Books for Kids - Talking with Kids about Birthparents
We See the Moon by Carrie Kitze (4-8). Wonderful book to open the birthparent and adoption dialog between parent and child. This is a story written from the child's perspective, asking the questions that dwell in their hearts about their birthparents. What do you look like? Where are you now? Do you think of me? It will help children use the moon as a private tool to connect with a family that is always with them in their hearts.
Did My First Mother Love Me?: A Story for an Adopted Child by Kathryn Miller (4-8). Even though Morgan knows all about her adoption, the preschooler sometimes wonders about her "other mother." When she asks, "Did my first mother love me?" her mother reads the letter her birthmother wrote to her. It relates the woman's wishes to be the one to give her child a safe and happy home, but acknowledges sadly that this is not possible.
- The Best for You by Kelsey Stewart (4-8). Written from the perspective of a birth mother explain that adoption is about love for the child, not that the child was not wanted. She tells what she was thinking when she decided to adopt.
- Never Never Never Will She Stop Loving You (4-8) by Jolene Durrant. This revised edition combines the original children's book with an eight page guide for adults, including adoptive parents, birth parents, and the general public. Written by an adoptive parent, this true story lovingly connects birth mom and child while stressing the importance of the adoptive parents. "...Wherever you are Annie's Child, she loved you before you were born. She loves you now. Never, never, never will she stop loving you."
- Where are My Birth Parents: A Guide for Teenage Adoptees, by K. Gravelle & S. Fischer (13-18). A book about the logistical and emotional issues involved with searching for your birth parents. Includes a discussion of adoption reunions in international adoption. This book seems to focus more than I would want on the possibility of hurting the adoptive parents feelings by wanting to search. I certainly hope we are getting past that sentiment.
Pieces of Me: Who do I Want to Be by Robert L. Ballard. One of my pet peeves is that many discussions about adoption and adoptees box the adoption experience by "alls" and "shoulds". All adoptees are ________ (take your pick: angry, happy, sad, confused). All adoptees should ________ (feel grateful, want to search for birth families, need therapy). Pieces of Me: Who Do I Want to Be avoids that trap by including essays by adoptees that reflect the diversity of reality. Some adoptees are angry, some are content, some are confused, some need to search, and on and on. If being used with younger teens, I would suggest that parents read the essays with their teen.
All About Adoption: How to Deal with the Questions of Your Past by Anne Lanchon (12-18). Written in an informal, conversational style with carton animations. Deals with all issues of being an adopted teen, including fear of abandonment, racist comments, and discussing birth parents with adoptive parents. Adopted teens do have "an extra layer to deal with," Lanchon asserts, but many of their family situations and problems are "normal" for most young people. One message is that being adopted is not the cause of life's every disappointment. "When all is said and done, you're no weirder than anyone else. You're adopted, your friends aren't, so what?" Important note: It was originally written in French and the translation uses some outdated adoption language such as “natural parents” and “given away”.
Three Names of Me by Mary Cummings (8-11) This is a sweet story told from the perspective of a girl adopted from China. The title derives from her explanation of why she has three names (one unknown from her birth parents, one from the orphanage, and one from her parents). The emphasis in on the love between parent and child, but it also addresses the love between birth mother/first mother and child.
Mommy Far, Mommy Near: An Adoption Story by Carol Peacock (ages 3-8). Great conversation starter to talk about birth mothers.
I Wish for You a Beautiful Life: Letters from the Korean Birth Mothers of Ae Ran Won to Their Children edited by Sara Dorow.