Monday, July 18, 2011

Two good children's books about adoption

Our public library is one of our favorite places to spend a hot summer afternoon. On a recent trip, we checked out two children's books that I thought other adoptive friends might be interested in.

Bringing Asha Home is an excellent book we've checked out before -- but Anya Rashi was only two at the time, and it didn't resonate as much for her then. Now, two years into our second adoption, it has definitely "clicked" for her.

In the book, a family waits to adopt a daughter from India. The book is told from the point of view of the older brother, and includes good descriptions of the excitement and frustration he experiences. The book also explains the holiday Raksha Bandan, or Rakhi Day, an Indian celebration of the bonds between brothers and sisters (which falls on August 13 this year). It's an especially helpful book for adoptive families with older siblings, because it gives a voice to the feelings a child might have througout the process.

The title of the second book caught my eye right away! You're Not My REAL Mother! is the big cahuna that many of us adoptive parents dread hearing someday. Full discolosure: I didn't actually read this book to Anya Rashi.

It's actually a good children's book -- it voices real feelings that adopted children sometimes have. In the book, the daughter is upset, and lashes out at her mother. The mother gives a good explanation of a birth mother and her own role, and calmly asks the daughter about what a "real" mother does. They go on to share a heartwarming list of the daily tasks we do for our kids. By the end of the book, the daughter is folded in her mother's arms, agreeing that she is in fact, her "real" mother.

So why not read this book to my daughter? I know she will have more questions someday about her birth parents, and she may resent us or wonder about how her life might have been different with them . . . but I don't want to plant those things in her mind before she's thinking them. And it may never occur to her to think of that particular line about "real" parents on her own. Every child is different, and at this point, I didn't want to suggest something to her that she's not already thinking.

I am, however, very glad that I discovered this book. From other parents, I've heard stories of tearful kids coming home from school after their classmates tell them "Those aren't your real parents." This book will be a great reassurance that we are, in fact, her real parents -- and sometimes seeing something in print helps kids by providing an outside affirmation of what their parents say. With Anya Rashi starting pre-school this year, it's good to be prepared in case any of her classmates bring up the topic of "real" parents.

What do you think about reading this book to a 4-year-old? Have you found any other good children's books dealing with adoption?


Julie & Patrick said...

Nancy, you bring up really good points here. I, for one, follow your school of thought in not planting those seeds. Dev comes up with enough other issues all on her own. Recently, she has mentioned that she thinks she should live in India because all of her baby friends and ayahs must miss her and then followed that with the question did she miss them? She also equates the day we were united with the day she was born and has asked why her birth mother did not live with her at ISRC until we came for her? Those are tough enough questions why stir the pot more? We love Bringing Asha Home, however. It is read often! Thanks for the reading tips!

Leveta said...

Thanks for the suggestions on the books. We will have to see if our library has them.Do you know what I think is interesting. Kaitrin is 12 and has never ask one question or made a comment abour her birthday. I mean we have talked about the process from day one and on her birthday we watch the videos of her before she came home but she has never ask any questions. I have to wonder as she grows older if she will....

So there I guess I agree with you all about not planting the seeds..Let her come up with it on her own. I love Devi's comments.What a very insighful sweet girl you have.

The Labontes said...

Nancy, I agree as well. Our boys are only 7 months apart, but think of things so differently. Max asks about his "India Family" constantly, with more and more complex thoughts and feelings. Mason never seems to give it a thought. They are little, and I think that these issues will wax and wane with them over time. We just need to follow their lead.

Candice said...

I agree with you about not bringing up the negative before it comes! :) Thanks for sharing these 2 books. I will definitely check them out! This was a great idea. I will have to post some of my favorites on my blog.

We have our "Micah's Story" book that we made for him and he reads it all the time! A couple other adoption books we like are...
1. Shaoey and Dot by Mary Beth Chapman
2. God Found Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren
3. A Family for Jamie by Suzanne Bloom
4. I is for India by Prodeepta Das (just a fun book about India)

The Pfeiffer Family said...

We read Bringing Asha Home to the boys while we were waiting for Alesha. I will have to check out the other book. I agree with you on not planting any thoughts in our children's hearts and minds and wait until the questions come. I am already praying that God will give me the words and the wisdom to answer Alesha's questions as they arise.

April :-)

Building Bridges to Orphans said...

Wow...such great books and comments from other moms! I have been out of blog world this summer and thinking of you! Any news? How do the new CARA guildlines affect you? I looked at the new CARA website (just curious...NOT thinking of adopting again :) and thought it LOOKS like it will be a good thing! Blessings, Jenny