Recommended Reading

Difficult Conversations: How to discuss what matters most. by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen of the Harvard Negotiation Project (Viking, 1999) – While this book is not specific to adoption, it is one of the best books on communication I have ever read. This book will change the way you talk and, most importantly, listen to each other.

Getting Together: Building relationships as we negotiate. by Roger Fisher and Scott Brown of the Harvard Negotiation Project (Penguin, 1988) – This book seems like it was tailor made for open adoptions. Gives those in open adoptions a framework for establishing complicated relationships.

May The Circle Be Unbroken by Lynn Franklin (Harmony Books, 1998)

Openness in Adoption: Exploring Family Connections by Harold D. Grotevant and Ruth G. McRoy (Sage Publishing, 1998) Based on an on-going longitudinal study on openness in adoption.

Painful Lessons, Loving Bonds: The Heart of Open Adoption by Marcy Wineman Axness Topics include: The “secret ingredient” for healthy intimacy between parents and child. The dangers of the wrong kind of open adoption. How we should respond when birth parents “reclaim” children. What adoptive parents must do for themselves, for the sake of their children. How every adoption can be open, in the most loving way.

Put your Heart on Paper: Staying Connected in a Loose Ends World by Henriette Anne Klauser (Bantam, 1995) The best book I have ever seen for creative communication and written traditions. This is another book that will touch all areas of your life.

Sacred Connections by Mary Ann Koenig with photographs by Nikki Berg (Running Press, 2001) Beautifully presented and thoughtfully written, this book explores the many different connections that exist in adoption in the stories of the people who have lived them.

The Adoption Life Cycle: The Children and Their Families through the Years by Elinor B. Rosenberg (Free Press, 1992) Includes information on the adoption experience for all triad members.

Ethics in American Adoption by L. Anne Babb (Bergin and Garvey) This book is a must read for anyone involved in adoption. This is a book that asks hard questions, and gives good answers. It is also filled with useful facts and research.

The Family of Adoption by Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao (Beacon Press) Pioneering family and adoption therapist Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao is the first to demonstrate that there are predictable and understandable developmental stages and challenges for adopted people. Through stories of work with children and families, she shows us that adoptive parents, as well as teachers, therapists, and all who work with children must come to understand these developmental stages as normal—challenging, but normal. The Family of Adoption is a timely and powerful argument for the right kind of “openness” within adoptive families.

The Open Adoption Experience by Lois Melina and Sharon Kaplan-Roszia. (HarperPerennial, 1993) A complete guide for both birthfamilies and adoptive families. Covers topics from “readiness for open adoption” to growing up in an open adoption. Co-written by two leaders in the field of adoption, this book is not only must reading for those considering open adoption, but also a handy reference book as the child grows.

The Spirit of Open Adoption by Jim Gritter (CWLA, 1997) – An in depth look at open adoption. Jim Gritter encourages a value-based model, one that is child-centered. He also discusses rarely touched upon issues such as shame and fear.

Birthmothers by Merry Block Jones (Chicago Review, 1993) – This book covers issues common to all birthmothers. Through interviews of over thirty birthmothers, the author gives a human face to birthmoms.

Out of the Shadows: Birthfathers Stories by Mary Martin Mason -The only book out there for birthfathers, this book profiles a number of birthfathers in many different kinds of adoptions. Helps birthfathers feel they are not alone, and the rest of us understand them a bit better.

Pregnant? Adoption is an Option? by Jeanne Lindsay (Morning Glory Press, 1997) – Really good at exploring the emotional issues in choosing to place a child for adoption. The only book for perspective birthparents I recommend. (Besides my own, of course)

A letter to Adoptive Parents on Open Adoption. by Randolph Severson (House of Tomorrow Productions, Dallas, TX, 1991) – Available through Heart Word Center, Dallas, TX) This 28 page booklet is a perfect introduction to adoptive parents on openness in adoption.

Adoption Without Fear, Ed. by Jim Gritter (Corona Publishing Co. 1037 S. Alamo, San Antonio, TX 78210, 1989) Seventeen adoptive couples describe their experiences with open adoption. Must reading for anyone touched by adoption, it is particularly helpful for prospective adoptive couples just beginning the process.

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wished Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge (Dell Trade Paperback, 1999)

Children of Open Adoption by Kathleen Silber and Patricia Martinez Dorner (Corona Publishing, 1990 ) The sequel to Dear Birthmother this book examines the effects of open adoption on the adopted child at every stage of development.

Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search For Self by David Brodzinsky, Marshall Schechter, Robin Henig

Beginnings: How Families Come to Be by Virginia Kroll Explores a variety of situations from building families by birth to open adoption situations. Is an excellent book to begin discussion on adoption.

Did My First Mother Love Me? (Morning Glory Press) by Kathryn Ann Miller

Pugnose Has Two Special Families by Karis Kruzel (R-Squared Press) This 16-page, full-color children’s book tells the story of Pugnose, an adopted mouse. This story will help you and your children explore their feelings about open adoption.

Adoption: Philosophy and Experience by Randolph Severson (House of Tomorrow Productions, Dallas, TX, 1991 – Available through Heart Word Center, Dallas, TX) In this book the author explores a wide variety of adoption experiences, including open adoption. These essays inspire and teach by helping us look at adoption in a new way.

My Child is a Mother by Mary Stevenson (Corona Publishing) Written by a birthgrandmother, this book gives a personal account of open adoption from the birthfamily’s perspective.

Telling the truth to your adopted or foster child by Jayne Schooler and Betsy Keefer

The Adoption Triangle by Arthur Sorosky, Annette Baran And Reuben Pannor – The Book that pioneered it all!!

The Wanderer by Sharon Creech – A beautiful story of how a child placed in her teens comes to find her place in her new family.

Adoptive Families A full color magazine that covers all aspects of adoption. Articles written primarily to an adoptive parent audience, but has some articles of interest to birthparents.