Books and Films about Adoption

I am frequently asked about good books about adoption. This page lists the books and films I have read or viewed that have informed or influenced me in some way. These books range from academic to popular press and are heavily biased towards the adoptee perspective. What you will not find here (for the most part) are adoptive parent memoirs or “how to adopt” books. If adoptive parents have authored some of these books listed here, then I have found something more substantive in their pages than their personal “adoption journey.”

This is an admittedly biased list of recommendations. There are many more adoption books out there than what I’ve listed here. 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 if they are listed here then 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 or would like me to review your book. However I won’t promise a good review or a recommendation, and I will provide my honest, critical review so be forewarned.

Happy reading!




Search and Reunion

Understanding Birth Parent Perspectives

Raising Children of Color


Documentary Films


Adult Adoptee Links

If you know of other resources that should be added and are missing here, please let me know!


Adult Adoptee/Foster Care Alum Blogs

Adult Transracial and International Adoptee Web Sites




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Bio & Publications

JaeRan Kim MSW, LGSW was born in South Korea and adopted to the United States at the age of 3 in 1971. She has worked in foster care/adoption (both public and private), with at-risk young moms, and with adults with disabilities in residential care. Jae Ran is currently a PhD Candidate and a Project Coordinator at the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, where she held Title IV-E Child Welfare and LENDfellowships. Jae Ran has been published in Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption by South End Press and Religion and Spirituality in Korean America by University of Illinois Press. In addition, Jae Ran’s essays, articles and poetry have been published in KoreAm Journal, Korean Quarterly, Minneapolis St Paul Star Tribune and Minnesota Monthly among others.

Click here for my professional website.

For an infographic version of my resume, see my profile.




“Breaking the silence: Teaching my children to talk about race and racism.” In Adam Chau and Kevin Ost-Vollmers (Eds.) (2012)  Parenting as Adoptees. CQT Media and Publishing. Click here for the Amazon Kindle, here for Barnes & Noble Nook and here for a print version.

“Forward” and “Introduction.” In HERE:A Visual History of Adopted Koreans in Minnesota by Kim Jackson and Heewon Lee. (2010).  Click here for HERE:A Visual History of Adopted Koreans in Minnesota

: Religion and Spirituality in Korean America (Asian American Experience)“Waiting for God: Korean American Adoptee experiences of religion and spirituality.” In David Yoo and Ruth Chung (Eds.) (2009).  Religion and Spirituality in Korean America. University of Illinois Press. Click here for Religion and Spirituality in Korean America

: Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption“Scattered seeds: The Christian influence on the Korean adoption phenomenon.” In Jane Jeong Trenka, Sun Yung Shin and Chinyere Oparah (Eds.) (2006). Outsider’s within: Writing on Transracial Adoption. Cambridge, MA: South End Press. Click here for Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption

  • Kimball, E. & Kim, J.R. (in press).  Virtual boundaries: Ethical considerations for use of social media in social work. Social Work.
  • Kim, J.R. (in press). “Cooking Lessons.” In Emily Moberg Robinson (Eds.) Voices of the Asian American Experience. Greenwood Press.
  • Kim, J.R. (2012). “Some Children See Him: A Transracial Adoptee’s View of Color-Blind Christianity.” Journal of Christian Legal Thought, 2:1. Short article available here and full length available here.



Resilience 15 page discussion guide authored by Eleana Kim (University of Rochester) with Jae Ran Kim (University of Minnesota) and Kim Park Nelson (Minnesota State University Moorhead)