Adoption Books

This is a list of books focusing on various aspects of adoption.   Note:  A listing on this page does not necessarily imply that a particular book is being recommended.


Adoption in the Roman World, by Hugh Lindsay. (Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009) ISBN 9-7805217-6050-8

Adoption Facts and Fallacies: A Review of Research in the U.S., Canada and Great Britain between 1948 and 1965, by Mia Lilly Kellmer Pringle. (London : Longmans in association with the National Bureau for Co-operation in Child Care, 1967).

Adoption Nation, by Adam Pertman. (Basic Books, 2001).

Adoption Politics: Bastard Nation and Ballot Initiative 58, byE. Wayne Carp. (Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2004). ISBN 0-7006-1305-6.

And Sin No More: Social Policy and Unwed Mothers in Cleveland from 1855-1990, by Marian Morton. (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1993).

Banished Babies: Secret History of Ireland’s Baby Export Business, by Mike Milotte. (New Island Books, January 1, 1997). ISBN 1874-5-9753-7

A Child for Keeps: The History of Adoption in England, 1918-1945,by Jenny Keating. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). ISBN 9-78023051-788-2

Clinical Practice in Adoption C. Winkler. (New York: Pergamon Press, 1998). ISBN 0-0803-4222-1.

Courted and Abandoned: Seduction in Canadian Law, by Patrick Brode, Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History (University of Toronto Press; 1 edition, Dec 7 2002). ISBN 10-0802-03750-X.

Daughters of Eve: Pregnant Brides and Unwed Mothers in 17th Century Massachusetts, by Else Hambleton. (Routledge, UK, 2004). ISBN 978-0-415-94860-9.

Discarding the Asylum: From Child Rescue to the Welfare State in English-. Canada (1800-1950), by Patricia T. Rooke and R. L. Schnell. (New York: University Press of America, 1983).

Fallen Women, Problem Girls: Unmarried Mothers and the Professionalization of Social Work – 1890-1945, by Regina Kunzel. (Yale University Press, September 4, 2009). ISBN 0-3000-6509-4.

Family Matters: Secrecy and Disclosure in the History of Adoption, by E. Wayne Carp. (Harvard University Press; 1 edition, 1998). ISBN 0-6747-9668-3.

Finding Families Finding Ourselves: English Canada Encounters Adoption from the Nineteenth Century to the 1990s, by Veronica Strong-Boag. (Oxford University Press Canada, 2006). ISBN 0-19542-492-1.

Gone to an Aunt’s: Remembering Canada’s Homes for Unwed Mothers, by Anne Petrie. (McClelland & Stewart, 1999). ISBN 0771069723.

A Home for Foundlings,by Marthe Jocelyn. (Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2005). ISBN 0-88776-709-5.

International Adoption: Global Inequalities and the Circulation of Children, by Laura Briggs and Diana Marre. (New York University Press, 2009). ISBN 0-8147-9102-6.

Nation Builders: The Barnardo Children in Canada, by Gail H. Corbett. (Toronto, ON: Dundurn Press, 2002). ISBN: 1-5500-2394-2.

No Car, No Radio, No Liquor Permit: The Moral Regulation of Single Mothers in Ontario 1920-1997, by Margaret Jane Hillyard Little. (Toronto, Canada, Oxford University Press, 1998). ISBN0-19-541150-1

The Adoption Constellation: New Ways of Thinking and Practicing Adoption, by Michael Phillip Grand. (Michael Grand, 2010) ISBN1452886903

The Little Immigrants: The Orphans Who Came to Canada, by Kenneth Bagnell. (Toronto, ON: Dundurn Press, 2001). ISBN 1-5500-2370-5.

The Traffic in Babies: Cross Border Adoption and Baby-Sellling between the United States and Canada, 1930-1972, by Karen Balcom. (Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 2011). ISBN 978-0-8020-9613-5.

Toronto’s Girl Problem: The Perils and Pleasures of the City 1880-1930, by Carolyn Strange. (Toronto, Canada, University of Toronto Press, 1995). ISBN 0-8020-7203-8.


The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade, by Ann Fessler. (Penguin, 2007). ISBN 0-1430-3897-4.

Adoption and Loss: The Hidden Grief, by Evelyn Robinson. (Clova Publications; Rev. edition, 2005). ISBN 0-6464-3532-9.

Adoption Healing: A Path to Recovery for Mothers Who Lost Children to Adoption, by Joe Soll and Karen Wilson Buterbaugh. (Gateway Press, 2003). ISBN 0-9678-3901-7

Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief, by Pauline Boss. (Harvard University Press, 2000). ISBN 0-6740-0381-0.

