Purposeful Parenting Summer Reading List

Summer is here and one of our favorite things to do is curl up with a good book, a glass of wine, a patio chair and soak in those summer evenings.  So why not curl up with a good book that also offers some education?  Since July is Purposeful Parenting Month, we wanted to focus on being intentional in adoption constellation relationships, so our summer reading list focuses on education and intentional parenting.

Education is so important in adoption, but adoption education extends far beyond the requirements during the home study process. Adoption professionals and parents alike should never stop learning and educating themselves about adoption, and trying to be better than the day before. There are some amazing books available to learn about the history of adoption, hear different voices and perspectives from members of the triad and children’s books to lay the groundwork for some potentially difficult conversations.

Children’s Books

Growing Grace by Erin Mason

Being open and honest about your children’s adoption stories from an early age is vital to their foundation as an adoptee and allows them a safe space to ask questions without fear of hurt feelings or being shamed for wondering about their birth family.  Allowing adoption to be a common topic in the house also allows for healthy open adoption relationships to grow with their birth/first parents!  Having this discussion with young children can seem intimidating, but we have the perfect book to help. 

Growing Grace is a unique story about adoption, which introduces the perspective of the birth mother framed in love and compassion.

Growing Grace by Erin Mason is one of the best children’s books about adoption we have found, and it is written from a birth mother’s perspective. This book is a must have for any adoptive parents to help foster communication and spark questions about their adoption story! The illustrations are stunning, the story is beautiful and the language is perfect to help little ones navigate and understand how their story began.  The second edition of Growing Grace even includes a section with conversation starters and questions to help spark the conversation!

Adoption is Both by Elena S. Hall

Adoptee and author of Through Adopted Eyes and Through Adopted Hearts, Elena Hall writes an incredible children’s book to help younger adoptees navigate the big feelings that come with learning about their story.  Adoption is Both also offers insight into the complexities of those feelings for family members who might not understand without sugar coating adoption stories like so many children’s books do.  This book normalizes the mix of emotions that can come with being adopted, experiences they may encounter and explains to young children that it’s okay to feel all of them.

The illustrations in this book are engaging, yet age appropriate for young children while still able to be a great resource for parents and other family members. Adopted is Both opens the door for conversations and processing amongst families and is a must add to home libraries!

Books for Mom & Dad

American Baby by Gabrielle Glaser

A favorite book and must- read is American Baby: A mother, A Child, and the Secret History of Adoption by Gabrielle Glaser.  Her best selling book takes readers through the story of an unwed woman in post-war America forced to place her son for adoption, and their search to find each other. 

Few books written about adoption are able to tell a story and educate at the same time – most are able to do one or the other.  American Baby does both, and does it very well.

Claiming to be acting in the best interests of all, the adoption business was founded on secrecy and lies. American Baby lays out how a lucrative and exploitative industry removed children from their birth mothers and placed them with hopeful families, fabricating stories about infants’ origins and destinations, then closing the door firmly between the parties forever.

In addition to the heart wrenching true story of search and reunion, Gabrielle Glaser takes readers on a journey through the history of adoption in the US – from the Orphan Trains, through the Baby Scoop Era, the rise of maternity homes, the introduction of International Adoption, the fall of maternity homes, and domestic infant adoption of today.  In order to understand the complexities of adoption and the changes that still need to be made within adoption, it’s important to know the history of adoption and what it once was.

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge

More than anything, most adoptees just want information, access to it, or a space to ask questions.  Whether it’s access to their original birth certificate, the details about their birth and birth family, or knowing their medical history, adoptees lack access to this basic information and often don’t feel comfortable asking some of these questions for fear of hurting their adoptive parents feelings.  Having these discussions or answering these questions can feel overwhelming, but we have the perfect book to help.

Sherrie Eldridge is an adoptee and author of the must read book, Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew.  This incredible book gives a voice to unspoken fears and concerns of adopted children and helps guide adoptive parents on how to create a space for their children to ask questions without shame or fear. With exceptional chapters on how to navigate the complexities of birthdays, respecting privacy in regards to adoptee’s stories and a need to know the details of their birth stories no matter how difficult the details may be, this book can help parents create safe spaces for their children and foster healthy communication.


Refuel Your Wait by Laci Richter

Laci Richter is an adoptive mom of two who wrote Refuel Your Wait to help inspire other waiting adoptive parents to “find hope and overcome fear while adopting.” This book utilizes stories of infertility, adoption and all that it entails to encourage readers to not view the wait as something negative, but instead a time to focus on relationships, prayer, and preparing for the next step in life.

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish: A Daily Devotional for Adoptive and Birth Parents by Sherrie Eldridge

For a little extra inspiration on those difficult days, Sherrie Eldridge created a daily devotional for adoptive and birth parents, Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish.  Filled with 365 days of devotions and prompts, Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish is designed to encourage families and offer strength during every season of the adoption journey.

There are so many more books on our reading list that we’ll be sharing throughout the year, but these are a few of our favorites in our library that we couldn’t wait to share.

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