Foster & Adoption Book Suggestions

Sometimes it can be difficult digging through the vast amount of resources to find books specifically talored to what you want to read.

Maybe your interest is foster care?  Or adoption?  Maybe you like personal stories?  Or you just want to learn more about the child you just adopted overseas?

Here is select books from my own personal library. I thought it might be helpful to share a short synopsis so that whatever you are looking for, you might be able to find it.  My prayers are that you will continue on this journey towards growing His heart in you for needy children.

Rich Faith Rising’s Foster and Adoption Book Reading List:


hoih       Rich in Love: When God Rescues Messy People by Irene and Domingo Garcia Irene and Domingo Garcia are the real deal. Friends with Francis and Lisa Chan, my husband and I got chance to meet them in person at a local conference, “Refresh“.  What I love about this couple’s story is that it shares extensively about the troubled beginnings of both Irene and Domingo and how God doesn’t chose the polished, but uses broken vessel’s to reveal His glory. As a result, this couple points their lives towards Jesus, giving Him their bumps and bruises, and as a result, He changes them profusely, allowing them to touch dozens of children, adopting nearly two dozen of them.  If you are not taken back by their amazing faith, get this…they also are homeschool  parents.

If you want a powerful story of redemption focused on local foster care and adoption, this book is for you.


bk        Small Town, Big Miracle: How Love Came To The Least Of These (Focus On The Family Books) by D.C. Martin – One of the most remarkable stories about how one man, a pastor, took the initiative and transformed his entire community, instilling upon his congregation the heart of God (James 1:27)….to care for the widows and the orphans. One of my all time favorite stories on foster care, not just because this pastor literally rid his community from foster kids needing care, but because the heart behind this man exemplified God’s unrelenting perseverance for us.  Too often stories can blend with people’s own bias, especially when it comes to foster and adoption…but this isn’t one of them. This man’s heart and writing fully reflects God and it is written as if looking from His eyes; pure, undefiled, grace, relentless perseverance to care for those in our communities needing family’s.

If you want a story that is about radically changing a community, pure religion in every sense, this is the one for you.  Inspiring, heartwarming, fully demonstrating the radical work of God, when we let Him be our hands and feet.


hoijk     Both Ends Burning by Craig Juntunen – Another radical story of redemption.  This book is not a Christian book, but this man’s story is revolutionary. It is about a man who had seemingly reached the ceiling of his life; wealth, a wife, fancy dinners empty and not satisfying.  Then, Craig got invited to Haiti with one of his golfing buddies.  There, everything changed. Craig’s heart became soft, pallable, he became crushed at the need, and although he said he would never have kids…he ended up adopting from not just one, but two from Haiti.  This story described how our lives are changed when we step out of our worlds and let grace change us. Many have been impacted by this story of an expanded heart, transformed and changing a man who adopted internationally from Haiti.  Part of this story also talks about what life is when kids return home after being adopted internationally.  Oh how priorities change when decide to follow instead of lead.

If you question changing your comfortable world, have yet to adopt, or just want to see how a corporate world can be blessed by the gift of adoption, this book won’t disappoint you. You might just find love is worth the risk.


bhoi    Castaway Kid: One Man’s Search for Hope and Home (Focus On The Family Books) by R.B. Mitchell – Castaway kid is a story of one young man who “life’d out” of foster care. (a.k.a. Stayed in the system until he reached age eighteen and never got “officially” adopted)  It is not an easy story to read, but one that will give you insight into what it means to be a teen in foster care who never finds his forever family.  This story also really shares about the pull kids feel between “being safe” and staying with their biological parents. It can also give insight into how mentors can make a difference in a child’s life and how children, regardless of age, desperately want above all else, to belong.