Becoming an Unwed Mother: A Sociological Account, by Prudence Rains. (Walter De Gruyter Inc, June 1971). ISBN 0-2023-0080-3.

Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare, by Rickie Solinger. (Hill and Wang, September 2002). ISBN10: 0-8090-2860-3.

Birth Mother Trauma: A Counseling Guide for Birth Mothers, by Heather Carlini. (Saanichton, BC: Morningside Publishing, 1992). ISBN: 0969629508.

Birthmothers: Women Who Have Relinquished Babies For Adoption Tell Their Stories, by Merry Bloch Jones. (iUniverse, 2000). ISBN 059500637X.

Misconceptions: Unmarried Motherhood and the Ontario Children of Unmarried Parents Act 1921-1969, by Lori Chambers. (University of Toronto Press, 2007). ISBN 0-8020-8246-7.

Of Sluts and Bastards: A Feminist Decodes the Child Welfare Debate, by Louise Armstrong. (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2002). ISBN 1-56751-066-3

Out of Wedlock, by Leontine R. Young. (New York: McGraw Hill, 1954, 1963).

Pregnancy and Power: A Short History of Reproductive Politics in America, by Rickie Solinger. (New York University Press, 2005). ISBN 0-81479-827-6.

Unmarried Mothers, by Clark E. Vincent. (Greenwood Press Reprint; New edition edition 1980). ISBN 0-31322-474-9

Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race Before Roe v. Wade, by Rickie Solinger. (Routledge, 2000). ISBN 0-41592-676-9.

Women As Wombs: Reproductive Technologies and the Battle over Women’s Freedom, by Janice G. Raymond (San Francisco, CA: Harper, Jun 1, 1993). ISBN 0788155121.


Birth Fathers and Their Adoption Experiences, by Gary Clapton. (London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2002). ISBN 1843100126.

Ever After: Fathers and the Impact of Adoption, by Gary Coles. (Publisher: Author, April 21, 2006). ISBN 0646431935.

Rebecca’s Law: Sojourn of a Stolen Father, by Rohan McEnor. (Gosford, New South Wales, Australia: Fuzcapp Publishing, 1999). ISBN 0-9-577062-1-9


Adoptee Trauma: A Counseling Guide for Adoptees, by Heather Carlini. (Saanichton, BC: Morning Side Publishing, 1993). ISBN 0969629516.

Adoption Healing: A Path to Recovery for Adoptees, by Joe Soll. (New York: Adoption Crossroads, 2000). ISBN 0967839009.

Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self, by David M. Brodzinsky, Marshall D. Schechter & Robin Marantz. (New York, NY: Anchor Books, 1992). ISBN 0-385-41426-9.

Coming Home to Self: The Adopted Child Grows Up, by Nancy Verrrier. (Baltimore, MD, Gateway Press Inc. 2003). ISBN978-0-9636480-1-2.

How to Raise an Adopted Child: A Guide to Help Your Child Flourish from Infancy Through Adolescence, by Judith Schaffer and Christina Lindstrom. (New York: Plume Books (Penguin Imprint), 1991). ISBN 0452265606.

Journey Of The Adopted Self: A Quest For Wholeness, by Betty Jean Lifton. (New York: Basic Books, 1995). ISBN 0465036759.

The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child, by Nancy Verrier. (Publisher: Author, 1993). ISBN 0963648004.

Whose Child? An Adoptee’s Healing Journey from Relinquishment Through Reunion…and Beyond, by Kasey Hamner. (Verdugo City, CA: Triad Publishing, 2000). ISBN 0967414504.


Adoption Life Cycle: The Children and Their Families Through the Years, by Elinor Rosenberg. (Free Press, 1992). ISBN 0029270553.

The Adoption Triangle: Sealed or Opened Records: How They Affect Adoptees, Birth Parents, and Adoptive Parents, by Annette Baran, Reuben Pannor, and Arthur Sorosky. (San Antonio, TX: Corona Publishing, 1989). ISBN 0931722594.

The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception, by Deborah L. Spar. (Harvard Business Press, 2006). ISBN 1591396204.

Death by Adoption, by Joss Shawyer. (Auckland, NZ: Cicada Press, 1979).

Half a Million Women: Mothers Who Lose Their Children by Adoption, by David Howe, Phillida Sawbridge, and Diana Hinings. (London : Penguin Books, 1992). ISBN 0140154159.

