Recommended books and movies on Adoption


There’s something about these chilly months and holiday breaks that makes us more likely to curl up with a good book and get comfy on the couch with movies. I recommend using this time to learn more about adoption and foster care as well. Though a lot of books and movies may sugarcoat the realities of adoption, they still can provide awareness to children who may lack understanding about the topic. 

The Not in Here Story is a favorite of mine. It does a wonderful job of explaining the process of adoption and infertility to children. The illustrations are so cute and help children to grasp difficult concepts by meeting them where they are emotionally and mentally. I really appreciated this book when my daughter’s preschool class had questions about adoption. This was a great way for them to learn more about it, but also, I have had friends who are in the adoption process, who struggled with infertility that have related to this book as well. 

Read my full review here. 

My daughter is on the cusp of turning 8, but this is still her very favorite book about adoption. This book explains adoption for children in a way that makes sense to them–and it even talks about the logistics in simple terms of how a birth mother would carry a child. I believe firmly in being honest with kids, but at their level, in order to let them know that you’re being honest about their story and where they came from. To me, this is critical in raising an adoptee. This was something we could read each night to my daughter in her very early years to help her understand more about her own story. 

As I mentioned before, the adoptee’s voice is very important to me and I have turned to many adult adoptees for help as I raise my daughter. This book is very, very good at helping adoptive parents understand things we may have not thought about. This is a great tool to learn more about how you can support your children as they grow up and also allow you the opportunity to have honest and important conversations that they may not bring up on their own.

This is one of my favorite books and I will talk about it to any and everyone. Nichole shares very candidly her story about her adoption. Nichole is Korean but was raised by white parents. As a parent of a child of a different race, this was important to me to learn about someone’s actual lived experiences and how they play a part in how they group up, are treated, and what we can better do to support them. This is a wonderful memoir and I suggest that you make it a priority this month.

Read my full book review here.

This book was suggested to me when I adopted my daughter. It was such a helpful resource for me, that I always buy it for individuals who are also a part of transracial adoption. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to Rhonda and her own experience as a black adoptee raised by white parents is so important. I also learned a lot about the importance of styling hair and its cultural history. Again, I can’t say enough how important it is to learn from others’ actual lived experiences.

From Scratch is one of the newest shows that everyone is binging on Netflix, and though the storyline, based on a memoir by Tembi Locke, is focused on an epic love story and overcoming grief, there is an adoption subplot. The main characters want to become parents, but due to treatments for cancer, the father is unable to conceive. This is an important storyline because it shares more about the complexities of adoption and culture. 

If you haven’t seen Lion, add it to your list. This tells the true story of a young boy in India who gets lost and though he has a mother, is placed for adoption with an Australian family. This shares more about the trauma adoptees may face, searching for a birth family, and the reality of adoption practices in other cultures. It’s truly a beautiful and well-done film with a wonderful cast. Stay tuned at the end for some real-life footage of the main characters the movie is based on. 

Found is a very interesting documentary that follows three teens who were adopted from China and currently live in the United States with their families. Through a genetic testing service, they find each other because they are all cousins. They go to China to learn more about their birth families. This is a documentary that focuses on identity and how important it is to adoptees, but it also examines the one child policy in China and how it has influenced adoption in the United States and other countries. 

Though this is a fictional movie (that is labeled as a comedy), this brings light to the realities of being a foster parent. Instant Family also shares how children who have been in foster care often have problems trusting other adults and may not want to be adopted in hopes of reunification with their families, which is the main goal of foster care. I find this to be a great intro to people who haven’t had a lot of exposure to the adoption community and have little understanding of foster care.

I know it’s not always easy to make time for reading and watching TV, these mediums allow us to learn from others and about other cultures and communities.