We thought it would be a great idea to share some personal recommendations of books about adoption – international adoption in particular – so that families have more resources that have been checked out by other adopting families.

To get us started today, one of our adoptive moms who already adopted a little girl and is going to be adopting a sibling group of boys, shares her insights on a few books…

I just finished Parenting Your Adopted Older Child by Brenda McCreight. Much of it is written as if you’re adopting from the Foster Care System…but there is still much to be gleaned from it for international adoptions. I bought and read it thinking of the boys, but it’s very useful information for those even adopting infants who will one day be an “older adopted child”. There were several places I thought “this is good information for me to know for Anna as she gets older.” There is a great section on how to foster attachment and bonding with older children, a section on how to help older children find their identity in your family..and a REALLY important section on the “oops response.” I think this is a really great read for anyone adopting but especially important for anyone adopting a child over age 2-3 yrs old.

After the Dream Comes True by Michelle Gardner. I bought this book while we were waiting for Anna and I’m going back and re-reading the whole book because I think it has some really important issues to think over. I think this is a very “real” book and I can relate to alot of what she writes about since we’ve already experienced one adoption and the ups and downs that go with it.

Before You Were Mine by Susan TeBos and Carissa Woodwyk. I just picked this up this weekend but am already SO glad I did. It is a Biblical perspective on writing your child’s lifebook. I’ve searched and searched for help on writing Anna’s lifebook and have never found anything I really liked. I’m just 5 chapters into it and am so relieved to have found it. This is what I’ve been searching for for so long. It’s not just a “why you should do this” book but a “how to” book as well….and on top of that it helps you weave Biblical truths into your child’s story…because after all, GOD is the one who weaves the story and He is the One who has grafted this child into our family just like He grafts us into His family.
Learning the Dance of Attachment by Holly Van Gulden. This is a hard book to find but I think it’s a ‘must have’ in every adopted parents’ library. I really do. It is what our Attachment Counselor asked us to read when we started therapy with Anna. It is such an easy read and quite a short book…but it explains the steps of attachment and then gives examples of a child missing one of those stages. For example, our therapist was fairly certain Anna didn’t have permanence nor constancy. As we read the book it was so easy for us to see…sure enough…yep, those are Anna’s exact behaviors and those are symptoms of permanence or constancy. What I really like about the book is that at the end of each chapter there is a chart of the behaviors/symptoms of a child with that issue the chapter covered, examples of reactions parents shouldn’t have, reactions they should have and games to play with the child to help them develop the issues they’re struggling with. ie: Anna struggled with permanence so 1 really great game for her is for me to hide myself under a blanket in front of her and then her to “find me”…and then we’ve been able to elevate that up to regular hide and seek. (To order Learning the Dance of Attachment, call 715-386-5550, e-mail wisconsinoffice@crossroadsadoption.com)

I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak. This is a child’s board book…but I SO highly recommend it for anyone adopting. Obviously we’ve dealt alot with attachment issues so this book really helps a child understand you love them – all of them. Each page has 1 sentence about what a parent loves about their child…I love your happy side…I love your sad side…I love your silly side…I love your mad side…I love your hair…I love your eyes… This has really helped Anna to understand I love ALL of her, not just her when she is happy. I love her even when she is naughty.

I Wished For You, An Adoption Story by Marianne Richmond. Beautiful watercolor illustrations go along with a sweet story about a mama bear who waited, prayed and wished for her baby bear. The baby bear asks mama lots of questions that I think young adopted children have… and I love how Mama Bear answers the questions. I sobbed reading it to my biological daughter and haven’t even attempted to read it to Anna yet (we just bought this one!). My husband had to read it to her the other night cuz I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it through. 🙂
There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene. I think this is almost a ‘must-read’ for anyone adopting from Africa, Ethiopia specifically, as it really helped me understand the true plight these people are experiencing… especially those plagued by HIV/AIDS.