The Open Adoption Book: A Guide to Adoption Without Tears, by Bruce Rappaport. (Wiley, 1998). ISBN 0028621700.

Parting With a Child for Adoption: The Mother’s Perspective, by Patricia Bouchier. (British Association for Adoption and Fostering, 1991), ISBN: 0903534991.

The Politics of Women’s Health: Exploring Agency and Autonomy, by Susan Sherwin. (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, June 16, 1998). ISBN 1566396336.

The Realities of Adoption, by Jerome Smith. (Madison Books, May 8, 1997). ISBN 1568330901.

Shedding Light on the Dark Side of Adoption, by Mirah Riben. (Mirage, 1988). ISBN 0966206002

Silenced Suffering: The Disenfranchised Grief of Birthmothers Compulsorily Separated From Their Children, by Sherrie McKegney. (Masters Thesis, School of Social Work, McGill University, 2003).

Social Inequality, by Kathryn M. Neckerman. (Russell Sage Foundation Publications, July 2004). ISBN 0871546213.

The Mother Machine: Reproductive Technologies from Artificial Insemination to Artificial Wombs, by Gena Corea. (New York, USA, Harper & Row, 1985).ISBN 0-06-091325-8.

The Stork Market: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry, by Mirah Riben. (Advocate Publications, 2007). ISBN 1427608954.

The Trouble with Normal: Postwar Youth and the Making of Heterosexuality (Studies in Gender and History), by Mary Louise Adams. (University of Toronto Press, 1997). ISBN 080208057X.

Unlearning Adoption: A Guide to Family Preservation and Protection, by Jessica Del Balzo. (BookSurge Publishing, 2007). ISBN 1419672061.

Without Child: Challenging the Stigma of Childlessness (Routledge, Oct. 1999) by Laurie Lisle. ISBN 0415924936.


Adoptee Searcher’s Handbook: The Canadian Guide to Internet Searching, by Madelene Ferguson Allen. (Invercauld Publications: 2002).

Adoption and Recovery: Solving the Mystery of Reunion, by Evelyn Burns Robinson. (Clova Publications, 2006). ISBN 0646433709.

Adoption Reunions, by Michelle McColm. (Second Story Press, 1994) ISBN: 0929005414.

Birthbond: Reunions Between Birthparents and Adoptees – What Happens After, by Judy Gediman and Linda P. Brown. (Far Hills, NJ: New Horizon, 1989). ISBN 0882820729.

Birthright: The Guide to Search and Reunion, by Jean Strauss. (Penguin, 1994). ISBN: 0140512950

The Adoption Reunion Survival Guide: Preparing Yourself for the Search, Reunion, and Beyond, by Julie Jarrell Bailey and Lynn N. Giddens. (Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, 2001). ISBN 1572242280

Finding Family, by Rick Ousten. (New Star Books, July 1994). ISBN 0921586310.

The Gift Wrapped in Sorrow: A Mother’s Quest for Healing, by Jane Guttman. ( JMJ Publishing, 1999). ISBN 0967286107.

Growing in the Dark: Adoption Secrecy and Its Consequences, by Janine M. Baer. (Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corp, 2004). ISBN 1413444989.

How to Search in Canada: Resources for Adoptees, Birth Parents and Relatives When Accessing Information to Reunite Families Separated by Adoption, by Joan Marshall. (Nepean, ON: Searchline,) ISBN 0-9694050-0-6.

Love Child: A Memoir of Adoption, Reunion, Loss and Love, by Sue Elliot. (Random House UK, 2005). ISBN 0091901790.

Motherhood Silenced: The Experiences of Natural Mothers On Adoption Reunion, by Ruth Kelly. (Dublin, Eire: Liffey Press, 2006). ISBN 1904148727.

Reunion: A Year in Letters Between a Birthmother and a Daughter She Couldn’t Keep, by Katie Hern and Ellen McGarry Carlson. (Seattle, WA: Seal Press, 1999). ISBN 1580050301

Reunion: The Search for My Birth Family, by Madelene Allen. (Erin, ON: Boston Mills Press, 1994). ISBN 0773725881.

Synchronicity & Reunion: The Genetic Connection of Adoptees and Birthparents, by LaVonne Harper Stiffler. (Hobe Sound, Florida, FEA Publishing, 1992) ISBN0-9634410-0-0

The Adoption Searchbook: Techniques for Tracing People, by Mary Jo Rillera. (Westminster, CA: Triadoption Publications, 1991). ISBN 0-9100143-00-5.

The Right to Know Who You Are, by Keith Griffith. (Canadian Edition Publisher: Katherine Kimbell, 1992). ISBN 0969515103.

