As with most people, family is at the top of my Thankful List. Each family has its own story – our just happens to include adoption. November is National Adoption Month and I’ve been thinking about how adoption not only changed our lives but opened the world up to us.
My husband and I planned to have four children – two by birth and then two through international adoption. God had other plans. Our first born, Lauren, blessed our lives tremendously.
Unfortunately, I suffered through three mid-trimester miscarriages. We began our home study and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, we learned about special needs adoption and switched agencies. We knew that if we gave birth to a child with special needs we would love and care for that child. We could do the same for an adopted child. I went to an informational meeting and, because we had a completed home study, we were called the next day with information about a little girl. Yes!!!! I am not going to gloss over the difficulties we went through to bring her home. I’ll just say that the INS lost my fingerprints three times.
Lauren and Mee Mee meeting in S. Korea.Dr. Cho is behind them.
A year and a half later, we welcomed our son home after dealing with more immigration problems which included his Korean passport expiring.
Meeting Gregory at the San Francisco Airport
And, another year and a half later, I was able to carry a daughter to term and our family was complete with four children – each a miracle.
We realized, however, how many children live without permanent families. We have tried over the years to do what we could to help enable more children to be placed into loving families. I would like to share some of this journey over the next week as we thank God for our family while knowing that there are many children who still need families.
As an adoptive mom, children’s librarian, and teacher, I am always on the lookout for good books dealing with adoption and mixed race families.
All children love to hear “their” story. With our adoptive children, we don’t have many details but the facts we do have form a narrative of love. My children were always excited about books that showed families like ours with mixed raced family members. When seeking out books for children, I am always on the lookout for books that show and celebrate diversity.
Waiting for May by Janet Morgan Stoeke tells the story of a young boy who is waiting for his baby sister who was born in China. The process of adoption and the reasons for a child to need an adoptive family are gently explained as the mother answers her son’s questions. The son participates in all aspects of the adoption process, including the travel to China. When they meet the 15 month old May, it is her new brother who gets her to smile. The author tells of her own family’s adoption experience and explains the tradition of the 100 Good Wishes Quilt sewn with red thread signifying the connection of those destined to be together.
Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies by Ann Turner (author) and James Graham Hale (illustrator) begins with a young Asian boy who says to his mother, “Let me tell the story this time, Momma.” The boy recounts the pictures he received from his future family and of his journey to his new home. He recounts his fears and then his realization that he is now safely home. My son wanted this book read to him over and over. Gregory came home at the same age as the boy in the book did. He also flew with an escort from S. Korea to San Francisco where we met him at the airport. When we put an album of pictures together, he loved to tell us his own story.
My Family is Forever by Nancy Carlson (author and illustrator) is a joyous book with bright and cheerful illustrations. An Asian girl narrates, “My family was formed by adoption, so I look just like…me! (And I’m pretty cute.) This book shows a loving and supportive family and is a good choice to share with young children both those who were adopted and for children who are learning what adoption is.
I’m Adopted by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly is a photo essay showing children of many ethnic backgrounds. The photographs are beautiful and the text simply explains the basics of adoption. Although the title is a bit disappointing, (children shouldn’t be labeled by their adoptive status) it is wonderful to see so many diverse and happy families.
ABC, Adoption and Me: A Multicultural Picture Book for Adoptive Families by Gayle H. Swift and Casey Anne Swift (authors) and Paul Griffin (illustrator) explains the process of adoption and adoption terms in an ABC format. Terms such as foster family, open adoption, judge and birth parents are explained. The overarching message is that of love and that adoptive families are forever. (I read this as a kindle book – I couldn’t find a print version.)