First, Some Notes:
Every adoption story is unique. It is nearly impossible to find a published book that contains the exact details or reflects the feelings of one family’s adoption experience. Additionally, adoption books for children can present aspects of adoption in unhelpful ways. For example, picture books often avoid any concept of biological roots or the reality that every baby (adopted or not) grows in a womb. As with all books, parents should be ready to replace wording or supplement information that offers the most accurate and dignifying language.
In our family, we share age-appropriate details about the events surrounding each child’s adoption and try to speak honestly and openly about it. We use just a few books that we like and that align well with our sons’ stories of being adopted domestically as infants.
Books We Currently Use:
Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis
This book takes the perspective of the parents who learn of the baby being born and follows them as they bring the baby home. Its tone and illustrations are quirky and celebratory. We use this as a springboard to share what we were thinking and feeling when our children first joined our family.
How I Was Adopted by Joanna Cole
This book covers the basics of how every baby grows inside a woman’s body and how some babies are then adopted. It is told from the young adopted girl’s perspective. It starts with the girl sharing details about herself, including lots of other facts other than being adopted. It serves to normalize adoption.
*Notes: while it explains that every baby starts in a woman’s uterus, it does not give any depiction of the birth mother participating in the adoption process. Instead, the social worker shows up at the couple’s home with the baby. When we read this, we talk about the birth mother to give a fuller picture of the process.
We Chose You by Tony and Lauren Dungy
This uplifting book shows a loving family willing to address their adopted son’s concerns. He is assigned a family tree project (something that can be fraught for adoptees) and struggles with feelings of abandonment. The boy’s parents are attentive and affirming. Its tone is tender and at times lighthearted. I anticipate this being especially helpful when my boys are age 6 and up.