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Adopting from Korea - A Parent's Guide to Korean Adoption


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A motivated heart and good information
will help make your adoption journey
just a little easier.

This page is a re-cap of many of the book recommendations I've made throughout Adopting from Korea -- just centrally organized for your convenience. The books below are either linked to my own online bookstore, AdoptShoppeBooks or Amazon. You can find them at other online bookstores, as well.

This is no "laundry list" of every adoption book ever published.

What you see here are books I've actually read or have been personally recommended to me. I welcome your own recommendations, too! Just drop me a line with its title and what you like about it. I'll be happy to add it to this growing list of resources. And grow it will because I never stop reading!


  • How to Adopt Internationally: A Guide to Agency-Directed and Independent Adoptions, Jean Nelson-Erichsen, Heino R. Erichsen, Jean Erichsen -- Need a good place to start your search? Check out this strongly recommended resource! Detailed, logically organized, and comprehensive, this one takes you step-by-step through the process. An excellent first step on your journey. 
  • "Are Those Kids Yours": American Families with Children from Other Countries, Cheri Register -- If you only read one about adopting overseas, this is the one to read! I love this book! It covers a lot of emotional and cultural ground and answers many of the questions you might be afraid to ask yourself and your spouse. 
  • Inside Transracial Adoption, Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall -- If you think race doesn't matter when you love enough, think again. This clear-eyed practical look at transracial adoption is a must for all families considering adopting a child outside their own racial/ethnic group.
  • Dim Sum, Bagels, and Grits: A Sourcebook for Multicultural Families, Myra Alperson - A fast and informative read for multicultural families that I thoroughly enjoyed. You'll find lots of good information and resources to check out.


  • From Korea with Love (video) -- Excellent video introduction to the Korean adoption process for prospective adoptive parents. An Australian production that, however, speaks to all families. Very recommended!
  • Birth is More Than Once: The Inner World of Adopted Korean Children, Hei Sook Park Wilkinson, PhD -- Provides a Korean child's eye view of what it means to be adopted by Caucasian families in the United States. Provocative reading and recommended, especially for those who've adopted or are adopting older children.

  • When You Were Born in Korea: A Memory Book for Children Adopted from Korea, Text by Brian Boyd, Photography by Stephen Wunrow -- This is a truly lovely book you and your older child will want to share often. (Very young children might not respond to the black and white photos.) If your child came through Eastern Social Welfare Society, as did mine, you can consider this book a family album! 
  • Oriental Children in American Homes: How Do They Adjust?, Frances M. Koh -- Worth reading for some idea into how adult adoptees view their experiences.
  • We Adopted You, Benjamin Koo, Linda Walvoord Girard, Linda Shute (Illustrator). Told in the voice of Benjamin Woo, this is a likable and positive story about being adopted from Korea. I especially like it because it gently addresses some of the difficulties our interracially adopted children are likely to face as they mature.
  • Youn Hee & Me, by C. S. Adler

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  • Land of the Morning Calm: Korean Culture Then and Now, John Stickler -- Handsomely produced picture book about Korean culture and traditions, past and present. An excellent introduction that children 7-12 will really enjoy.
  • Understanding My Child's Korean Origins, Han and Spencer, Children's Home Society of Minnesota - A marvelous guide that will offer tremendous help to new parents seeking information and understanding of their children's cultures and traditions. A must! 

  • Families of Korea Video - a wonderful introduction for children to the daily life of the average Korean child and his or her family.
  • Things Korean, O-Young Lee, Translated from the Korean by John Holstein - This is a marvelously written guide to traditional life in Korea that is both beautiful and accessible. Written by a former Korean Minister of Culture, Things Korean presents a survey of native objects from Korea and explains their development, historical significance, and place in everyday Korean life. The photography is stunning and the narrative is informative, with a sly sense of humor. A must for your Korean culture shelf!

  • Facts About Korea, Hollym International Staff - Concise overview of the people, history, culture, customs, and other aspects of Korean life.

  • Hanbok: The Art of Korean Clothing, Sunny Yang - a beautiful coffee table book about the history of Korean dress, its meaning, culture, symbolism, and more. This book is a stunner!

