First Adoption Talk With Our Toddler

Adoption-Magnitude

Last night I had my first honest-to-goodness talk with our oldest about his adoption and how he has two families. He’s still a toddler, so he didn’t care much (or probably grasp any of it) but they say it’s good to talk with them early so #1 you never have to have The Talk with them because there was never a time they didn’t know and #2 you get to practice and mess up before they can really understand and #3 you get to fortify your heart to explain why they are not living with the family they should be, at least biologically.

I was able to eek out a few sentences then I almost started crying. Having to share with another family AND tell them about it is going to be hard but I have to imagine how hard it will be for them to LIVE it. Ahhhhh … good times. #Adoption

TWO Books on Same-Race Adoption

Portrait of Smiling Family on Steps

Yay!

I just found out about two books on same-race adoption:

Click the image to go to the book's Amazon page.

Click the image to go to the book’s Amazon page.

In a heartwarming intergenerational story, Pablo cannot wait to visit his grandfather and discover what treasures will be placed on his tree, a tree that was purchased when Pablo was adopted and that, each year, is decorated with special surprises.

From Pat Mora’s website:

“Five-year-old Pablo can hardly wait to see how Abuelito, his grandfather, has decorated Pablo’s tree for his birthday. When Mamá first told her father that she was going to adopt a baby … Lito went out and bought the tree for his grandson … A lovely and resonant picture book that, like the tree that Pablo discovers decked with bells and wind chimes, rings with happiness and family love.”—Booklist

“This is a warm and gentle story, the tree-surprise aspect gives the tale a pleasing sparkle, and the characters provide a nice complement to all the WASP-y, Norman Rockwell families in adoption books—the family is Latino, and mom is a single parent.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Click the image to visit the book's page on Amazon.com.

Click the image to visit the book’s page on Amazon.com.

Read the review from Adoptive Families here

Then the girl begins to ask questions about her adoption. “Another mommy first kissed your cheeks and touched your soft brown hair. Another mommy loved you and left you to our care,” explains the mother. By the story’s end, the girl is ready for bed. (Readers will spot the ballet skirt she was wearing earlier hanging over the back of a chair.) She speculates about names her birthmother might once have called her, and concludes: “Oh, I know, Mama, I bet she called me Sugar Plum!”

Read the whole review from About.com here

The story begins with an African American mother and daughter having a conversation; a conversation that is shown through the artwork to continue throughout the course of the afternoon and into the evening. The daughter asks the mother to tell her about her grandma, about the garden she grew and the service she offered to others. She then asked about the sweet nicknames grandma had for her mother when she was growing up. It is then that the daughter asks if she grew in her mother’s tummy, which the adoptive mom tells her the story about the day she joined their family.

The story does not have a strong adoption theme, and is not really mentioned until later in the book. I think this strengthens the book as it mirrors real family life; the topic of adoption often just naturally flows in a family. It’s also a reality that questions about birth family can arise at any time, especially bedtime, as it does in I Bet She Called Me Sugar Plum.

This children’s book is an awesome choice for adoptive families. It demonstrates the strong family relationship, not only between mother and daughter, but with the heritage of the women in the family. It also shows how this adoptive mother was able to pass that heritage on to her daughter. There is a strong sense of connection and family in this beautiful children’s book, a connection that is felt between generations.

I also enjoy the fact that there is a sense of realism within the adoption aspect of the story; in the fact that the little girl was allowed to day dream a bit about her birth mother when she asked adoptive mom what nickname her birth mother may have had for her when she was born. The adoptive mother was not intimidated by this, but allowed the little girl to ponder the thought before deciding that her birth mother must have called her sugar plum.

 

 

Chimamanda Adichie on Perspective and Stereotypes

Chimamanda Adichie talks about her experience stereotyping other Nigerians and her experiences being stereotyped as an “African” when she came to the United States.

I came across this TED Talk on an adoption board I visit frequently and I thought I would share it.

 

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

About Chimamanda Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie(born September 15, 1977) is a Nigerian writer.

Born in the town of Enugu, she grew up in the university town of Nsukka in southeastern Nigeria, where the University of Nigeria is situated. While she was growing up, her father was a professor of statistics at the university, and her mother was the university registrar.

Adichie studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. During this period, she edited The Compass, a magazine run by the university’s Catholic medical students. At the age of 19, Adichie left Nigeria and moved to the United States for college. After studying communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, she transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University to live closer to her sister, who had a medical practice in Coventry. She received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2001.

In 2003, she completed a master’s degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University. In 2008, she received a Master of Arts in African studies from Yale University.

Adichie was a Hodder fellow at Princeton University during the 2005-2006 academic year. In 2008 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She has also been awarded a 2011-2012 fellowship by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

Visit her on her website