My Favorite Adoption Memoirs

Words are our most powerful tool.

Natalie Brenner April 08, 2017

Words are our most powerful tool. We can find healing, hope, joy, and solidarity in the pages of books. We can read other people’s stories, connect on multiple levels, and be comforted that we are not alone.

Memoirs are my favorite genre. Below you will find a list of recommendable adoption memoirs, either recommended by myself or by others in the adoption circle.

God and Jetfire by Amy Seek
1. God and Jetfire by Amy Seek

Author: Birth Mother

Amy Seek made an adoption plan and placed her baby with a family when she was 23. In her memoir, "God and Jetfire," she chronicles her journey as a birth mother from pregnancy until her birth child is 12 years old. Seek does not shy away from the difficulties or emotional trauma birth mothers endure. Her incredibly written memoir is a must-read for all parts of the adoption circle.

You can get this book here.

Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela DePrince
2. Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela DePrince

Author: Adoptee

Michaela DePrince was “known as girl Number 27 at the orphanage, where she was abandoned at a young age and tormented as a ‘devil child’ for a skin condition that makes her skin appear spotted.” Michaela was adopted when she was 4 years old and is now the youngest principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Michaela shares her dramatic journey from a West African orphan to becoming one of the most famous ballerinas.

You can get the book here.

Everything You Ever Wanted: A Memoir by Jillian Lauren
3. Everything You Ever Wanted: A Memoir by Jillian Lauren

Author: Mom by Adoption

Jillian Lauren was a college dropout, addicted to drugs, and an international concubine in the Prince of Brunei’s harem. She and her husband decided to grow their family through adoption and brought home their son who was born in Ethiopa. She learns the steadying power of love as she fights to make her son (who has high special needs) feel safe at home and in the world. Her memoir explores complex ideas of identity and reinvention; it is a must-read.

You can get the book here.

You Don't Look Adopted: A Memoir by Anne Heffron
4. You Don't Look Adopted: A Memoir by Anne Heffron

Author: Adoptee

Anne Heffron, adopted at 10 weeks old, decided it was time to tell her own story. Not just the story she heard all her life which began with, “The day we met you.” But the fullness of her story, infused with loss and tragedy, with being placed in another family through adoption. Anne’s beautifully written memoir is an absolute must-read, especially for parents by adoption. She is clean and clear, honest and vulnerable, funny and poignant. Anne shares why it is absolutely necessary to talk about adoption with our children.

You can get the book here.

You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir by Melissa Ohden
5. You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir by Melissa Ohden

Author: Adoptee who was a survivor of a botched abortion

Melissa Ohden was 14 when she learned that she was the survivor of a botched abortion. Heavy. In this extremely vulnerable memoir, she shares for the first time her search for her biological parents. She courageously shares her journey from anger and shame, to faith and empowerment.

You can get the book here.

My Own Legacy: An Adoption Memoir by Katie McMillan
6. My Own Legacy: An Adoption Memoir by Katie McMillan

Author: Adoptee

“This is a memoir about a girl who was adopted because her birth mom was too young to care for her. She describes what her birth mom went through, what her adoptive parents went through, and all of the other struggles she encountered. All of these events lead up to her one life changing event, when her and her birth mom meet.”

You can get the book here.

Invisible Woman: A Birth Mother's Memoir by Grace Harstad
7. Invisible Woman: A Birth Mother's Memoir by Grace Harstad

Author: Birth Mother

Grace Harstad shares with the world her entirely heartbreaking emotions as she walked through various stages of grief from placing her infant for adoption. Her story does not end with a mother-daughter reunion as so many others do. It instead covers 55 years from abandonment to post-reunion, sharing the long term effects of her young decision for everyone involved. She relives her decisions, looks at them closely, and studies them from afar and is able to regain a part of herself that she had lost.

You can get the book here.

A Life Let Go: A Memoir and Five Birth Mother Stories of Closed AdoptionA Life Let Go: A Memoir and Five Birth Mother Stories of Closed Adoption
9. A Life Let Go: A Memoir and Five Birth Mother Stories of Closed AdoptionA Life Let Go: A Memoir and Five Birth Mother Stories of Closed Adoption

Author: 5 different Birth Mothers

“Closed adoption, heralded as the answer to the problem of unplanned pregnancy, shows its other side in A Life Let Go, A Memoir and Five Birth Mother Stories of Closed Adoption. These women tell how they experienced unplanned pregnancy in the restrictiveness of the last decades of the twentieth century. All placed their child in closed adoption—the only option—understanding they would never see them again, a dark contract made under great duress.

1972: Patricia is not yet 16 when her parents learn she is pregnant. They decide she will stay hidden in the house and place the baby for adoption.

1983: Nancy, lost and wandering in her early twenties, is anxious to to do the “right thing” when she becomes pregnant.

1964: Evelyn, married only a short time, becomes pregnant. When her husband says he is not ready, she believes she must choose between him and her baby and she places the child for adoption. Two months later, she is pregnant again.

1959: Marti, married mother of two, is already struggling to keep from having a nervous breakdown when she learns she is pregnant with her third child.

1969: Dena, a rebellious teen, is pregnant and marries the abusive birth father. After a brutal beating, her family sends her halfway across the country to live with her aunt and physician uncle. Dena loses her fight to parent her child.

1969: Kate, a young unmarried woman from a loving family, is ready to raise her baby and her family will support her decision, but a social worker talks her into placing the baby for adoption.” (Source: Amazon)

You can get this book here.

author image

Natalie Brenner

Natalie Brenner is wife to Loren and mom to two under two, living in Portland, Oregon. She is the best-selling author of This Undeserved Life. She likes her wine red, ice cream served by the pint, and conversations vulnerable. Natalie believes in the impossible and hopes to create safe spaces for every fractured soul. She's addicted to honesty and believes grief is the avenue to wholeness. Natalie is a bookworm, a speaker, and a lover of fall. Connect with her at NatalieBrennerWrites.com and join her email community.


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