Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Great Children’s Adoption Books

When I Met You- A Story of Russian Adoption by Adrienne Ehlert Bashista
Of course I am going to love this story of a little girl adopted from Russia because it is my dream story. It is a treasure for parents who have adopted from Eastern Europe and for all adoptive parents who want to share a story that illustrates the beauty of international adoption. The book is simple to understand even for a small child, but interesting enough for an older child. The pictures and words are comforting and moving. It gently tells the story of a child transitioning from an orphanage setting to a family setting. It shows how the child has grown and blossomed from the love of her family. You feel the joy of the parents welcoming her into their home and hearts. It also ties in the value and importance of the child’s culture and beginnings. At the end of the book there is a fun little activity where the child can find images (such as a butterfly) that were in the story and say the word in English and Russian. This book is a must have. It will be treasured for many years by this family. Big thumbs up for this one.
Tip: It is on sale here

Mommy Far, Mommy Near by Carol Antoinette Peacock
This is the type of book to check out at the library. It is too long to read over and over, but worth a look. The book starts out great. It describes a young girl adopted from China. The story is told by the child. She describes herself in a positive way. Her high self-esteem shines through. She describes the times she spends with her mom looking at her life book and doing some attachment activities. She also explains in a comforting way about how she came into the family. She pretends to talk to her birth mom on the phone and tells her how happy she is in her new home and with her new family. The only thing I didn’t like about it is that it states the reason the child was put up for adoption was because China made a rule that each family could only have one child. Her mother couldn’t keep her because she already had a child. She wanted to, but was not allowed. The only problem with this is since there isn’t an equivalent “rule” in other countries it might make your child feel like the birth parents could have kept him or her and they might consequently feel sad. However, the book has some really good parts. Perhaps a reader could just skip over the parts that don't fit or change it slightly. A really cute part is when the girl adopts her own babies (stuffed animals). It also deals with racial differences within the family in an understanding way.

A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza
The thing I like about this book is that even though Choco is a boy bird, the fact that he is a bird makes the story seem genderless, so it is automatically appealing to boys and girls. This is a good book for kids who are feeling like they don’t quite fit in to their new family based on appearance. The book starts off as he starts walking around looking for a mother (he seems to have lost his). He tries to find a mother that has at least one characteristic trait as him (i.e. we are both yellow). However, he ends up with Mrs. Bear as his new mother who doesn’t have any physical characteristics as him. Mrs. Bear has one thing the others don’t: she loves Choco. The two spend some fun times together. When Mrs. Bear brings Choco home for the first time he finds that she has other children as well, all of which are different (a hippo, piggy and alligator). Despite these differences they all love each other very much. I think all kids could benefit from this book with its teachings of love and acceptance of differences.

I Love You Like Crazy Cakes by Rose Lewis
I like how this book starts out “Once upon a time…” like a fairy tale. The book flows well and presents a clear message. It is easy to understand and says a lot in a few words. Unlike When I Met You and Mommy Far, Mommy Near that show young children as their main subject (while looking back over their lives), this book shows the child as an older infant the whole time. This may or may not appeal to you. The story takes you through the whole international adoption process (China) in an abbreviated manner with carefully chosen, thoughtful words. It is tender without being mushy. The illustrations are wonderful and I especially like the Chinese character for love on the last page. No matter where you are adopting from, this book shows the basic process and love of an adoptive family. This book is a keeper.

I am going to add these reviews to my main Adoption Book Review page, so you can find them there as well. I am working on reading a bunch of new adoption books for adults. I am not a fast reader, so it is taking me longer than I wanted- but I will post that review as soon as I finish. I will add more children’s adoption books as I get more. Please recommend your favorites.

There has been a lot of discussion on one of the Russian adoption boards about how often you should speak to your child about their adoption story and how often you should read stories about adoption, etc. Some say it should be a nightly story, some say it should be done once or twice, some say it should be done whenever questions arise. Some argue that they don't spend a lot of time discussing the birth story of their biological kids, so why should they spend a lot of time talking about the adoption story. However, most everyone agrees that the adoption subject should be discussed soon after arriving home. What do you think?


Blogger 6blessings said...
I have looked at a few of these books too. We have 2 adoption books. "Shaoey and Dot" by Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman was given to us at Christmas from my SIL. It is about Chinese adoption and is about a baby, but is really cute. She gave it to us when we were getting younger children.

The other book we have is for brothers and sisters of international adoption. It is called "Seeds of Love" by Mary E. Petertyl. It deals with the emotions the children have that are left behind while mom and dad travel to get or visit the new brother or sister. They plant seeds before mom and dad leave. While they are gone they are watered every day. They watch for them to grow. When they start growing it means it is time for mom and dad to come home. It really addresses a lot of the fears that the siblings have while they are separated from the parents. We actually did the seed thing on our first trip. However, it was so short our sprouts didn't come up until after we were back home. The second trip will be much longer. Maybe we'll try again. My kids love this book.

Blogger Elle said...
I think discussing adoption with your children is a case by case kind of thing. Some children have more questions and sometimes it depends on their background. Like if they knew their birth family or not. Personally I wouldn't make it a nightly thing. To me that is part of the whole making them feel different/ special kind of thing. Explaining to them where they came from and that children come to families in all kinds of ways will be my personal approach (hopefully.)

Blogger Debbie said...
I to think it shouldn't be nightly but as often as they want to hear it. And I am sure that I will try to re-tell it to them on their birthday each year or on their Adoption Day.
I am trying to make a Life Book. I plan to look through the book with our child once we get settled in and then whenever they want I suppose.
Once they are old enough to look through it on their own they can have it in their room and I hope that will open up converstations to any questions they may have. The story of the adoption is not only that but it is a way to talk about their heritage as well. We really want to try to keep Russia alive in our family.

I just found a couple of books for father's parenting toddlers. I thought I might get one for Dave.
"Be Prepared" - "Fathering Your Toddler" - "The Toddler Owner's Manual" - "Crouching Father, Hidden Toddler"
Personally I think the last one would be funny. But I haven't looked at any reviews on these.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Adopting my daughter has been such an incredible joy after waiting sooo long....that I can hardly talk about it to her without getting all weepy. So....I did start blathering about it sometimes at night while rocking her and she was too young to understand. This has helped me get comfortable with talking about it story. Now she is 2.5 and I do talk about it now sometimes as a bedtime story. I like what Elle said about not singling the child out.

Love your reading list. I have the "When I met you" book. At first I felt sort of blah about it, but I've warmed up to it. Have you read Boyra and the burps yet? For some reason I love that book.

Blogger Margaret said...
I just don't think adoption has to be a big "let's sit down and have a Hallmark moment" talk. It just is a fact of how the family was brought together. I think if it's always kept open and on the table, and the child knows they can ask questions, then it's all good.

I have a Life Book that I made for Peanut. I do think that's a good idea.

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