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Family can mean different things to different people. Some families come together by birth, some by marriage, some by adoption. Really, all that’s actually needed to define a “family” is unconditional love and support (and hopefully some joy and laughter along the way). But for children who enter a family via adoption, or who have siblings who joined the family via adoption, often there are lots of questions about their family came to be. That’s where children’s books about adoption can help—whether they help kids feel less alone, explain parts of their adoption journey, or just introduce them to a character or two who helps them process their feelings. Books and the adventures within them can often help all the parts of a child’s world fall into place, and this topic is no different.
How to choose the best children’s books about adoption
As is the case with most children’s stories, you should usually look for a few common elements when choosing books kids can connect with. Relatable characters are a must. Rhyming words help (or a simple plot with only a few words per page) are great too. And finally, eye-catching illustrations are key.
Regardless of the overall book concept, if a child is enthralled by the character’s journey or experience and can see themselves in the story too, you’ve got yourself a winner that will probably be read again and again.
And particularly for a child who is adopted, children’s books can help them understand their life experience better or figure out why they have the feelings they do that other kids may not have. Maybe it’s a rabbit who found their forever family after a long journey, or a story of a foster child whose parents lived right down the street their whole lives, but the point is, there are countless ways to tell an adoption story. What matters is that the child reading it feels empathy, feels a connection, and feels seen. As long as the overall message is a celebration of family—and how families are formed in all sorts of beautiful, loving ways—the story is a success and a beneficial addition to your child’s library.
Also, it’s important for all kids to read stories about the many ways families can come together, even if they haven’t experienced adoption themselves. Chances are, they’ll have a friend or a classmate who is adopted, or maybe they’ll someday become a parent themselves to a child through adoption. The point is to teach all children that “family” can mean so many different things—some families have only one parent, while some have two moms or two dads. Some children joined their blended family through marriage, and others through adoption or foster care. What matters is that everyone is safe, loved, and accepted exactly as they are.