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44 Loving Kids' Books about Adoption and Foster Care


Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born

A little girl asks her parents over and over again to tell her about the very special night she entered this world, and how she came to be united with her parents.  She finds enormous comfort in hearing about how much her parents loved her from the very beginning. A charming adoption story filled with with warmth, happiness and reassurance.



 Best Children's Books about Adoption for Every Family

About 135,000 children are adopted each year in the US.  In total, there are 1.5 million kids currently living in the United States who have been adopted. Adoption is a beautiful path to expand a loving family. Every family who has experienced adoption has a unique story to tell, and their children will inevitably want to hear all about it. 

A wonderful way to foster conversation and transparency is through reading books about adoption to your children from a very young age. We have provided you with the best fiction and non-fiction adoption books for children.  Every story is a little different but the one common theme is the unconditional love parents have for their children. 

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Best Adoption Books for Preschoolers and Toddlers

A consensus among adoption experts is that parents should be as transparent and open as possible from the time their adoptive children are very young. Adoption books for toddlers are helpful tools in keeping communication open. Here are the best adoption books for preschool children about the loving ways families are formed.



We Belong Together: A Book about Adoption and Families

Adoption is cheerfully celebrated in this colorful, accessible book perfect for young children. All adoptions are unique and families come together in different ways. However, one very important common theme is that they all share their  hearts and homes.



And Tango Makes Three

A heartwarming, true story about two male penguins who build a nest together and hatch their own baby penguin. A few tender words convey a powerful message about what family means. Highly recommended for parents who want to begin talking to their toddlers about adoption, or for anyone who wants to broaden their child's view of family.



Love Makes a Family

A large, sturdy board book celebrates a diverse group of families with the single most important thing they have in common- love! While not specifically about adoption, this book is a wonderful addition to every adoptive child's bookshelf. Colorful illustrations showcase happy families- led by single parents, moms and dads, two dads, and two moms- who all love each other unconditionally 



I Wished for You

A mama bear and her baby boy, Barley, snuggle together on their favorite cozy chair to talk about how they came together. Barley asks his mama lots of questions which she answers gently and lovingly.  Mama tells her son, "I wished for you", and God answered her prayers and chose them to be a family.


The Day We Met You

A mother and father prepare for the adoption of their new baby. In this sweet and simple story, toddlers will enjoy learning all the things they do to get ready. They set up the cradle, prepare bottles with formula, and lay out clothing for the new little one who will be joining them soon.  



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Best Kids' Adoption Books for Kindergarten and Up

Sometimes adopted kids have questions that are hard to answer. Parents may want to talk about the special way they united with their children, but don't quite know how to start the conversation.  Children's books about adoption are an incredible resource for opening up the  dialogue and sharing the stories of loving families who have come together in a similar way. Illustrations that reflect diverse families are helpful in showing a child that their experience is shared by others.



Just the Right Family

A six year old little girl named Meili is not happy about her parents' decision to adopt a child. Meili was adopted from China by her loving parents and she thinks her family is the perfect size. Soon she comes to realize that her baby sister, who is coming from Haiti, will complete their family and she cannot wait to be a big sister.



Yes, I'm Adopted!

Adoption is something that should be celebrated by every child. In this joyful book, a young boy takes the reader through his adoption journey step by step until he is united with his loving family. This short, sweet story told in verse is an upbeat addition to a the adoption book category.




From Maybe to Forever

Waiting to adopt a baby can be an excruciating, long process. That is especially true for this little girl who cannot wait to meet her new baby brother or sister. The trouble is that she just doesn't know when it is finally going to happen. This adorable story told from the perspective of a big sister shows just how much an adopted child is anticipated, loved, and welcomed into a family.




Over the Moon

Told from the experience of the author and her daughter, this story is about a couple who adopts a baby from a distant place. Beautiful illustrations and lovely verse work together to convey the beauty, love, and unique experience of families who come together through adoption.




The Story of My Open Adoption: A Storybook for Children Adopted at Birth

A baby squirrel is adopted from birth into a loving rabbit family.  He experiences a wide range of emotions which he can freely express with his parents.  One day, the squirrel even gets to meet his first family with the blessing of his parents.  This story is perfect for young children with its gentle, rhyming verse and appealing illustrations. 



