Adoption Books for Adults

Adopting the Hurt Child webstore.jpg Adopting the Hurt Child
by Gregory Keck & Regina Kupecky

Chapters on waiting children; attachment difficulties; impermanence; dreams and realities; giving your child a history; therapy; when adoption fails; success stories; international adoption, and reflections from the trenches.

Pact says: With the help of this book, families dealing with hurt children will realize that neither they or their children are crazy or alone. A Pact best seller.
Adopting: Sound Choices, Strong Families
by Patricia Irwin Johnston

This book explores the process of adopting as an emotional journey that begins with infertility, single status and other family building challenges and takes the reader through the decision making, preparation and lifelong experience of adopting. Does a great job of looking at the deeper issues and acknowledging the complexity of adoption today including a focus on couples communication and infertility.

Pact says: Pat speaks clearly and directly to and for the infertile who choose to adopt.

Adoption and the Schools
by Lansing Wood & Nancy Ng

Powerful advocacy for adopted school age kids. How to influence your children's schools toward adoption positive reflections. Includes sections on curriculum, homework, attitudes of teachers and administrators, challenges for adopted kids and more. Spiral bound so handouts can be reproduced and distributed to schools within your sphere of influence.

Pact says: Highly recommended for the home library of every parent of an adopted child. A great book to help parents consciously address the school community.

Adoption is a Family Affair webstore.jpg Adoption is a Family Affair
by Patricia Johnston

Many times extended family are relieved to have a guide book that helps them know how to support their relatives who adopt This book offers guidance for friends and extended family members in interacting with pre- and post-adoptive families.

Pact says: A wonderful tool, easy to read and the suggestions are on target making this a perfect gift for extended family.


AdoptionNation.jpg Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming America
by Adam Pertman

In this revised edition of Adam Pertman's award-winning book, first published in 2000, readers will find updated information on every aspect of adoption and its changing role in American society. Pertman suggests ways our laws should be changed to improve the adoption process and remove the obstacles that keep the children who most need permanent homes from getting them.

Pact says: A Pulitzer nominated journalist, Pertman argues against adoption for profit and highlights positive adoption impacts on society.

Because I Loved You: A Birthmother's View of Open Adoption
by Patricia Dischler

This unique blend of Patricia's personal story (20 years post-placement) combined with her advice and research as to what expectant parents considering an adoption can anticipate at each stage of the process is very helpful because it goes beyond the placement to adulthood of the child placed for adoption. Patricia is careful to a fault not to overstep her boundaries by trespassing on her son's adoptive mother's territory, and she is thoughtful and articulate in her advice and insight.

Pact says: by a welcome voice that is too often under represented in the world of adoption.

Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self
by David Brodzinsky

Emphasizing adoption issues as viewed “through the eyes of adopted people,” this book normalizes the developmental progressions of identity formation that are common to adopted people. Without pathologizing adoption, the authors demonstrate adoption as a lifelong issue.

Pact says: Excellent. Blending research, theory, practicality and sensitivity, the authors normalize developmental stages and understanding of children and adults who have been adopted.

Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens
By Debbie Riley & John Meeks

This book gives clinicians and therapists insight into adopted teens and is an important new contribution to the field of adoption. Adopted teens are facing complex issues that require therapists and clinicians who are educated about their unique struggles. The authors identify six adolescent "stuck spots" and discuss some of the ways that therapists and parents can help children process the issues when they arise.

Pact says: Directed to clinicians, this book is very useful to parents as well - offering insight into what adopted teens are feeling. Excellent resource!

by Jean Strauss

A Guide to Search and Reunion for Adoptees, Birthparents and Adoptive Parents This book is filled with storiesâ026direct quotes from adoptive parents, birth parents, and adopted people who have experienced search and reunion. Includes guidelines for beginning a search.

Pact says: Jean is a great writer and this is a good overview of what to expect and how to handle both the emotional and logistical steps that are often involved.

Brothers.jpg Brothers and Sisters In Adoption
by Arletta James

This book is filled with stories…direct quotes from adoptive parents, birth parents, and adopted people who have experienced search and reunion. Includes guidelines for beginning a search.

Pact says: Arletta is a great writer and this is a good overview of what to expect and how to handle both the emotional and logistical steps that are often involved.

