I have found five books that I believe would be helpful for every adoptive parent to read. Adoptive parent books that deal with broad strokes are helpful if you are considering being an adoptive parent and want a bird’s eye view. Since I am in the thick of family life now, I am drawn to books that deal in depth with some of the hard issues. One or two are still on my list of books to tackle. I hope they bring encouragement to you as they have to me.
1. Raising Adopted Children: Practical Reassuring Advice for Every Adoptive Parent By Lois Ruskai Melina
I read this book before we adopted our son. It was a helpful resource to gain an understanding of all the stages that an adopted child goes through. It also touches on international adoption which is an important consideration for many. It provided a context for adoption before I had experienced anything firsthand. It strikes me as a book that I could read repeatedly and each time glean something new.
2. Twenty Things Adoptive Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew By Sherrie Eldridge
This book is at the top of my list when it comes to books still to read. As my son gets older his behaviour is extreme. It is obvious how complex his emotional world is. Much of it has been a mystery. But as he starts to put feelings into words, I’m realizing I need help. I need a better understanding of what he’s going through. And how to help him grieve and heal. This book offers great insight into the thoughts and lives of those who have been adopted. An important read for adoptive families.
3. The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family By David R. Cross, Karyn B. Purvis, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine
This book deals with the difficulties associated with attachment. Because we adopted our son from birth I never thought attachment would be a struggle for us. But it turns out it’s one of the biggest issues we face. The felt loss of a birth parent is profound at any age.
4. The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children. By Ross W. Greene, PhD
While this book isn’t adoption specific it certainly addresses issues that many adoptive families encounter. I chose to include an excerpt about the book from online sources (i.e. Google Play, Indigo). It is an excellent description of what an explosive child looks like.
What’s an explosive child? A child who responds to routine problems with extreme frustration—crying, screaming, swearing, kicking, hitting, biting, spitting, destroying property, and worse. A child whose frequent, severe outbursts leave his or her parents feeling frustrated, scared, worried, and desperate for help. Most of these parents have tried everything-reasoning, explaining, punishing, sticker charts, therapy, medication—but to no avail. They can’t figure out why their child acts the way he or she does; they wonder why the strategies that work for other kids don’t work for theirs; and they don’t know what to do instead.
5. Born Broken: An Adoptive Journey by Kristin Berry
I have had this book on my shelf for a couple months now. It is a story of a family raising a child with FASD. It is a story of great devastation, loss, and eventually hope. I too am an adoptive mother raising a son with FASD. It has been far more difficult than I could have anticipated. I am nervous about jumping into this book because the truth is painful. But I know there is hope and solidarity to be found in its pages. This book reads more like an inspirational story versus a guide book. It would be helpful for any family, not just those dealing with FASD.
Reading these books as a couple or forming a book club with other adoptive parents can be a creative way to get the most you can from what you read. It also provides an opportunity to feel supported.
Don’t forget to check out AdoptionGifts for more excellent adoptive parent books for you and your adopted child.