Adoption Books


We are rennovating all of the recommended reading section on the INCIID Website. We will be adding new books, and other reading suggestions. Please contact us with your recommendations and suggestions.

This is taken from: A Selective List of Essential Decision Making Tools Designed for Just-Thinking-About-It Beginners – by Pat Johnston. Pat will take you through this list step by step in the order she suggests you read the books.

After Infertility: Should We Adopt?

Reading each of the books below will give you a framework and tools for thinking about ending treatment as a separate issue from deciding whether or not to live childfree or build your family by adoption. Though many people will have presented adoption to you as if it is a “next step” after treatment, in much the same way as they might have suggested that Metrodin or Pergonal were “next steps” after clomiphene treatment. But adoption is really a very separate issue from infertility treatment. It needs and deserves its own decision making process.

Attachment and Early Child Trauma

Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children by Daniel A. Hughes 
While this book focuses on a composite story of a domestically adopted little girl who was abused and neglected in her pre-adoptive life, Dan Hughes teaches critically important lessons about parenting children who have experienced traumatic loss prior to adoption. The parenting philosophy shared through this book is invaluable. It educates about early child trauma. The first chapter is difficult because it describes the little girl’s pre-adoptive life, but the rest of the book is easier to read. It is ultimately an incredibly optimistic book full of hope. Dan Hughes is a brilliant therapist, who has retired from private practice and is currently traveling around the U.S. and internationally training other therapists to work with traumatized and attachment disordered children. His main focus is on foster and adopted children.  He has developed an approach to therapy called dyadic developmental therapy, which I think is the most credible, appropriate, and non-fringe way of treating many children’s struggle with trauma and attachment issues.

Adoption After Infertility

Adoption Recommended Reading here
This is a good starting point list.

Adopting After Infertility by Patricia Irwin Johnston (Indianapolis: Perspectives Press, 1992). An extensive three part handbook for couples considering or pursuing adoption. Section one examines infertility and making all kinds of related decisions. Section two explores all of the issues to be decided in adoption–agency or independent, infant or older child, international or domestic, open or confidential– and includes guidance on choosing professionals and services which meet your needs. Section three explores life after adoption in a manner important for pre-adopters to explore: talking to kids, dealing with the world at large, infertility revisited, etc. This book replaces by updating and vastly expanding the material in Johnston’s earlier An Adoptor’s Advocate (Perspectives Press, 1984) which is now out of print. This comprehensive decision-making guide also fits in each of the resource categories which follow, but will not be listed there.

Sweet Grapes: How to Stop Being Infertile and Start Living Again by Mike and Jean Carter (Indianapolis: Perspectives Press, 1989, with a revised version coming in the Winter of 1998.) An infertile couple–she an ob/gyn and he an English professor– describe their method of learning to communicate with one another that ultimately led them to stop treatment and decide to embrace with joy a childfree life-style.

Motherhood Deferred by Anne Taylor Fleming (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994) Journalist and feminist Taylor Fleming explores her delay of childbearing and subsequent long and ultimately fruitless high tech struggle with infertility and her decision not to adopt. A provocative and important view for those considering leaving treatment.

The Whole Life Adoption Book by Jayne Schooler (Colorado Springs: Pinon Press, 1993) is, as one reviewer has called it, a pre-adopt course on paper, introducing (though not covering thoroughly) multiple issues of importance.

Adopting: The Tapestry Guide by Laurie Wallmark (Ringoes, NJ: Tapestry Books, 1997) An introductory booklet covering the adoption basics.

What Type of Child?

Having read the books above, if you feel more inclined toward adoption, you will want to learn about the children available for adoption. These books and magazines will introduce you to special issues to be considered in advance before deciding whether or not you would like to adopt a newborn, a toddler, an older child, a child with special needs, a child who matches you ethnically or not.

Launching a Baby’s Adoption: Practical Strategies for Parents and Professionals by Patricia Irwin Johnston (Indianapolis: Perspectives Press, 1997) a guide to the “expectant” months leading up to and the first year following the placement of a baby under a year of age. Includes preparing self and family, promoting bonding, exploring breastfeeding, and more. ISBN: 0944934161

Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft by Mary Hopkins-Best (Indianapolis: Perspectives Press, 1997) An exploration of what to expect when adopting a child older than one year but younger than school age–a toddler. Advice for preparing one’s self and transitioning the child and unique issues of parenting a child who arrives during toddlerhood. ISBN: 0944934218

A Child’s Journey through Placement by Vera I. Fahlberg, M.D. (Indianapolis: Perspectives Press, 1991). Pediatrician and therapist Fahlberg helps both parents and professionals understand how the experience of being moved impacts on children. Provides a clear description of the attachment cycle and how to support attachment in children who have left important early caretakers. ISBN: 0944934110

Helping Children Cope with Separation and Loss (revised edition) by Claudia Jewett Jarratt (Boston: Harvard Common Press, 1994). Another valuable resource for those considering an older child. ISBN: 1558320512

Adopting the Hurt Child: Hope for Families with Special Needs Kids by Dr. Gregory Keck and Regina Kopecky (Colorado Springs: Pinon Press, 1995) An honest and accessible exploration of the challenges faced by families adopting children with difficult histories by one of the most intriguing educators in the field of attachment issues.

Transracial Adoption by the staff of Pact (San Francisco: Pact, 1997) A manual of articles and materials compiled to prepare families for adopting across racial lines. Available only through Pact ( 3450 Sacramento St Ste 239, San Francisco CA 94118. Phone 415-221-6957

Are Those Kids Yours? American Families with Children Adopted from Other Countries by Cheri Register (New York: The Free Press, 1991). A thorough, practical, down to earth discussion about the realities of and guide to parenting a child born outside the U.S. ISBN: 0029257506

The Post, from the Parent Network for the Post Institutionalized Child (PO Box 613, Meadowlands, PA 15347; phone 412-222-1766, email will be particularly valuable for those considering adopting a child who will come from an international orphanage. Institutionalized children have unique issues which must be quickly identified and addressed in order to be successfully managed. Too many agencies and facilitators are unaware of these issues, and that’s where PNPIC can help parents and parents-to-be! $20 annually.

Openness in Adoption

And how about communicating with a prospective child’s birthfamily? Before you can decide to adopt, this is something to think through fairly carefully. Open adoption is becoming more and more common, but do you understand what this really means, or are you only as literate about open and confidential adoption as the last horrific news story about either one?

Open Adoption Birthparent (R Squared Press, 721 Hawthorne Ave, Royal Oak, MI 48067) is a newsletter for birthparents and adoptive parents in open adoptions which is edited and published by Birthparent Newsletter. subscription price (annually): $36.00 Brenda Romanchik. The web site is at

How to Open an Adoption by Patricia Martinez Dorner (Royal Oka, MI: R-Squared Press, 1997.) A guide to opening an adoption that was begun confidentially, written by one of open adoption’s pioneers. ISBN:0964103583

Adoption without Fear edited by James. L. Gritter (San Antonio: Corona Publishing, 1989). A series of essays written by birth and adoptive parents who participated in open adoptions through the same Michigan agency. ISBN: 0931722713

The Open Adoption Book: A Guide to Adoption Without Tears by Bruce Rappaport, Ph.D. (New York: MacMillan, 1992) The director of the Independent Adoption Center and founder of the National Federation for Open Adoption Education’s guide for consumers. ISBN: 0028621700

More Adoption Books:

And Hannah Wept: Infertility, Adoption, and the Jewish Couple by Michael Gold Paperback Published by Jewish Pubns Society Publication date: 1994 ISBN: 0827604424

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