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Elaine

Suggested reading

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Good evening! I wanted to ask a question about adoption books. My husband and I have two nephews (ages 5 and 9). I would like to find a good book(s) concerning adoption that maybe could help children understand adoption better. It could either be a children's book about adoption or an adult book concerning adoption (that their Mom could read and help answer any questions they might have). I have seen on the forum at least three books that come highly recommended for couples adopting, but I have not run across any that seem geared towards extended family.

I believe that my older nephew has a pretty good grasp on what adoption is, but I am not sure that the little one understands very well. We do have adopted cousins on both sides of our family, but they live far off...so my nephews don't have a close relationship with them.

We have all experienced people (related to us or otherwise) that ask questions concerning adoption in a rude fashion. I would just like to get a book that helps educate family (and children) on what type of language to use when speaking of/to an adopted family member, etc.

I want my nephews (and any other family/friends) to feel free to ask questions about our experience(s) concerning our children, but I do not want to be turned-off by really intrusive questions or negative wording they might use. I guess, I am hoping that there is a really good book out there that would take care of some of these concerns for me.

I know there will always be people that ask/say hurtful things, but I hope to nip some of it in the bud concerning relatives. If there is a way that I can help to educate them, then that would be super!

Has anyone experienced nieces, nephews, etc. that are jealous (of the new adopted baby) and got off to a rough start? I do not know how our nephews will react to not being the only grandchildren anymore. I just hope and pray that any disagreements they have with their cousins will not be "below the belt"...concerning adoption (i.e. You are not really our cousin!; You are not really Poppa and Grandmama's grandchild!, etc.). That is one reason I would like to find a good book now (before the baby comes). Hopefully, the boys will be better prepared and understand adoption better.

I really do not think that this will be much of an issue (with my nephews), but I just would rather be safe than sorry!

Any suggestions/comments are very much appreciated. Thanks!!!

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Hi Elaine!

The best book I've seen on the subject is "Adoption is a Family Affair". I don't remember the author, but check with Abrazo. I think we donated a copy to them at our orientation meeting. We bought copies for my parents and sister, and it covers everything from how the process works to positive adoption language. It's very good for establishing expectations and letting them know how they can be supportive of you and your child through the whole process.

There are a number of children's books out there that cover adoption, but each one is slightly different in its emphasis. Jamie Lee Curtis' one is very popular - it's called "Tell me about the night I was born" and it covers her experience as an adoptive mom and how she went to get her child when she was born.

If I were you, I would use the Family Affair book as a guide for explaining things to your family, and then once you have completed your adoption, find a children's book that most closely reflects your experience that you can use to explain it to your nieces, nephews, etc. (or even your own child!).

Good luck!

Linda

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PS - It took us 7 years to have a child, of which over 2 years were in and out of the adoption process, so I have read just about everything out there. Everyone at our orientation group thought we were a bit weird, I think, when we pulled out our "library" of adoption books we were recommending and/or donating to the agency! Here are my top ones - I looked up their authors on Amazon.com:

Adoption is a Family Affair by Patricia Irwin Johnson

The Open Adoption Experience by Lois Ruskai Melina

Adopting After Infertility by Patricia Irwin Johnson

The Adoption Resource Book by Lois Gilman

Secret Thoughts of An Adoptive Mother by Jana Wolff

FYI, all of the books above are helpful guides. The exception is Secret Thoughts, which is a brutally honest memoir of one woman's adoption experience, including her bizarre and sometime negative thoughts about different aspects of her situation. Some people don't like it, but I found it provided some much needed humor in an otherwise somewhat stressful process!

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Hi Elaine,

I actually took some of the papers from our orientaion book and copied them and made folders for my parents, my sister, hubby's mom, hubby's sister andhis grandmother. I put all different subject matter in there and asked them to read it sooner than later. I think most of them did read it and had less concerns.

My nieces were 3 years and 3 months when Miller came home. The older one loved the new baby boy. We explained to her (since her mommy just had a baby 3 months before) that Aunt Jenny's tummy was broken so Miller grew in his birthmom's tummy but in Jenny's heart. It was cute when she explained it back to me. When Delaney came home they were all a year older. The only one to this day to have issues between each other are Delaney and my younger neice. We aren't sure what is going on but my neice gives Delaney such a hard time and gets very upset with her a lot.

