Over 50 Books to Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Adoption

It is wisely proposed that you will be the same person ten years from now aside from the books you read, the places you visit, and the friends you make. Today I want to offer you a list of over 50 books that highlight orphans and celebrate adoption; books that may forever change who you are and who you are becoming. The common thread of these books are that the main characters are orphans, or their lives directly impact orphans. An orphan/ adoption story doesn’t a good book make, but a host of great literature is composed of stories of tragedy, triumph, and grit of young men and women who have lost their families and the journey that they take to overcome the difficulties of their past and present. These are stories that will either reflect your own life, or provide windows to view and learn from lives unlike yours– perhaps lives that you and I can impact for eternal good.

Whether you are an adoptive parent, or a biological parent, seeking books to celebrate your adopted child, champion the cause of the orphan, or encourage your child’s journey, I am sure you will find many stories on this list that will forever capture the heart and imagination of your family. I suggest you pre-read these stories to determine which ones will be best suited to your children if you have children who are sensitive to sorrow. I have personally read each book and would read them to our family according to the age separation that I made on the booklist.  Some of these stories have happy endings, some do not. I have noted the books which present with violence and sensitive content. You know what will be a trigger for your child for either healing or hurt. Many of our children come from hard places, therefore, while reading stories with death or domestic violence will not affect some children, others are highly sensitive and may need to read more lighthearted tales.

Snag your booklist here: Books to Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Adoption

Another note which I have made on some of these stories involve worldview. Your worldview is the paradigm or framework with which you answer the main questions of life: why are we here, how did we get here, what is the chief end of man, what happens to us after we die? If this is a new topic for you, you may want to read more in my post, Mothers with a Worldview (here). Specifically, in A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the word magic is capitalized signifying that magic is a deity. This promotes a worldview of mysticism. Additionally, a few passages in the fascinating fictional book, Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter, struck me as promoting a naturalistic worldview. (Read more about this worldview here.) Freckles is a book worth reading and highly recommended! The characters and beauty of the limberlost will remain long after the last page is read. However, though these are two wonderful books with touching stories about orphans, there are also conversations worth having concerning them. (As a side, I noted profanity in the book, Freckles, due to a few times in this book when the Lord’s name is said in an irreverent manner.)

Many of us, no doubt you if you are reading this post, want to supply our children with books rich in truth, goodness, and beauty all the days they are growing in our home. Further, we want them to choose such books for themselves when they are grown and gone from our nest. I have come to the conclusion that many books are good and beautiful, fewer are true, good, and beautiful. Each can be read and appreciated when they are looked at through the proper lenses. We want to equip our kids to recognize and differentiate those books which are simply good and beautiful, and those books which are all three. Next we want them to cling tightly to the true, esteem that which is beautiful, and take the goodness with them always.

I hope that in reading the books found on this list and having conversations about them, that this end of instilling truth goodness and beauty will be met in your home. Further, that the hearts and minds of your children will be encouraged and equipped to show love and kindness to all people, accept who they are and their story in your family, and dream big. With God, all things are possible!

If you have other suggestions to add to this list or specific questions about any of the books therein, please leave a comment or email me at Brooke.Cooney.1@gmail.com. Also, a loving thank you to Kasia at Simply Pchee for designing this beautiful download for us all to print and enjoy. Visit her amazing design sight here.

Now, download your booklist by clicking on this link, clicking on the picture, and printing your copy! Books to Highlight Orphans and Celebrate Adoption

Happy Reading!

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Using Books to Cultivate a Heart for Orphans and Adoption

My passion for adoption started growing long before my adult years. It came as a result of the planting of the Holy Spirit, and it also came in the form of story. Books cultivate life experiences in a safe environment and develop compassion and sympathy, passion and purpose, in children prior to their ability to act on those feelings.

As we enter into the cooler, cozier days of November, it is a perfect time to introduce, or perhaps continue the narration of, stories to our children which cultivate a heart for orphans and adoption. There is a lengthy list at Good Reads and here are a few of my favorites to get you started. I tend to recommend these as read aloud books to be shared with the whole family in order to encourage dialogue. Not all of these books are serious, but they all prompt us to think about orphans and begin cultivating a heart for orphan care and adoption in our homes. As with all books we share with our children, please be sure and preview the content to make sure it is age appropriate and sensitive to the specific environment of your child’s history and emotional maturity.

Don’t have children of your own? That’s okay too! As C.S. Lewis stated, A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.

Read Alouds for K4-3rd grade or older:


Read Aloud Books for 3rd and Up:

 

 

Older students (young adult):

 

One more that is on my to-be-read pile and was recently highlighted in this week’s episode of the Read Aloud Revival Podcast is:

Which books have you used to bring awareness of orphan care and adoption into your life and home? What books would you add to this list? I have always gravitated to books about orphans and in the coming weeks will unfold as much as I am presently allowed about our current adoption journey. Stay tuned!

