Adoption Book List

I began reading books on adoption in 2005 when we took our first serious look into adopting our first child.  These are the resources I've viewed along the way.  My ratings are 0 to 5 stars and are purely my opinion.

Categories Listed Below (books within categories in alphabetical order by title)
Books on Adoption
Transracial Adoption
Fiction Books with an Adoption Theme
Non-Fiction Books with a China Theme
Fiction Books with a China Theme
Favorite Children's Books on Adoption or China


Books on Adoption

Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore - Parallels earthly adoption with adoption in Christ.  Encourages Christians and churches to step forward and help orphans. I enjoyed this book a lot. ****1/2

Carried Safely Home: The Spiritual Legacy of an Adoptive Family by Kristin Swick Wong - A memoir of a woman's experience of leaning on God through the process of adopting their sons from Vietnam. I really enjoyed this book. I liked how she took the focus off herself and put it on God. Great book! ****1/2

Castaway Kid: One Man's Search for Hope and Home by R.B. Mitchell - The detailed story of his childhood in an Illinois orphanage, memories of his mentally ill mother and times with his grandmother who knew well, but was unable to care for him full-time.  I believe he was one of the last children in America to age-out of an orphanage.    ***1/2

Finding Home: An Imperfect Path to Faith and Family by Jim Daly - The biography of Jim Daly who was deserted by his alcoholic father and his alcoholic mother died when he was 10, leaving him as an orphan. He had four older siblings that tried to stay together.  He became the President of Focus on the Family. ***

The Lost Boy: A Foster Child's Search for the Love of a Family by Dave J. Pelzer - A continuation of the horrific A Child Called It, about a boy, severely abused by his alcoholic mother, who is finally removed from her home and finds himself dealing with the struggles of foster care. ***

The Lost Daughters of ChinaAdopted Girls, Their Journey to America, and the Search for a Missing Past by Karin Evans - A woman's journey to adopt her daughter from China.  The updated edition has a chapter on the adoption of her second daughter as well as accounts of experiences of teen girls adopted from China growing up in the U.S.  This book is often the first book people read when they decide to adopt from China.   ****

Message From An Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love by Xinran - Stories of Chinese women driven to abandon their children.  This book was eye-opening.  I cherish this book because it gives an inside view to why children are abandoned in China and what drives them to go that far.  The range of reasons is dramatic.  The only thing I wished she would have covered is stories about women who abandoned children with special needs, particularly boys.  Her main focus was on healthy girls.  ****1/2

Saving Levi: Left to Die...Destined to Live by Lisa Misraje Bentley - A boy was found badly burned in a field in China. This is the miracle surrounding how he was helped and finally adopted. ***

The Strength of Mercy by Jan Beazely - The story about a family that adopts a little girl from Romania. They started adoption agency All God's Children. **

Secure In God's Embrace: Living as the Father's Adopted Child by Ken Fong - Parallels adoption into an earthly family with our adoption by God into his spiritual family. I thought this would be very good for an adoptee to read.  What do you think?  ***

Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage by Kay Bratt - I struggled with this book. I appreciated the information she provided about Chinese orphanages, but was annoyed by, what I felt was, whining throughout the first half of the book. I almost stopped reading it. By the second half of the book she had gotten used to China and the book became more readable. At least she was honest, but almost to the detriment of the book. *** (The three stars are specifically for the information on Chinese orphanages.)

There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Her Country's Children by Melissa Fay Greene - A great book about Haregewoin Teferra, an Ethiopian woman, who opened up her home to some of Ethiopia's orphans, turning it into an orphanage and day care center and began facilitating adoptions to families all over the world.  I really enjoyed this book.  She's a great writer.  ****

Adoption Ministry 

Adoption as a Ministry, Adoption as a Blessing by Michelle Gardner - She shares her experiences of adoption and what the Bible says about helping others to encourage others to adopt.  She parallels earthly adoption with our adoption in Christ.  (I didn't record any stars for this book and I don't remember what I thought of it).

The Adoption Network: Your Guide to Starting a Support System by Laura Christianson -A very practical, step-by-step guide to starting an adoption network.  It was very helpful, although I was never able to get ours off the ground. ****

Parenting the Adopted Child

Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections – by Jean MacLeod (ed.) - A compilation of articles from over 100 contributors all on parenting adopted children. This book is invaluable. Definitely have this on your shelf. I took this to China with us for our first two adoptions...and used it! ****

After the Dream Comes True by Michelle Gardner - Post-adoption support for Christian families.  I read this in my adoption support group.  I enjoyed it.  It's short and easy to read.   ***

Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents by Deborah D. Gray – This book scared the crap out of me before we adopted our first child. I would never recommend this book to anyone who has not yet adopted. With that said, if you have already adopted your child and are struggling with or suspect attachment issues, this seems to be the authority on attaching in adoption. ****

The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by Karyn Purvis - I read this with my adoption support group.   I felt myself getting defensive with some of the material.  Unfortunately, I can't remember why - will need to look back at my notes.  **

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge – My husband read this book.
He enjoyed it. Then he attended a panel based on this book with adults that were adopted and they disagreed with most of what the book said. So I never read it.

