Adoption Books: Memoirs

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Editor's Picks

Memoirs are accounts of experiences over a period of time as remembered by the author, and members of the adoption and foster care communities have exceptional stories to tell that fall into this genre. Listed alphabetically.

1) Beneath a Tall Tree
Jean Strauss’ memoir as an adoptee, a tribute, diary, and journal of search and reunion all rolled into one. Strauss tells her story - at once both funny and sad, personally exclusive and inclusive, hers and ours - starting with the ’tallest of trees,’ her father, and culminating in a family tree replete with adoptive and birth families.

2) Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses
Paula McLain’s remarkable new book about growing up in the foster care system with her two sisters during the 70s and 80s should be in every library.

3) Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother
Jana Wolff’s account of building a transracial, open adoption in the 90s is filled with sensitivity, candor, and humor that often borders on hilarity. Not afraid to admit to some pretty awful thoughts, Wolff’s memoir has helped many adoptive and birth families open the door to better communication.

4) The Same Smile
This wonderfully human story of a 60s relinquishment, the loss of a subsequent child to leukemia, and a family reunited is told in the blended voices of mother and (found) daughter.

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