National Adoption Month

9 Books That Capture The Highs, Lows, And In-Betweens Of The Journey Of Adoption

“As a father of an adopted child, this book makes me weepy. Every. Single. Time.”

November is National Adoption Month. In honor of the month, we will be bringing attention to the thousands of people in foster care awaiting forever homes, as well as those who provide and advocate for them. These stories emphasize the idea that families are bound together by the love they share, rather than their biological roots.  

National Adoption Month — an initiative by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau to "increase national awareness and bring attention to the need for permanent families for children and youth in the U.S. foster care system" — is coming to a close.

To boost the effort, we're continuing A Plus' "Bound by Love" theme and recommending this reading list … with something for all ages. Check out these nine stories of adopted children, their biological families, and the families who took them in.

“Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born” by Jamie Lee Curtis

In this children's book from the Halloween star, a little girl relives a story she knows by heart: the day she was born and adopted. 

"As a father of an adopted child, this book makes me weepy. Every. Single. Time," Goodreads user Eric McLean says. "It is really a lovely account … and really does capture what it is like. One of my favorite books to read to my daughter."

“Jazzy’s Quest: Adopted and Amazing!” by Carrie Goldman and Juliet C. Bond, LCSW

In this children's book, Jazzy looks to her families — both her adoptive and birth relatives — for inspiration as she searches for a talent before a community talent show.

"I am adopted, and reading this book makes me feel like I'm not alone," says 9-year-old Amazon reviewer Adam J.

“Far From the Tree” by Robin Benway

Grace, the protagonist of this National Book Award winner, was adopted at birth and raised as an only child. But after putting up her own child for adoption, Grace searches for her biological family and realizes she's a middle child in another sense.

"From the first page to the last, this compassionate, funny, moving, compulsively readable novel about what makes a family gets it right," Kirkus Reviews raves.

“Pictures of Hollis Woods” by Patricia Reilly Giff

Hollis Woods is the name of both a 12-year-old and the woods where she was found as a baby. Hollis is staying with an affectionate but forgetful elderly artist, and even as she fights to stay ensconced in the woman's care, she dreams of her life with her previous foster family.

"As readers become intimately acquainted with Hollis, they will come to understand her fears, regrets, and longings, and will root for her as she pursues her dream of finding a home where she belongs," Publishers Weekly says of this Newbery Honor Award winner.

“A Theory of Relativity” by Jacquelyn Mitchard

After an accident leaves a young girl orphaned, her uncle is quick to take her under his wing … until her paternal grandparents intervene with alternate plans.

"It is an excellent … portrayal of the love of an adoptive family and the struggles they face [in a] legal system that is still sometimes uninformed when it comes to adoption issues," one Adoption.com user asserts.

“The Mothers” by Jennifer Gilmore

Jesse and Ramon are eager to adopt, but they encounter frustration at every turn — including tricky bureaucracy, unwanted advice from strangers, birth mothers who don't select them, and even birth mothers who were never pregnant to begin with.

"Reading The Mothers will work the reader up with rage and sympathy toward this couple as they make their way through an unpredictable world that offers no assurances of anything," writes guest reviewer Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings. "Of course, as Jennifer Gilmore's powerful novel lets us see, uncertainty is a big part of the quest toward motherhood by any means; and it's also, of course, a big part of the state of motherhood itself."

“The Secret Daughter” by Kelly Rimmer

This novel from the author of Me Before You tells the twin stories of the woman who finds out she was adopted 37 years prior and the biological mother who never stopped loving her.

"Having had to give up my only child to adoption, this book described the feelings of a young unwed mother so well," Amazon reviewer Elizabeth M. Cook writes. "I even recommended it to 'my' daughter whom I found at 40 years old in 2008."

“Run” by Ann Patchett

This bestselling novel from the PEN/Faulkner Award winner tells the tale of a former Boston mayor, the wife he loses to cancer, and the two adult sons they adopted years before, as a tumultuous day upends the family's status quo.

"It's so beautifully written, [and] the characters' struggles engrossed me utterly," Goodreads user Ruth raves. "Partly because adoption has been a major theme in my family of origin, but largely because Patchett succeeds in making this fictional family matter to me."

“Digging to America” by Anne Tyler

Two families — one Iranian-American, the other White — meet at an airport while waiting for the girls they adopted from Korea. They throw an impromptu "arrival party" and become lifelong friends, even as the families' elder members forge an unexpected connection.

Amazon reviewer Karen Schaefer praises this "excellent story" for its "insights into human nature, and experiences with adoption and immigrants."

Check it out here.

Cover photo by PicseaUnsplash

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