No matter if you are just starting your journey in adoption or it's been a part of your life forever, there is always something new to learn as the adoption world is constantly evolving. Books are an incredible tool to sit, read, listen to, and learn from other perspectives.
We encourage you, no matter what side you are on of the triad, to listen to everyone. Listen to adoptees. Listen to birth parents. Listen to adoptive families. There is wisdom and lessons to be learned from all sides of the triad.
With that said, we believe that adoptees should be at the top of your list. They are the only people that can give authentic viewpoints to what it is like to be adopted.
Every adoption is different, therefore, every perspective is different. Through Adopted Eyes: A Collection of Memoirs From Adoptees by Elena S. Hall is an incredible place to start to hear from multiple adoptees within one book.
Adoptee, Pam Kroskie, along with a first mom, Marcie Keithley, wrote Frankie and Friends Talk Adoption to help guide adoptive families and their young children (even pre-K age!) through much needed discussions on adoption. This is a great way to create a safe environment for children to discuss their feelings and guide parents on answering questions.
Cameron Small, a transracial adoptee and licensed professional clinical counselor, recently released his first of a four part series workbook: An Interactive Memoir For Adoptees specifically for use by adoptees to explore their personal adoption story. Both adult and youth adoptees can use these workbooks to reflect on, process, and share their story.
We also suggest looking at adopteereading.com to find other titles written and recommended by adoptees. They break it down into several helpful categories to help you find what you are looking for (type of adoption, subjects, genres, etc.). They also just posted the "100 Adoptee-Authored Books from the Decade 2010-2019" that gives a detailed description of each book.
If you haven't already, go read The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade by Ann Fessler. While Ann is an adoptee, she does an incredible job sharing birth mothers' stories and voices in this gut-wrenching, yet must-read book.
Birth father voices are rarely heard from, so we recommend Open Adoption: A Birth Father's Journey by Darrick C. Rizzo to hear his unique perspective.
For families that are just thinking about adopting or are at the beginning stages of researching, we highly recommend the workbook Before You Adopt: A Guide To The Questions You Should Be Asking by Christa Jordan. This workbook will lead you through some of the big questions and decisions you need to work through before moving forward with adoption.
Not all adoption books are worth your time, or they may simply not fit your specific adoption story. If you are on Instagram, follow adoptive mom, Lanaya, @adoption.books to find honest, thorough reviews of both adult and children's books on adoption.
Rather than making an exhaustive list of books to read, we feel as though these suggestions give you a great starting point and resources to find other books that will fit what you are looking for as you continue to learn.
In the end, our biggest recommendation is opening your ears and hearts to learn from perspectives different than your own. We can only connect and grow in this community when we can honor, support, and lift every voice.
Betsy is the founder of Visto and a born and raised Iowa girl. She has a degree in Child Development, and she uses it every day in her life as a stay at home mom with her two boys. As a mom whose family was built through adoption and many members within her family who have been touched by it as well, she is dedicated to building a community of support for the entire triad.