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Suggested reading on adoption

After infertility
Preparing for adoption
International adoption
Parenting adopted children
Older child
Special needs
  Open adoption
Adoption journals
Professionals / Researchers
Where to get adoption books

Compiled by Robin Hilborn
Editor, Family Helper


Carter, Jean and Mike. Sweet Grapes: How To Stop being Infertile and Start Living Again. Choosing to be child-free. [AFABC]

Fleming, Anne Taylor. Motherhood Deferred

Johnston, Pat. Taking Charge of Infertility. Various aspects of infertility. [AFABC] [Perspectives Press]

Johnston, Pat. Adopting After Infertility. Challenge of adoption; issue of commitment; lifelong challenges. [AFABC] [Perspectives Press]

Peoples, Debby and Harriette Rovner-Ferguson, What to Expect When You Are Experiencing Infertility.


Bates Alden, Paulette. Crossing the Moon.

Bothun, Linda. When Friends Ask About Adoption. How to gently educate people who would say the right things if they only knew. [AFABC]

Brennan, Deborah A. Labours of Love: Canadians Talk About Adoption. Dundurn Press, Toronto, 2008. ISBN 978-1-55002-845-4. Interviews of 20 adoptive parents, birthparents and adopted children on how adoption impacted their life; seven adoption professionals comment.

Gilman, Lois. The Adoption Resource Book. All facets of adoption. [AFABC]

Johnston, Pat. Launching a Baby's Adoption. Dealing with issues of child care, attachment, parenting adjustments, post arrival blues, bringing family and friends on board, birthparent's change of heart. [AFABC] [Perspectives Press]

Lifton, Betty Joan. Lost and Found. Psychological issues facing children separated from their birth parents. [AFABC]

Pertman, Adam. Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming America. Basic Books, 2001. Named Book of the Year by the National Adoption Foundation. Author is executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.

Russell, Marlou. Adoption Wisdom: A Guide to the Issues and Feelings of Adoption. 2002. Broken Branch Productions, Los Angeles CA, ISBN 1888511125. The feelings of triad members; issues and realities of adoption today; prepares those who are considering adoption; educates people about the lifelong impact of adoption.

Schooler, Jayne. The Whole Life Adoption Book: Realistic Advice for Building a Healthy Adoptive Family. Colorado Springs: Pinon, 1993. Pre-adoption, bonding, transracial adoption, confronting the past. [AFABC]


Adoptive Families Assn. of B. C. International Adoption: Building a Family. [Videotape] How two couples and two single mothers handled raising a child from abroad. [AFABC]

Adoptive Families Assn. of B. C. International Adoption: What You Need to Know. [Videotape] Pre-adoption advice: deciding to adopt; research; homestudy; trip; meeting the child. [AFABC]

Buckley, Betsy. (2001) The Greatest Gift: Reflections on International and Domestic Adoption. Creative Arts Book Co. The author's story of bringing home Michael from Guatemala to St. Louis. Other American families recount their experiences adopting from China, Russia, other countries, and domestically in the U.S.

Galbraith, Lindsay. (1998) Romanian Orphans, Adopted Daughters. Stoneridge Publishing House.

Hilborn, Robin. Canadian Adoption Resource Guide. All the adoption resources in Canada: agencies, web sites, support groups, newsletters, books. [Adoption Helper]

Hilborn, Robin. Health Issues in Intercountry Adoption. Assessing the risks, and testing the health of international adoptees. [Adoption Helper]

Hilborn, Robin. We Adopted From China ... You Can, Too! How Canadians adopt from China; process; agencies; web sites; books. [Adoption Helper]

Petertyl, Mary. Seeds of Love: For Brothers and Sisters of International Adoption. To read with young children, to ease their anxiety when parents go abroad to adopt. [Folio One Publishing]

Smart, Jennifer. Smart Guide to Adoption for Canadians. Your options in domestic (private or public) and international adoption. [Adoption Helper]