When the Babies Came to Stay

This adoption fairytale takes a whimsical approach to teaching children all the many ways "family" is defined.  One mysterious day, all kinds of babies arrive in a small town with no one to take care of them. They come by ferry, airplane, and other interesting means of transportation. The local librarian takes on the challenge of raising all of these babies at once, but not without the help of her neighbors. Everyone shares their own special talents, skills and knowledge as they come together in a large, loving, and quite unconventional family.



A Mother for Choco

Families come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and species! We love this story about a little bird who wants to find a mother. Choco goes searching for a mama bird who looks just like him, but he can't seem to find her. He crosses paths with all kinds of animals that just don't fit the bill. Then one day he runs into a mama bear who is doing all sorts of motherly things. Hmmm....could she be the one? She takes Choco home to meet all of her children- a piglet, an alligator and a hippo! Choco learns a valuable lesson about family and, just as importantly, he has finally found a mother.




Oliver: A Story about Adoption

Oliver is angry at his dad for punishing him. He climbed a tree that was not yet strong enough to hold Oliver, so he was sent to his room. While he is pouting alone, he ponders what life would be like if he lived with his birthparents.  Surely they wouldn't be as strict, or would they? This is a great story for kids who raise some challenging and sensitive questions.


Emma's Yucky Brother

Emma's family has adopted a four year old boy named Max. She has been waiting for a little brother for a long time, but now that he is here, she's not so sure about him. And as far as Max is concerned, Emma is a yucky big sister. Emma learns a valuable lesson about how to be a good big sister, and maybe she will ultimately have the relationship she desires with her brother.





God Found Us You

 A most tender adoption story about a conversation between a mother and baby fox. Mama Fox tells her baby how long she waited for his arrival and how he miraculously changed her life for the better. Baby Fox wonders why his birth mom couldn't keep him, and Mama Fox knows exactly what to say in this loving adoption book for young children.




Some Babies Are Adopted

A darling adoption book with an emphasis on the love of a birth mother who makes the choice to find a family for her baby. She searches and prays for the best parents to adopt her baby and raise the newborn in a warm, loving home. A short, sweet, simple adoption story for preschool children.



My Family is Forever

The narrator in this heartwarming adoption book tells her very personal story. It's about parents who waited a long time and traveled a far distance to eventually bring her home. Very direct and straightforward book about how families may not look alike, but that does not change their love for each other or forever home.





How I Was Adopted

This highly recommended book opens with tips for parents on talking to their children about adoption. Then the story begins with a little girl openly and happily sharing her unique adoption story. From birth to adoption, Sam covers all the details in a matter-of-fact, non-sentimental manner, which leaves room for readers to form their own emotions around the experience. At the end, children are invited to talk about how their adoption came to be.


And That's Why She's My Mama

A touching story for preschoolers about adoption and how a mother is defined. Not all mamas carry babies in their bellies, but they love them just the same. Mothers take their kids to the park, make their special food, and help them feel better when they get hurt. A colorful representation of many different moms and kids from all races and ethnicities.


We Love You Hundreds and Thousands: A Children's Picture Book About Foster Care and Adoption

The author of this book, an adoptee herself, delivers a powerful message of love and acceptance for kids growing up in foster care or adopted by a family.  Jasmine invites readers to all of her birthday parties where she is surrounded by a diverse, and sometimes different, group of family members who love her. This picture book about adoption is a helpful resource in homes and classrooms to facilitate open conversation about the different ways families are formed.


Our Adoption Story

A beautiful keepsake journal for adoptive parents to complete and give to their children. There are prompts to fill out all the important details and special moments around the adoption journey, affix memorable photographs, and opportunities for friends and family members to write notes. Once finished, this book will be cherished by adopted children who will be reminded of how much they are loved.



A Most Unusual Day

It is no wonder that Caroline is having a hard time getting through the day. Normally she remembers everything she needs to take to school and likes to assist the teacher. But today is different and she can't seem do anything right. Turns out she has a pretty good reason for her absentmindedness- her parents are bringing home her new baby sister! The tiny sibling was adopted from a place far away, and Caroline simply cannot wait to meet her. Finally the day comes to an end and Caroline lovingly embraces the baby. A lyrical story about diversity in adoption told in a very subtle, beautiful way.



