Brittney, Post Adopt Coordinator shares some of her favorite books on adoption and guardianship.
As coordinators, we have learned the importance of self-care, not only for ourselves but the adoptive and guardianship parents we work with. Parenting special needs children comes with its unique challenges and struggles. It is vital you “put on your oxygen mask first,” as flight attendants say, to be the best parent you can be for your children. How do you take care of yourself? Personally, I enjoy binging mindless reality shows, and on more productive days, I love snuggling up with a good book. Here are some of my favorite adoption, trauma-related, and parenting books I have read over the years.
- The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog – Dr. Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz
This book tells children’s stories of trauma and transformation through the lens of science, revealing the brain’s astonishing capacity for healing. Deftly combining unforgettable case histories with his own compassionate, insightful strategies for rehabilitation. Perry explains what happens to the brain when a child is exposed to extreme stress and reveals the unexpected measures that can be taken to ease a child’s pain and help them grow into a healthy adult.
- The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity – Dr. Nadine Burke Harris
In this book Harris discusses the ACE study and is punctuated by stories from her work at a pediatric clinic in a low-income community of color. In that clinic, she found it striking that many of her young patients who suffered from conditions like asthma, obesity, and ADHD shared one commonality—they had all experienced some type of traumatic event or significant stressor in their young lives.
- The Power of Attachment: How to Create Deep and Lasting Intimate Relationships – Diane Poole Heller
Heller, a pioneer in attachment theory and trauma resolution, shows how overwhelming experiences can disrupt our most important connections― with the parts of ourselves within, with the physical world around us, and with others.
- Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain – Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.
Siegel busts a number of commonly held myths about adolescence—for example, that it is merely a stage of “immaturity” filled with often “crazy” behavior. According to Siegel, during adolescence we learn vital skills, such as how to leave home and enter the larger world, connect deeply with others, and safely experiment and take risks.
- The Connected Child – Dr. Karen Purvis and Dr. David Cross
This book specializes in adoption and attachment. Learn how to build bonds of affection and trust with your adopted child, effectively cope with any learning or behavioral disorders, and discipline with love without making him or her feel threatened.
- Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control: A Love Based Approach to Helping Children With Severe Behaviors – Heather Forbes, LCSW and Bryan Post
This book covers in detail the effects of trauma on the body-mind and how trauma alters children’s behavioral responses. While scientifically based in research, it is written in an easy to understand and easy to grasp format for anyone working with or parenting children with severe behaviors.
- What Happened To You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing – Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey
This book provides powerful scientific and emotional insights into the behavioral patterns so many of us struggle to understand. It’s a testament to the authors’ wish for readers to come to grips with, and let go of, the past and to move forward into ‘post-traumatic wisdom.’
- Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Traumatized Children – Daniel Hughes and Kirby Heyborne
This book is a composite case study of the developmental course of one child following years of abuse and neglect. The text emphasizes both the specialized psychotherapy and parenting strategies often necessary in facilitating a child’s psychological development and attachment security.
- Honestly Adoption: Answers To 101 Questions About Adoption and Foster Care – Kristin and Mike Berry
If you are considering adoption or foster care or are already somewhere in this difficult and complicated process, you need trusted information from people who have been where you are. Mike and Kristin will provide you with practical, down-to-earth advice to make good decisions in your own journey.
- More To Me – Saty Conrelius
After fourteen years of family dysfunction, Bri and her younger three siblings enter foster care, where she battles with depression and loneliness – the very things that caused her mother to slip deeply into her alcohol addictions years ago. Follow Bri on her journey as she slowly discovers the truth about her past.
This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Brittney Engelhard, LBSW