  • The Beauty of Korea, Suh Jai-Sik - A gorgeous photographic journey into the heart of our children's homeland. You can read and reread this lovely volume over and over again as a visual introduction to the people and culture of Korea  for your children and yourselves.

  • An Introduction to Korean Culture, John H. Koo, Andrew C. Nahm - One of the most comprehensive guides to Korean culture, language, politics, folk beliefs, literature, poetry, etc. available.

  • Culture Shock! Korea: A Guide to Customs and Etiquette, Sonja Vegdahl Hur and Ben Seunghwa Hur -- Part of a series of travel books, I found this a fun, breezy and informative read. I learned a lot from this one! Whether you travel to Korea to pick up your child or not, I'd add this to your cultural library.


  • International Adoption Travel Journal, Mary E. Petertyl -- Planning on traveling to Korea to get your little one? Then you won't want to be without this wonderful travel journal. Sure, you could always buy a blank notebook, but all those pages begging to be filled can seem daunting. With the International Adoption Travel Journal you've got six separate sections organized in meaningful categories, and a fill-in-the-blank format. Makes keeping a written record of this once-in-a-lifetime (or maybe more!) trip easy and even fun to complete. And there's no question it will make a uniquely personal keepsake to be cherished by your child and your entire family. (Makes a nice gift for adoption showers, too!)
  • Till There Was You - An Adoption Expectancy Journal, Rebecca L. Gold, Pamela M. Sardinha (Photographer) -- If you think of the homestudy process as adoption "gestation", you're going to love this new book. Similar to the popular pregnancy journals, Till There Was You is organized for either a domestic or international adoption. It's a private place to share your thoughts, dreams, goals, and even fears for the little one you're waiting on. Why not treat yourself (or someone special) with this unique adoption journal. It will go a long way toward soothing your frazzled soul during this exciting but stressful time.
  • Launching A Baby's Adoption: Practical Strategies for Parents and Professionals,   Patricia Irwin Johnston -- This is an excellent overview to getting ready for your adopted son or daughter. Lots of solid information to help ease the "arrival anxiety". 

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  • Jewish Issues in Multiculturalism: A Handbook for Educators and Clinicians - While not a book on adoption issues per se, it does address many of the thorny issues of multiculturalism and its meaning and effects on contemporary Judaism. I think Jewish adoptive parents will learn and gain perspective from this well-done work.

  • Adoption and the Jewish Family: Contemporary Perspectives, Shelley Kapnek Rosenberg -- Did you know that almost 3% of Jewish families are created by adoption? I didn't, until I read this very informative new book. It takes an objective yet sympathetic look at the adoption process from a Jewish perspective, with contributions from the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist religious communities. It covers Jewish law and practice, culture and ethnicity, community attitudes, joys and challenges. I especially liked its compilation of prayers and rituals specific to adoption and related life events. A very good read. Get one for your Rabbi, too!

  • And Hannah Wept: Infertility, Adoption, and the Jewish Couple, Michael Gold -- I read this touching, personal, and well-written book a few years ago and found it very valuable and healing as my husband and I began to consider adoption for our family. You may, too. Recommended!


  • The Family of Adoption, Joyce Maguire Pavao -- Adopted children ARE different, and this new book clearly identifies and demonstrates those predictable, understandable developmental stages and challenges that affect every adoptee. Also explains patterns that adoptive parents may witness as their children grow.
  • With Eyes Wide Open: A Workbook for Parents Adopting Children International Children, Children's Home Society of Minnesota - One of the best preparation tools I've reviewed for those families adopting a toddler/older child from overseas.  Also available on CD.
  • Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft, Mary Hopkins-Best -- Considered THE book for families contemplating the adoption of a toddler, you'll find a wealth of honest information and practical ideas and strategies. An excellent resource. 
  • Raising Adopted Children: Practical, Reassuring Advice for Every Adoptive Parent, Revised Edition, Lois Ruskai Melina -- One of the best known adoptive parenting books has been completely revised and updated. A must for your library... I keep it close at all times!
  • Real Parents, Real Children: Parenting the Adopted Child, Holly Van Gulden and Lisa M. Bartels-Rabb
  • Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother, Jana Wolff -- I strongly urge every prospective and newly adoptive parent to read and re-read this wonderfully provocative book. IT'S TERRIFIC! Funny and poignant, genuine and honest, it's "take no prisoners" approach speaks volumes about coming to terms with infertility, the adoption experience in general, as well as some of the specific issues involved in interracial and open adoption. And don't be misled by the title. This is a book for adoptive fathers, too!
  • Flight of the Stork : What Children Think (And When About Sex and Family Building), Anne C. Bernstein