If you work with, mentor, teach, or are thinking of fostering teens or older child adoption, this book is for you.


bhk    Wait No More: One Family’s Amazing Adoption Journey (Focus On The Family Books) by Kelly & John Rosati What is unique about this story is that the mom and writer, Kelly, is a gifted lawyer.  Her journey is one that I think is frequent and necessary in the foster/adoption arena; one of warfare, determination, one that requires a legal system to work for a child…not against it. We can learn a lot from Kelly in that she didn’t just lay down and accept whatever happened with these children…she fought for them, tenaciously.  I love Kelly’s enthusiasm in this book and how although she adopted some kids with horrific stories, she was determined to be more than a parent, but a worker of justice, a parent who changed the system to protect more kids in the future from falling into such horrible heartbreak.

If you want a more realistic look at the legal implications and tenacity required to fight for these kids, this one will motivate you, for sure.  It’s a book of justice, determined love, and hope.


hi    Choosing To See by Mary Beth Chapman –  If you are not familiar with Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman, you need to be. They run, Show Hope and are on the forefront of international adoptions. Their focus is China, but their ministry now financially supports those adopting domestically as well.  Mary Beth in her writing is about as candid as you can get, brutally honesty, and refreshingly tuthful about their family’s journey to fly to get three precious little angels from China.  If you know anything about the Chapman’s story, you “get” that this book also helps address unexpected loss, and how even in it…we can, “Choose To See”.

If you tired of the “happy”, “perfect stories” of adoption and orphan ministry, check out Mary Beth’s candid look at how to keep the faith when things don’t go our way.  Mary teaches us, there is faith at the end of every hard story, hope that lies waiting, if we just cling to the one who knows every ending and is with us through every mountain and valley.


hgk   Are We There Yet: Adopting And Raising 22 Kids by Sue and Hector Badeau – 22 kids!  Can you believe it?  Do you want to read about one amazing family who surpasses what some might like to neatly package as “orphan ministry”?  This is your family!  I guarantee you will fall in love with this fun, wildly adventurous, faith-filled, yet, down to earth family.  Sue works politically on the foster care front, and Hector is a dad that makes all dad’s look like, “Dead beats”.  Together they make one incredible team; not only adopted twenty-one kids, but traveling, speaking, taking long road trips, and constantly thinking outside the box to make what God gives them as blessing after blessing. Special needs adoption, heartbreaking loss, this family is guaranteed to change and expand profoundly what you think you are capable of.

Want big faith?  A family that will stretch your understanding of fostering? One that will change you? This is it.


hiu   Damaged by Cathy Glass  –  I am not going to lie, this was one of the hardest reads for me; a story written by an ex-foster parent about a girl severely “damaged”.  Don’t be fooled, this book has no fairy tale ending and is not for the faint-hearted.  At the same time, you will get an inside glimpse of the unveiling of secrets often hidden behind the lives of many kids in foster care.  Cathy writes smoothly and the read is effortless. Her insight into these kids is inspiring, her wisdom into fostering is something we all can learn from, and her patience and determination to pull the best out of every child is something to be emulated time and time again.

If you want a real, raw, honest look into the lives of those in foster care, brace yourself, for this.


hoi   To The End Of June – by Cris Beam –  This book (though I am still reading it) poses these questions:  Who decides the correct way to raise a child when money, politics, poverty, race and competing parenting philosophies collide? What if there is no moral chessboard? What if a child’s right to protection from harm has been trampled on so often, and the child has been so damaged, that even the most well-meaning foster parent will throw up her hands and send the kid packing — again? And who should get to keep a child when no one wants him? What happens then?

The history and research behind the domestic foster system is length and extensive. Love facts, personal stories, and a straight-up look at what is keeping kids caught in the legal system?  Dig further.  This book will fascinate you.


hoij   Acres Of Hope by Patty Anglin with Joe Musser  Patty’s story of her adoption and foster journey can be described in one word, “provision”.  The thread through her journey is trusting God & letting Him use you in your weakness and He will provide; financially, emotionally, and physically.  Patty’s story begins with her miraculous healing after being blind for six months. The entire book written was divinely orchestrated. Patty shares about how love and trust can break down walls and how living following His footsteps can open the door to more ministry.