Tepper, Thais and Lois Hannon, Dorothy Sandstrom, eds. International Adoption: Challenges and Opportunities. 1st. ed. 1999. Authorities on adoption pronounce on the essential issues: Risks of Adopting an Institutionalized Child; Health Needs Of Your Institutionalized Child; Alcohol-Related Birth Defects; Ames Study of Romanian Orphans; Risk Factors for Speech and Language Development. [Parent Network for the Post-Institutionalized Child]

Wiedemeier Bower, Jeanette. Transracial Parenting Project: Self Awareness Tool. NACAC's manual to help you decide if adopting a child from another race or culture is for you. [NACAC]


Adoptive Families Assn. of B. C. 40 Ways to Raise a Nonracist Child. Barbara Mathias and Mary Ann French. A practical tool to help families talk openly about racism. [AFABC]

Adoptive Families Assn. of B. C. Everyday Acts Against Racism: Raising Children in a Multicultural World. Mothers and teachers suggest practical ways we can work to end racial divisions. [AFABC]

Adoptive Families Assn. of B. C. Raising Healthy Multiracial Adoptive Families: a Question and Answer Guide for Adoptive Families. Harriet Fancott, editor; 1999. Adoption experts tackles such topics as Culture and Heritage, Stereotypes, Family Life, School Days, Racism, Dealing with Professionals. [AFABC]

Fahlberg, Vera .A Child's Journey Through Placement. Provides the foundations and resources and tools to help professionals, parents and others who care for children to help them along the road to adulthood. [AFABC]

Johnston, Pat. Adoption is a Family Affair: What Relatives and Friends Must Know. How to talk to your parents about issues around accepting adoption; dealing with uninformed relatives. Book review: [Perspectives Press]

Marindin, Hope. The Handbook for Single Adoptive Parents. National Council for Single Adoptive Parents, Box 15084, Chevy Chase, MD 20825.

Melina, Lois. Making Sense of Adoption. Conversations and activities for families formed through adoption, donor insemination, surrogacy, and in vitro fertilization. [AFABC]

Melina, Lois. Raising Adopted Children: A Manual for Adoptive Parents. New York: Harper and Row, 1998, Prenatal drug exposure, medical issues for internationally adopted children, children from orphanages, bonding and attachment, racial and ethnic issues, talking with children about adoption, sexuality, adolescence, transracial adoption. [AFABC]

Peck, Cynthia. Adoption Today: Options and Outcomes. 67 families tell how they fared after adopting 42 international and 52 domestic children: special needs; medical conditions; emotional problems; learning disabilities. [RandW Publ.]

Register, Cheri. Are Those Kids Yours? American Families with Children Adopted from Other Countries. New York, Free Press, 1991. From her own experience, and her study of American families, the author emphasizes the life-enhancing aspects of having a dual heritage.

Rosove, Lori. Rosie's Family: An Adoption Story. Asia Press: Ontario. 2001. Lori Rosove, 613-680-0911,, For parents to use in talking to young children about their birthparents and adoption.

Schaffer, Judith and Christina Lindstrom. How to Raise an Adopted Child: a Guide to Help your Child Flourish from Infancy through Adolescence. New York: Copestone, 1989.

Van Gulden, Holly and Lisa Bartels-Rabb. Real Parents, Real Children: Parenting the Adopted Child. New York: Crossroad, 1995. Explaining adoption to children and minimizing difficulties during transfers.


Bernstein, Anne C. Flight of the Stork. Uses three 12-year-olds to discuss sex and birth. Assisted reproductive technology, donor insemination, surrogacy, stepfamilies, and adoption are also addressed.