Dear Birthmother webstore.jpg Dear Birthmother, Thank You for Our Baby
by Kathleen Silber

A collection of actual letters between adoptive parents and birth parents, and letters written by birth parents to their children, advocating for the benefits of openness and demonstrating, through the included letters, the ways in which initial - even though limited - openness provides the opportunity for increasing comfort and trust between birth parents and adoptive parents, to the benefit of the children loved by them all.

Pact says: Recommended by the Child Welfare League of America and Pact.


english_american.jpg English American, The
by Allison Larkin

Never overly negative or treating adoption as if it is a disease, Alison shares great insights into some of the ways that adoption impacts our experience in the world and the way we look at things. This novel is perfect for anybody wanting to explore the journey of an adoptee and the honest feelings that it includes. With an authentic adopted heroine at its center, Larkin's compulsively readable first novel unearths universal truths about love, identity, and family with wit, warmth, and heart.

Pact says: A laugh-out-loud, cry-because-you-care kind of read. Really worthwhile.

Family of Adoption webstore.jpg Family of Adoption, The
by Joyce Maguire Pavao

An international therapy expert and adopted person, Joyce offers a clear voice in the world of adoption, describing the deeper truths that often go unspoken. Joyce really honors the perspectives and voices of each member of the triad, making her book one of the important texts on the core issues of adoption.

Pact says: Reading this is like listening to a wise friend; she links her personal experience with vast knowledge, creating that elusive “ah ha” experience.

Ghost At Heart's Edge: Stories & Poems of Adoption
Ed. by Susan Ito and Tina Cervin

Poignant short pieces are arranged in sections that represent the adoption process: the period before adoption takes place, the transition period when the child moves from one family to another, how adoption affects childhood, identity issues for those who grow up adopted, and search and reunion with birth relatives.

Pact says: A moving collection that dismantles adoption myths by showing adoption in all its complexity.

howtoopen.jpg How To Open An Adoption
by Patricia Martinez Dorner

A guide toward opening adoptions for adoptive parents, birth parents of minors and professionals. This book covers the benefits of opening adoptions; the issues raised if the request is initiated by adoptive parents or birth parents; professional help; preparation for contact; the first visit; the role of commitment of all the adults; when there is inequality among adoptive siblings; reopening open adoptions and more.

Pact says: Adopted children shouldn’t have to wait until they are eighteen to have their questions answered. Contact allows children to receive answers directly.

I Wish For You A Beautiful Life
by Sara Dorow

This collection of letters from birth mothers from the Ae Ran Won agency in Korea gives voices not often heard a chance to articulate their innermost emotions at the time of placement of their children for adoption. Their messages of hope that the children will have a positive life, sadness over personal losses, love for the children, and a level of guilt shed new light on what it is like to be a birth mother in Korea.

Pact says: This book is not intended for children.

In On It webstore.gif In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You to Know About Adoption
by Elisabeth O'Toole

A book written forextended family and friends of adoptive families, In On It provides as solid introduction to the world of adoption. There are some great explanations about why new families might need space at first and the very particular kinds of support that parents adopting older children might need. And the way O’Toole addresses the need to respect a child’s privacy and a child’s birth family/country of origin were probably the best part of the book.

Pact Says: O'Toole gets a major ding for her discussion of adoption records, where she states that adoption records were sealed and legally inaccessible IN THE PAST, unfortunately this is still true in most states in 2013! To the authors credit, she has changed this for the 2nd printing.
identical-strangers.jpg Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited
Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein

What Begins as an Adult Adoptee’s search for a birthmother, transforms to a search for an Identical Twin and the mysterious circumstances surrounding their separation as infants. After discovering they were part of a “Nature vs. Nurture” social experiment that resulted in the authors separation and placements into different Adoptive families.

Pact says: A fascinating story told in 1st person about the twins' life experiences having been adopted into separate families and then reuniting more than 30 years later. Themes include the problems of sealed adoption records, the potential for unethical practices by adoption agencies, and adoptees' unique perspective of the world.

Learning the Dance of Attachment
by Holly van Gulden & Charlotte Vick

A small book that packs a huge punch. Filled with practical advice and specific suggestions for how to enhance attachment in children of all ages, this books is popular for all families that have worked with Holly or know her work. As a parent herself, Holly understands that attachment is a lifelong process of learning to trust and believe in the relationship of adoption.

Pact says: The book gives parents and children real encouragement as they solidify their mutual attachment, which leads to children behaving better and parents feeling confident. Really helpful, especially for families with challenging children.

