What to Read as You Prepare to Adopt

Are you considering forming or growing your family by adopting a child? As you set out to learn more about adoption, you will discover that it’s easy to find a chorus of adoptive parents and adoption professionals eager to share their advice. However, at Pact we strongly believe: Adopted people are the foremost experts on the experience of being adopted.

That’s why we strongly recommend that prospective adopters read all the articles Pact has published featuring adoptee voices. They are not all easy to read, but they are hugely important. Immersing yourself in the adoptee perspective now will help you avoid some common parenting mistakes, and figure out what kind of preparation and education you need to embark on so that you will be truly ready to meet your child’s needs. Allow yourself to let go of defensiveness so you can really hear and learn from what adoptees have to say.

We also strongly recommend you read the articles Pact has published by and about first/birth parents, the people in the adoption constellation who are most often silenced and ignored. Understanding the first/birth parent experience and the importance of first/birth family to adopted people will make you a better adoptive parent. Allow yourself to let go of fear so you can accept that every adopted person is connected for life to the family that created them.

If you will be adopting a child who shares your racial identity, check out Pact’s articles by and for same-race adoptive parents. If you will be adopting a child who will not share your racial identity (and particularly if you identify as white), see Pact’s articles by and for transracial adoptive parents, as well as the book Inside Transracial Adoption (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2nd Edition, 2013), by Pact co-founders Beth Hall and Gail Steinberg. There is much you can learn from parents who have gone before you on the same journey.

Waiting to adopt can be hard, but the wait also provides essential time to educate yourself about important topics such as talking about adoption, open adoption, trauma-informed parenting, sibling dynamics, and adoption rituals.

If you enter Pact’s adoption preparation or placement programs, we will recommend additional readings. We believe you owe it to your future children to be as prepared as possible to meet their needs, so they can grow up to become happy and healthy adults with a strong sense of self.

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