What does adopted mean?
A young child's guide to adoption
By Edith Nicholls

Under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, all adoption agencies should provide adopted children and children with a best interest decision of adoption with a guide to adoption.

This unique, illustrated, interactive guide is for professionals and adoptive parents to provide information and explanation of why some children are unable to live with their birth families and the legal complexities of the process to adoption. It is aimed at:
  • children under the age of 8
  • older children with learning difficulties or conceptualisation problems.

  • It is child friendly and uses age appropriate language to explain the complexities of the reasons for their separation from birth families and the decision for them to be adopted. It also encourages children to question, seek answers and reveal their wishes and feelings.

    A cartoon character guides the child through various stages and talks with the child through the text. This character is a child who has been through the process of being looked after in temporary care, being placed for adoption and then adopted. His own experience uses a combination of a number of true case studies in order to offer a wide spectrum of likely experiences, feelings and scenarios, and thereby to highlight significant issues.

    This book can be fun as well as helpful with what children most want to know and what most concerns them. It helps children escape from feelings of blame and guilt, and includes what the author calls "a kind of reward section for the child with lots of praise". Adults who have to undertake the difficult task of explaining adoption matters to children will find the book surprisingly easy to use in the way in which it simplifies 'the telling' without diminishing it's importance.

    Large format wiro. 80 pages. 978-1-903855-73-7. Published 2005. £15.95.

    Discounts are available on bulk orders - please call for details.


    All adoption agencies and adoptive parents seeking assistance in 'the telling stage' for children under the age of 8. As the guide does not stipulate an age group within the text for children, it could be used with children of any age, as workers feel appropriate, for example with older children with moderate learning difficulties or problems relating to conceptualisation.


    Edith Nicholls
    is an Adoption Support Social Worker with a local authority. She has over 24 years social work experience and has worked in education, generic social work, child protection and finally specialising in the field of Adoption and Fostering.

    She is the creator of the New Life Work Model, a new and innovative model for practice that meets the life work needs of all children separated from their birth families. The model is the first definitive model for practice in the area of life work.

    Guidelines for workers (removable before the book is given to a child)
    We look at the meaning of the words adopted and adoption
    We look at what it means to be a parent
    We look at the reasons for things
    We find out about Court, Judges and Guardians
    I tell you what happened to me
    We talk about information and experts
    Your feelings and questions
    We talk about the Judge's decisions and finding you a new family
    Answering some questions about meeting your new family
    The Mega-Adoption Quiz
    Your cool and uncool list about adoption
    About finding out more and getting help
    For your notes and thoughts
    Goodbye, and a poem


    "The idea behind this book is excellent. It is designed to help younger children who have been adopted or are facing adoption to understand their situation and come to terms with itů.everything which needs to be covered is included. The book is written simply and directly in language a child should be able to readily understand. The lay-out is clear and the design work is good. We can therefore recommend the book as well suited to its purpose." Children Webmag.

    "It is good to have books to explain adoption because it makes it easier to start talking about it." Community Care.