January 18, 2024

Resources for Parents of Adopted Children


Navigating the beautiful journey of parenting an adopted child comes with unique joys and challenges. Whether you're embarking on this journey or seeking guidance along the way, this curated collection of resources for parents of adopted children is designed to offer insights, wisdom and practical advice.

Helpful Articles: Parenting Your Adopted Child


A Playful Approach to Discipline Part I by Gordon Neufeld

Parenting your adopted child can be a heavy job. In this two-part article, Dr. Neufeld explores playful approaches to dealing with some of the root causes of your child’s behavior. In this article (Part 1), he explains why traditional methods of discipline often fail children from trauma.

A Playful Approach to Discipline Part II by Gordon Neufeld

Parenting your adopted child can be a heavy job. In this two-part article, Dr. Neufeld explores playful approaches to dealing with some of the root causes of your child’s behavior. In this article (Part 2), he explains how play can be an effective behavior modifier.


Book Recommendations: To Share With Your Adopted Child


Before You Were Mine by Susan TeBos and Carissa Woodwyk

Every child has a story. For many adopted children, that story is shrouded in mystery. Before You Were Mine helps adoptive parents collate a Lifebook—a compilation of Scriptures, stories, and pictures of the child prior to his adoption.

Sensitive to the unique needs of adopted children, the authors encourage adoptive parents to create not an adoption scrapbook but a tool children can use as they think about, grieve, and question their earliest childhood. It can help foster attachment to adoptive parents and establish open communication.

This guide to creating a Lifebook offers ideas for content, answering adoptees’ typical questions, such as: Are my birth parents still alive? Did they name me? It also suggests where to find some of those answers. But more than anything, it emphasizes a theme: God created you. He loves you. He has a special plan for you and will never leave you.

Throughout the Lifebook compiling process, adoptive parents are encouraged to pray and to enter into their child’s story with empathy. Practical “Homework” assignments help adoptive parents recall the details of their child’s story as well as determine the best timing for sharing some of those details.

We highly recommend adoptive parents not only read Before You Were Mine but also create the healing Lifebook it describes.

God Found Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren

God Found Us You is a sweet introduction to adoption for the youngest adoptees. Written about a Mama Fox and her adopted baby fox, this carefully crafted tale demonstrates faith in God to bring families together.

The story is really a conversation between Mama Fox and Little Fox. It begins with Mama Fox explaining how much she wanted Little Fox, waited and prayed, and trusted God to bring Little Fox into her life.
Next, it gently explains that Little Fox’s birth mother did what she believed was best for Little Fox. And finally, it ends with Mama Fox assuring Little Fox that they will be a family forever and ever because God made it so.

We would highly recommend this book to any family with young adoptees! It assures every child that God ordained his or her story.

I Wished for You: An Adoption Story by Marianne Richmond

This gentle telling of a conversation between Mama Bear and her son, Barley, addresses several of the questions tiny adoptees may have.

Mama Bear explains adoption by saying that Barley is her “wish come true.” She shares how much she longed for a child and how great her joy was when she learned that Barley would be hers. “Of all the children in the whole wide world, God picked you for me,” says Mama Bear.

But Barley still wrestles with the fact that he doesn’t look like his family, so Mama Bear assures him that looking alike is not what makes a family. Love is.

This sweet book is a good read for young adoptive families.

Under His Wings: Truths to Heal Orphaned, Adopted, and Waiting Children’s Hearts (Vol. 1) by Sherrie Eldridge and Beth Willis Miller

Under His Wings is a life-changing resource for adoptees, orphans, foster children, and children waiting to be adopted. This book is effective for children ages nine and upward. It also includes orphan ministry training materials for leaders.

Under His Wings is a great healing tool for parents and children to complete together.


Book Recommendations: The Adoption Process


Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption by Julie Gumm

In 2000, Julie and her husband, Mark, declared war on their debt—credit cards, student loans, cars, and the house. Seven years later, as they wrote the check for their last mortgage payment, God called them to adopt two children from Ethiopia.