Cline, Foster M. D. and Jim Fay. Parenting Teens With Love and Logic. Teaching Children Responsibility. Techniques that prepare children for a world requiring responsibility and maturity without power struggles. [AFABC]

Gabel, Susan. Filling in the Blanks: A Guided Look at Growing Up Adopted. A tool for 10- to 14 year-olds to explore their feelings about adoption and produce a life book for themselves. [AFABC]

Hopkins-Best, Mary. Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft. Parenting a child who arrives older than infancy but younger than kindergarten age. Support and practical tools for transitioning and promoting attachment. [AFABC]

Jewett, Claudia. Adopting the Older Child. Harvard, Mass. Harvard Common Press, 1978. What's in store for those who open their hearts to a waiting child. [AFABC]


Babb, L. Anne and Rita Laws. Adopting and Advocating for the Special Needs Child: a Guide for Parents and Professionals. Westport, Conn.: Bergin and Gervey, 1997.

Edelstein, Susan. Children with Prenatal Alcohol and/or Other Drug Exposure: Weighing the Risks of Adoption. Washington: CWLA Press, 1995. Child Welfare League of America

Graefe, Sara, ed. Parenting Children Affected by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: A Guide for Daily Living. Society of Special Needs Adoptive Parents, 1998. [ACC]

Hilborn, Robin. Adoptive Parents' Guide to the Special Needs Child. All about attachment disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, effects of institutional care, learning disabilities and sensory integration dysfunction. [Adoption Helper]

Hilborn, Robin. FAS: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome . Strategies and resources for helping the child with FAS. [Adoption Helper]

Jewett, Claudia. Helping Children Cope With Separation and Loss. Techniques to help children resolve their grief over life events; stages of mourning. [AFABC]

Keck, Gregory and Regina Kupecky. Adopting the Hurt Child: Hope for Families with Special-needs Kids: a Guide for Parents and Professionals. Colorado Springs, Col.: Pinon, 1995. [AFABC]

McCreight, Brenda. Recognizing and Managing Children With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Effect: A Guidebook. B.C. adoptive parent and social worker offers advice on dealing with children with FAS/E; medical, historical, and social aspects. [AFABC]

McNamara, Joan and Bernard McNamara. Adoption and the Sexually Abused Child. Ossington NY: Family Resources, 1990.

Olesen, Mavis and Dallas Williams. (2003) Living in Limbo: Families Journeying toward Understanding. Regina: M.L. Oleson, 127 Quincy Dr., Regina SK S4S 6L9,, Covers the Saskatchewan "Adopt Indian Metis children" program, AIM; FAS/FAE; and native adoption in Canada. Mavis Oleson's son Dallas, a Black/First Nations adopted at three, collaborates on the book.

Pillow, Tracy S. Max's Adoption: Adventures in Special Needs Adoption: A Foster Care Success Story. Success in adopting Max from foster care in PA. Lincoln, NE: Writers Club Press, 2000.

Smart, Jennifer. Adoptive Parents' Guide to Infants and Toddlers. Medical and developmental issues affecting adopted children up to two years old. [Adoption Helper]


Gritter, James L. editor. Adoption Without Fear. Seventeen couples tell their emotion-filled experiences with open adoption. [AFABC]

Gritter, James L. The Spirit of Open Adoption. Insights of thinkers in the fields of adoption, theology, philosophy and literature point the way on the spiritual journey toward successful open adoptions. [AFABC]

Kaplan Sharon and Lois Melina. The Open Adoption Experience. Stages of the adoption relationship from placement to adjustment and on through adolescence. [AFABC]

Silber, Kathleen and Matinez Dorner. Children of Open Adoption. Effects of open adoption on children. [AFABC]


Gibson, C. R. Our Baby's First Seven Years: A Memory Book for our Chosen Child. ISBN 08227211198-1.

Petertyl, Mary E. International Adoption Travel Journal. Fill-in-the-blanks diary, in six sections, for the international adopter. [Folio One]


Brennan, Deborah A. Labours of Love: Canadians Talk About Adoption. Dundurn Press, Toronto, 2008. ISBN 978-1-55002-845-4. Interviews of 20 adoptive parents, birthparents and adopted children on how adoption impacted their life; seven adoption professionals comment.

