Hey! I am wanting to get my baby girl some books about adoption for Christmas. Any ideas?
Purchasing books and having them in your home is a wonderful idea, because it allows the adoptee to have access to the books at all times, exploring them at his or her own pace and being able to come back to the books time and time again.
For certain, a child is never too young to be introduced to adoption vocabulary. Likewise, it’s critical that adoptive parents begin to practice talking about adoption with their children. It’s also important for children to know, from the get-go, that their parents are open and honest about adoption. The parent’s willingness to talk about adoption in general and more specifically, the adoptee’s adoption story, creates an environment where the adoptee feels safe, secure, and loved. (For more on these concepts, read Sherrie Eldridge’s book Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Parents Knew.)
First, I suggest creating a personalized book for your child that talks about the child’s adoption story. You can easily do this on a website like Shutterfly. (It’s also nice to be able to save the book to your online account, should anything ever happen to the hardcopy that you purchase.) You can talk about waiting for your child, share information about the birth family, and of course, include plenty of photos ranging from the room you prepared for the child, relatives holding the new baby, birth family photographs, etc.
There are many children’s books on adoption on the market; however, I would caution you that not all will be appropriate for your family’s situation or your personal beliefs about adoption. So, I highly recommend that before you add books to your child’s book collection, that you carefully screen them. You may do this by ordering the books from your local library system. Another option is to check out the “Look Inside” book feature on websites like Amazon, where you can see a sampling of pages.
Our family owns many adoption-themed books, and they are amongst our large book collection. Each night at bedtime, our oldest two children take turns selecting one book to read. Sometimes they choose an adoption book, and sometimes they do not. We leave it up to them. They do enjoy reading each other’s personalized adoption photo books. As your daughter gets older, it’s fine to occasionally select an adoption-themed book and initiate adoption discussions with her.
Here are some of our family’s favorite adoption-themed books:
- A Mother for Choco (Keiko Kasza)
- Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale (Karen Katz)
- My Family Is Forever (Nancy Carlson)
- The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy Tale (Grace Yin)
- Penguin and Pinecone (Salina Yoon)
- It’s Ok To Be Different (Todd Parr)
- Star of the Week: A Story of Love, Adoption, and Brownies with Sprinkles (Darlene Friedman)
- Mommy’s Heart Went POP! (Christina Kyllonen and Peter Greer)
There are also several popular films and television shows featuring adoption. Some of our favorites for children include:
- Pollyanna (Or Polly or Along Came Polly)
(For a comprehensive list of adoption resources for both parents and kids, you can visit my blog’s resource page here.)
Now, many young children enjoy these books and films without drawing a connection between the storyline and their own adoption. As the child gets older, films and books can serve as springboards for adoption discussions. Again, the important thing is to incorporate adoption resources into your home so that the child learns that it’s healthy to discuss adoption. Establishing a pattern of openness in your household will help you navigate adoption challenges and joys for many years to come.