Parenting is no easy task. Each stage of being a parent comes with new challenges, questions and worries. Being an adoptive parent? Now that comes with some even more unfamiliar terrain.
“Becoming a parent alone is such an enormous life adjustment – and every parent will tell you that each kid is different. Becoming an adoptive parent includes those changes and so much more,” notes Heather Brown, a therapist at Brown Counseling, LLC in Detroit. “(It’s) like a 14-ingredient recipe versus a six-ingredient recipe. It’s a multiplied, multi-dimensional experience with so many factors that can’t be predicted or controlled.”
Aside from talking with a counselor or therapist who can guide you through the new experience, adoption books for parents can be a great help and can make you feel less alone.
“Seeking resources and support through books and professionals who understand adoption can make a big difference, especially when adoptive parents are feeling overwhelmed, confused, misunderstood, judged or blamed in some way,” Brown says.
We turned to local adoption and foster care experts to recommend books about adoption to help parents adjust, cope and learn more about this experience. Brown as well as several specialists at the Judson Center suggest the following 12 reads. Each book for adoptive parents targets different topics related to common adoption issues, though many address attachment struggles.
Attachment-Focused Parenting: Effective Strategies to Care for Children by Daniel A. Hughes
Brown recommends this read, which focuses on “ways to effectively love, discipline and communicate with children,” Amazon notes. Find it for $24 on Amazon.
Building the Bonds of Attachment by Daniel A. Hughes
For parents who have a child dealing with reactive attachment disorder, which is when a child is struggling to make an attachment to parents, according to Mayo Clinic. Recommended by Brown as well as Melissa Covell, a Judson Center foster care navigator. Find it on Amazon new in paperback for about $43.
The Connected Child by Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross and Wendy Lyons Sunshine
Heidi Raubenolt, MSW, the Judson Center child welfare director, suggests this book for parents, as does Brown. It’s another good read for parents whose adopted child is having difficulties with attachment. It also covers discipline and dealing with behavioral and learning disorders. List price is $19.
Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control by Heather T. Forbes & B. Bryan Post
A good pick for parents whose adopted child has past trauma and how it impacts them. Addresses a number of behaviors common in kids who are struggling with attachment. Another suggestion from both Covell and Brown. List price is $19.95.
Dare to Love by Heather T. Forbes
Brown offers this title, which delves into many questions and answers parents may have about scientific findings and parenting. “This book gives practical, effective, and loving solutions for any parent struggling with his or her child. It will leave you feeling empowered, hopeful, and excited to be a parent again!” the Amazon description reads. Print list price is $19.95.
Connecting with Kids Through Stories by Denise Lacher, Todd Nichols and Joanne C. May
Having attachment difficulties with your child? You’re not alone. This book, suggested by Brown, talks using stories to help communicate with children who have experienced neglect or trauma in their past. $19.95 on Amazon.
Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience After Neglect and Trauma by Deborah D. Gray
Raubenolt recommends this one, which covers identifying attachment issues and building relationships with an adopted child who has experienced traumatic experiences in his or her past. Amazon has it for about $25.
Fostering Changes: Treating Attachment-Disordered Foster Children by Richard Delaney
Brown suggests this book, which is especially for parents of foster children. Helps parents of “disturbed foster children” with interventions. The No. 1 reviewer on the book’s Amazon page emphasizes, “Anyone who is a foster or adoptive parent needs this book on their bedside table!” Amazon carries used copies of it for as little as a penny.
The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
The remainder of the title says it all: “12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive.” Authors lay out a number of methods for dealing with childhood behaviors. Brown recommends it. List price is $9.99.
No-Drama Discipline by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
Also Brown’s recommendation from the same authors are The Whole-Brain Child, except this read tackles discipline. Offers various tactics and tips. Plus, it’s a New York Times Bestseller. List price is $26.
Peter’s Lullaby: A Song Without Words That Held a Little Girl’s Life Together by Jeanne Fowler
Addison Sweeny, an adoption specialist with the Judson Center, suggests this book, which is “written by a former foster child,” she says. “It talks about her experience and the abuse she endured. It’s very powerful.” Amazon has used copies for as little as $3.
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge
Get a better idea of how your adoptive child thinks and views the world through this one. “This extraordinary book, written by a woman who was adopted herself, gives voice to children’s unspoken concerns, and shows adoptive parents how to free their kids from feelings of fear, abandonment, and shame,” the book description on Amazon says. Raubenolt advises parents check this one out. List price is $16.
Do you know of any other great books for adoptive parents that helped you adjust to being a new parent? Comment below!