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Essential Reading: 7 Books For Parents Thinking About Adoption

Essential adoption reading

No matter where you are in the adoption process, you’ll have some questions. Whether your adopted child is sleeping upstairs or you’re just getting started on the paperwork, this is an imposing journey and in the face of it many parents feel underprepared. Fortunately, you’re not alone - many have been there before you, and their powerful accounts explore adoption from every angle. Pick up a book and let your worries settle down with this essential reading for parents thinking about adoption.

Seven Core Issues in Adoption and Permanency by Sharon Roszia & Allison Maxon

Seven Core Issues is an authoritative account of the emotional impact of adoption, and offers an unflinching look at both the struggles and joys you can expect as adoptive parents. Russia and Maxon’s core issues, identified as rejection, loss, shame, grief, identity, intimacy and mastery might seem heavy, but these powerful topics are introduced with nuance and subtlety. Parents have been learning from this approach for decades.

The Harris Narratives by Susan Harris O’Connor

This compilation of five narrative accounts of transracial adoption offers a window into the challenges and complexities of adoption. The author, herself an adoptee and then trained social worker, presents these autobiographical tales in order to explore the impact of foster care and adoption on her own development and each tale offers a unique insight into the experience of an adopted child.

Being Adopted: The Lifelong for Search for Self by David M. Brodzinsky, Marshall D. Schechter and Robin Marantz Henig

By applying cutting edge psychological and social development theory, the authors have produced valuable text charting the predictable development of adoptees, and in the process they have created a valuable guide for parents to follow. “Whilst every adoption is unique, there are nonetheless normal generalised outcomes that lead from this start in life,” says Grace Gant, a writer at Stateofwriting and Essay Help. “Parents can equip themselves to foster the emotional development of their child with this insightful text.”

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

Nicole Chung’s Korean birth parents placed her up for adoption, leading her to be raised by a white family in rural Oregon. For parents thinking about adopting, Chung’s experiences offer an insight into something all adopted children go through eventually. This sense of displacement, a searching for home, is inevitable, and parents would do well to be prepared for this curiosity on the part of their adopted children. Chung’s writing, emotional and incisive, will help you to understand the emotional journey you’re starting when you adopt.

Twenty Things Adoptive Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge

As an adoptee, Eldridge uses this book to reflect on her experience growing up and offers a thoughtful guide for parents contemplating adopting. The emotional process of adoption is quite different from raising a biological child, and acknowledging this allows adopting parents to provide a loving and supportive environment for their child. With its simple structure, this book gets to the heart of what parents need to know.

Modern Families: Parents and Children in New Family Forms by Susan Golombok

Cambridge professor Susan Golombok has been exploring the many modern conceptions that a family can take and her research reveals one key point: these families thrive. “Adoption forms only one chapter of this powerful book, but Golombok’s research is powerfully inspiring for anyone exploring non-traditional means of forming a family,” says Todd Dunne, a book expert at Lia Help and Boomessays. “Allow her research to guide you into happy family life.”

The How & The Why by Cynthia Hand

If the heavy reading around adoption is getting you down, why not turn to a novel to explore themes of motherhood, family and belonging - after all, the insight you can gain from a powerful work of fiction equals any amount of research. Hand’s emotional novel follows adoptee Cassandra wrangling how these powerful questions rear themselves even in a seemingly perfect family unit. It’s utterly readable and a moving narrative that all parents could learn something from.


Adoption is a huge topic and, for manby potential parents, one that involves a great deal of soul-searching before the paperwork begins. Equipping yourself emotionally for this exciting journey is an important step - dig into this reading list and you’ll be on your way.