10 Book Week: All About Adoption

by Camille on July 3, 2012

As I posted Sunday, I’m following Sarah Bessey’s example and following along with a list of 10 book recommendations a day for one week. (I’m a day behind. Sue me.) Yesterday, she focused on books that influenced her parenting, and I’m beyond thrilled to have some suggestions for books promising help for the lovely tantrums we’ve been experiencing from Miss Ellie recently.

However, having been a parent for less than 18 months, I don’t actually have 10 books to recommend in this category. (Crap. Does this mean I’m a bad parent? I mean, I read the What to Expect book, but since she turned a year-old, I’m generally too busy trying to keep her from chunking my books into the toilet to actually find time to read them.) I’m hoping that some of these recommendations will hold the key to get her to stop tackle-loving other kids, dunking her pacifier in the dog’s water bowl, and maybe, just maybe, quit biting my knees? We’ll see. Every time I say “no,” she either goes all-out screaming-hissy…or uses this face:

Yup. That’s a cookie she’s holding. She’s manipulative, y’all. I’m trying to be strong, but seriously. It’s hard. 

In any case, my parenting has been heavily influenced by the unique and sometimes complicated circumstances creating our family, so along those lines, my 10 for today are

All About Adoption


First, here are five that are unique to parenting Ellie. While I’m a bit behind in the overall parenting genre, I have done my research on being an adoptive parent, and I’ve tried to appreciate what unique challenges that may bring to our lives as Ellie grows and matures.

1. Adoption: The Complete Idiot’s Guide, by Christine Adamec

Don’t judge. We all need a place to get started, and when entering this scary new world, I liked the easy-to-navigate sections, handy-dandy charts, and simplistic definitions of unfamiliar terminology in the margins. So there.

2. Raising Adopted Children, by Lois Ruskai Melina

Kind of a thick read, but it contains a useful section on attachment and bonding.

3. Adoption Wisdom, by Marlou Russell

This one contains lots of excerpts directly from adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents in an attempt to capture the different viewpoints and struggles from each side. It provided my real introduction to the idea of the triad and its importance and also helped with resolving infertility issues. It’s still filled with blue sticky notes, and I find comfort in reading words from other triad members that have traveled the adoption path. Also, it’s written by an adoptee in reunion with her birth family, so I give it more credence than a book by any old psychologist.

4. Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, by Sherrie Eldridge

When I opened this book and started reading chapter titles such as ” I Suffered a Profound Loss Before I Was Adopted. You Are Not Responsible” and “I Need to Be Taught That I Have Special Needs Arising From Adoption Loss, of Which I Need Not Be Ashamed” I thought, Dang. You need shorter chapter titles. Seriously, it was hard to read a book so focused on grief, loss, and all the hurt that Ellie might feel one day. A few times, I huffed and threw it to the side. I wanted to reject the ideas in this book and say, “Not my child. She’ll be so happy and well-adjusted and wonderful that she’ll never feel this way. We’ll be such amazing parents that this won’t apply to her.” But that’s kind of why I needed to read this book. From the blogs of adult adoptees I follow, I know that no matter how wonderful and secure Ellie’s life is here with us, she will likely (and rightly) have some complicated feelings related to her adoption, and that’s okay. It’s my job not to try and prevent any of those feelings, but rather to do my best to understand and support her. She gets to feel what she feels…no matter what.

5. Dear Birthmother, by Kathleen Silbar and Phylis Speedlin

I’m SO grateful to my agency for requiring me to read this book. While I had accepted the idea of open adoption from an intellectual standpoint as the best thing for my child, this book portrayed birth mothers in a compassionate and real way that opened my eyes and my heart to the other side. This book was an important part of the path to our current level of openness. The section on infertility is also honest and full of passages from real people that understand the full range of emotions involved in healing.

And here are five children’s books related to adoption. (I’d take a picture, but they’re in her room, and she’s napping. If I wake her up, I can’t finish this post, so you understand, right?) Some of these were gifts, and I don’t necessarily agree with the portrayal of adoption in all of them, but they’re the ones on our shelf at the moment.

6. A Mother for Choco, by Keiko Kasza

7. Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born, by Jamie Lee Curtis

8. Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale, by Karen Katz

9. God Found Us You, by Lisa Tawn Bergren

10. I Don’t Have Your Eyes, by Carrie A. Kitze

I’m especially interested in recommendations in this area as she’ll soon be old enough to start internalizing more than just the pretty pictures and bright colors. I’m particularly having a hard time finding books that portray our definition of open adoption. What adoption-related children’s books do you recommend? Which ones do you have issues with and why?

Also, it would be sort of awesome if those of you who aren’t in the adoption world would consider getting some similar children’s books for your own kids. They teach several lessons including: families don’t all have to look the same, families are made in different ways, and in a family, love is the most important thing. Good lessons for any child, I think.

That’s it for now. With all these lists floating around, I’ve got some reading to do!






Monika July 3, 2012 at 11:06 am

One of my dear friends who also happens to be an adoptive momma got picture books custom made for her girls about THEIR adoption stories. I thought that was a fabulous idea and now that they’re older, they still love those books. The problem that I have with most children’s books about adoption as a birth mom is that they all assume that the birth mom isn’t important past relinquishment and that she just quietly goes away, when it really shouldn’t be that way. Let me know if you’re interested in making a book like that for Ellie and I’ll ask for the website for you. 🙂 Also “The Best For You” by Kelsey Stewart (available on Amazon) is an adoption book written from a birth mother’s perspective. It’s a cute book, and though it doesn’t match my own adoption story, I still appreciated the book. 🙂
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Camille July 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm

PLEASE send me the site for the books. I love that idea! I’ve made photobooks on smugmug and such, and of course, her adoption story is on here, but I love the idea of putting together a special children’s book version just for her. I agree with you that most children’s books only mention the birth mother in a sentence or two; I haven’t found any that describe visits or contact after the adoption. Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

Kelly July 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm

One of our favorites is “I Wished for You.” by Marianna Richmond.

I also really love “Girls Hold Up this World” by Jada Pinkett Smith, it is not an adoption book, but has so many beautiful pictures of all different colors of girls. I have bought it for all of my daughters, even the grown ones, because it has such a great message.

Camille July 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Thanks so much for the recommendations! I’m going to make a giant Amazon book purchase after this 10 Book Week is done. SO much reading and so little time! 🙂

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