Recommended Books for Families with Adopted, Foster and Special-Needs Children

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Some time ago I was asked to compile a list of recommended resources for “Extraordinary Moms” (especially adoptive, foster, and special-needs families). Well, after a lot of time and some effort, I put together a list of my personal favorites. It’s not exhaustive, merely an initial effort that I plan to expand as I encounter new resources.

What I found most interesting is that there were very few distinctively Catholic resources to add to the list, although there were some with a broadly Christian perspective. Apart from a book in the works by Dr. Ray Guarendi that is scheduled to come out (with OSV, I believe) in 2009, I found only one other book – at Pauline Books and Media – on adoption. Unfortunately, it had recently gone out of print. (Guess I really do need to write my own!)

For general resources, one site I found particularly valuable is “Tapestry Books”. This site offers an extensive selection for all kind of adoptive families, including behavioral difficulties that may surface after the adoption is complete.  Another great resource for moms of adoptive and foster children is the website for “Adoptive Families” magazine. Again, these resources are generally not written from a Catholic perspective.

In my list at “Mommy Monsters,” I’ve included a special section for foster kids. These kids have a unique set of genetic and environmental challenges to overcome; while their parents can and should avail themselves of regular parenting resources, they need a special “tool bag” with kid-friendly resources to help them (even temporarily) help their kids. Books such as the How Do Dinosaurs… series, by Jane Yolan, give foster parents and parents of special-needs kids an opportunity to introduce kids to important social concepts in an indirect, non-critical way.

Finally, I included several books for foster parents that may help them to better understand the world their children came from. Children whose parents had substance abuse issues may benefit from Beautiful Boy, by David Scheff. Parents of children with a history of abuse or neglect may benefit from Silent Prisoner, the true story of a girl who emerged intact from countless cycles of abuse, neglect, and violence. For the same reason, stories such as A Child Named It can help parents better understand some of the challenges that face children who come out of the foster system.

For more information and a complete (for now) list of books, click here. I will update the list from time to time – if you come across a book that belongs on the list, please drop me a line.

Last but not least, this month at “EMN” I’m offering a free CD of Lorraine Hartsook’s “Bring This Child to Me” (a beautiful song about adoption) to the first fifty moms who send me a link to their site (displaying the EMN button) and physical address. If you would like to receive my newsletter and/or would like to help me promote this online resource for parents of extraordinary kids, please drop me a line today at heidi.hess.saxton@gmail.com. Thanks … and God bless you!

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