A few months later, with their income unexpectedly cut by two-thirds, they wondered if they could finish the adoption without crossing back over into the red. When they brought Wendemagegn and Beza home 12 months later, Julie and her husband proved debt-free adoption is possible!

Passionate about helping others achieve their adoption dream, Julie shares how to find extra money in your household budget, apply for grants, and fundraise in order to build your family without saddling it with debt. With over $80,000 worth of creative fundraising ideas from more than 30 adoptive families, the second edition of Adopt Without Debt shows you how to fulfill your adoption dream without signing away your financial freedom.

You Can Adopt: An Adoptive Families Guide by Susan Caughman and Isolde Motley

From Adoptive Families magazine, the country’s leading resource on adoption, this warm, authoritative book is full of practical, realistic advice from leading attorneys, doctors, social workers, and psychologists, as well as honest, intimate stories from real parents and children. You Can Adopt answers every question–even the ones you’re afraid to ask:

• When should I shift from fertility treatment to adoption?
• How do I talk to my spouse about adoption?
• Can we find a healthy baby?
• Do I need an attorney? An adoption agency?
• Can the birth mother take the baby back?
• And so many more!

Complete with checklists and worksheets, You Can Adopt will help make your dreams of family come true.


Book and Film Recommendations: Attachment


The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis

When asked to recommend just one resource to parents of children from traumatic backgrounds, children who appear unable to attach, or children with behavioral issues, we always choose The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis, Ph. D., David Cross, Ph. D., and Wendy Lyons Sunshine. This gem of a resource is a breath of fresh air for parents in the midst of the firestorm that often follows adoption, especially the adoption of children from institutions. With a compassionate tone, the authors explain the science behind many of these children’s behaviors and give practical, proven techniques for dealing with them.

The book candidly addresses topics many adoptive parents are hesitant to admit they’re dealing with, such as hoarding, lying, and even violent outbursts.

By helping parents identify the root cause of certain behaviors, this book helps parents turn their children’s tantrums into opportunities to connect. Used consistently, these strategies often help children begin to feel safe. Only then can they connect with their new parents.

Orphan’s Promise Presents: Adoption & Foster Rx: Solutions for Wounded Families

In The Orphan’s Promise Presents: Adoption & Foster Rx: Solutions for Wounded Families film series, Terry Meeuwsen uses her personal struggles and desire to help other parents who find themselves raising traumatized children without knowing how to parent and interpret their behaviors and emotional needs.

Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience after Neglect and Trauma by Deborah Gray

Adopted children who have suffered trauma and neglect have structural brain change, as well as specific developmental and emotional needs. They need particular care to build attachment and overcome trauma.

This book provides professionals with the knowledge and advice they need to help adoptive families build positive relationships and help children heal. It explains how neglect, trauma, and prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol affect brain and emotional development, and explains how to recognize these effects and attachment issues in children.

The book also includes practical resources such as checklists, questionnaires, assessments, and tools for professionals including social workers, child welfare workers, and mental health workers.

Nurturing Adoptions will be an invaluable resource for professionals working with adoptive families and will support them in nurturing positive family relationships and resilient, happy children. It is ideal as a child welfare text or reference book and will also be of interest to parents.

Wounded Children, Healing Homes: How Traumatized Children Impact Adoptive and Foster Families by Jayne Schooler, Betsy Keefer Smalley, Timothy Callahan

Why doesn’t our child return our love? What are we failing to understand? What are we failing to do?

These questions can fill the minds of adoptive parents caring for wounded, traumatized children. Families often enter into this experience with high expectations for their child and for themselves but are broadsided by shattered assumptions. This book addresses the reality of those unmet expectations and offers validation and solutions for the challenges of parenting deeply traumatized and emotionally disturbed children.

The Whole Life Adoption Book: Realistic Advice for Building a Healthy Adoptive Family by Thomas Atwood and Jayne Schooler

If you are considering adoption or have adopted, you need to read The Whole Life Adoption Book. Chances are, you’ll want to read it again!

