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National Adoption Month - Paying it Forward

It has been over nine years since we brought our youngest daughter into our home and I continue to be astonished by the layers that adoption has brought to our life as a family, my work as a mother - even to my own emotional being.

When we first began on this journey, my course was simple and straightforward. I had a daughter waiting for me somewhere else, not of my flesh, but most definitely of my soul - and of my God - and all I had to do was get her and bring her into our nest. My parenting skills, honed thus far by mothering our two biological daughters, would certainly have prepared me well, right? My prior research on schooling styles, food choices, sleep habits, babysitters were all I needed with this one too, correct? I was an educated woman, with a love of children on my side and that was what was most necessary, true? Eh, maybe “not so much,” as my teen likes to say.

Now nine years – and many, many layers – later I have found that the course I had planned was a nice place to begin from from, but it certainly was not going to get this child from point A to point B, to turn this delicious - but different - seed into the blossom it somewhere deep inside yearned to be. In reality, this seed needed much nurturing, pondering, tending, studying, consulting and pondering again.

In the end, if it had not been for other adoptive mothers who had been-there-done-this before me - who took my hand and lead me down the right paths and away from the wrong ones - I would probably still be stumbling along, my child who I loved-so-deeply-but-didn’t-fully-know how-to-raise stumbling along with me, if I was lucky.

It was these prized women who showed me how to tend to my little one   - this sweet and spicy seed - and raise her up right to bond with me, to love me as I loved her, to move through life with compassion and responsibility, curiosity and calm. To fold her into the layers of our lives as a family.

So in honor of National Adoption Month I would like to pay a little bit forward. To be one of those been-there-done-that moms who shares a bit of wisdom about the layers that our adoptive children bring to our lives. To pour a little water on someone else’s seed, just like my fellow adoptive mothers did for me years ago, and will continue to do for me when I need it again (the tween years are looming large, just sayin’).

Here is my short list, not my exhaustive list (space constraints wouldn’t allow that one!), of books, websites and entities that have helped me wade through the layers of life with our youngest.   Please feel free to add to this list in the comments section as you see fit! I am but one in a field of many gardeners tending to our seeds and it is only through the work of many do we reap a field full of flowers.


Adoption Generally : - online courses

Adoption Today and Adoptive Families Magazines

Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections, Jean MacLeod and Sheena Macrae

The Whole Life Adoption Book: Realistic Advice for Building a Healthy Adoptive Family, Jane Schooler and Thomas Atwood

Twenty Things Adoptive Children Wished Their Adoptive Parents Knew, Sherrie Eldridge

EMK Press at

Tapestry Books at


Toddler/Older Child Adoption

The Weaver’s Craft: Toddler Adoption , Mary Hopkins-Best

Adopting the Hurt Child , Keck and Kupecky


International Adoption - Dr. Boris Gindis – Center for Internationally Adopted Children

Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: From Your First Hours Together Through the Teen Years , Patty Cogen

Adopting the Hurt Child , Keck and Kupecky


Foster to Adopt

Foster Families Magazine

The Foster Parenting Toolbox, edited by Kim Phagan-Hansel

Adopting the Hurt Child , Keck and Kupecky


Attachment/Trauma Issues

Nurturing Adoptions , Deborah Gray

Building the Bonds of Attachment , Daniel Hughes

Beyond Consequences , Heather Forbes

Adopting the Hurt Child and Parenting the Hurt Child,  Gregory Keck and Regina Kupecky


Schooling/Education Issues

Reaching and Teaching Children who Hurt , Susan Craig

Adoption and the Schools , by EMK Press

S.A.F.E. at School , available at EMK Press


Sensory Processing Disorder (specifically podcast on SPD and Adoption)

The Out of Sync Child , Carol Stock Kranowitz and Lucy Jane Miller


Sharing Your Child’s Story/Lifebooks

Connecting With Kids Through Stories: Using Narratives to Facilitate Attachment in Adopted Children , Lacher, Nichols and May

Telling the Truth to your Adoptive or Foster Child: Making Sense of the Past, Betsy Keefer and Jane Schooler

Talking with Young Children about Adoption , Mary Watkins and Susan Fisher

Lifebooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child (Updated and Revised), Beth O’Malley

A Teen Foster Adoption Lifebook: For When I'm Famous , Beth O’Malley

Adoption Lifebook: A Bridge to Your Child's Beginnings , Cindy Probst


Books to Share with Younger Children

Let’s Talk About Adoption , Fred Rogers

A Mother for Choco , Keiko Kasza

How I Was Adopted , Joanna Cole

In Case You Ever Wondered , Max Lucado

We Belong Together and The Family Book, Todd Parr

In My Heart, Molly Bang

Families are Forever , Craig Shemin


Books to Share with Older Children

Maybe Days: A Book for Children in Foster Care , Wilgocki, Wright and Geis

Help I Have Been Adopted , Brenda McCreight

Welcome Home, Forever Child, Christine Mitchell

A Teen Foster Adoption Lifebook: For When I'm Famous , Beth O’Malley


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