Monday, November 15, 2010

Picturing Adoption through Adoption Picture Books

November is National Adoption Month. We think adoption is very important, since Logan's cousins are adopted, and he LOVES his cousins. (I'm sure Tyson does too. He's just too young to ask me 5,000 times a day, "What Nick doing? What Alex doing?" like Logan does.)  Last week, I had my sister guest post her adoption story, so if you want to read about Nick and Alex, go here.
This week,  I want to share some adoption picture book reviews.

A Quilt of WishesA Quilt of Wishes by Teresa Orem Werner
This is the story of an adoptive mother who is waiting to meet her daughter in China. While she waits, she creates a quilt out of some of her old baby clothes. She sends the quilt to her daughter's orphanage. When she arrives to get her daughter, the quilt is much larger. She learns that in China, the people make a quilt of 100 squares which represent 100 good wishes. The women from the area, had added their good wishes to her quilt.
I think this is a good story for adoptive children.It shows them that they were lovingly cared for before they were adopted, hopefully, and even if that is not the case, they were loved and prayed for and waited for by their adoptive family-- even before they met them.
While this is a great book for waiting parents, I'm not sure it would be extremely engaging for kids. There is a lot of text on each page and they might not exactly follow the story. It might be best for older children.
I remember when my sister and brother in law announced to us that they were beginning the process of adoption.  Christmas was just a few weeks away, and I knew I wanted to do something special to celebrate Julie's impending motherhood. I found this book and started making a quilt for "Rylie" (at the time, Julie and Ryan planned to get a baby girl from China and name her Rylie. Their story took a different turn later.)
I collected scraps of fabric from around my mom's house. I found scraps from Julie's wedding dress, scraps from our old sleeping bags that we had as kids, I even found some football fabrics to represent Julie's husband, Ryan. My mom helped me to quilt the squares into a baby quilt. I just love the idea of creating a quilt that represents all of the people who are anticipating a child's arrival.

Shaoey and Dot: Bug Meets Bundle (Shaoey & Dot)Shaoey and Dot: Bug Meets Bundle by Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman In this story, a ladybug "finds" an abandoned Chinese baby and accompanies her on her journey to the orphanage and finally to meet her family.
I thought this was one of the most "child-friendly" of the adoption books I read. Logan was interested in reading it because it had a cute little bug and a giant airplane on the last page.  Of course, this is a story of international adoption-- specifically China adoptions. It might not be fitting for other families who are adopting, even internationally. Not all children have to be abandonded, but this a reality that children who are adopted from China have to face. I think this book gives them a positive way to view and deal with their past.

Welcome Home, Forever Child: A Celebration of Children Adopted as Toddlers, Preschoolers, and BeyondWelcome Home, Forever Child by Christine Mitchell
While many adoption books, deal with the aspect of being adopted as an infant, this is a book designed specifically for children who are adopted when they are older. This book talks about how the parents and the child may have missed out on watching their child crawl the first time or hearing their child's first word, but the parents will be there for many firsts. The parents promise to be there the first time their child goes camping and to the zoo. They promise to be there when their child goes to middle school. They promise to be there when their child graduates and when he gets married. They promise to be there forever.
This is a wonderfully rhymed book with great text layout. I can tell it is a favorite of my sister's boys because the cover is worn. The "family" in the story are cartoon cats so it would be appropriate regardless of race.

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was BornTell Me Again About the Night I was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis
I have to admit, I picked up this book at the library because I really like Jamie Lee Curtis children's books. Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born is the story of a domestic adoption. The parents get a call in the middle of the night, rush to the airport, to fly to the hospital and see their baby born. While this isn't everyone's adoption story, I found that it is a good overview of adoption. In fact, when my kids start asking questions about adoption, I think this is one I will read to them. I read a few reviews that said this book addresses the "sunny side of adoption." And I have to say, I think that is great. There are other books that can go deeper into the emotions and questions of adoption. But this is a book that is reassuring. It's a book that will plant into your child's head, it's ok to be adopted... whether your child is adopted or whether your child is learning what adoption is. I think it's a good book for kids to realize adoption is just another way of becoming a family. Plus, the questions in the book, are some of the same ones I hear my nephews asking. They want to know the "important stuff" like, "What songs did you sing to me?"

I'm linking this up to Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns

Ps. Later this week, my sister, Julie, will be sharing a very cool writing activity that helps adopted children reflect on their experiences. I'm really working my sister hard these days!


  1. Thanks for joining WMCIR and sharing your sister's story and adoption books. I admire families that adopt children in need, especially children with special needs. Anna's best friend is adopted by a gay couple, and so she knows that some parents don't just give birth to their child. Tango Makes Three is a wonderful book that talks about this special kind of adoption.

  2. These all look like great books. I'll be looking for these at our next library trip. My children have asked about adoption. We've talked about it a little. These books seems like a wonderful way to learn and explore the feelings of adopted children and parents who adopt.
    I'm sharing this post in a few places today. Happy National Adoption Month!

  3. Thanks for all this information, Jackie. I have an adopted daughter from Korea and you are right on! Thanks for sharing. Carolyn