With an approach that is both realistic and optimistic, Schooler and Atwood address many of the topics related to adoption. Though they address issues to consider before adopting, most of the book’s focus is on parenting the adopted child.

Like an experienced coach, this book shares both research and examples that guide the reader through many aspects of parenting an adopted child. These include international and transracial adoption issues, special needs adoptions, the child’s need to search for their biological family, and the impact of trauma on a child’s development.

At each stage, the authors encourage honest communication about the child’s adoption and birth family and recommend practical ways to foster attachment within the adoptive family.

Each chapter closes with a summary, take-away thoughts, and questions for small group discussion (which can, of course, be used for personal reflection as well).

This book is one to own, as different chapters will be relevant in different seasons of life.


Book Recommendations: Decision to Adopt


Adopted for Life by Russell Moore

Adopted for Life is a rare book that connects the Biblical foundation of adoption and one family’s experience of adoption. Intertwined is the story of the author and his wife’s adoption of two young boys from Russia. The narrative is a Biblical explanation and reminder that all who believe in Christ Jesus were once spiritual orphans and have been adopted as God’s daughters and sons.

The author challenges individuals and the Church to consider how our own adoption into God’s family must make orphan care and adoption a priority.

This book does not stop with the challenge but gives practical advice. From wise counsel on how to know if one should consider adoption, how to ask the uncomfortable adoption questions, how to navigate the adoption process, and an honest description of what it may mean to grow up adopted, the book is a transparent look from one who has experienced the realities of adopting.

For churches and the Christian community, this book is a call to make orphan ministry and adoption a priority as a reflection of love for God and care for His people.

Considering Adoption: A Biblical Perspective by HomeBuilders

Considering Adoption is a part of Family Life’s HomeBuilders Parenting Series. It is a five-week small group Bible study for those considering adopting a child.

Intended for use within a group context, this study asks questions, suggests activities, and lists Scriptures that help individuals think through the issues of adoption from God’s perspective, from deciding whether or not to adopt to actually starting the process.

Homework assignments for couples to be completed outside of group time encourage the processing of information and personal application of the material.

The Whole Life Adoption Book: Realistic Advice for Building a Healthy Adoptive Family by Thomas Atwood and Jayne Schooler

If you are considering adoption or have adopted, you need to read The Whole Life Adoption Book. Chances are, you’ll want to read it again!

With an approach that is both realistic and optimistic, Schooler and Atwood address many of the topics related to adoption. Though they address issues to consider before adopting, most of the book’s focus is on parenting the adopted child.

Like an experienced coach, this book shares both research and examples that guide the reader through many aspects of parenting an adopted child. These include international and transracial adoption issues, special needs adoptions, the child’s need to search for their biological family, and the impact of trauma on a child’s development.

At each stage, the authors encourage honest communication about the child’s adoption and birth family and recommend practical ways to foster attachment within the adoptive family.

Each chapter closes with a summary, take-away thoughts, and questions for small group discussion (which can, of course, be used for personal reflection as well).

This book is one to own, as different chapters will be relevant in different seasons of life.

Adopting for Good by Jorie Kincaid

An adoptee and adoptive mother, Jorie Kincaid brings personal experience as well as research to her writing of Adopting for Good.

This guide for those considering adopting begins by addressing many of the related ethical and philosophical questions. What is my motivation for adopting? What if my spouse is less eager to adopt? Is this God’s plan? What’s the difference between adoption expense and black market selling of babies?

It then walks the reader through a number of issues to consider before beginning the process. It helps the reader determine the best type of adoption for his or her situation: open or closed. International or domestic? Infant or older child?

The book wraps up with a section on parenting the adopted child. It coaches you through talking to your child about his adoption and reflects on our adoption as children of God.
Though this resource may not be revolutionary for those who’ve spent a lot of time around adoption, it can be a very helpful, optimistic read for those newly considering adopting. It is both practical and encouraging.


With over 25 years of experience and a network of like-minded people around the globe, The Boaz Project can help you show Christ’s love to scared and abandoned children.

