adoption, this book highlights the unique challenges parents might face when adopting a child between the ages of 12 and 36 months as well as gives positive guidance on how to work through those experiences. Even though our son was younger than 12 months when he joined our family, I still found it incredibly insightful.
The Connected Child: Bringing Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by Karyn Purvis, David Cross, Wendy Sunshine Written by research psychologists who specialize in adoption and attachment, The Connected Child guides parents in how to build attachment and trust with their child, and how to effectively deal with learning differences and behavioral disorders, and appropriate discipline.
I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla by Marguerite Wright This is a great read for any parent of any child of color—whether or not you share racial and ethnic backgrounds or not. Based on Wright’s work and research as a child psychologist, this book teaches us how to reduce racism’s impact on a child’s development so that we can raise emotionally healthy children.