I have a book for my children that is called "why was I adopted" by Carole Livingston. I like the book. Maybe it can help explain to your nephews?

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Hi Elaine,

Just wanted to post a wonderful site stocked full of adoption books. It is where we bought all our books for our homework that Abrazo assign us as parent's-in-waiting.

Tapestry Books

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Hi Elaine and welcome to Abrazo's Forum! I have the same book that Jenny Burns has "Why Was I Adopted?" and I really like it too. I used to read it all the time to my kids when they were little (they are now 10, 11 and 12) and they enjoyed hearing it. Happy Reading!

Edited by weadoptedthree

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For the younger child. Try the book. Little Miss Spider, by David Kirk. and A is for Adoption.

As far as not using "bad language". Talk with example and just correct family. Its was hard for me at first to correct some people in my family w/o wanting to offend, but its important, and if your family is excited for you, they should be willing to help.

Cute little story. My niece (3 at the time) asked if my husband and I were going to have a baby, and I said "yes" (her mother was pregnant at the time) and she asked if it was in my belly and I said "no, my belly doesn't work like that so we are going to get a baby from Texas" She turned around and asked her mom were "her texas was?" I told her that Texas was a place, not a body part. She beamed and said "great!". That was that, she was fine with that answer.

Children are pretty innocent and that is a lovely way to be sometimes, they are just so excited for you and the baby. They can be a good ice breaker sometimes.

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Hi Elaine,

You might want to check out these topic threads on the Abrazo Forum which also list recommended adoption related reading:

Adoptive Parents --> Parents in Waiting --> Reading Material

Adoptive Parents --> Rainbow Families --> Good Reads for Want to Know Families

Adoptive Parents --> Life After Adoption --> Readings for Aparents

Adoptees --> In the Know --> Books About Being Adopted

Good luck!

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One of my daughters all time favorite books was Jamie Lee Curtis's book "Tell me Again about the nIght I was born" my husband and I read it to her thousands of times. she loved hearing it and would eventually "read" it to us...(She had it memorized.) This lead us to making her own story book about her adoption which is what we read now. I loved the book as a mom in explaining to her about how she came into our family!

My daughter was the first baby in our extended family and we have nieces and nephews now that have no issue with adoption...As a matter of fact my nephew wanted to know why HE was not born inTexas like Rebecca was! Her story seemed much kewler then just being born here in silly NJ!

Hope that helps!

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Elaine

I just came across your post and wanted to post how my niece and nephews reacted to George joining the family.

I am the youngest of three girls, and the only one that lives in TX near our parents. My oldest sister does not have children, but my middle one has a 7 yr old son, and a 4 yr old girl. Josh and Nyah were very excited about having a new cousin, they had been the only grandkids on my sisters side of the family, but had many cousins on thier fathers side. They could not wait to come to TX to meet him. I think my sister also explained to them that Aunt Beth's tummy was broken. Josh has several friends who are adopted so that might have helped them understand to some extent. They were jealous of the time George spent in GG and Granddad's lap, but then again the were jealous of each other when my parents were giving the other one attention. As they get older they might have more of an issue that George gets to spend more time with GG and Granddad, but I think that will have more to do with proximity to the grandparents that anything.

Now Nathan has a sister who has a son 7 weeks older than George, so we have not really gotten to where the two of them really understand adoption. They have jealousy issues, but then again they are used to spending one on one time with Nathan's mom, rather than time together, and they do not quite get the whole concept of sharing yet, they are 18 and 20 months right now.

The book that Linda(sugarfamily) suggested, Adoption is a Family Affair is a wonderful book, and I highly recommend it. We got copies for all of our family members, with the exception of maybe my sister in law, my mother in law was supposed to send her copy to her, but I am not sure that ever happened. It helped our family better understand the adoption process and gave them the correct terms to use when talkign about adoption.

Hope this helps, sorry for the late response.

Beth

Edited by Nathan & Beth

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I was wondering if anyone knew where to find the suggested reading list from Abrazo? I know I have seen it on the forum but I cannot find it now. I am just trying to keep myself sane while waiting to hear from Angela about our inquiry. Is anyone else out there in the inquiry phase?

