Called to Care is not affiliated with nor endorses these organizations.  They are provided as a resource only.

Suggested Readings

This list was compiled by Kelly Barth, Options 4 Adoption.

An Empty Lap, by Jill Smolowe.

”one of the best post-infertility, pre-adoption books out there.  If you or anyone you know are going through the initial period of making that transition in your brain and heart, this book is a "best read" suggestion.”

Adopt: International, by O. Robin Sweet and Patty Bryan

”Good starting place... helped me decide if adopting was for me.   good lists of about traveling. determining "red lights" "green lights" and "yellow lights" when deciding on your referred child.  Good resource section from agencies to INS to counrty info.  copyright 1996.”

The Complete Guide to International Adoption, by Barbara Bascom.

”Author was personally involved in helping to rehab the orphanages in Romania after the now famous "20/20" of a decade ago.  She spells out some very real issues and how to overcome/compensate for them.  She discusses physical, emotional, and psychological effects of institutionalization.  At the time I was trying to minimize "the risk", but her book convinced us to adopt a child with correctable special needs.”

Adoption Resource Book, by Lois Gilman ”Which is the best all around get-started book…”

The Adoption Handbook – by John McLean.

The Russian Adoption Handbook

 “Very good, practical information about the process of adopting from Russia.”

Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft, by Mary Hopkins-Best.

”Although, our son was NOT a toddler at 4.6 yrs., it was very useful to know what kind of things

you might expect from an older child & what you can do about it. How the changes feel from the child's point of view. It prepared me to expect the worst, but in reality we experienced very little of the problems I read about.”

Real Parents, Real Children, Parenting the Adopted Child, by Holly van Gulden and Lisa M. Bartels-Rabb

”The best book about adoption IN GENERAL  It discusses all aspects of adoption, from both the parent's perspective (bonding, grief due to infertility, identity and dealing with Not being pregnant but still expecting, pre and post placement stress and how moving affects the child) and the perspective of the child--from infancy into adolescence, on into adoption issues in adulthood.”

Raising Adopted Children, by Lois Ruskai Melina.*

”Sections on international adoption.  Attachment and bonding from birth to older children. as well as general info.  Addresses Breastfeeding. Very practical approach for parents.” 

*Lois Melina has written a number of books addressing adoption related issues and is often a public speaker about the subject.

Parenting with Love and Logic

Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child, by Trish Maskew


Adopting the Older Child, by Claudia Jewett

Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape our Capacity to Love, by Robert Karen

”Discusses attachment theory and problems/how to address them...helped me to understand just what attachment disorders were about!”


Parenting The Hurt Child, by Gregory C. Keck, PhD.   Also see “Adopting the Hurt Child” by the same author.

Transforming the Difficult Child, by Glasser and Easley

”Helpful if your child hasn't had to deal with limitations, and is doing a lot of limit testing when first home--good info on establishing authority in a positive, non-punative fashion…”

Holding Time

”I thought it was a little unrealistic.  We have used holding time very little bit, but quite modified.”

Helping Children Cope with Separation and Loss, by Claudia Jewett Jarratt

”A good discussion on the topic…”

The Child with Special Needs: Encouraging Intellectual and Emotional Growth, by Stanley Greenspan

”Especially helpful in understanding how to approach our son when he first arrived home, withdrawn, anxious, needed help learning to communicate. Discusses approaches to children with PDD, autism, speech and language disorders, ADD, Cerebral palsy, and gives case examples and an idea of how such children progress over time…”

The New Language of Toys 1996 Edition, by Schwartz and Miller

”Gives great examples of what kids can do/want to do at different stages and how to help them learn important concepts with very simple toys. It includes tips for kids with a wide variety of disabilities, and how to modify toys to accommodate such kids.  At the end of each chapter (one chapter per year of age up to 6yo) is a great section on books, vocabulary and concepts, name brands of toys and developmental milestones for each year.  Useful in choosing playthings for any child.”

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, by Sherrie Eldridge.

The Family Of Adoption, by Joyce Maguire Pavao

”Real family scenarios.   It is about some of the emotional issues an adopted child may face, whether

adopted domestically or internationally, from preschool age through adulthood.  The author is an adoption therapist. Practical solutions to problems that could arise.  Also talks about parental feelings both birth and adoptive..”


How It Feels To Be Adopted, by Jill Krementz

”Author interviews 25(?) children adopted at varying ages from different countries into different types of families.  First hand view of how children feel about being adopted, how they feel about their birth parents/searching, about their adoptive families, siblings, friends, future. Short. Photograph of each interviewed child, aged 9-16ish.   School age kids and adults will like it…”

“The Russian Word for Snow” 

”Easy and compelling. True story of adopting their son from Russia. quite moving.  It helps me realize I can have faith in my own intuition.  It has lovely black and white photos of their son at the start of each chapter.”

"So you want to adopt...Now what?" by Anne Graham.  She is the daughter of Billy Graham.  It has real birthmother/adoptive family stories and it really makes you understand and empathize with the situations.

Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today’s Parents by Deborah Gray, MSW, MPA   Perspectives Press, Inc., 2002.  Stories of actual parents coping with actual children, the book helps identify problems and learn strategies for integrating adopted children in to families.


Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother, by Jana Wolff

Both honest and funny, the book answers questions no one else dares to ask: What if I don’t like the kid I get? Will my child ever feel like mine? Etc…


Insight In To Adoption, by Barbara Taylor Blomquist, 2001

What adoptive parents need to know about the fundamental differences between biological and adopted children, and its effects on parenting.


“Healing for the Attachment Challenged” by Dr. Bryan Post


“The Connected Child” by Dr. Karyn Purvis.  This book discusses the biological issues related to the effects of institutionalization on adopted children, and how understanding these effects will help to deal with and understand these children’s behavioral issues.


Language and Travel Guide to Ukraine, 3rd edition, by Linda Hodges

and George Chumak. This travel guide has great info, easy to grasp language sections, and up-to-date tips and suggestions.

Culture Shock, Ukraine, a Guide to Customs and Etiquette, by Meredith Dalton. This is an easy to read guide that gives an excellent overview and background on Ukrainian history and culture.


Adoption and Spirituality, by Jack Rudnick. His book is about his international adoption experience and how coincidence ties in with adoption. 


A Child’s Journey Through Placement, by Vera Fahlberg.  1991


Adoption and the Sexually Abused Child, by Joan and Bernard McNamara.  1990


Adoption Policy and Special Needs Children, by Rosemary Avery.  1997.


Facilitating Developmental Attachment: The Road to Emotional Recovery and Behavioral Change in Foster and Adopted Children, by Daniel Hughes.  1997.


Older Child Adoption, by Grace Robinson.  1998.


Attaching In Adoption-Practical Tools for Today’s Parents, Deborah D. Gray


The Family of Adoption, by Joyce Maguire Pavao.  1998.


Children’s Adjustment to Adoption: Developmental and Clinical Issues, by Brodzinsky et al.  1998.


Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self, by Brodzinsky & Schechter.  1992


Telling the Truth to your Adopted or Foster Child: Making Sense of the Past, by Keefer and Schooler. 2000.


When Love is Not Enough, by Nancy Thomas.  Discusses attachment issues in older adopted children and suggestions for helping your child through them.  Can be ordered from


The Out of Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Integration Dysfunction, and

The Out of Sync Child Has Fun: Activities for Kids with Sensory Integration Dysfunction, by Carol Stock Kranowitz


“From Nyet to Da: Understanding the Russians”. 


HELP FOR THE HOPELESS CHILD:  An agressive and creative book by Dr. Ron Federici which details out how to "de-institutionalize" your adopted child. 


Adopting From Russia: A Language and Parenting Guide by Teresa Kelleher (which comes with a tape) for some basic phrases in Russia. We thought it helpful. Her email was



Some books to look for regarding PI issues:


Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children by Daniel A. Hughes. He has also written Facilitating Developmental Attachment: The Road to Emotional

Recovery and Behavioral Change in Foster and Adopted Children.


"Adoption Is a Family Affair! What Relatives and Friends Must Know" by Patricia Irwin Johnston

Power Parenting for Children with ADD/ADHD by Grad Flick


Understanding Girls with ADHD by Nadeau, Littman and Quin; and Understanding Girls with ADHD by Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D.


The ADD Answer by Dr. Frank Lewis


Adoption – A Special Kind of Love 23 short essays by journalists who have adopted children.  They cover a variety of topics from post adoption depression to whether or not to search for birth parents to

how a parent feels about the second adoption and how a parent with a bio child feels when bringing an adopted child home. 


For deterring bad behavior, try Tony Brazelton’s Touch Point books.  Teaches structure, consistency, and love.

THE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION MEDICINE by Laurie C. Miller. © 2004 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Used by Permission.

“Beneath the Mask-Understanding Adopted Teens” by Debbie Riley with John Meeks


The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family: Karyn B. Purvis

Karyn Purvis and David Cross (Purvis & Cross research is done in TX at TCU) – their web links are:

General Books:

The Russian Adoption Handbook

Adopting In Russia: Your Rights and the Law

Tapestry Books will send you a paper catalog if you prefer to browse a


You can also find many, many adoption and cultural books which have been

specially selected by the folks at EEAC in their on-line bookstore. (Looks

like the book section is being reorganized right now).

Once you click the above link - Amazon works like normal, you can log in,

access your wish list, etc. Amazon gives EEAC a percentage of anything you




Also there is tons of information available on-line about parenting PI (post institutionalized) children.

The EEAC lists PABT-L and PEP-L are specific to parenting PI kids  Started by an adoptive parent.  Includes information helpful to any family who has adopted a child from an institution.  Discusses topics such as sensory integration/processing disorder, ADHD, attachment issues, etc