Hartlen, Bob. Butterbox Survivors! Life after the Ideal Maternity Home. 1999. 294 Radcliffe Drive, #415, Halifax, NS B3S 1E6,

Matthews, Blair. Touched By Adoption. Adoption stories by birthparents, adoptees and adoptive parents. [Playing With Words]

Ryan, Darlene. A Mother's Adoption Journey. Second Story Press, 720 Bathurst St., #301, Toronto, Ont. M5S 2R4,, ISBN 1-896764-49-5. A Fredericton N.B. journalist adopts from China. Documents, procedures, tips, and a day-by-day journal.

Petrie, Anne. Gone to an Aunt's: Remembering Canada's Homes for Unwed Mothers. Toronto. 1998. McClelland and Stewart.

Wadia-Ells, Susan. The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers and Adopted Daughters Tell their Stories. Seattle: Seal Press, 1995.


Ames, Elinor. The Development of Romanian Orphanage Children Adopted to Canada. Final Report: Unbound, three-hole punched copy. [AFABC]

Bartholet, Elizabeth. Family Bonds: Adoption and the Politics of Parenting. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1993. Adoption stigma, racism and how the adoption system creates barriers to adoption.

Belleau, Hélène and Françoise-Romaine Ouellette. Family and Social Integration of Children Adopted Internationally: A Review of the Literature. Montréal, INRS-Culture et Société, 199 p., April 1999. Document on adoption research, in PDF format. In English, In French, --16 Sep 2002

Daly, Kerry J. and Michael P. Sobol. Adoption in Canada: Final Report. Guelph, Ont.: National Adoption Study, May 1993. The definitive study of adoption in Canada. Summary in the June 1993 Adoption Helper or at Family Helper: Available from University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont. N1G 2W1, 519-824-4120 ext. 8599.

Hallenbeck, Carol A. Our Child. Preparation for Parenting in Adoption: Instructors Guide. Manual for adoption professionals. Positive adoption language, societal attitudes, preparing to adopt, reactions from friends and family, difference between biological and adoptive parenting. [AFABC]

Kirk, H. David. Adoption Kinship. The difficulties and new direction for adoption, both as a human relationship and as a social institution. [AFABC]

Lindsay, Jeanne and Catherine Monserrat. Adoption Awareness: A Guide for Teachers and Counselors, Nurses and Others. Guidance for professionals in crisis pregnancy counseling. [AFABC]

Rambally, Rae Tucker. Practice Imperfect: Reflections on a Career in Social Work. Shoreline, 2002. 23 Ste-Anne, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, H9X 1L1, 514-457-5733,, ISBN 1-896754-25-2. Autobiography: the author traces her 40-year career, from welfare worker in post-World War II London, to professional social worker in the Quebec social services, to academic at the University of the West Indies. She situates the profession within the context of each country, and addresses issues that are political, organizational, professional, and personal. Rambally also relates her experiences working with adopted and foster children in the Canadian social services system. For social workers, clients, social work students and others in the helping professions, as well as parents of adopted and foster children. --1 July 2003

Webber, Marlene. As If Kids Mattered: What's Wrong in the World of Child Protection and Adoption. Toronto: Key Porter, 1998.


Readers' Guide to Adoption-Related Literature, Bibliography of adoption-related literature, the source for books on adoption for all members of the triad. By William L. Gage, --Oct. 26, 2008

Where to get adoption books


ACC: Adoption Council of Canada, #329, 180 Argyle Ave. Ottawa, Ont. K2P 1B7, 613-235-1566,,

ACO: Adoption Council of Ontario, 3216 Yonge St. 2nd fl. Toronto M4N 2L2, 416-482-0021,, web

Adoption Helper, Box 1353, Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0. Robin Hilborn,,