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Adoptees, Birthparents, and Adoptive Parents

new2.gifSee additional recommendations on the For Adoptees page

  • Creating Ceremonies: Innovative Ways to Meet Adoption Challenges, Cheryl A. Lieberman, PhD and Rhea K. Bufferd, LICSW - Sensitive and compassionate to all adoption triad members, this new book offers meaningful ways to acknowledge the specialness of the adoption experience through ritual and ceremony. All adoptive families will find this book a valuable resource for the long-term.

  • Shadow Mothers: Stories of Adoption and Reunion, Linda Back McKay - A wonderful collection of stories -- joyful and heartbreaking -- about birthmothers, their secrets and truths, and reunion with the children to whom they gave life. If you've ever wondered about your child's birthmother, Shadow Mothers offers perspective and insight. (Comes complete with a free copy of the the author's own "Top 10 Ways to Help Ensure A Happy Reunion and Relationship.")
  • I Wish for You A Beautiful Life: Letters from the Korean Birth Mothers of Ae Ran Won to Their Children, Edited by Sara Dorow - Heartbreaking and thought-provoking, this volume of letters written by young birthmothers to their babies presents the birthmother side of the adoption triad with honesty and compassion. This is not a book for children. It was compiled to help birthmothers make peace with their decision, to help adoptive parents understand the sacrifice of these young women, and, in time, to help mature adoptees come to terms with the plans made by their Korean mothers. Consider this another "must" for your adoption bookshelf. 

  • The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Adopted Daughters Tell Their Stories, Susan Wadia-Ells, Editor - Anthology of moving, insightful stories of the female players in the adoption process.
  • Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self, David Brodzinsky, Marshall D. Schecter, and Robin Marantz Henig 


new2.gifSee additional recommendations at AdoptShoppeBooks

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Also recommended:

  • Mommy Far, Mommy Near, Carol A. Peacock, Shawn C. Brownell (Illustrator) - one of the most beautiful books I've read to cover the issues of grief and confusion as a little girl adopted from China wrestles with the knowledge she has two mommies, one near and one far. For ages 3-7. A must for your shelf. 
  • One Wonderful You, Francie Portnoy - Adopted children have a legacy of two families - their adoptive family, their birth family. This positive story for children ages 4-10 shows how the adopted child is a blend of two families, who in turn, is one complete person. 

  • A Part of the Ribbon: A Time Travel Adventure Through the History of Korea, Ruth S. Hunter, Debra M. Fritsch - While not about adoption, I know that the young readers in your family - adopted and otherwise - will enjoy this exciting, yet meticulously accurate, adventure story about Korea's rich and varied history. Told through the eyes of a six-year girl and her teen-aged brother, this lively and engaging book covers Korea's 3000 years and uses an intriguing martial arts (tae kwondo) theme.

  • Everything You Need to Know About Being Adopted (Need to Know Library), Laura Kaminker - This slim volume covers many important topics for adopted children as they mature and begin to ask questions about their birthparents and themselves. Low-key and straightforward in its approach, Being Adopted is a good first step to understanding and a catalyst for discussion and exploration. (For readers ages 9-14 recommended.)

  • Happy Adoption Day, John McCutcheon, Julie Paschkis (Illustrator) -- You can also find Happy Adoption Day and many other charming songs for children onthe award-winning compilation, Family Garden - CD. You can listen to samples of Happy Adoption Day and other selections right online!
  • Over the Moon : An Adoption Tale, by Karen Katz

  • Just In Case You Ever Wonder, Max Lucado, Toni Goffe (Illustrator). This story rates a "10" from bio and adoptive parents alike -- me included! A sweet, simple tale of parental and God-centered love, protection and assurance -- especially important for our adoptive little ones to hear over and over again.

For more children's books about adoption, see Adopted Kids

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