Transracial Adoption

Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White by Frank H. Wu – I haven't actually read this book, only about the first 10 pages, so I can't rate it. Looks like a well-researched book and I already learned in the little I read.

Non-Fiction Books with a China Theme

Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman - The wife of singer, Steven Curtis Chapman, tells about her journey through life and adoption of their three daughters from China and how they lost their youngest daughter in a tragic accident.  I struggled with this book. It was very depressing for me. I know it's not a happy subject and perhaps I picked a bad time to read it.  It was very hard to get through.  Friends who read it said they loved it.   **1/2

Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold by Janet & Geoff Benge – Biography of Eric Lidell, the 1924 Olympic runner who refused to run the Olympic 100-meter race, his best event, because it was held on a Sunday. He later broke an Olympic and world record in the 400-meter race, which was not his best event.  Later, he became a missionary to China. He was the inspiration for the movie Chariots of Fire. ***

Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie T. Chang (NF) - The author takes a fascinating peek into the lives of a few of the 130 million migrant workers. Many of the migrants are girls from the China countryside that leave their families and everything they know to migrate to the city to work in large factories, some hoping for a better life, others sent to provide for their family. When I was in Guangzhou I saw a number of dorm buildings that looked similar to the dorms described in this book. A life-style so different than the typical American way of life. ***1/2

Gladys Alyward: The Adventure of a Lifetime by Janet & Geoff Benge - A biography of Gladys Alyward, missionary to China. ***1/2

Lost on Planet China (NF) - Troost, Maarten J. - A hilarious account of Maarten's adventures tromping through China. An enjoyable must-read for anyone who has visited China.  I felt understood when reading this book.  ****

Red China Blues by Jan Wong (NF) - Jan Wong, a Chinese-Canadian, left Canada for China as a Maoist, but over time began to see the cracks in the "utopian" society she thought she was living in. She describes the Tiannamen Square Massacre in detail as she witnessed it first hand. ***1/2

Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-li Jiang (NF)  - Ji-li Jiang writes from her point of view as a young girl during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) as friends and neighbors began to turn on her family because they were considered to be in a different class.   A fascinating look at the Cultural Revolution. ***

To Run and Not Be Weary by Stan Cotrell - The story of Stan Cotrell ultra long-distance runner who ran the distance of the Great Wall of China. He tells of his experiences getting there and along the way.  This book is out of print. ***

Fiction with an Adoption Theme

Oceans Apart by Karen Kingsbury - A man has an affair and eight years later he's presented with his son and the possibility of adopting him after the boy's mother dies. Good message about forgiveness. ***1/2

In Search of Eden by Linda Nichols - A woman goes to Abingdon, Virginia to search for the child she gave up reluctantly for adoption almost 12 years prior. ***

Fiction with an China Theme

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck - Set in pre-revolutionary China, this story details a farmer's life and how it changes over time, yet stays the same. ***

Safely Home by Randy Alcorn - An American visits his old Chinese friend who is suffering for his faith in China. This is a novel about the persecuted Christians in China. ****

Thousand Pieces of Gold by Ruthanne Lum McCunn - A historical novel about Lalu Nathoy (Polly) who was sold into slavery from China and sent to the U.S. where she got out of slavery, married a man and farmed some land. There is land named after her in Idaho - Polly's Place. ***

Favorite Children's Books on Adoption or China

My Blessing from Above by Patti Henderson ****

The Colors of Us by Karen Katz – (Race/Transracial adoption) This is my second favorite book on adoption.  An artist mother and her adopted daughter look at the colors of skin as different shades of brown.  They travel through the neighborhood describing the beautiful and scrumptious shades of brown of their friends.  *****

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson  **** 

A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza – (Transracial adoption) This is my favorite children's book on adoption. Choco is unable to find his mother and wonders who will be his mother. He asks a number of animals if they are his mother, but they all say they couldn't be because they don't look like him. Until Choco meets a Mama Bear who doesn't care that they don't look a like and would love to be his mother. *****


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