The Stranger Who Bore Me: Adoptee-Birth Mother Relationships, by Karen March. (University of Toronto Press, May 1995). ISBN 0802004474.

Torn From the Heart: A Story of a Mother’s Search, by Louise Jergens. (Fairfield, CT: Aslan Publishing, 1992). ISBN 0944031447.


Brother and Sister (Novel), by Joanna Trollope. (New York: Bloomsbury USA, 2005). ISBN 1582344760.

Butterbox Babies: Stories About the Ideal Maternity Home in East Chester, Nova Scotia,by Bette Cahill. (McClellan-Bantam Canada, 1992)

Can You Wave Bye Bye, Baby? (Short Stories, Fiction) by Elyse Gasco. (New York, NY: Picador, 2000). ISBN 0312263007.

Chasing Away the Shadows: An Adoptee’s Journey to Motherhood, by Zara Phillips. (Zara Music, 2004). ISBN 0976266105.

Evil Exchange (Novel), by Lori Paris and Joe Soll. (WingSpan Press, 2007). ISBN 1595941355.

Following the Tambourine Man: A Birthmothers Memoir, by Janet Mason Ellerby. (Syracuse University Press, 2007) ISBN 0815608896.

The Handmaid’s Tale (Novel), by Margaret Atwood. (New York: Random House, Everyman’s Library, 2006). ISBN 0307264602.

Incorrigible, by Velma Demerson. (Waterloo, Canada: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2004). ISBN 0-88920-444-6

Invisible Thread (Novel), by Marie Giles. (London, UK: Virago Press Ltd, March 1, 2001). ISBN 1860498868.

I Would Have Searched Forever, by Sandra K. Musser. (Adoption Awareness Press, 1992). ISBN: 0934896003.

Ithaka: A Daughter’s Memoir of being Found, by Sarah Saffian. (Bantam Dell, 2001). ISBN: 0613217810.

Looking Back, Moving Forward: A Birthmother’s Journey, by Sharon Lynn Darwent Bouchard. (Frederick, MD: PublishAmerica, 2003). ISBN 1413708781.

The Baby Thief: The Story of Georgia Tann The Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption, by Barbara Bisantz Raymond. (Union Square Press, May 6, 2008). ISBN 1402758634.

The Other Mother : A True Story, by Carol Schaefer. (New York: Soho Press, 2003). ISBN 0939149753.

Outer Search, Inner Journey: An Orphan and Adoptees Quest, by Peter F. Dodds. (Aphrodite Publishing Company, 1997). ISBN 1889702242.

The Other Mother, by Carol Schaefer. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 17, 2013). ISBN 1468053736.

The Same Smile: The Triumph of a Mother’s Love After Losing Two Daughters, by Susan Mello Souza and Joanne Medeiros Harrington. (Publisher: Author, 2002). ISBN 0972510001.

Surrendered Child: A Birthmother’s Journey, by Karen Salyer McElmurray. (University of Georgia Press, 2006). ISBN-10: 0820328235.

Thank You Son, For Finding Me: A Birthmother’s Story, by Beth J. Kane. (Fairfield, CT: Aslan Publishing, 1999). ISBN 094403182X.

The House with the Broken Two: A Birthmother Remembers, by Myrl Coulter. (Vancouver, Canada, Anvil Press, 2011), ISBN 978-1-897535-72-1.

The Search for Mother Missing, by Janine Vance (Misplaced Children, Washington, 2007). ISBN 9780979682605.

Wanted: First Child : A Birth Mothers Story With the Adoption Process, by Rebecca Harsin. (McKinleyville, CA: Fithian Press, 1991). ISBN 0931832691.

Yesterday They Took My Baby: True Stories of Adoption, by Ben Wicks. (Mandarin, 1994). ISBN 0749313064.


Far from the Reservation: The Transracial Adoption of American Indian Children. A Study Conducted Under the Auspices of the Child Welfare League of America, by D. Fanchel. (New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, 1972).

Native Children and the Child Welfare System, by Patrick Johnston

No Quiet Place: Final report to the Honourable Muriel Smith, Minister of Community Services. by Judge Edwin C. Kimelman, Chairman. (Review Committee on Indian and Métis Adoption and Placements, Manitoba Community Services. 1985).

Searching … , by Carol Schaefer. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 19, 2014). ISBN 1497394260.
Stolen From Our Embrace: The Abduction of First Nations Children, by Ernie Crey and Suzanne Fournier

Copyright Origins Canada 2010