History of adoption

I am a firm believer that we must have a critical eye toward how we practiced child placement, fostering and adoption in the past so that we do better today and in the future. Here are my favorite books and websites for you to learn about the history of adoption, foster care and child welfare.

General adoption history:




Orphan trains:

In order to really understand the history of adoption in the U.S. you need to know the history of the orphan train movement. Recommended resources for learning more about the orphan trains include:

Photo from the Kansas State Historical Society


Native American Boarding Schools and the Indian Adoption Project:

Children at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania c. 1900



Maternity Homes and the Baby Scoop Era:


Transracial and Intercountry adoption:

  • Dorothy Robert’s book, Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare is a md43a3-shatteredbondsust-read for anyone who has the question of why so many black families are in the child welfare system.