While You Wait

When it comes to adoption, Tom Petty said it best: “The waaaaaaaiting is the hardest part.” 

Preach it, Tommy.

First, it’s the waiting for approval to adopt. Then, the wait for a referral [child match]. Later, you wait (staring at a photograph) to travel.

Many adoptive parents ask the question, “What should I do to pass the time?”

My advice? Read. Learn. Listen. Discuss.

I confess I’m a gluttonous reader, but, save for my weekly adoptive mom support group, the most insightful resources I have found have been the following books:



The Connected Child, by Karyn Purvis

If you read nothing else while you wait, read this book. I’ve also watched Dr. Purvis’ educational videos and taken a class based on her methods. She’s widely considered the leading authority on all things adoption/attachment. 


Message From An Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love, by Xinran

This was the most eye-opening (and heartbreaking) as far as the impact of China’s one child policy. 


The House of Hope, by Elizabeth Gifford

Thinking of adopting from China? Consider this required reading. 


Lucky Girl, by Mei-Ling Hopgood

Memoir of a Taiwanese born American woman, adopted at infancy, and *spoiler alert* her reunion with her birth family. 


Home is a Roof Over a Pig, by Aminta Arrington

Details an american family (including one Chinese adopted daughter) who relocates a to China and their subsequent immersion into Chinese culture. 


No Greater Love, by Levi Benkert

Not China specific, but certainly moving if you are passionate about orphan care worldwide. Devoured in 24 hours.


China in Ten Words, by Yu Hua

Penned by renowned Chinese author Yu Hua, this gives amazing perspective into Chinese culture. 


Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child, by Patty Cogen

My dear friend (and member of the No Book Book Club) and adoptive mom lent this terrific resource to me. Great to have on hand. I’ll need to get my own copy soon.


A Floating City of Peasants, by Floris-Jan Van Luyn

An Oregon friend picked this up in the dollar store, of all places, and sent it to me. It was compelling yet tragic. 


My Little Book of Chinese Words, by Catherine Louis

This is more of a coffee table book, a sweet gift from a friend. The vivid illustrations of common Mandarin characters are fascinating.


My First Book of Mandarin Chinese Words, by Katy R. Kudela 

Don’t forget the kids! This was a library book, but I will confess that between books like this, a sing-along CD in the sexy minivan, and Chinese camp this past summer, our girls have picked up more Mandarin than we have! 

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, just my own personal recommendations. My dear friend Carly has also compiled a great list of children’s books about adoption over at her blog Africa to America that has been hugely helpful for me in preparing our girls for the arrival of Little Brother.

Oh, and just because this is my blog and I can, here’s another recommend: Bread and Wine, by Shauna Niequist. Best book I read in 2013, not adoption related.

To quote my pal Geordi La Forge Lavar Burton, “But you don’t have to take MY word for it…”





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