If you question God’s faithfulness, or doubt God can use you because you are single, have been divorced, or have physical limitations…think again. This book will prove you otherwise and challenge your understanding of what God is capable of.


hoihoui   Too Small To Ignore  – Dr. Wes Stafford –  Wes Stafford is the former President and CEO of Compassion International. Wes has unique insight into the reality of kids from other countries; and how as American’s, we need not have pity on them.  Wes grew up in Africa and has a deep love for children from all different nations.  His story is one of faith, communicating what it means to love like God does, the needy children of this world.  My entire mindset and perspective changed after reading this book.  No more pity, or “Savior” mentality, just a wide-eyed look at how God cares for the “least of these” using people just like me and you.

Tip toeing into this orphan ministry thing?  Want a glimpse of His heart for children?  Read this.


gk   The Connected Child:  Bringing Hope And Healing To Your Adoptive Family by Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, Wendy Sunshine This book is less of an easy read book, and more of a type of handbook. The focus is more about building attachment and trust, dealing with behavior disorders, and disciplining with love. The authors are exquisite in understanding children and their unique challenged related to fostering and adoption.  This book is for domestic and international adoptive parents and is a vital resource for anyone who has ever adopted.

If you have already embarked on the adoption journey, this book might be a useful, informative resource for you.


gui   Attaching in Adoption:  Practical Tools For Today’s Parents by Deborah D. Gray –  Attaching in Adoption, is a comprehensive guide for prospective and adoptive parents.  Deborah Gray is unique in her field, focusing on the need neglected and abused children have to attach. A lack of attachment, or disorganized attachment can later lead to RAD.  Deborah offers practical tools that are proven to increase the bond between child and adoptive parent.  My family has personally used her methods and they have found they have worked wonders, especially in our present foster daughter. A great book for international adoptive parents or people who are parenting neglected children, and are struggling to connect.

Struggling to bond, connect, or repair trauma in an adopted child? Check out these methods.


gio   A Compassionate Call To Counter Culture by David Platt –  David Platt is the author of “Radical”, a well-known preacher, and a fellow adoptive parent.  David’s take on caring for widows and orphans is persuasive and Biblical.  This book is seasoned with scripture, facts, insight, and the call to all of us to “take care of the widows and orphans”.  Platt is blunt and won’t hold back when it comes to addressing our Biblical mandate to care for the least of these in our society.

Do you like a more theological and pastoral bent, Biblical evidence for why we should care for the orphans in our society?  This book will leave you not questioning God’s heart or purpose. 


index   Adopted For Life by Russell D. Moore:  The Priority For Adoption For Christian Families And Churches by Russell D. Moore & C.J. Mahany – This book offers the full spectrum of the necessity to adopt. It is a very direct call to adoption, and does not give weight for excuses or the “outs” many of us might use to justify our complacency.  The premise of this book is that God adopted us, and as a result we too should grab the heart of our Father who loves us and run with the same purpose; to bring others into our family. Moore is also an adoptive dad, bringing home two boys from Russia.

If you are waffling about adoption and are a Christian, this book might make you take the leap.


njli  Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge –  You might be thinking adoption is like raising any other child.  Unfortunately, adoption comes with grieving, loss, and sometimes walls and negative emotions unique to the journey of adoption.  This book is clear and concise, an excellent tool to help you get inside your adopted child’s mind.  At times, it was difficult to read, but at the same time, really helped to shatter my mindset that adoption makes everything perfect for the child. This book was a catalyst for more heartfelt communication, open-ness, and understanding between parent and our adopted child.

Are there walls, denial, or behaviors in your adopted child? This is a must read for every adoptive or hopeful adoptive parent.


51  Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis – I can’t tell you how many of these books I have purchased and given away.  Perfect for young girls, or anyone who wants to grab God’s heart for the hurting or children in need of parents.  Katie was a young girl who went to Africa and was forever changed.  She is now a twenty-something mom to thirteen Ugandian orphans, not only that but she remains in Uganda and has ministry feeding thousands.  Katie will blow your world apart showing you what it means to give our lives faithfully, making His call our life work.  Katie writes clearly, humbly, God-dependently, and is truly one of my favorite modern day missionaries. Katie also writes a blog, “On Earth As It Is In Heaven”, and has been known to be called a modern-day, Mother Teresa.

