5 Books I Read Preparing for Our Adoption Journey

Today marks one year since we found out that there was a little girl who would be born the next month in Texas who needed a home. What we didn't know is that we'd find out a week later that we were going to be her parents, and she'd be born exactly one month after we found out about her. If you'd like to read our story of Brighten, click here

Since the next month is marking one year for a lot of things with our baby girl and her adoption, I've been thinking a lot about that subject and what I can share from our experience. One of the things I get asked about a lot is books that I read in preparation for our adoption journey. 

There are so, so many wonderful books that have been written specifically about orphan care (adoption and foster care), and then there are also books about mercy ministry, racial reconciliation, and walking a difficult calling that aren't technically about orphan care, but that I've read in preparation for bringing children into our family through adoption. So today I'm going to share my five favorites with you.

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  1. The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family, by Karyn B. Purvis
    TCC was required reading by our agency, and I'm so glad! It's kind of funny because this was actually the first "parenting" book that I ever read. It really goes deep into the psychology of kids who have experienced trauma, and the biggest takeaway I had was that the potential for trauma begins in utero. Because of trauma, big or small, parenting kids who are adopted can often look different than parenting biological children, and TCC goes into the ins and outs of this in such a powerful way. 
    Purchase The Connected Child

  2. Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian, by John Piper
    Since we were trying to adopt from Ethiopia for almost four years, we knew that we needed to educate ourselves about transracial adoption (refers to the act of placing a child of one racial or ethnic group with adoptive parents of another racial or ethnic group, per Google). Bloodlines was an excellent resource to gain insight to diverse populations and how "...teaching how the good news about Jesus Christ actively undermines the sins that feed racial strife, and leads to a many-colored and many-cultured kingdom of God."
    Purchase Bloodlines

  3. In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You To Know About Adoption. A Guide for Relatives and Friends, by Elisabeth O'Toole
    This book is particularly targeted at friends and family members of those who are adopting, but I really enjoyed reading it myself. It's a quick, thin book that is pretty direct and to the point. In addition to reading this ourselves, we also sent it to our family members to read. It's very comprehensive and goes over everything from how families come to adoption, to the long paperwork process, to appropriate adoption language. I highly recommend it to anyone who is either interested in adoption or who knows someone who has adopted.
    Purchase In On It

  4. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself, by Steve Corbett, Brian Fikkert
    I believe anyone and everyone should read this book. It really opened my eyes and shifted my perspective about mercy ministry. It's not specifically about adoption, but it certainly applies. Adoption, and orphan care in general, is messy and requires people to get in the middle of the brokenness that surrounds orphan care. In addition to this book, there is also a small group guide that is based on the book. 
    Purchase When Helping Hurts

  5. Forever Mom: What to Expect When You're Adopting, by Mary Ostyn
    I found this book through a blog that I love and she said it was her favorite book that she'd read about adoption. We were already pretty far into our adoption journey when I heard about it, but this book still really spoke to me. I loved reading about the author'sadoption story. I also found this book quick, easy, and extremely practical. 
    Purchase Forever Mom

I highly recommend these books for anyone who is about to be or is in the process of pursuing a child(ren) through adoption or foster care. I pray that each one encourages you, teaches you, and ignites even more of a passion in your family for caring for children from hard places. 

If you're interested in learning more about orphan care in general, here is a list of a few books that I believe would serve as a great starting point, before the five that I outlined above:

  • Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches, by Russell D. Moore

  • Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care, by Tony Merida, Rick Morton

  • Called to Adoption: A Christian's Guide to Answering the Call, by Mardie Caldwell, Heather Featherston, Terry Meeuwsen

What book recommendations do you have for me? Memoirs, adoption advocacy, parenting books - they all peak my interest and I'd love some new books to add to my list!