Best Special Needs Adoption Books

Author interviews and book reviews of my recommendations for the best books for adoption of older children or adoption of children with special needs.

I have been reviewing books on adoption for over twenty years now, and raised several children who joined my family by adoption. I believe that the books below with be helpful to parents who adopt children who have some sort of special need. Or if you are considering adoption a child with a disability, use these books to educate yourself ahead of time.

Connected Child

The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family
By Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine

This book deserves a wide audience; not only is it beneficial for among parents struggling with attachment or behavior issues, but it will also benefit health care professionals and therapist working with these families. Based on practical experience and research, this book provides detailed and practical techniques parents can use in teaching their children appropriate ways to behave, while responding in a loving manner. It is especially useful for children from preschool to early middle school age with special needs such as sensory integration dysfunction, ADD/ADHD, mild autism, and mood disorders and/or fostered or adopted children (adopted in the US or internationally) who have residual institutional impacts from orphanages, abusive, traumatic or deprived backgrounds, attachment difficulties, or other seemingly intractable issues. While on bad days it may seem impossible, this book not only holds out hope, it provides realistic ways to achieve the closeness with your child you long for.
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Nurturing AdoptionsNurturing Adoptions - Creating Resilience after Neglect and Trauma
By Deborah D. Gray

Nurturing Adoptions is a guide for social workers and psychologists who provide therapy for adopted children and teens suffering from neglect, trauma, or abuse. Dr. Gray delves into the myriad ways that children can be affected by adverse circumstances - biological, psychological, behavioral, and even moral. She teaches ways to find the child's point of view, and key points of stress, and to help re-frame their awareness and behavior into a more positive and adaptive structure, ultimately leading to more balanced and fruitful lives. This is an excellent resource for anyone interested in attachment and older child adoption. This is a gold mine of information for the adoption world, for parents and professionals.
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Adopting Older ChildrenAdopting Older Children: A Practical Guide to Adopting and Parenting Children Over Age Four
By Stephanie Bosco-Ruggiero, Gloria Russo Wassell, and Victor Groza

A solid overview of the adoption of older children, with the main focus on post adoption and integration into the family. This easy to read book provides a fine introduction to the issues involved in raising an adopted child. It is a good guide into topics that families should be aware of in making this decision such as health and emotional issues, transracial and transcultural blended families, trauma, parenting styles, and development. The tone is very optimistic. A well described listing of resources completes the book.
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Our OwnOur Own - Adopting and Parenting the Older Child
By Trish Maskew
A practical guide to adoption of older children, full of wisdom, good advice and insight. This essential resource for prospective parents considering the adoption of an older child covers a wide breadth of topics - deciding to adopt, surviving the wait, adjusting to the adoption, emotional transitions, thinking about birthparents, culture, language, and special needs. True life examples from her own experience, along with quotes based on 20 interviews with other parents, bring in emotional depth and realism. While Trish Maskew tackles serious subjects which may be disturbing at times, the caring that she has for her children and for older child adoption transforms this book into something special. Parents who are adopting a child with special needs may wish to supplement this book with specialized references, however, it is a useful introduction to anyone considering adopting an older child.
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Adoption is a Family Affair Adoption Is a Family Affair!: What Relatives and Friends Must Know
by Patricia Irwin Johnston

A must read book for families who are or have recently adopted. Meant to share with other family members it provides important insights on welcoming and accepting your adopted chid into your family. There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about adoption, this book helps to respond to many and will make your life and your child's life much better.
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Attaching in Adoption Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents
By Deborah D. Gray

A comprehensive and knowledgeable overview of the causes, diagnosis and treatment of attachment issues of adopted children. Gray is an experienced family therapist and clinical social worker who specializes in grief, trauma and attachment. Her unique blend of empathy and practical advice makes this an excellent resource for anyone who has questions about bonding and attachment. The parents version of the book reviewed above.
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Adoption in the US Adoption in the United States: A Reference for Families, Professionals, and Students
By Martha J. Henry and Daniel Pollack
A bit dated but still a very good overview. Starting with appropriate adoption language and ending with special needs education, this book covers the wide range of types of adoptions and adoption situations, in an authoritative manner. This book stand out among other adoption guides in that it is written for professionals and students and is backed by research with numerous citations and references. Overall, the focus is on providing children with good homes, through ethical adoption and parent preparation. The presentations of medical and health issues of adoption and domestic adoption of older children through the US state social agency system are also exceptional.
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How to Adopt excellent guide to international adoption How to Adopt Internationally : A Guide to Agency-Directed and Independent Adoptions
By Jean Nelson-Erichsen, Heino R. Erichsen
A bit dated now, but still a good overview of the complex and sometimes frustrating experience of the paper chase required for adopting internationally - from any country.
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Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul: Stories Celebrating Forever Families
By Lee Ann Thieman, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen

A series of touching stories about adoption and adoptive families.
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