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Valuing Our Children’s Unique Pasts

Please welcome my new friend, and fellow foster-adoption mama, April Swiger, as she shares a part of her family’s foster-adoption story. For more information on the foster-adoption journey, please see the links below to her blog and her new book, Dignity and Worth: Seeing the Image of God in Foster Adoption. Welcome, April, to This Temporary Home!

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Upon meeting someone a few years ago, Adam and I shared our adoption plans with her.

Without missing a beat, she replied, “You’re not adopting from foster care, are you? All of those children are damaged!”

I didn’t know how to respond. At the time, we were trying to adopt an infant, so I probably mumbled something about that fact, hoping to appease my new acquaintance and end a terribly awkward conversation.

When I recall the thoughtless things that people have said to me, that interaction strikes me as unusually devastating. The issue isn’t that the comment offended me personally—although it did—so much as it is that the comment promoted the faulty belief that children in foster care or from orphanages abroad are not worth adopting, that their lives can’t be redeemed.

Many of the children who have been in foster care or orphanages have experienced neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, homelessness, hunger, and/or domestic violence. The trauma they have experienced often leads children to cope through unusual behaviors. They may rock themselves to sleep in silence because no one is there to hold them and meet their needs, they may use feces to ward off an abuser, or very young children may begin to parent even younger siblings because no one else will. Suffering has trained their brains to respond to events in certain ways, ways that the child who is born into a loving, structured, and stable family has never had to learn.

In addition to abnormal behaviors, children’s responses may take the form of developmental and cognitive delays, attachment disorders, learning disabilities, and other challenges. These challenges likely won’t disappear as soon as a child has been moved into a safe home. Foster children often need to learn how to trust other people again, or for the first time. This learning journey requires time, effort, and thoughtful parenting strategies that may differ from the status quo.

Over the years, I’ve received a handful of comments similar to the “damaged kids” remark. When I find this happening, I try to draw attention to the gospel and to the way that God values human life. My goal isn’t to rebuke others but to remind myself of this truth and to be an ambassador for children who can’t advocate for themselves, who can’t explain that they are not too “damaged” or “too far gone” for adults to invest in them.

Isn’t that the gospel? We were dead in our sin, totally damaged by the effects of the fall, separated from God, and unable to save ourselves. Without Jesus and the resurrection, sin makes us “too far gone” in the sense that there is no hope for salvation through our efforts. God sent his son to live a perfect life, die for our sin, rise from the dead, save us, and bring us close to him. Salvation makes us new creations who have access to the Father’s throne through divine adoption. There is eternal hope in this gospel and immense hope for foster children because there is one God who restores relationships in this life and the next.

To be clear, I’m not advocating that foster parents take on a savior mentality. Adoptive parents are not Jesus, and we are not doing our children any favors by “rescuing” them from foster care, as if adoption is strictly about charity. These children owe us nothing. They are welcomed into our families, fully and completely, regardless of where they come from, how they behave, or who they grow up to be. Adam and I never expect our children to be grateful that we chose to parent them and, ultimately, adopt them.

On a related note, Christians are instructed to care for the fatherless, specifically in James 1:27, which says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” Caring for the fatherless is a practical way to live out our faith in Christ. Life is valuable and full of purpose, and foster children, with everything they have lost, deserve a family where they can experience that life.

I say it all the time: We have the best kids. Adam and I often pause in the kitchen, look at each other, and ask, “How in the world did we get such great kids!?” God has been very kind to us.

To be honest, though, I didn’t exactly experience love at first sight when Jayda arrived. In that moment, fear eclipsed love. Jayda had no obvious flaws, but we had never been parents before and were terrified.

After only a few hours, this little boy was winning over our hearts with his high-pitched toddler giggle, extensive vocabulary, and love for eating ketchup on everything. Our affection for him hasn’t waned a bit; it’s only grown since those first few days together. We knew the importance of committing to Jayda, and parental affection flowed from our hearts as we made the choice to attach to a child we might lose.

 

Excerpt from chapter three (Valuing Our Children’s Unique Pasts: Learning How to Honor and Respect Their Losses) from Dignity and Worth: Seeing the Image of God in Foster Adoption.

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April Swiger is a wife, mother to two awesome little boys (Jayda and Zay), homemaker, and blogger. In 2013, her family moved to her home state of Connecticut, where her husband, Adam, serves as the worship pastor at Christ the Redeemer Church. Living in a 100-year-old farmhouse, being debt-free, cooking nourishing food, and enjoying introvert-friendly activities are some of her favorite things.

