Books on Adoption & Parenting

I’m often asked about book recommendations when it comes to parenting or adoption. Everything from how you get your child to eat the food you give them to organizing your day to not go crazy and everything in between. Below are some of the books that I have found to be the most helpful and useful, with a little bit about each book so you know which ones to get for your family.

Wounded Children, Healing Homes: How Traumatized Children Impact Adoptive and Foster Families by Jayne Schooler & others

A great book with an overview perspective on parenting traumatized children- less of a how to and more of a why things play out the way they do. MANY books are referenced, and there is an extensive appendix of additional resources and support groups/aids. There is an honest look at extreme abuse/trauma cases but doesn’t talk through cultural/language differences or more mild cases- though I would assume it is much of the same. There is a good section on how adoption affects the “original” family; including siblings already in the home.

Just Take a Bite: Easy, Effective Answers to Food Aversions and Eating Challenges by Lori Ernsperger

As a mom of a resistant eater this book covered many things that don’t apply to our specific situation ie. a healthy son who refuse to try new foods, but is has some great ideas to help include a wider variety of foods into a resistant eaters diet. The book provides a middle ground that I could not see- not acquiescing to whatever your child will eat and not forcing them to eat which can promote negative attitudes toward new foods. There seemed to be many ideas for kids with special needs who need help developing a wider diet.

Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: From Your First Hours Together Through the Teen Years by Patty Cogen

For a soon to be adoptive parent of an international child this book is a must. It gives so many practical tools and games to connect with a child who needs help bonding and also gives clues into what your child is feeling based on the type of play that they are engaging in. The book uses a few “stereotyped” kids to talk through typical reactions for different personality types and coping methods for kids from hard places. This book does not need to be read in one sitting, but can be read incrementally because it is written in chronological fashion.

A Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul by Holly Pierlot

This has nothing to do with adoption, but I know that a solid routine for kids from hard places is very helpful. This book is written by a mom, who gets at the heart behind a schedule- namely mortification- self-discipline to promote Godliness.

Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control: Volume 1 by Heather Forbes

Is a how-to book in dealing with specific issues experienced in adoption. The premise of parenting from a place of love instead of fear is very freeing. I think that this book is a good first step to many of the behaviors addressed, but I would guess that there needs to be a certain amount of self awareness from the child to be able to have the discussions used as examples in this book. The biggest take away from this book is that children are not trying to be manipulative, but their behavior is the only way they know how to express what is going on inside.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim Payne M.Ed., & Lisa Ross

Again, this book is not about adoption, but deals with… simplicity in schedule, stuff, and making sure that there is a solid connection and grounding for children. The thing that was an eye opener about this book lies in the introduction; the author talks about how he was doing some work at a refugee camp in Africa and was treating kids with PTSD, then after that he started a private practice in the states. Through his practice he started to see that children in the US were exhibiting some of the same behaviors as the children from the refugee camp… mainly because of the pace and disconnectedness that so many children grow up with in their homes. My fear is that many children are adopted out of their original culture, and then through another environment do not give them the connectedness and grounding that they need, so the underlying issues are not addressed just masked.

The Connected Child : Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by Karyn Purvis

This is one that I am planning to read along with the workbook by Karyn Purvis; found here

Update: Our Ethiopian Adoption


It’s been awhile since I’ve posted an update about where we are in our Ethiopian adoption. Adopting internationally is a hurry up and wait proposition. A lot of things happen and then you wait, then a lot happens and you wait and this can continue for years.

A little background might help.

Our family officially began the journey of adopting 3 and a half years ago. For Katie and I, adoption was always a matter of when instead of if. When we started, we immediately felt called to adopt internationally. As we began the journey of figuring out where God was calling us, we landed on Ethiopia. We have requested a boy or girl, age 0-38 months. When we started, the average wait time for family was 5-7 months. That has since gotten longer, hence, the 3 year wait. In that time, we have raised almost $20,000 to go towards our adoption.

While the process got longer and longer, our agency gave us permission to continue expanding our family. Because of this permission, we were able to adopt Nehemiah in June of 2012.

About a month ago, we got our “on deck” email. This email means we are as close as we can be to adopting our child. Essentially, we can get a call at any moment telling us who our child is and when we need to be in Ethiopia to meet them and continue the process. From there, we will make 2 trips to Ethiopia. Our agency believes that most likely we will make these two trips by the end of 2013!

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this next step. It has been a long process, one that has been tiring and a growing time for our family as we’ve seen God provide financially and prepare our hearts as parents and the hearts of our kids to add to our family.

I’ll share tomorrow how you can be a part of the next step of bringing our son or daughter home.

Thinking Forward: Aid vs. Trade – Andrew Rugasira

Session 5 was broken into three parts.wca speaker

Part 2 featured a talk by Andrew Rugasira “Thinking Forward: Aid vs. Trade.” Andrew is the founder and CEO of Good African Coffee.

  • Leadership and life is all about our perspective and how we see people and the world around us
  • There are 53 countries and 900 million people in Africa
  • Integrity is being truthful about what you need to do to get out of a difficult situation
  • It starts with a commitment to change the conversation
  • No country in the world has developed because of handouts
  • Aid undermines accountability
  • To move forward in our world, we must reconstruct the narratives in our minds