Lifebooks; Creating A Treasure For Your Child
by Beth O'Malley

This book offers clear advice about how to create a lifebook with your child stressing its importance in strengthening self esteem and identity. Filled with examples and suggestions for difficult subject matter.

Pact says: Because there has been a disconnection in the life of every adopted child, even if adopted at birth, it is very helpful to have recorded information about children’s personal history. And remember, it is never too late to create a lifebook with your child and this book has great suggestions for conversations and activities that will promote further discussion and insight for children.

LostandFoundwebstore.jpg Lost and Found
by Betty Lifton

Plot Summary: The late B.J. Lifton drew upon her own experience as an adopted person and on her extensive work with triad members to explore secrecy’s harmful effects on children’s identity. Lifton was a pioneer in adoption and this book is a classic.

Pact Says: This ground-breaking book has been described by many adult adoptees as the perfect description of some of their own unspoken feelings about being adopted and the sense of self they desire to integrate from not only their adoptive family but also their birth family.

love-me-feed-me.jpg Love Me, Feed Me: The Adoptive Parent's Guide to Ending the Worry about Weight, Picky Eating, Power Struggles and More
by Katja Rowell, MD

Feed Me, Love Me is accessibly written, well-organized, and encyclopedic in the breadth of the feeding issues it tackles and the strategies it suggests. Rowell covers a wide range of topics including an overview of factors that can cause feeding challenges, a review of various therapeutic interventions families may encounter, and strategies for moving towards the Trust Model of Feeding.

Pact says: Rowell's book is based upon her experiences helping hundreds of adoptive and fostering families. Their stories, often told in their own words, are useful and inspiring.
Making Room in Our Hearts: Keeping Family Ties Through Open Adoption
by Micky Duxbury

Micky, a therapist as well as an adoptive parent (and Pact member!), interviewed hundreds of triad members about their life stories and experiences with open adoption. Based on interviews with over one hundred adopted children, birth and adoptive parents, extended family, professionals and experts, this book is an effective and invaluable resource.

Pact says: There is no other book that offers a compilation of first hand stories of families living with open adoption. It is especially useful for those considering open adoption as it demystifies and offers a realistic model for what is best for kids. Kudos!

making-sense-of-adoption.jpg Making Sense of Adoption
by Lois Melina

A parent’s guide – conversations and activities for families formed through adoption, donor insemination, surrogacy, and in vitro fertilization. When to tell, What to tell, and how to tell. Children who are adopted have predictable and often unspoken concerns about themselves and how they joined their families.

Pact Says: An adoption classic designed particularly for families with closed adoptions.
NurturingAdoption.jpg Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience after Neglect and Trauma
by Deborah Gray

With higher and higher percentages of children joining their families through adoption, both parents and the professionals with whom they consult need new skills. From the author of Attaching in Adoption (a former Pact favorite!) comes this new tool designed to help placement professionals and therapists understand adoption, attachment and research on the impact of neglect, abuse, early trauma, and institutionalization on the developing brains of children can guide their practices in new directions.

Pact says: We recommend it for parents who want to practice therapeutic parenting strategies as well.

Open Adoption Experience, The
by Lois Melina & Sharon Kaplan Roszia

This book covers all the bases, from theory to reality. It addresses both the easy and the challenging realities of living an open adoption. The many personal stories make the book believable and useful for all kinds of situations. It is sometimes a bit dense, but it makes for a perfect reference manual.

Pact says: An important reference manual for many issues of open adoption.

ParentingAdopAdol.jpg Parenting Adopted Adolescents: Understanding & Appreciating Their Journeys
By Gregory Keck, Edited by Lynda Mansfield

Written in a casual, accessible style, Keck's underlying point is that all children who are adopted into their families must deal with the developmental issues of adolescence as well as adoption-related issues, either simultaneously or alternately. Keck mines his experience as a clinician and includes stories from his many years of practice. Keck's personal and professional experience allow him to write with expertise and a special sensitivity to teens who come from chaotic beginnings and have lived in multiple foster homes, and to the issues of young men, in particular.

Pact says: Beth Hall, Pact’s Director, her children and several other Pact teens contributed to this volume.

parenting the hurt child webstore.jpg Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow
by Gregory Keck and Regina Kupecky

Keck and Kupecky welcome parents of children with attachment issues to a world of easy to grasp ideals and practical ideas. In smart, honest and everyday language they describe families-in-process; families where parents are not to blame for their children's problems but are responsible for doing as much as they can to help their kids grow beyond difficult beginnings.

