An incomplete list, but a place to begin. I’ve read most of these books and seen most of the films (indicated by a *). While some I thought were better than others, they represent a list of suggested readings that would give an adoptive parent a start on educating themselves. I am not posting my own personal opinion about these resources because I believe each one will be meaningful to different people, for different reasons.

I also think that if you are an adoptee and are looking for resources for your own journey, these books and films could be a good place to begin. I don’t agree with all of the positions and opinions expressed in these books, but I do think they all have given me a lot of fodder for further exploration.

Please contact me at harlowmonkey at gmail dot com if you have suggestions for other resources.

Adoption (general)

*Adoption Nation by Adam Pertman

*The Morality Of Adoption: Social-Psychological, Theological, and Legal Perspectives by Timothy Jackson

* Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge

Adoption – Transracial

*Are Those Kids Yours? American Families with Children Adopted From Other Countries by Cheri Register

*Beyond Good Intentions: A Mother Reflects On Raising Internationally Adopted Children by Cheri Register

*Birth is More Than Once: The Inner World of Adopted Korean Children by Hei Sook Park Wilkinson

*Children of the Storm: Black Children and American Child Welfare by Billingsley & Giovanoni

*Cultures of Transnational Adoption by Toby Alice Volkman

*Inside Transracial Adoption by  Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall

*The Lost Daughters of China by Karin Evans

*Transnational Adoption: A Cultural Economy of Race, Gender, And Kinship by Sara Dorow

*Transracial Adoption and Foster Care by Joseph Crumbley

*Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son: Abandonment, Adoption and Orphanage Care in China by Kay Johnson

Understanding adoption/foster care issues

*A Child’s Journey Through Placement by Vera Fahlberg

*Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief by Pauline Boss

*Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self by David M. Brodzinsky

Coming Home to Self: The Adopted Child Grows Up by Nancy Verrier

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

*Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness by Betty Jean Lifton

*The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child by Nancy Verrier

Adoptee /Fosteree Memoirs

*A Single Square Picture by Katy Robinson

*Black Baby, White Hands: A View from the Crib by Jaiya John

*Beneath a Tall Tree: A Story About Us by Jean Strauss

*Finding Fish by Antwone Quenton Fisher

My Father’s Daughter by Hannah Pool

*The Book of Sarahs by Catherine McKinley

*The Language of Blood by Jane Jeong Trenka

*The Unforgotten War: Dust from the Streets by  Thomas Park Clement

*Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres


*After the Morning Calm: Reflections of Korean Adoptee by Hei Sook Park Wilkinson

In Their Own Voices by Rita Simon and Rhonda Roorda

*I Wish for You a Beautiful Life: Letters from the Korean Birth Mothers of Ae Ran Won to Their Children edited by Sara Dorow  

*Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption by Jane Jeong Trenka, Julia Chinyere  Oparah and Sun Yung Shin

*Voices from Another Place: A Collection of Works from a Generation Born in Korea and Adopted to Other Countries edited by Susan Cox


*The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade by Anne Fessler

Documentary films

China’s Lost Girls by National Geographic

*Crossing Chasms by Jennifer Arndt

*Daughter from Denang by Gail Dolgin and Vicente Franco

*First Person Plural by Deann Borshay

*Made In Korea by In Soo Radstake

*Struggle for Identity produced by  PhotoSynthesis Productions

Search and Reunion

Birthbond: Reunions Between Birthparents and Adoptees – What Happens After… by Judith S. Gediman and Linda P. Brown

* Birthright: The Guide to Search and Reunion for Adoptees, Birthparents, and Adoptive Parents by Jean Strauss

Shadow Mothers:Stories of Adoption and Reunion by Linda Back McKay

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.