Fostering or Adopting
Children From Difficult Backgrounds
This resource list was recommended by Karyn Purvis, Ph.D. (1949-2016), who directed the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University. Not all of the materials and organizations address parenting and adoption issues from a Christian perspective, so Focus on the Family doesn’t necessarily endorse the views in their entirety. Still, they offer worthwhile information specific to the needs of children with histories of trauma or those who come from difficult backgrounds. (You should be able to find the books through your local or online retailer.)
Answers to Questions Teachers Ask About Sensory Integration by Jane Koomar, Carol Kranowitz, Stacey Szklut, Lynn Balzer-Martin, Elizabeth Haber, and Deanna Iris Sava
This resource offers an extensive and easy-to-use set of checklists and other tools that will be invaluable to every teacher and parent who has children with sensory integration challenges.
Attachment-Focused Parenting: Effective Strategies to Care for Children by Daniel Hughes
This book discusses how to set limits with children, how to provide guidance, and how to manage the responsibilities and difficulties of daily life, while communicating safety, fun, joy, and love. It also provides parents with information regarding healthy brain development and neurochemistry of children who have experienced trauma.
The Attachment Parenting Book: A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby by Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears
The Sears believe that attachment parenting can encourage early, strong, and sustained attention to a new baby’s needs. This book outlines steps to create lasting bonds between parents and children.
The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby From Birth to Age Two (Revised and Updated) by Dr. William Sears, Martha Sears, Roberts Sears, and James Sears
Focusing on the essential needs of babies—including eating, sleeping, physical development, health, and comfort—this resource addresses parents’ most common questions.
The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog (And Other Stories From a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook): What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love, and Healing by Dr. Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz
Perry reveals innovative, compassionate methods for helping children who’ve been exposed to extreme trauma and stress.
The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by Dr. Karyn Purvis, Dr. David Cross, and Wendy Sunshine
The authors provide practical information for parents to build bonds of affection and trust with an adopted child, to effectively deal with learning or behavioral disorders, and to help children who have experienced severe trauma and abuse.
The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are by Daniel Siegel
The Developing Mind transcends traditional nature-nurture divisions that have informed typical thinking about development, and explains how interpersonal relationships affect a young child’s brain.
Fun to Grow On: Engaging Play Activities for Kids With Teachers, Parents and Grandparents by Virginia K. Morin and David Sokoloff
The authors suggest over 100 simple, spontaneous, creative, playful ways to connect with children.
Handbook on Thriving As an Adoptive Family: Real-Life Solutions to Common Challenges by David Sanford and Renée Sanford
Packed with practical, biblically based advice and ideas for families with an adopted child, this book provides real-life solutions to common challenges—from birth through adulthood.
The Happiest Toddler on the Block: How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful, and Cooperative One-to-Four-Year-Old by Dr. Harvey Karp
Dr. Karp provides fast solutions for today’s busy parents to promote positive behavior in their children while encouraging bonding.
I Love You Rituals by Rebecca Ann Bailey
Bailey shares more than 70 rhymes and games that communicate unconditional love between parents and children—and enhance a child’s social, emotional, and educational success.
Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience After Neglect and Trauma by Deborah D. Gray
Families need preparation and support—not just through the adoption process, but also as the family grows. Gray offers practical information for adoptive parents whose children have experienced trauma or neglect.
Parenting From the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive by Daniel Siegel
Siegel believes the first step to raising happy and healthy children is to fully understand and learn from your own childhood experiences. He offers a step-by-step approach to raising compassionate and resilient kids.
The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun: Activities for Kids With Sensory Processing Disorder by Carol Kranowitz
For use by parents, teachers, and mental health care professionals, this book includes information on activities most appropriate for children with coexisting conditions such as Asperger’s and autism.
Kranowitz shares research on vision and hearing deficits, motor skill problems, nutrition and picky eaters, ADHD, autism, and other related disorders.
The Successful Child: What Parents Can Do to Help Kids Turn Out Well by Dr. William Sears, Martha Sears, and Elizabeth Pantley
The authors examine the connection parents develop with their children both before they are born, as well as while they are young and most trusting. They also equip parents to give children the tools they need to succeed in life.
Touchpoints (Birth to Three): Your Child’s Emotional and Behavioral Development by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton and Joshua D. Sparrow
Dr. Brazelton introduces information on physical, emotional, and behavioral development. He also addresses the stresses on families and the fears of children—with a focus on the role of fathers and other caregivers.
Touchpoints (Three to Six): Your Child’s Emotional and Behavioral Development by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton and Joshua D. Sparrow
Dr. Brazelton discusses physical, emotional, and behavioral development of children aged three to six—and offers guidance about contemporary stresses such as over-scheduling, countering the electronic barrage of marketing aimed at children, and keeping a child safe without instilling fear.
Empowering, Connecting and Correcting
Harm during the critical stages of a child’s brain growth can cause significant disruptions in development and behavior. From her vast experience and research, Dr. Karyn Purvis offers a path of healing through a trust- and relationship-based holistic approach. She also explains the principles and tactics for reconnecting with these children to meet their needs and to help them reach their highest potential.
Through play, children from troubled backgrounds can develop the social and emotional skills. Dr. Karyn Purvis, Dr. David Cross, and other child development experts outline the importance of play and provide practical examples of playful interaction.
A Sensory World
Sensory processing disorders can make it difficult for many children to function at home and school, and can be the underlying cause of behavioral problems. This video explains signs of sensory disorders and offers practical strategies for coping.
Insights and Gifts for Adoptive Families
This 16-video series developed in partnership with the TCU Institute of Child Development offers insights and suggestions relevant for parents considering or currently involved in foster care or adoption.
Six Words for Adoptive Parents to Live By
Drs. Karyn Purvis and David Cross address key issues for parents whose adopted children have suffered detachment or maltreatment.
This site includes information and resources regarding infant massage and care.
Child Trauma Academy
Developed by specialist Dr. Bruce Perry, this site provides articles and resources for parents of children who have experienced trauma.
This site provides articles and resource referrals for working with Sensory Processing Disorder.
Deborah Gray—Top Ten Tips for the First Year of Placement
Attachment specialist Deborah Gray offers information and resources for foster and adoptive parents.
DePelchin Children’s Center
This center serves parents and clinicians who work with child victims of trauma.
Empowered to Connect
Parents considering or currently involved in foster care or adoption can find articles, web lectures, and practical advice.
Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University
Browse articles and resources for parents considering or involved in fostering or adopting.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
This group provides numerous resources, services, and links for parents and clinicians who serve victims of trauma.
The Out-of-Sync Child
Developed by sensory specialist Carol Kranowitz, this site offers resources, articles, and specialist information for parents of children with Sensory Processing Disorder.
Touch Research Institute
Created by Dr. Tiffany Fields, this site provides resources and research regarding the medicinal and mental health implications of touch.