To learn how you can help save orphaned children from life on the streets—connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or visit our website here.

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Because God knew that abandoned children would need help to survive, He tells us to actively meet the needs of orphans in James 1:27.

If you also feel the weight of this responsibility and the desire to make a real difference, consider partnering with us. Through our innovative in-home care model, specialized caregiver training, and humanitarian aid, you’ll help children not just survive—but truly thrive.

When you choose to partner with The Boaz Project, you'll restore hope, ensure a brighter future through education, and share the love of Jesus with children who desperately need it.

Just imagine the impact you can have—from saving a child from the horrors of the streets to helping them become community leaders, educators, and nurturers of the next generation.

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What does an orphan mission trip include?

  • Hotel accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Application support and fees for your Visa
  • In-country language assistance
  • All meals in-country
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  • Cross-cultural training and preparation
  • Trip insurance
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Orphan Advocate Training Certification Levels

Level 1

Learn about the mission and vision of The Boaz Project through activities such as watching an Encounter webinar, exploring our website, and following us on social media. You will also have the opportunity to meet and interact with your Orphan Advocate Training Coach, who will help you as you go through the levels.


Level 2

Gain more insight into the realities of the orphan crisis through reading "The Orphan’s Abba" and visiting The Boaz Project YouTube page. You will also meet The Boaz Project staff.


Level 3

Grow in your understanding of the orphan crisis, meet some houseparents by reading their stories, and create your own "Pick 2" with options like watching a movie and completing a creative project utilizing your unique skill set.


Level 4

Enhance your knowledge of healthy attachments for orphans, watch a webinar about Eastern Europe’s institutional orphanage system, and visit the Boaz office virtually or in person.


Level 5

Utilize all of the knowledge you have gained throughout training to develop methods based on your personal experience to share the mission and vision of The Boaz Project with others. Read a portion of our first level Houseparent Trauma Training and use your unique skills to impact orphans with a special project. Completing Level 5 gives you the option to apply to become an OAT Coach and/or a Regional Coordinator for The Boaz Project.

FAQ

Do I have to live near Greenwood, Indiana to complete the training?

No! This certification is intentionally created to allow opportunities for anyone in any location to fully participate.




How much of a time commitment is it?

This is completely up to you. The entire process is self-directed. There are no deadlines, and you may take as much or as little time as you need to complete each course.




Can I do this training with my spouse? Or a friend?

Yes! Going through the training with a spouse or friend can provide accountability and motivation. As you progress, you may be able to accomplish more together!




How much will it cost?

All Orphan Advocate Training courses are free to join! While you may choose to spend money while completing some projects, there are only minimal costs involved (such as a book or a few supplies) depending on which course you choose to do.




Is there an age requirement to become a Certified Orphan Advocate Trainee?

This would be answered on a case-by-case basis. This would also be open to middle schoolers or high schoolers looking to complete volunteer hours (i.e. National Honor Society) or build college applications. We always encourage young people to be involved if they feel led by God to do so!




What if I don’t have any social media accounts?

We will adjust your requirements to accommodate you and provide different opportunities to engage.




If I complete the five-level Orphan Advocate Training Certification, can I put it on my resume or LinkedIn profile?

Yes! When you complete each level, you will receive a certification that you can use to enhance your professional profile and to show involvement in community service.




Will I be able to get a signed letter to verify my volunteer hours?

We are sorry that we cannot verify volunteer hours that are done outside of the office or an event due to the fact that these hours are not supervised. However, we can write about the quality of work that was done, your commitment level, and the training courses achieved. We can also say that your self-reported, unsupervised hours fit into the typical number of hours that are usual for that course.




How do I get started?

If you think you would like to begin Orphan Advocate Training, please complete the form below, and you’ll be assigned an OAT Coach. Once your coach reviews your information, he/she will send you an email with your next steps!




Who do I contact if I have any other questions?

Please complete the form below or contact OAT@boazproject.org with any questions.

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