Feeling tired, weary? Need to recharge your faith, be filled with hope, expand your vision of caring for the orphan? Come laugh and cry and be transformed by Katie’s story.


53   No Greater Love by Levi Benkert –  This book is simply gripping.  “Mingi Killings” have been taking place among children in Ethiopia unnecessarily, tragically.  Levi and his family, reeling from the economic crash, long to reinvent themselves and jump on a wild ride to save those on the verge of destruction. I don’t want to give away the story, but you won’t be able to put this book down.  It lets you inside the world of children in third world countries and will make you want to live bold, wild, on the edge of His perfect plan.  Because let’s face it…caring for the outcast is a life calling that can save lives.

Felt like you life is a rollercoaster?  Can’t quite put your finger on what God wants you to do with your future?  Feel stuck between a life of purpose and your own will? Follow this journey.


5    There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene – Come on a journey to Africa, where Aids has ravished a land and the children seem to be it’s most vulnerable victims. Melissa writes this fabulous story, incredibly beautifully. I couldn’t stop reading, actually feeling like I was right there in Africa with her.  It’s about a lady who didn’t say “no” to the children left and abandon of the streets all around her, those victims to poverty and disease. Out of terrible hardship and tragedy, she decides out of necessity to open her home to hundreds of children.  Melissa is a recipient of this lady’s life work. I thought I knew what poverty and disease was before reading this story, but the truth is…I had no clue.

This book will break a good way.  It doesn’t give you a window, but literally pulls you through the story into the lives of so many waiting children in third world countries…desperate for family.


hoihoi   Orphanology:  Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption And Orphan Care by Tony Merida and Rick Morton – I like this book because it goes straight to the very heart of orphan care in our nation.  It discusses how we used to deal with parent-less children in the past, giving you a full scope of what has changed.  Here you will read personal stories as well as grasp a full picture of what God might be calling you to do in regards to orphan ministry.  This book is full of history, ideas, insights, and grace when it comes to caring for children in need….displaying, orphan care is not one “one size, fits all” ministry.

If you have a heart for the orphan but do not yet grip what role you might be called to play, this book is for you.  You’ll likely finish this book with action steps, ready to charge forwards towards your calling.


h   Leap of Faith by Jill Norton – A real honest look at adoption through foster care. Leap of Faith doesn’t gloss over the trials or difficulties, but also portrays the blessings of adoption.  Written as a conversational read, it’s like sitting down to coffee with Jill. This book gives you a peak into the lives of her adopted children, as well as discusses insights into the truth about mixing bios with adopted siblings. I love the honest tone, as well as the underline message that foster parenting is a family affair, a journey of hardships, as well as a pathway that in the end is worth every minute of it.

If you want an easy read, and/or are thinking about older child adoption or what it means to parent kids who have been in the system, this will get your feet wet, but yet, not scare you away from the journey.


hoiguho  The House of Hope:  God’s love for the abandoned orphans of China by Elisabeth Gifford – Forward by Steven Curtis Chapman and endorsed by Francis Chan.
The House of Hope, takes a story of two broken people and displays how God can use them to care for the orphans of China, despite their imperfections. Robin and Joyce Hill gave up their wealthy expatriate life in China to take care of abandoned orphans in their home. Soon, the Child Welfare Institute’s across China were asking them to help. Finding surgical procedures both locally and internationally for the most needy children, Robin and Joyce’s story is one of humble perseverance and dedication, resulting in their ministry rescuing over 1000 children throughout China.

Want a true story of inspiration?  Have a heart for international adoption?  Let this book encourage you, impart upon you, God’s heart for the abandoned and most needy.


These are just a few of the books I have read on foster care and adoption.  Would love to hear your suggestions. 

As I read more, I will likely be adding to this list.  So, please, come back frequently for more suggestions.


(All rights to this list are protected and belong to Rich Faith Rising)

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