Regular readers of the blog will know that over the course of the last year Tom and I have been recommended a number of books to read about adoption. Back in November I did a review of the books I’d read so far so I thought I’d keep you posted on the ones I read since. I can officially say I have now read more books about adoption than I did for my entire degree (admittedly it was in drama but still!).
Books about adoption in general…
Talking About Adoption (Marjorie Morrison) – This is a really in-depth book about how best to start the ‘conversation’ about adoption with your children from a very young age. The key message is that by making adoption a talked about subject you take away its taboo status and hopefully enable your child to come to terms with what being adopted means to them.
Talking About Adoption investigates life story work, suitable language to use with children and young people of all ages, how to develop what children know about adoption as they grow older, how to talk to other adults (both family and professionals) about adoption, as well as a whole host of really useful hints and tips. It includes real-life stories, links to other books and websites, and a summing up at the end of each chapter.
Talking About Adoption is relatively new and is published by BAAF. It is one of the few books that feels like its talking to a parent of an adopted child regardless of gender or sexuality which is really refreshing. I genuinely feel more confident in how to talk about adoption and will definitely come back to it in the future. Talking about Adoption was suggested to us by Denise, our social worker.
A Guide to Attachment (John Timpson CBE) – This is a really quick read and every page has a cartoon outlining what’s being said. It doesn’t go into huge amounts of detail but covers the basics and gets the point across that children and adults who have suffered early years trauma need our, and society in general’s, support.
It’s the kind of book that we should give to every teacher, police officer, and person-in-the-street in the country to help them understand very quickly why some young people behave in the way they do. A Guide to Attachment was given to us by Tom’s aunt who works with young people with special educational needs.
Related by Adoption (Hedi Argent) – Tom and I gave this book to our parents who have passed it onto our siblings, so I thought I’d ask Tom’s sister to tell us what she thought of it…
“Related by adoption is a short handbook for grandparents and other relatives, which emphasises a caring, child-centric approach to integrating a new arrival into the family. With some genuine case studies included, it manages to help the wider family understand both the adopted child's perspective and that of family members welcoming the new child. While it focuses on grandparents in particular, it is useful in preparing all relatives and helps create a sense of anticipation.
After reading it, I found myself looking forward to the practical and emotional changes a new child or children would bring to the dynamic of my close and extended family. I was also full of admiration for my brother and brother-in-law for taking this path in life, which is not the easiest, but could indeed be the most fulfilling, way to care for children and build a family.”
It’s been a great book as it’s encouraged discussions between us and our families about adoption in a structured and informed way. Related by Adoption was suggested to us by our social worker.
You’re The Daddy We Wanted (Gavin Andres) – It was great to be able to read a book from a dad’s point of view as there are so few out there. It covers Gavin’s journey from deciding to adopt to becoming a family and is very touching. I discovered You’re The Daddy We Wanted through Gavin’s blog.
Books about adopting siblings…
Top 10 Tips to Placing Siblings (Hedi Argent) – This book is primarily aimed at social workers who are placing sibling groups. However, it’s a great read for prospective adopters too as it helps us understand the processes the social workers go through and, more importantly, the potential feelings and issues the children will be going through.
It’s a very quick read (I got through it in a couple of days) and is full of really useful information. If you’re considering adopting a sibling group this is definitely a book that’s worth reading.
Loving Each One Best (Nancy Samalin) – I found this book quite stressful to read. It’s relatively old so its focus was all about mums and how they are the primary carer. It’s also very American so some of the descriptions of events felt very alien to me as a British reader – I really wish the books were translated culturally (as well as grammatically).
There are lots of examples of issues you may find between siblings but the resolutions offered are so simplistic that I can’t imagine they’re ever useful in a real-life situation. The first few chapters mainly focus on introducing a new born into a family which for Tom and me won’t be the case but may be helpful if you’re adopting children separately.
At the end of each chapter there were top tips which were really useful and easy to go back to when and if they’re needed.
Raising Happy Brothers & Sisters (Jan Parker & Jan Stimpson) – This book has tonnes of really helpful information and tips but the lay-out is so confusing I found it difficult to stay focused on what was being said. As well as the main body of text relating to the chapter, each page is filled with quotes from parents and professionals sharing their thoughts and ideas on the subject, and sometimes a box with more in-depth information as well. It would be so much easier to read if it all flowed together more seamlessly.
Thankfully, Raising Happy Brothers & Sisters also has a really good summing up of the main points at the end of each chapter so I’ll be dipping into those in the future.
All three of these books were suggested by our agency when we attended the sibling training in November last year.
What other books have you read that you’d recommend?
My husband and I have adopted two wonderful children. Duckling is 5 and Gosling, her little brother, is 3. I'll be keeping track of our journey here...