I recently compiled this list for a friend and thought others might find it useful. This list is by no means comprehensive, I hope it is a good starter though.
Key topics to read up upon:
- complex trauma (also called developmental trauma),
- loss/ grief,
- therapeutic parenting,
- mental health conditions/ neurodiversity: ADHD, ASD, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, depression
- FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) / FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)
- possibly: transracial adoption, impact of sexual abuse, impact of in-utero drug exposure, schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder etc.
- www.creatingafamily.org: every fortnight on adoption. Expert interviews on a huge range of topics. Realistic and honest, but positive and constructive. American, so not all episodes are relevant. The website also offers lists of books, webinars etc.
- The Adoption
Free online short courses:
- The Science of Parenting. Short course, Week 1 : Adoption, Nature, Nurture, Genetics: https://www.edx.org/course/the-science-of-parenting?index=product&queryID=c624a52593fc1422f3ad78e0cc2b4970&position=3 You might want to do the entire course.
- Childhood Adversity and Mental Health: effects of Maltreatment, trauma, latent vulnerability, social thinning etc.: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/childhood-adversity-and-mental-health
Futurelearn.com offers quite a few relevant free short courses.
- Preparing for Adoption - Julia Davis,
- Want to Adopt? - Helen Oakwater
- What to expect when you are adopting - Dr Ian Palmer. Outdated in some respects, but still useful.
- for family and friends:
- Related by adoption - Hedi Argent
- Adoption is a Family Affair! - Patricia Irwin Johnston
- Daniel Hughes: Building the Bonds of Attachment, Principles of Attachment-focused Parenting, Brain-based parenting, Creating Loving Attachments - Parenting with PACE
Trauma and the brain:
- Bruce Perry: The Boy Who was Raised as a Dog,
- Bruce Perry neurosequential model, trauma and the brain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hp6fZrzgiHg,
- UK Trauma Council, short videos: https://uktraumacouncil.org/resources/childhood-trauma-and-the-brain
Neuro-sequential model of development/therapy:
Adoptive Parenting/ Parenting techniques (practical guides for adopters):
- Karen Purvis: The Connected Child;
- Celia Foster: Big Steps for Little People
- Caroline Archer: First Steps in Parenting the Child who hurts: Tiddlers and Toddlers; Next Steps in Parenting the Child Who Hurts
- Sally Donovan: The Unoffical Guide to Adoptive Parenting;
- Sarah Naish: The A-Z of Therapeutic Parenting; Therapeutic Parenting in a Nutshell
- Bryan Post
Developmental stages of adoptive children:
- Holly van Gulden: Real Parents, Real Children
Trauma and the Body:
- Bessel van der Kolk: The Body keeps the Score
Parenting and the Brain:
- Why Love Matters - by Sue Gerhardt;
- The Whole-Brain Child - Daniel Siegel
- The Science of Parenting - Margot Sunderland
- The Adoption Experience - Ann Morris (wide range of experiences);
- Sally Donovan: No Matter What
- Struggle for Identity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTUR1FP3NbI Very thought-provoking short video; 10 years later: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tniwTSOENCw
- Gail Steinberg: Inside Transracial Adoption
- Adoption UK
- Family Futures
- The Child Mental Health Centre (CCMH)
DVDs/ Workbooks to use with children:
- Sensory and Attachment Play, 0-5 year olds: www.margotsunderland.org/shop/buy-dvds
- Martgot Sunderland's "Helping Children" workbook series
- Life Story Work with Children who are Fostered or Adopted by Katie Wrench, Lesley Naylor
- Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/index.html
Some books for young adopted children/ siblings:
- The Lamb-a-roo
- A mother for Choco
- Flora's family
- My parents picked me / My New Family (same book) by Pat Thomas: explains the adoption process very well
- The great big book of families
- Todd Parr books
- Nancy Tillman books. Not adoption specific, but very good for bonding and building self-esteem.
Memory books (for babies, but can also be used for older children):
- From Placement throughout the first year: My family, my journey
- photobook template (available with ultrathick paper for very young children): https://www.mixbook.com/adoption-photo-books
Things to remember for introductions and during early placement:
Write down everything
- that happens every day when the child is first placed (first few weeks)
- that is said about the child before your time (eg. "she/he was the funniest child we ever cared for")
- that is said about the birth parents in meetings with social workers and foster carers. It might not all be "official information" and on file.
- take pictures of everything: their room at the fc, the view from that room, their nursery, their teachers, their social workers - everything!
- Keep some of the clothes they come in/ of the first meeting in their memory box