A Different Kind of Children’s Adoption Book

Families, Adoption, Blog

A Different Kind of Children’s Adoption Book

“No matter how long it takes me, I’ll try for the rest of my life to find the answer to why I was adopted.” Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of adoptive families as an Adoption Competent Therapist, but this particular boy’s determination to find answers about his adoption story has always stuck with me. He was adopted internationally as a baby and first came to see me when he was about 10 years old. I responded to him, “Did you know that every other child who was adopted that I’ve talked to says that is the most important question to them too?” He sat back in his chair and expressed how relieved he was to know that there wasn’t something wrong with him for wondering why he couldn’t stay with his birth parents.

When children don’t have the answer to this question, they sometimes blame themselves. Developmentally this tendency makes sense, because children are egocentric seeing things and events that happen as it relates to them and their actions. For example, when parents decide to divorce, the child thinks it’s her fault or she did something to cause the divorce. When children don’t have the answer to why they were adopted and couldn’t remain with their birth parents, they sometimes come up with explanations such as: “I wasn’t good enough, I did something wrong, I cried too much, my birth parents didn’t care about me, or I wasn’t cute enough.” Children then hold these beliefs that they caused the adoption because there was something inadequate or bad about who they are. 

Unfortunately, I see this worry over and over again with my clients. One of my favorite tools for therapy with children is books because children understand and remember concepts much better through story. Years ago, I started searching for a children’s adoption book to use with my clients that addressed some of these insecurities and challenged them with the truth; the child did nothing wrong to cause the adoption and the child is good enough. After being unable to find such a book, I decided to write A Part of My Family Forever to fill this topical gap in children’s adoption literature.

The book tells the story of Isabel, a girl who was adopted when she was young. She starts noticing little things that make her feel inadequate―her dad makes her sit in the middle seat; her brothers play soccer better than she does; her mom doesn’t buy her favorite kind of peanut butter. As Isabel focuses more and more on feeling different, her emotions become too big for her to handle. Through a conversation with her mom, she realizes that she belongs in her family and she is good enough just the way she is. This book helps children see that they are loved for just who they are. It guides parents with language for reassurances their children need and fosters a sense of pride in the child’s adoption identity. 

I sometimes hear from teen and adult adoptees that their parents didn’t raise adoption topics often. As a child this left them thinking it wasn’t okay to wonder about their birth parents or have questions about their adoption story. Instead, they were looking toward their parents to raise these topics to give them permission to talk about and think about adoption. Parents do this with the best of intentions, thinking that since their child isn’t bringing it up, he must not be thinking about adoption. As any parent knows, we want to save our children from unnecessary discomfort, so why bring up a topic that could cause sadness or hurt when our child isn’t talking about it? Additionally, parents sometimes avoid these topics out of their own discomfort. They fear that if their child knows more about their birth family, then she will feel less connected to her adoptive family. I’ve heard from parents on many occasions how they were nervous about raising the topic of birth parents but were surprised and relieved at how it actually brought them closer to their child.

The encouraging reality is that it’s never too late to have these conversations. Whether your child is 4 years old or 14 years old, talking about adoption can bring about a sense of closeness and reassurance that will strengthen your relationship. Open dialogue is important for increasing your child’s sense of security in their relationship with you and fostering their pride in who they are as an adoptee. A Part of My Family Forever is an excellent resource for these important conversations that all adoptive families need to have.


Emily Belknap, LISW-CP, MSW, is an adoption competent therapist who provides individual and family therapy at her private practice in Charleston, SC. Throughout her career, she has worked with hundreds of families formed through international, private, and foster care adoption. 

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Meet Steffany Aye, the heart behind Adoption & Beyond since its inception in 1998. Fueled by a deep passion for supporting both birth and adoptive parents, Steffany's journey as an adoptive parent has continued the foundation for this non-profit adoption agency.

Drawing from more than 25 years of dedicated experience, Steffany and her team are committed to crafting warm, thriving families through child-centered adoptions. Their inclusive services, free from any form of discrimination, reflect Steffany's unwavering dedication to the beautiful tapestry of adoption.

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