Our Subway Baby

An emotional true adoption story written by a father to his son. Danny was riding the subway home from work one evening when he spied a baby tucked away in the corner. Feeling a sudden, inexplicable love for this child, Danny and his partner, Pete, found themselves embarking on an adoption journey. Within time, baby Kevin completed their beautiful family of three. Without being overly sappy, this moving adoption book tugs at the heartstrings.


Pablo's Tree

On the day Pablo was adopted, his grandfather planted a tree to commemorate the special event. Every single year, he decorates the tree in a different way to celebrate Pablo. Beautiful collage artwork adds an intruiging touch to this adoption book about a Mexican American boy. The special relationship between Pablo and his grandfather is evident through the tradition around the tree they share.



Home At Last

Adjusting to his new, adoptive family has gone smoothly for Lester. His two dads, Albert and Rich, have provided a loving home and enjoy spending a lot of time with their son. Together they go on bike rides, gather with cousins, and head out frequently to the ice cream parlor. During the day, Lester feels confident and secure. But when he goes to bed, his doubts and fears take over. Night after night, Lester climbs into bed with his parents. Like many families grappling with kids who won't stay in their own bed, Lester's dads look for a solution so that he feels safe at night. Fortunately, they find a sweet and simple answer when the family dog climbs into bed with him one night.



A Crazy-Much Love

 A lyrical tribute to the love parents have for their adopted child. In this case, the little girl was adopted internationally, but the premise of the book holds true for every family. Many of the major milestones along their journey are lovingly remembered, like when they were united for the first time, her first day of school, and other special moments. All of these occasions are marked by the overwhelming amount of love the parents have for their beautiful daughter.



I Don't Have Your Eyes

 For children who want to feel connected to their adoptive families, having very different facial features can be a source of insecurity. This is especially true when the adoption is transracial or transcultural. This gentle and loving story addresses this very real issue, but then shifts the focus to what is on the inside of a child and the family. Their love for each other is far more important than any superficial, outward appearances. Large illustrations paired with accessible text work well for the toddler and preschool age group.



The Red Thread

There is a Chinese belief that an invisible, indestructible red thread connects people who are destined to be together. Such is the premise of this intriguing story about a childless king and queen who are full of sorrow. Despondent, they seek out the help of a magic peddler who make their string visible to the eye. They follow it across land and sea, and with each mile, their despair lessons. Eventually they reach a small village and are led to a newborn baby who is meant to be adopted by them. Highly unique and touching story especially for children adopted from a different country.




The Red Blanket

Told from the perspective of the adoptive mother, this is a true story about an international adoption from China. It begins with a lonely woman who has a lovely home and a good job but she feels empty inside. So she makes plans to adopt a child from an orphanage far away. The story covers quite a bit about the process before the little girl and mother are finally united. Along the way, the child finds an abandoned red blanket that she brings home with her. This snuggly blanket takes on greater meaning in this touching book about Chinese adoption.



Love Like Chocolate

A little girl is adopted by a family that associates chocolate with all of life's ups and downs, seasonal changes, milestones. They eat chocolate chip pancakes, chocolate syrup on sundaes, and chocolate chip cookies on every momentous occasion. The girl has her own special food that she shares with her adoptive family and soon the their sweet food traditions become even better than before.




Touching Children's Books About Foster Care

Children living in foster homes, just like all other kids, deserve unconditional love and support. Due to very emotionally complicated history, foster care kids can be overwhelmed with feelings of fear, distrust, and insecurity. Helping these children thrive in foster homes requires the support of therapists, teachers, case workers, foster parents, foster siblings, and just about everyone else with whom they interact on a regular basis.

Children's books about foster care are wonderful tools for all involved to open the communication channel. All caregivers should have access to picture books with characters who are adjusting to life with new foster parents. These books will help kids understand that many of their emotions and feelings are very common. 


