Share Your Story: Favorite Pre-adoption Books

We asked our reader panel to describe the books they find most helpful to prospective adoptive parents. Here are some of their favorites.

A woman reading adoption books for parents

Adopting on Your Ownby Lee Varon

This book bridged a gap for me, as I went from thinking of single parenthood as a somehow “lesser” option to seeing it as something I wanted to do. After several readings, Varon seemed like a friend, and the process of completing the paperwork and homestudy seemed almost natural (although I did take a day off from work to clean my house!).  —Margaret Guerra

Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craftby Mary Hopkins-Best

This book played a big part in our preparation to adopt two toddlers. Parts of it were difficult to read, but I feel that it prepared us for the worst-case scenarios we might have encountered. Luckily, though, none of our experiences have been as bad as those described in this book. I recommend this book to anyone considering adopting a child over 12 months. —Cherie Maue

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Adoptionby Christine Adamec

Our daughter, Jenna, got a respiratory infection soon after her adoption, but our health insurance carrier denied the claim, stating that hers was a pre-existing condition. I had read about the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, which stipulates that your child is covered from the minute you take possession of her on foreign soil, as well as that there are no pre-existing conditions for adopted children, in The Idiot’s Guide. I sent a copy of the relevant page to our carrier, and a couple of days later, I got a call: All of Jenna’s medical bills would be covered. For essential adoption-related information, you can’t beat this book. —Kathy Ahearn

Reaching Outby Nelson Handel

This book is much more than a how-to guide for drafting the Dear Birth Mother letter—it also provides insight and comfort for those going through the adoption process. As an adoption attorney, I offer Reaching Out to all of my clients. —Sheri Cohen

In Their Own Voicesby Rita James Simon and Rhonda M. Roorda

I’m the mother of two transracially adopted children, Gabriella, 3, who’s Hispanic, and Dante, 3 months, who’s African-American. This book has given me a lot of ideas for how to give my children a sense of self and race, and to help them deal with racism. —Chris Martinelli

Seeds of Loveby Mary Ebejer Petertyl and Jill Chambers

Before traveling to Belarus to adopt our daughter, Lexi, we read this book over and over again to our 4-year-old biological son, Matthew. Then we gave him seeds to water while he stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. He did very well while we were gone, and was extremely proud to show his new 18-month-old sister his “seeds of love” when we brought her home. —Tracy Wachtman

Love in the Driest Seasonby Neely Tucker

While adopting from Russia, I read any book about international adoption I could get my hands on. This memoir, which chronicles one couple’s effort to adopt a Zimbabwean baby, was incredibly inspiring. And it made me realize that, no matter what corner of the world you live in or adopt from, there will always be a homestudy, a mountain of paperwork, and government officials to contend with! —Julie Strasser

Adopting After Infertilityby Patricia Irwin Johnson

A friend gave me this book after I miscarried in June 2000. I was instructed to read the first three chapters, which deal with infertility, but I kept reading. Then I asked my husband one night, “How do you feel about adoption?” His answer: “Relieved!” By December we were the parents of a gorgeous baby boy born in South Korea. We adopted another perfect son in December 2001. Who knew that reading one book could be so instrumental in the creation of our much-longed-for family? —Vickee

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