Adoption Stories for Families

It may be difficult to know where to start a conversation about adoption and how much information is appropriate for the child's age. These books provide stories and approaches for a range of ages, as well as questions, discussion topics, photographs, and family activities to share. They represent a variety of points of view and situations.

Related stories

For stories about additional topics, see these other booklists:

All About Adoption: How Families Are Made & How Kids Feel About It

Illustrated by: Carol Koeller
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: For children adopted at any age and from any country, All About Adoption explores the what, how and why of adoption, as well as the many feelings kids can experience as they grow up. And for parents, an extensive afterword discusses the unique practical and emotional dimensions of adoptive children and their families, with suggestions for answering the most challenging questions.

Happy Adoption Day!

Illustrated by: Julie Paschkis
Age Level: 3-6

"Inspired by a friend's tradition, noted children's singer/songwriter McCutcheon created this original song for those who might like to mark a special anniversary in their family's life — adoption day. His thoughtful lyrics (the score is included, of course) emphasize the joy and wonder of the event." — Publisher's Weekly


Age Level: 3-6

Product description: Horace, a leopard, is the adopted son of tiger parents. As Horace grows older, he begins to wonder whether he really belongs with his adopted family, especially since he has spots and they have stripes. After running away and some misadventures, however, Horaces realizes that his spots make him special — and that no one loves him as much as his parents do.

I Don't Have Your Eyes

Illustrated by: Rob Williams
Age Level: 3-6

Product description: "I don't have your eyes, but I have your way of looking at things…" begins this uplifting book celebrating the differences within families as well as the similarities that connect them. Lovely illustrations depict children and parents from a wide variety of backgrounds sharing special moments together.

I'm Adopted!

Age Level: 3-6

Product description: Why was I adopted? What was it like where I was born? How did you find me? Children have many questions about adoption. With a perceptive text and dynamic photographs of adopted children and their families, the creators of this book demystify adoption for young children and celebrate the joy that comes with adding to a family.

Kids Like Me in China

Illustrated by: Terry Fry
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: In this view of China adoption from a child's perspective, eight-year-old Ying Ying Fry, a Chinese American girl growing up in San Francisco, returns to her orphanage to remember what it is like and to write a story so that other adopted children will understand where they came from. Kids Like Me in China combines real-life photos with the forthright observations and complex feelings of an adopted child as she meets caregivers and befriends children in the city where her life began. A child of two countries, Ying Ying is determined to claim both as her own.

Let's Talk About It: Adoption (Mr. Rogers)

Age Level: 3-6

"The premise of this book — that it is good for families to talk about feelings — is a welcome one to apply to the subject of adoption. Rogers presents a simple look at three adoptive families. He includes a brief but reassuring reference to the birthparents and the reasons for their decision. Clear, full-color photos show happy, sad, and angry children and adults; the text suggests that such emotions occur in all families, and states that 'being angry doesn't mean that love goes away.'" — School Library Journal

Lucy's Family Tree

Illustrated by: Stephen Gassler III
Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: When Lucy comes home from school with a family tree assignment, she asks her parents to excuse her from the task. Lucy's adoption from Mexico makes her feel as though her family is too "different," but her parents gently and wisely challenge Lucy to think some more about it and to find three families that are the "same." As Lucy ponders her list of school and family friends who are "normal," she comes to realize that there are many different kinds of families. Two pages at the back of the book offer new approaches for the traditional family tree project.

My New Family: A First Look at Adoption

Illustrated by: Lesley Harker
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Children are sometimes upset to discover that they have been adopted. This book helps young children understand adoption and explores emotional issues and questions from kids of preschool through early school age. Written by a psychotherapist and child counselor, this is part of a series that promotes positive interaction among children, parents, and teachers. Each title also features a guide for parents on how to use the book, a glossary, suggested additional reading, and a list of resources.

Pablo's Tree

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Cecily Lang
Age Level: 3-6

Pablo can't wait to visit his abeulito for his birthday. His grandfather decorates Pablo's special tree, planted when he was adopted. Pablo's special tree and its surprises are presented in rich illustrations and gentle text.

Rosie's Family: An Adoption Story

Illustrated by: Heather Burrill
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Rosie's Family is a story about belonging in a family regardless of differences. Rosie is a beagle who was adopted by schnauzers. She feels different from the rest of her family, including her brother, who is the biological child of her parents,and sets forth many questions that children who were adopted may have.

