All members of the adoption triad can benefit from reading adoption books for adoptees. For birth and adoptive parents, books written by or for adoptees can offer a fresh perspective into adoption and help you better understand some of your child’s experiences. For adoptees, these adoption books can be very meaningful. It can be refreshing or comforting to hear similar thoughts or feelings to your own expressed by another adoptee, or informative to read about other adoptee’s stories.
Every adoptee’s experiences are uniquely their own, so you may or may not relate with some of these adoptee books. However, you may find some topics, sentiments or stories that you connect with in these adoption books for adoptees:
Books Written by Adoptees
Reading books that were written by adopted adults can be comforting if you worry that no one understands your experiences. Many of these authors are older adoptees who grew up in an era of fully closed adoptions and struggled with negative emotions. Their stories are often complex looks at love and loss:
Written by more than 30 diverse women of the adoption triad, these birth mothers, adoptive mothers and adoptees share their stories unflinchingly.
Sherrie Eldrige, a Christian adoptee, shares her own experiences and also interviews other adoptees about the shared questions they’ve asked themselves and the answers they’ve found. This book offers practical exercises for faith- and non-faith-focused adoptees at the end of each chapter for those who are looking for healing.
The author, Paige Adams Strickland, grew up in a closed adoption in an era where adoption was viewed as something to be kept a secret. She shares how this secretive attitude affected her family life.
Closed adoptee Jean A. S. Strauss shares her story of searching for her birth mother and offers advice for all members of the triad (but particularly adoptees) on how to search, what may happen if you search and dealing with the practical, mental and emotional effects of searching and/or reunion.
As the title of the book promises, Christian author Barbara Gowan explores how her experiences as a biracial foster care adoptee intersects with race, religion and personal identity after overcoming abuse.
An adoptee of a closed adoption recounts being contacted by her birth mother at the age of 23. Sarah Saffian writes about accepting her birth family in her life after initial reluctance.
Questions Adoptees Are Asking: …about beginnings…about birth family…about searching…about finding peace
Sherrie Eldrige, a Christian adoptee, interviews more than seventy adoptees to talk about the questions that many adopted adults have, like, “Do you ever wonder if your birth mother thinks about you?” Many adoptees of closed adoptions find commonality in their questions.
A diverse range of adult black adoptees share their stories, their views on race, adoption, identity, culture and their unique perspectives in a world that often seeks to silence them.
Linda Hoye, a foster care adoptee, writes about the pain of her adoptive parents’ death in her early twenties, an abusive marriage and her search for family in the aftermath.
Informative Adoption Books for Adoptees
Some adoptees are in search of something specific, whether it’s insight into the decisions made by birth parents or guidelines for reconnecting with birth family. These books are a good place to start:
I Wish for You a Beautiful Life: Letters from the Korean Birth Mothers of Ae Ran Won to Their Children
A collection of letters written by Korean birth mothers to the babies they placed for adoption, these moving letters can bring a sense of healing to many adoptees of closed adoptions who wonder why their birth parents chose adoption.
A helpful tool for adoptees in closed adoptions who are considering beginning their own search and/or reunion with birth family members, this book includes honest stories from adoptees as well as practical advice for your own journey.
Books for Adopted Children
For children, understanding their adoption comes in stages. This happens at different rates for every child, and is different for everyone. As they grow, they’ll continue to explore their identity as an adoptee. They’ll often begin to ask more complicated questions, and their feelings about their adoption may become more complex as their emotional capacity expands — so the way their birth and adoptive families can talk with them about adoption can also adapt to suit their age and understanding.
Start with simple, age-appropriate children’s books about adoption to help give kids a basic understanding of adoption from the adoptee perspective, like these:
Written for counselors, therapists and adoptive parents working with children aged 5-11, this workbook can help children explore their feelings about their adoption, factoring in that there are many different experiences with adoption.
This book can help young adoptees find ways to express complex or difficult emotions related to their adoption and reminds them that it’s ok to feel both positive and negative feelings. It’s about young adoptees who voice questions, uncertainties and happiness, so children may identify with the main characters.
This picture book shows a young transracial international adoptee as she talks with her adoptive mother about her birth mother in China, and how she’ll always have two mommies who love her.
Written from the perspective of a “birth mother,” Mama Polar Bear is searching for the perfect home for her unborn cub, because her own icy home doesn’t have the trees and fish she wants for her baby. She meets many different bear families and chooses the family she feels is right for her cub. This book can help small children gain a basic understand of how they came into their adoptive family, and how they’re loved by both their birth and adoptive families.
In this vibrant picture book, a young adoptee asks her parents to repeat the story of her birth and adoption, as many small children do. For some, repetition of one’s story makes things feel concrete.
This story is about a young adoptee named Megan, who shares an open adoption with her birth mother, Kendra. Each year on Megan’s birthday, Kendra decorates a tree she planted to celebrate Megan’s birth.
Books by adoptees and/or for adoptees are a good place to find connection and explore your identity as an adoptee. You can also expand that exploration to reading adoptee blogs or checking out these other resources for adoptees.