Siblings and Adoption

Adjusting to the adoption of a child into the family can be a dramatic experience for siblings, who may be filled with excitement, anticipation, impatience, insecurity, envy, concern, and love. These stories capture all of those emotions and many more, highlighting the moments and experiences that create the bond between the new siblings over time.

In addition, one of the titles features a little girl whose brother is going to be adopted and her feelings as she thinks about his adoption over time.

Related stories

For stories about additional topics related to adoption, see these other booklists:

Boat in the Tree

Illustrated by: John Shelley
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Tim Wynne-Jones creates a fantastical story of how sibling rivalry develops when a family adopts a new brother. John Shelley's illustrations display the boy's wonder-filled worlds — one grounded in reality, the other in the boy's elaborate imagination — and how the boy begins to accept his new brother.

Bringing Asha Home

Illustrated by: Jamel Akib
Age Level: 6-9

It's Rakhi Day, a Hindu celebration special to brothers and sisters, and Arun wishes he had a little sister. Soon his wish comes true when he finds out that his parents will be adopting Asha, a little girl from India. Waiting for Asha is hard, though, and Arun is impatient. Arun's patience finally pays off when Asha arrives — just in time to celebrate another Rakhi Day. Beautiful pastel illustrations bring Arun and this uplifting story to life.

How I Became a Big Brother

Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: This is the story of how a little boy who doesn't have any siblings suddenly becomes a big brother to an adopted child from another country. The story is told from the point of view of the toddler and touches on many of the concerns and fears that a child might be experiencing when their family decides to adopt.

Just Add One Chinese Sister: An Adoption Story

Illustrated by: Karen Jerome
Age Level: 6-9

This story of an American family's adoption of a Chinese toddler is storytelling at its finest. The narration in two voices begins as the mother shares a scrapbook she compiled with Claire. Big brother Conor reveals his thoughts through journal entries printed in italics in the wide right margins. The omnipresent dog is a humorous and appealing fourth presence. The composition mimics a scrapbook, with multiple images on a page (sometimes designed as photographs) and other travel paraphernalia, e.g., ticket stubs, receipts, and postcards.

My Mei Mei

By: Ed Young
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: More than anything else in the world, Antonia wants a Mei Mei, little sister, to call her own. But when she and her mother and father fly all the way to China to get her little sister and Antonia finally meets her, she is not at all like Antonia imagined her: She can't walk. She can't talk. She just cries and steals attention. But is her Mei Mei all that bad? This charming personal story from Ed Young follows a little girl as she learns what being a big sister is all about, and discovers the real meaning of family.

Rebecca's Journey Home

Illustrated by: Michelle Shapiro
Age Level: 6-9

"Sugarman, who has an adopted daughter from Vietnam, draws on her experience to tell a moving story of a Jewish family and their baby girl 'who will always be Vietnamese and Jewish and American.' Much of the story is told from the viewpoint of the American siblings, Jacob and Gabriel, who see their mother leave for Vietnam, eagerly read her e-mails with photos, and hug their baby sister in welcome. The graphic-style pictures show the family bliss at home, the ritual of the baby's conversion to Judaism, and the ongoing celebration of her rich cross-cultural heritage." — Booklist

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

Ten Days and Nine Nights: An Adoption Story

By: Yumi Heo
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Follow a little girl as she and her family prepare for the new baby that will soon be joining them. And simultaneously, watch the girl's mother fly off to Korea, meet the new baby, and bring her home. Here is a child-centric look at the adoption process through the eyes of a soon-to-be older sibling.

Waiting for May

Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: In this poignant and heartfelt book, a young boy anticipates the arrival of his new baby sister. She is coming from China to be adopted into his American family. The story describes, month by month, the boy's participation in the long adoption process. Finally the waiting for May is over—she meets her new family, and it is the boy who makes her smile. The child narrator's point of view distinguishes this book from others on this topic and makes it immediate and accessible. Beautifully rendered, sensitive paintings augment the text.

Yafi's Family

Illustrated by: Jan Spivey Gilchrest
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Meet Yafi, a six-year-old Ethiopian boy who was adopted as a young child. Yafi, his parents, and two sisters remember his early life and his adoption experience by telling stories, revisiting memories, and looking at photographs. Yafi's Family is the story of love, loss, and a boy's discovery of how wide and how deep the bonds of family can be.