Sam's Sister

Illustrated by: Dawn W. Majewski
Age Level: 6-9

"Rosa's mother explains to her that she is pregnant with a child for whom she can't provide. Instead, she knows of a couple who will 'help us take care of the baby.'…After the adoptive parents take the newborn home from the hospital, they stay in touch with his birth family, who eventually visit the baby. Rosa misses him, but she knows that, 'Sam is where he should be. And even though he doesn't live with Mommy and me, we will always be part of his family.'" — School Library Journal

The Day We Met You

Age Level: 3-6

"Adoptive parents narrate the loving preparations made for the day they took their child home. The story begins simply, with the phone call that notifies them of the baby's arrival, and ends with the joy of seeing their child: 'The minute we saw you we knew that we loved you.' Pastel crayon close-ups of objects illustrate the straightforward story very well…Adopted children love to hear their homecoming stories over and over, and this is a perfect book to encourage such retellings." — School Library Journal

The Little Green Goose

Illustrated by: Faust Anke
Age Level: 0-3

"Mr. Goose longs for a baby, and the barnyard hens are in an uproar over his constant requests for an egg to hatch. When Daisy the dog unearths a gigantic one, Mr. Goose lovingly builds a nest and hatches a scaly-skinned, spiky-tailed 'green goose' who calls him Mama…Mr. Goose is a wonderful parent and showers his child with unconditional love and acceptance. However, the other chicks quickly point out the baby's differences and taunt him with 'Mr.

The Moccasins

Illustrated by: Julie Flett
Age Level: 3-6

Based on the author's life, this simple yet profound book is about the pair of moccasins that a child receives from his foster mother. Through the moccasins, the child's mother encourages him to take pride in his Ktunaxa (First Nations) heritage. Earl Einarson dedicates this book to "all foster parents who give of themselves and provide love when it is most needed."

The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy Tale

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 6-9

In this enchanting story from Grace Lin, a king and queen try to find the cause of their mysterious heartache. Finally, an old peddler discovers that someone far away is tugging at their hearts with an invisible red thread. In order to discover who that someone is and cure their heartache, the king and queen must follow the red thread to its end. Based on an ancient Chinese belief that an invisible red thread connects those who are destined to be together, this beautiful book will resonate with adopted children and families alike.

The Tummy Mummy

Illustrated by: Marin Thurber
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: The love that inspires adoption is revealed as a birthmother opens her heart while adoptive parents open their arms for a child. The Tummy Mummy's journey is guided by a wise and majestic owl who leads the reader along a path of deeper understanding, honoring all members of the adoption triad. The Tummy Mummy is the first children's book, in the Adoption Means Love series, inspiring children of adoption as it sensitively and beautifully portrays the thoughts and feelings of birthmothers and adoptive parents.

We Are Adopted (Let's Talk About It Books)

Illustrated by: Marta Fabrega
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: A little girl is very excited because now she has a baby brother — an adopted baby brother. A few years earlier, she too had been adopted. Like the children in this story, adopted kids learn that their adoptive parents wanted them very much, and love them very dearly. As preschool and early-grades children read these book, they will be encouraged to explore their own feelings and find answers to a wide array of questions. The books have appealing color illustrations on every page, and each title features a short section of advice to parents.

We Belong Together: A Book About Adoption and Families

By: Todd Parr
Age Level: 3-6

With bold, colorful illustrations and his characteristic kid-friendly, accessible style, Todd Parr explores the ways that people can choose to come together to make a family through adoption: "We belong together because you needed a home and I had one to share."

We Wanted You

Illustrated by: Peter Catalanotto
Age Level: 6-9

"Beginning 'From the moment you were born — and even before that moment — we knew we wanted you,' a poetic text and Catalanotto's glowing illustrations distinguish this book on adoption. As the parents explain how they waited and searched and hoped for Enrique, the illustrations show the boy during several milestones of his life, beginning with his high school graduation on the title page and moving back through his life with his adoptive parents: catching the school bus, getting measles, fishing with his father." — School Library Journal

Who Am I?: And Other Questions of Adopted Kids

Age Level: 9-12

When neither picture books nor adult guides are of help, this latest Plugged In book speaks confidently to preteens and teens seeking answers to their questions about being adopted. Why am I so different from my family? Why did my biological mother give me up? Should I search for my birth parents? Who Am I? gives answers objectively and reassuringly with advice from experts and quotes from adopted teens.