New books on the topic of adoption are published all the time. Consider the following selected titles as classics for birth mothers or adoptive parents.
Adoption Wisdom: A Guide to the Issues and Feelings of Adoption. Marlou Russell PhD (Broken Branch Productions, 1996): this book offers insight and understanding of adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents. Adoption Wisdom includes chapters on Adoption Awareness, the Basic Truths of Adoption, Search and Reunion, and an Ideal Adoption. A book for anyone who wants to know more about the realities of adoption.
The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Adopted Daughters Tell Their Stories. Susan Wadia-Ells. (Seal Press, 1995): these personal essays and stories are informed by the contemporary adoption movement and raise timely issues that illustrate its complexity, among them.
The Adoption Triangle: Sealed or Open Records – How They Affect Adoptees, Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents. Arthur D. Sorosky, Annette Baran and Reuben Panor. (Corona Publishing Co. 1989): a classic and the first to deal with how sealed and open records affect adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents. Originally published in 1978,” … it is as true and open as the changes advocated … comprehensive, factual, forward looking, totally honest, readable and thoughful …” Los Angeles Times.
Birthbond. Judith S. Gediman and Linda P. Brown. (New Horizon Press, 1989): In this eye-opening, deeply affecting account, the authors reveal – through the words and experiences of adoptees, birth mothers, and birth fathers – that what reunion can accomplish is impressive, although its pangs are no less real than the pangs of birth.
Birthmark, Lorraine Dusky. (M. Evans and Company, New York 1979): Marked for life emotionally, intellectually, and politically by her baby’s birth twelve years ago, the author tells of her obsession with finding the daughter whom she gave away and has never seen.
Birthright: The Guide to Search and Reunion for Adoptees, Birth Parents, and Adoptive Parents. Jean A.S. Strauss (Penguin Books, 1994): What happens when an adoptee decides to locate a birth parent or a birth parent wants to find a child given up long ago? How does one search for people whose names one does not know? And what happens during a reunion?
Cast Off: They called us dangerous women. So we organized and proved them right. (Stow Away – Cast Off) (Volume 2) (Dr. Lee H Campbell, 2014)
Stow Away, “They told me to forget. And I did. Now my memories have mutiny in mind.” Lee Campbell. (Book Baby. 2013)
The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption.Kathryn Joyce (Public Affairs, A Member of Perseus Books Group, 2013): When Jessie Hawkins’ adopted daughter told her she had another mom back in Ethiopia, Jessie didn’t, at first, know what to think. She’d wanted her adoption to be great story about a child who needed a home and got one, and a family led by God to adopt. Instead, she felt like she’d done something wrong.
The Family of Adoption. Joyce Maguire Pavao. (Beacon Press, 1998): Full of wonderful stories that give insight into a wide variety of adoption issues, now revised in light of recent developments, The Family of Adoptionis a powerful argument for the right kind of openness in adoption. Joyce Maguire Pavao uses her thirty years of experience as a family and adoption therapist to explain to adoptive parents, birthparents, adult adopted people, and extended family, as well as to those who work with children professionally the developmental stages and challenges one can expect in the life of the adopted person.
The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade. Ann Fessler. (Penguin Press, 2006): This book describes and recounts the experiences of women in the United States who relinquished babies for adoption between 1950 and the Roe v. Wadedecision in 1973. The book examines the pressures placed on the birth mother by family, adoption agencies, and society at large to give up the child for adoption, and the long-term psychological consequences for this event on her.
Hole In My Heart, a memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption. Lorraine Dusky (Leto Media, Sag Harbor, 2015): HOLE IN MY HEART is the compelling story of a mother separated from her child by adoption in the Sixties and the state-imposed secrecy that keeps them apart. Defying convention, Lorraine Dusky reunites with her daughter in the early Eighties when such reunions were rare, and in the process becomes a staunch advocate for reform of America’s antiquated adoption system. The author gives an inside look on the emotional turmoil following reunion for both mother and daughter.
Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness.B.J. Lifton (Basic Books, 1994): Betty Jean Lifton, whose Lost and Foundhas become a bible to adoptees and to those who would understand the adoption experience, explores further the inner world of the adopted person. She breaks new ground as she traces the adopted child’s lifelong struggle to form an authentic sense of self. And she shows how both the symbolic and the literal search for roots becomes a crucial part of the journey toward wholeness.
Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience. B.J. Lifton (Harper and Row, 1988): [Looks] at adoption from all sides of the triangle: adoptee, birth mother, adoptive parents . . . A provocative, comprehensive inquiry.
The Other Mother: A True Story. Carol Schaefer. (Soho Press, 1991): A Literary Guild alternate in cloth, this wrenching account of a biological mother’s reunion with the son whom her repressive family made her give up for adoption covers a wide range of adoption issues while testifying to the bonding power of motherhood.
The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child. Nancy Newtron Verrier. (1993): The book posits that there is a “primal wound” that develops when a mother and child are separated by adoption shortly after childbirth. It describes the mother and child as having a vital connected relationship which is physical, psychological and physiological, and examines the effects of disrupting such bonds.
Synchronicity and Reunion: The Genetic Connection of Adoptees and Birthparents.LaVonne H. Stiffler (FEA Publishing, 1992): Do experiences of synchronicity between adoption-separated parents and children confirm a continuing bond or genetic affinity that transcends space and time? Carl Jung knew “synchronicity” to be a subjective experience with significant time and meaning for the participant, a clue to an underlying system of science and spirituality.
In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories. Rita J. Simon and Rhonda Roorda. (Columbia University Press, 2000): Nearly forty years after researchers first sought to determine the effects, if any, on children adopted by families whose racial or ethnic background differed from their own, the debate over transracial adoption continues. In this collection of interviews conducted with black and biracial young adults who were adopted by white parents, the authors present the personal stories of two dozen individuals who hail from a wide range of religious, economic, political, and professional backgrounds. How does the experience affect their racial and social identities, their choice of friends and marital partners, and their lifestyles? In addition to interviews, the book includes overviews of both the history and current legal status of transracial adoption.
Twice Born: Memoirs of an Adopted Daughter. B.J. Lifton (St Martins Griffin, 1998) Reprint of 1975 original. In this significant and lasting account, Betty Jean Lifton, acclaimed author of several books on the psychology of the adopted, tells her own story of growing up at a time when adoptees were still in the closet. Twice Born recounts her early struggle with the loneliness and isolation of not knowing her birth parents; her identification, as a journalist in the Far East, with the orphans left behind by American soldiers in Japan and Vietnam; and the guilt she experiences over what feels like a betrayal of her adopted parents as she sets off on a forbidden quest to find her roots.
Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race Before Roe v. Wade. Rickie Solinger (Routledge, 1992): Rickie Solinger provides the first published analyses of maternity home programs for unwed mothers from 1945 to 1965, and examines how nascent cultural and political constructs such as the “population bomb” and the “sexual revolution” reinforced racially-specific public policy initiatives. Such initiatives encouraged white women to relinquish their babies, spawning a flourishing adoption market, while they subjected black women to social welfare policies which assumed they would keep their babies and aimed to prevent them from having more.