You can join her for more “Faithfulness in the Mundane” at www.aprilswiger.com and Instagram.com/aprilswiger/.

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Children and Spiritual Warfare

Children and Spiritual Warfare 

When Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me. Don’t stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” ~Mark 10:14, HCSB

Why is it so hard to adopt mama? This is a question that one or both of our children have posed over the past eight months in which we have actively sought to adopt. The adoption process started almost five years ago for our family, but we ventured the path of foster care initially.

Why is it so hard to adopt? Why indeed?

I believe the answer which Russell Moore gives in the simple, short, and pertinent read, Adoption What Joseph of Nazareth Can Teach Us About This Countercultural Choice,  is true, the protection of children isn’t charity…it’s spiritual warfare. Satan hates children. Jesus loves children. In fact, He came the first time in the form of a newborn babe. Protecting children, be it through foster care, adoption, or advocating and working to end sex trafficking or abortion is recognizing the Imago Dei in every life.

The demonic powers hate babies because they hate Jesus. When they destroy “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40, 45), the most vulnerable among us, they’re destroying a picture of Jesus himself, of the child delivered by the woman who crushes their head (Genesis 3:1;5).

Children also mean blessing–a perfect target for those who seek only to kill and destroy (John 10:10).

When we adopt–and when we encourage a culture of adoption in our churches and communities–we’re pictureing something that’s true about our God. We, like Jesus, see what our Father is doing and do likewise (John 5:19). And what our Father is doing, it turns out, is fighting for orphans, making them sons and daughters.

~ Russell Moore, Adoption What Joseph of Nazareth Can Teach Us About This Countercultural Choice

It only takes a glance at some of the day’s headlines to realize there is a war on children. Planned Parenthood advocating not only abortion, but involved in the selling of aborted babies body parts. The molestation of young boys in Afghanistan which our military has been ordered to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to (see here). The gunning down of a 10 year old boy –who had left fighting in Afghanistan to return to school–by the Taliban. The reported 10,000 missing migrant children who may have been trafficked and lost in a world of abuse. The headlines ream on.

The devil has it out for children (listen to the fourth section of Albert Mohler’s Daily Briefing for more on this topic); the church must stand ready to fight the good fight of faith on their behalf. How are we as the church and as individuals promoting a culture of life? What are some ways in which we can take up our shield of faith, sword of the Spirit, and go with our feet shod with the Gospel message? Let’s stand guard and defend the children of our day.

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15 Action Steps to Take to Promote A Culture of Life After You Have Prayed


 

15 Action Steps To Take To Promote Life After You Have Prayed

Many of us are dumbfounded, to say the least, after viewing any or all of the 10 videos put out by the Center for Medical Progress which exposes the money making arm of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood and Stem Express are making money off the sale of aborted baby body parts. This news leaves many of us asking, what can we do to put an end to this barbarity? Here are 15 action steps for you to consider and take after you pray for an end to abortion, a defunding of Planned Parenthood, and a respect for life from conception to grave.

1. Give to and/ or volunteer at your local pregnancy center.

2. Call your congressman and senator to petition them to vote to defund Planned Parenthood and legislate an end to abortion.

3.”Adopt” a single mom and her kids.

4. Foster a child. The difference a Christian family can make in pointing children in need to Jesus cannot be measured in this lifetime.

5. Adopt. It is a slow and painful process and you are not guaranteed your child will walk with Jesus. However, you are committed to making a disciple and ending a family cycle of drug abuse, domestic violence, and a host of other problems that plague our society.

6. Vote your moral convictions and not your pocketbook.

7. Spread the gospel and let the seeds bear the fruit that they will. We will not reap what we have not sewn.

8.Make disciples within your church who make disciples. Moms and dads change the cultural fabric of our world one child at a time. For good or for evil.

9. Volunteer with children in the foster care system, a local school, or an orphanage. Mentors change lives by the power of Jesus.

10. Give to organizations like the Center for Medical Progress who expose the truth of abortion and the sale of baby body parts for “medical research.” Or, help fund a friend’s adoption. Many times families who want to adopt don’t because of the money.

11. Educate yourself with the facts. Read and research for the truth. You will likely not hear the facts nor the truth on the evening news or in the New York Times.

12. Do for one mom, teen, child, or orphan what you would do for all.

13. Get creative! Use your artistic abilities of paint, pen, or graphic design to get people’s attention and point them towards life.

14. Include your kids in ministering to the poor, elderly, and the orphan. Developing compassionate Christ-centered lives starts early.

15. Run for office and be involved in politics. We need godly leaders in every area of local, state, and federal government.

What would you add to this list? I welcome your thoughts.

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