Two Ways Home: A Foster Care Journey

Readers will enjoy the perspective of ten-year-old Levi, a little boy who lives with a foster family. He is just one member of a very busy, active, tight-knit family who all care for him. Although it was scary moving into this new home, he has found the environment to be very supportive. Levi also receives help from his therapist and case worker. Watercolor illustrations add a sunny tone to this sensitive subject. There is also a series of questions and answers in the back that will help open communication with foster children and their families.



No Matter What: A Foster Care Tale

A touching and relatable story for children who are in foster care. Josh is a squirrel who is sick and tired of bouncing from home to home. No matter where he lands- with the snakes, the otters, the pelicans, and many other animal species- none of these families is right for him. Josh makes his sentiments known through his bad behavior and each animal family sends him away. All of this changes when Josh finds himself in the company of elephants, big beasts known for their loyalty, love, and patience. An inspiring look at foster care without sugarcoating the reality of life in the system.



Foster Care: One Dog's Story of Change

Miss Beulah is a caring foster mother to several critters who have lived lives full of uncertainty. Each one has a different background and history, but they all share a need for stability and security in a loving home. This story is primarily about a dog, aptly named Foster, who has moved around from home to home. He is filled with a wide range of emotions, like anger, fear, guilt and sadness. Foster finds comfort knowing that he is not the only one with these feelings, especially the desire to have permanent parents and a place to call his forever home.



Maybe Days: A Book for Children in Foster Care

A lengthy, direct guide helpful for older children going into foster care for the first time. "Maybe" is a word that is the frequent response to questions kids ask, for there are very few certainties in their lives. This book paints a realistic picture of what life for kids who don't know where or when they will find a permanent home. The books addresses many of the issues that arise in foster care as well as the responsibilities of all the people involved, including lawyers, social workers, judges, and foster parents. This is a useful book for children mature enough to understand the complexity of their situation.

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Chapter Books about Adoption for Tweens and Teens

During adolescence, adopted children often enter a phase of self-awareness which may raise a whole new, more complex set of questions and issues. Children are going through a remarkable and sometimes confusing period of transition as they learn more about themselves.

Reading chapter books for tweens about adoption can be helpful for adolescents who can relate to the characters in these books. While every single adoption is personal and unique, there are many common themes involving the emotions and relationships of everyone involved. 



The Length of a String

Imani wants more than anything in the world- to learn more about her biological parents. As a black girl adopted into a white, Jewish family, she sometimes feels out of place.  One day she discovers a diary in the attic about her great-grandmother's escape from Nazi Germany and the start of her new life into an adoptive family in America. Imani starts to rethink the meaning of family and has a better understanding of where she belongs.




For Black Girls Like Me

A moving, personal account from the author based on her experience as a black girl adopted by white parents. Makeda is an eleven year old girl who loves her family immensely but she struggles with feeling like she really belongs. She develops a close connection with a school friend who is also adopted into a mixed-race family. But when her family moves across country, Makeda's struggles are exacerbated. In this complex, coming-of-age, award-winning work, identity, sisterhood, and family are interwoven themes that warrant reflection. 


I Can Make This Promise

Edie is a twelve year old Native American girl whose mother was adopted by a white family. She has a lot of questions about her cultural identity but feels certain she won't ever find the answers. Then one day, Edie discovers a secret box in her attic that may just provide clues to her ancestry. A thought-provoking novel for middle grade readers about the importance of family and truth.



You Have a Match

This YA novel has all the plot lines covered for a fast, fun, entertaining read. It's the story of a girl, Abby, who receives surprising results from a DNA test- she has a sister! She connects with her Instagram famous sister at summer camp, determined to get some answers as to why she was given up for adoption. An adoption chapter book about true love, friendship, self-discovery, and family.



Cleo Edison Oliver: Playground Millionaire

A spunky, entrepreneurial fifth-grader starts a business- a tooth-pulling company. But being the CEO does not come without its challenges. Initially the business takes off. After a few unfortunate events, including a barfing incident, threaten to derail her, Cleo works harder than ever to keep things afloat.  When group of bullies tease Cleo for being adopted, she may finally come unraveled and lose her business. Readers will relate to Cleo's experience and her discovery of what home really means.



Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

An award-winning middle grade novel about an adopted girl, born without arms, who creates wild tales around why she is missing her limbs. She is uprooted when her family relocates across country to run a theme park. Aven once again is faced with sideways glances and nosy folks who ask questions about her disability. Suddenly she finds herself immersed in trying to solve a mystery at the park. With the help of a special new friend, she unearths long hidden secrets and learns she can overcome any obstacle.



The Great Gilly Hopkins

A classic Newbery Honor Book, National Book Award Winner, and best-selling chapter book about an 11 year old girl who has been living in foster care for most of her life. A realistic look at the behavior of a bright child with a behavior problem who needs a forever family. Her final family is so strange that she formulates a plan to reunite with her birth mother as a last ditch effort. In a surprising turn of events, this story tugs at the heartstrings and delivers a satisfying ending.



Counting By 7s

A deeply moving middle-grade novel about a mentally complex 12-year old who struggles to form relationships with others. She is extraordinarily close with her adoptive parents, the only people with whom she has a personal relationship. She is a quirky genius, obsessed with counting and diagnosing medical conditions, which both prove to be a coping mechanism. When a devastating accident leaves her without parents, she is ultimately taken in by a surrogate family, with some oddities of their own, who are the ultimate gift and salvation.



We Match on the Inside: A Book to Help Your Child Answer Questions About Adoption

Written jointly by a mother and daughter who know all too well the challenging questions asked of children who are adopted. Anya, a little girl who looks nothing like her adoptive parents, is constantly facing scrutinizing looks and probing inquiries from her peers. With guidance from her mom and dad, she learns how to respond to questions like "Who are your REAL parents?". In addition to a helpful story for kids, there is a great discussion guide and other advice for adoptive. parents.


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Baby Shower Adoption Gifts

When families are finally made whole with the adoption of a beautiful child, a new chapter begins in their lives. An overwhelming amount of love, acceptance, and belonging finally fills a void that only those who experience it can understand. This incredibly special journey deserves to be commemorated with special gifts especially for adoptive parents and adopted children. Here are some of our favorite ones. 


Personalized Elephant Adoption Gift

Wanted, Chosen, Loved, Adopted. These are powerful words printed on one ear. The other ear is personalized with the date of birth and name of child. A precious, plush toy to lovingly decorate a child's nursery.


Personalized Wooden Adoption Block

A special little wooden block to display on a shelf in an adopted baby's nursery. Personalize this piece with all the important details like the baby's name, date of adoption and more.



Adoption Baby Book

A wonderful journal for adoptive families to record all the important dates, milestones, photos, and memories for a child's first five years of life. Ample space for moms and dads to write special letters to the child and document everything they want to remember for years to come.


Tips for Talking to Your Children about Adoption

There is no absolute right or wrong way to talk about adoption. Some families talk openly and frequently about their journey to becoming a family. Others are more comfortable with other ways of communicating, perhaps less often or more privately. In addition to reading kids' books about adoption, here are some tips to keep in mind.




  • When is the best time to tell a child about the adoption? There is no absolute right or wrong answer to this question. Many experts suggest that the conversation should start as early as possible, even as young as three years old, in order to reduce distress later in life. 
  • How much information should be shared about the biological parents? This is a very difficult question to answer and varies in every single situation. The best interest of the child should always be considered, in addition to any legal requirements related to the adoption. Generally speaking, as children grow older, they are better able to handle more detail surrounding the circumstances of their adoption. Empowering them with this knowledge, no matter how difficult or painful, may be critical for their own emotional wellbeing.
  • Reinforce the unconditional love you have for your child. Openly express how much you love your child as often as possible. I child can never hear the words "I Love You" too many times. Talking about adoption will inevitably bring about a rollercoaster of emotions that will take time to stabilize for both parent and child. This journey toward acceptance and security will be much easier for a child who knows without a doubt that he or she is loved.
  • Encourage adopted children to talk openly and freely whenever they have a thought or question.  Keep the dialogue open and fluid at all times. This is not to say that the topic of adoption needs to be a part of every conversation or even talked about every day. However, kids will often see or hear things, perhaps on television or at school, that will prompt their need for more information. Even if you, as the parent, are not in the right state of mind to talk about it, remember that the child's emotional needs are of upmost priority.


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