As a foster parent, you know you can never have too many tools in your tool belt.

Parenting is hard enough. But being a foster parent? Well, that’s a whole can of worms that can take a completely different approach.

Caring for a child that’s been through abuse, neglect, or sexual trauma can be downright overwhelming.

Every child that comes into our care has their own set of needs. And it’s clear that no two placements are alike. We as foster parents have to know how to meet those needs almost from the first day they enter our home.

I don’t know about you, but that can feel like an enormous responsibility for me as a foster parent.

The best way to prepare yourself for a new placement is to have a go-to set of books and resources. These resources can provide you with the answers you need in real-time.

But it’s also important to have people you can reach out to for guidance and insight.

City Ministries is a foster agency in the greater Seattle area. They provide you with support, tools, training, and specialists for your foster child. Contact them today if you want to get licensed with a Child Placement Agency for additional support while you foster.

It’s no good to attend a workshop months ago if you can’t recall the information when it’s needed. Give yourself and your foster child the best placement possible. Have an informative, valuable, and useful set of books on hand.

17 books every foster parent needs to have

It doesn’t matter if you’re a new or a seasoned foster parent. These 17 books are sure to encourage and guide you to care for every child that enters your home.

1. Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison

Who better to give foster parent advice than a foster parent herself? Kathy and her husband have cared for over 100 troubled teenagers as foster parents.

Another Place at the Table tells the true story of three children placed in Harrison’s home, only to nearly destroy it. If you’re feeling like you’re alone in the trenches of foster parenting, read Harrison’s story. Renew your perspective and motivation for caring for troubled and hurt children.

2. ReFraming Foster Care by Jason Johnson

Every foster child comes with their own complex set of circumstances and experiences. Often we as foster parents can’t even relate to what these kids go through. How do we help a child heal from such trauma when we have no clue what their pain feels like?

ReFraming Foster Care is a set of Christ-centered stories about foster parenting. Each story provides hope and encouragement. Reminding you that your efforts are worthwhile.

3. The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis

If adoption is in your future, The Connected Child is a great read. Dr. Purvis shares how to support children affected by adoption and foster care. Learn how to build stronger relationships with your foster and adopted children.

Adoption comes with its own set of challenges and joys. Empower your family and read this book before you adopt so you survive and thrive in the process.

4. Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge

There’s no exact formula or blueprint for parenting. But, Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew might be as close as you’ll get to one. An adoptee herself, Eldridge opens her heart and talks with parents looking into adoption or foster care.

Your adopted child might struggle with topics unfamiliar to you. This could include needing to “know the truth about my conception and birth regardless how painful the details may be.” Prepare yourself for those challenging conversations before they even come up.

5. Born Broken: An Adoptive Journey by Kristin Berry

Born Broken shares one family’s story about raising an adopted child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). He also suffered severe brain damage from alcohol while in utero.

Gain understanding and hope if you’re raising a child with FASD as Kristin shares her highs and lows. She opens up about her own struggles with isolation and depression.

6. Ready or Not: 30 Days of Discovery For Foster & Adoptive Parents by Pam Parish

The journey of foster care and adoption can be one of the most intimidating paths you can make. Ready or Not: 30 Days of Discovery will challenge, motivate, and provide hope along the path.

Parish paints a realistic picture of what you can expect when fostering and adopting. She also uses scripture to equip parents for the journey ahead as they learn to raise a child from trauma.

7. Welcome to the Roller Coaster by DD Foster

We all know it takes a village to raise a child. A village of fourteen foster moms came together to share their stories of raising foster kids.

Welcome to the Roller Coaster will inspire you on your journey of foster care. These moms open up and reveal their joys and struggles with fostering a combined total of over one hundred and thirty-five kids.

8. Foster Parenting 101 by Dr. John DeGarmo

It’s hard to care for anyone when you’re struggling to care for yourself. A child with behavior issues, learning disabilities, and emotional struggles can get the best of even the most experienced foster parent. Burnout and exhaustion are often the results.