Pact says: A really helpful guide for parents of challenging children.

Perpetual-Child.jpg Perpetual Child: Dismantling The Stereotype
by Diane Rene Christian & Amanda Transue-Woolston

Filled with significant moments in the lives of the authors, these essays give us sometimes raw and always gripping insight into the complex loyalties and feelings of adopted people; the writing is excellent and clearly conveys the strengths of adult adoptees who are the only group in present-day American who are treated as children because they cannot obtain personal information about their birth identity.

Without a doubt, we can learn more about adoption from listening to adult adoptees than from anyone else. This book gives all of us a welcome chance to deepen our understanding of our families and of ourselves.

Real Parents, Real Children
by Holly van Gulden

Want to know what your kids are thinking/feeling about their adoption? Want great ideas about how to talk to them from infancy on? This is a book about some of adoptive life’s essential moments, those instances when, in a split-second of time, you’re called upon to tackle core issues and challenges.

Pact says: While there are many must-reads in books about adoption, we think Holly offers insights no adoptive parent can do without. Highly recommended.

Spirit of Open Adoption webstore.jpg Spirit of Open Adoption, The
by James L. Gritter

Viewing adoptive families as resources for birth families facing unplanned pregnancies, this book defines excellence in adoption by the replacement of fear, pain and shame with honor, respect, and reverence of each participant for one another. Open adoption is seen as a model built on candor, commitment, community, and cooperation. Gritter expresses deep concern about for-profit adoption.

Pact says: This book gives a compelling explanation of the why and reason open adoption is the "best" form of adoption we have today.

stories-of-adoption.jpg Stories of Adoption: Loss and Reunion
by Eric Blau

Annette Baran, a leading adoption educator, writes, “The pages within this extraordinarily moving volume offer, in photographic image and personal reflection, a rare opportunity for the reader to share the inner feelings of adopted people, birth parents, and adoptive parents.”

Pact Says: Eric Blau has captured a special human story in each of his photographs, and the individual stories speak an emotional truth about how adoption affects people’s lives. Highly recommended. A Pact bestseller.

talkingwith.gif Talking With Young Children About Adoption
by Mary Watkins & Susan Fischer

What does your child understand about adoption? This book is filled with practical guidance and examples of what to say when.

Pact says: Offers clear direction on how to listen rather than tell. The point is to understand what children are thinking rather than to hand them a politically correct doctrine of adoption thinking. We wish there was more discussion of birth parent stories.

Third Choice, The
by Gail Moscone and Leslie Foge

This is the first book that accurately details the predictable emotional steps in the journey of placement, from the initial decision through common events during the first year after placement. Written in a warm conversational tone filled with personal experiences, this book is engaging, respectful, and realistic.

Pact says: Finally! An intelligent guide for women in the process of placing a child for adoption.

toddler webstore.jpg Toddler Adoption
by Mary Hopkins Best

Practical, realistic and supportive advice for adoptive parents of kids adopted as toddlers. This is essential reading for those adopting children between 13 months and 4 years at the time of placement.

Pact says: Hopkins-Best’s discussion of the factors that make adopting a toddler different from adopting either infants or older children with special needs is well grounded and a good read.

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew
by Sherry Eldrridge

Eldridge says that "buried feelings caused by the loss of birth family must be identified and grieved or the child's ability to receive and give love will be diminished. The parental challenge is to learn the 20 unspoken feelings, create a nonjudgmental atmosphere for the child to grieve and cheer the child on."

Pact says: This is a unique and perceptive treatment of the core issues of adoption from a child's view and gives a clear voice to feelings not easily articulated.

WoundedChildren.jpg Wounded Children, Healing Homes: How Traumatized Children Impact Adoptive and Foster Families
by Jayne Schooler, Betsy Keefer & Timothy Callahan

The book offers a detailed look at the importance of attachment and what happens to a child cognitively, psychologically and behaviorally when it does not take place. While the book is not without optimism, it is realistic about what parenting a traumatized child can be like and the impact it has on parents and families.

Pact says: The books strongest function is in providing an overall picture and a wealth of information about the possible issues and their root causes, as well as pointing out red flags, both in a child’s behavior and in the dynamics of potential adoptive families.

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