AFABC: Adoptive Families Assn. of British Columbia, #205, 15463 - 104th Ave. Surrey, B. C. V3R 1N9. 604-588-7300,,

Angels on Earth, 6 Cormorant Cres., Woodbridge, Ont. L4H 2E9, 905-417-7636,, --29 Mar 2003

B and M Books on Adoption Issues, 63 Holborn Ave. Nepean, Ont. K2C 3H1. Monica Byrne, Joan Marshall, 613-825-7476,


Parentbooks, 201 Harbord St., Toronto, Ont. M5S 1H6, 416-537-8334, 1-800-209-9182. Bill Elleker,,

Playing With Words, 1020 Rose St., Cambridge, Ontario. N3H 2G3, 519-650-3969. Blair Matthews,

The Adoption Bookstore, Adoption Options, #320, 9707 - 110 St. Edmonton, Alta. T5K 2L9, 780-433-5656,,


Amazon Books,

Bethany Productions, Louise Baker, Manager of Marketing Services, 901 Eastern Ave. N.E., Grand Rapids MI 49503-1295, 616-459-6273, fax 459-0343. Booklets, documentaries. A division of the adoption agency Bethany Christian Services, on the Web at

Bilingual Books for Kids -- Site at has bilingual, Spanish and English books, educational materials, games, music and langauge-learning tapes for children and young adults, their teachers and families. Free list. Bilingual Books for Kids, Box 653, Ardsley, NY 10502. 1-800-385-1020.

Folio One Publishing, 741 Richmond NW, Grand Rapids MI 49504, 888-436-5461 or 616-365-0650. Mary E. Petertyl,,

Heritage Key, 6102 E. Mescal, Scottsdale AZ 85254, 602-483-3313, fax 483-9666. Adoption books, dolls, ornaments, international gifts.

House of Tomorrow Productions, 4209 McKinney Ave., #200, Dallas TX 75205, 214-526-8721, fax 528-7168, 1-800-944-4460. A division of Hope Cottage Adoption Center. Adoption books.

Lois Melina,, and

North American Council on Adoptable Children, 970 Raymond Ave., #106, St. Paul MN 55114-1149, 651-644-3036,,

Parent Network for the Post-Institutionalized Child, Box 613, Meadow Lands PA 15347,

Perspectives Press: The Infertility and Adoption Publisher. Pat Johnston, 317-872-3055,,

R-Squared Press, 721 Hawthorne St., Royal Oak, MI 48067, 810-543-0997. Brenda Romanchik. Adoption books. Publishes the Open Adoption Birthparent newsletter.

RandW Publications, Box 577, Hackettstown NJ 07840. Cynthia Peck, 908-813-8252,,

ReadingWorks for Children, Susan Rundle, 49 Cloutman's Lane, Marblehead MA 01945, 617-631-3230. Books to read with adopted children.

Tapestry Books, Laurie S. Wallmark, Publisher, Box 359, Ringoes NJ 08551-0359, 800-765-2367, 908-806-6695, fax 788-2999, Adoption books.


1995 -- Adoption Helper magazine received an Ontario Adoption Award from the Adoption Council of Ontario, "in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the adoption community of Ontario."

1997 -- Jennifer Smart, editor of Post-adoption Helper, received an Ontario Adoption Award from the Adoption Council of Ontario for her work on behalf of adoption causes.

2001 -- Robin Hilborn, editor of Adoption Helper, received an Adoption Activist Award from the North American Council on Adoptable Children for "dedicated work in making adoption information more accessible and providing materials for post-adoptive support".

Robin Hilborn was editor of Adoption Helper and Post-adoption Helper and is editor of the amalgamation of the two, Family Helper. His email address is

You can order Family Helper magazine

Fertility Adoption Adoption Resource Central Post-adoption Family Tree

Contact: Robin Hilborn,
Box 1203, Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0 Canada
Copyright 2012 Robin R. Hilborn
Updated May 7, 2012

Family Helper


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