Foster Parenting 101 touches on some overlooked risks when a foster child enters your home. These can include implications and investigations. Dr. DeGarmo shares how to best protect yourself and your family from some of these risks, as well as avoiding burnout.

Check out Dr. DeGarmo’s complete list of books1 for foster parents.

9. Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay

If you’re struggling to find a parenting style that works for you and your child, consider Parenting with Love and Logic. This kind of parenting teaches children about consequences and accountability.

Some call this kind of parenting “tough love”. And while it might not be for everyone, it’s worth the read. Cline and Fay encourage parents to raise their children with an understanding of personal responsibility.

10. The Foster Parenting Toolbox by Kim Phagan-Hansel

If you only buy one book on this list, The Foster Parenting Toolbox should be it. This comprehensive 465-page guide covers all topics related to foster care.

Over 100 foster parents, case workers, social workers, and judges contribute their insight. Topics covered include everything from newborns to teens and all that comes with it.

11. Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches by Russell Moore

This book reminds us the very heart of Christianity believes God has adopted sinful people into his family. And because of this, Moore believes we as Christians need to do the same.

Adopted for Life stands firm on the belief that adoption isn’t just for couples wanting children. Rather, it’s part of the Great Commission. We as believers should embrace and help other families do the same.

12. Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

Get a better understanding of the foster care system from someone who lived it out. Ashley Rhodes-Courter tells her story of growing up in the system as a child. She spent nine years living in fourteen different foster homes.

In her memoir, Ashley writes about growing up in the system. She opens up about the pain and humiliation she felt from an abusive foster family. Unlike so many stories we hear, this one ends with a happy ending. Ashley finds her own courage to succeed in spite of her obstacles.

13. A Child’s Journey Through Placement by Vera Fahlberg, MD

It’s no surprise that children do best in a stable and supportive environment. So it’s also not a surprise that a child in the foster care system comes from a home lacking in these necessities.

A Child’s Journey Through Placement gives foster parents and caregivers an understanding of how to help a child through the trauma of transitioning between their home and a foster home. Many of these children struggle with attachment issues. This book addresses how you can best support a child during this time.

14. Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today’s Parents by Deborah Gray

If you or someone you know is looking into adopting, Attaching in Adoption is a great read. You’ll learn about the importance of attachment and how trauma can affect a child’s attachment ability. With this inability, emotional development is also delayed.

Deborah Gray provides checklists at the end of each chapter. A great tool to assess how your child is doing throughout each stage of development.

15. Adopting The Older Child by Claudia L. Jewett

The title of this book might make it obvious to its intended audience. But it should also be on your resource list if you’ve adopted a young child and now that child is a teenager. As with most traumatic events in life, they have a way of showing up years later.

Adopting The Older Child explores topics and issues arising from adopting an older child rather than an infant or toddler. Have realistic expectations when it comes to adopting an older child with the help of this book.

16. The Children Money Can Buy: Stories from the Frontlines of Foster Care and Adoption by Anne Moody

While adoption and foster care are full of rewards, they don’t come without some heartache. The Children Money Can Buy explains the system, how it works, and how it can be better.

Gain an understanding of how foster care and adoption have changed over the last few decades. Moody shares real-life stories of those involved in foster care and the system.

17. Siblings in Adoption and Foster Care: Traumatic Separations and Honored Connections by Deborah N. Silverstein and Susan Livingston Smith

Sibling relationships are possibly the longest relationship we can have. These relationships are beneficial and give us a sense of consistency in life.

Siblings in Adoption and Foster Care looks at the effects of sibling separation. Adoptees share their personal views on the importance of maintaining sibling bonds. Both while in foster care and throughout the adoption process.

We will never have all the answers when it comes to parenting a foster child. But we can equip ourselves with the right information, tools, and resources.

Fostering with an agency gives you immediate access and guidance to valuable resources. If you’re interested in becoming licensed as a foster parent and would like to learn more about City Ministries please e-mail 

We’re here to support you as you care for, love, and raise a vulnerable group of children.

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