Heather huh.gif

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Hey Heather,

Check out this link

I know when I've tried finding links on here for the books, it's not always easy - I end up going back to my Orientation binder and looking it up there.

New Parent Reading Recommendations

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Lisa,

Thank you so much for the info! I don't think I would have ever found those posts. While I was writing my e-mail about Angela and waiting for her response my husband went upstairs and told me I had a message from Abrazo. I was so excited but sad that I was not home to talk to her. I will call tomorrow. She said that she sent the application! I have so many questions.

Thanks again!

Heather smile.gif

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Welcome to the forum, Heather. I know you are excited to get your questions answered. You are headed in the right direction. Can't wait to hear how your journey progresses. biggrin.gif

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Which books have you read about adoption that you really liked? How about books written for children that explain adoption? I don't have a library to go, so everything comes off of amazon. I'd hoping for recommendations.

Cathy

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Bumped up topic for cdgni ...

Edited by FeelingBlessed

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Another recently-published book that I like very much is "A Love Like No Other: Stories from Adoptive Parents", edited by Pamela Kruger and Jill Smolowe, published by Riverhead Books (2005)-- and not only because it includes an essay by Abrazomom and bestselling novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard. ;)

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One of my greatest passions is reading although I just don't seem to have or make the time to read like I used to - I'm the kind of person/reader where when I start a book, I like to just soak it all up in one go - will stay up all night until I can't keep my eyes open any longer and then pick the book back up again as soon as I wake up.

So on Mother's Day - I'm enjoying a book I bought months ago - a book that I found online that I thought would interest me as I am a birthmother - the book is called "My Child is a Mother - A True and Happy Story of Open Adoption" and was written by Mary Stephenson. Mary is a birth grandmother - the book is her story of learning that her 17 year old daughter was pregnant (at 7 1/2 months), and going through the process of choosing open adoption with her daughter and most importantly, the after part with her daughter, after she gave birth to and placed her daughter for adoption.

This book held significant interest for me now as we are matched with a beautiful person right now who is due to have her baby boy very soon and we hope to adopt her son and carry on with the wonderful relationship we have formed with his birthmother and her family. The story is so candid and so raw and so real - I related to it a thousand times over, both as a birthmother and as an adoptive mother. It particularly affected me because Karen (the birthmother) placed her daughter for adoption in a fully open adoption in 1986! I placed my daughter for adoption in a fully closed adoption in 1989 - thinking that's all that was available to me at that time - I did not realize open adoption even existed and as I've learned about open adoption as an adoptive parent, I've been comfortable with my decision because I just kept convincing myself that it was all I knew at the time, and what is common today just wasn't around when I experienced my unplanned pregnancy - well anyway - now I know differently - can't change anything but it is a hard pill to swallow to know that Karen and her daughter's family shared such a special experience with each other and developed such an amazing friendship/relationship and it was 3 years before I gave birth to my precious baby girl...

So anyway, I wanted to plug the book - I highly recommend it - especially if you're someone who's curious about what an open adoption is like - what a birthmother goes through when she places her child for adoption, what the birth grand-parents go through - etc, etc etc - I think this book appeals to all audiences - both on the adoptive parent side and on the birthfamily side - I think birth grand-parents would find this book very useful (for lack of a better word). I feel like I know these people now - it's just written as though "Mary" is just talking to me (the reader). I felt such a strong connection with Karen and just grew to respect and admire her and what she did. After she placed her daughter for adoption, she was asked numerous times to participate in both local newspaper and TV interviews and she and the adoptive family always participated - all very passionate to spread the word about open adoption - very committed folks!

I wanted to know more about her (Karen) and her mother - the book was published in 1991 - I thought, "Hmmmm....it's been a long time, I bet they've written other books or are active in the open adoption movement somehow, I should be able to get more info about them" so I googled the author's name - ran across an article she wrote that is posted on P.A.C.T.'s website - the article is called Gone Too Soon - By Mary Stephenson . Well, I guess I should have taken a clue from the title of the article but I just figured it was referring to the child who was placed for adoption...unfortunately, not the case. Mary is writing about how at the age of 27, her daughter, Karen died a year after being diagnosed with Leukemia.....Ten years after placing her precious Livia for adoption with her "other family" as Karen and her mom referred to the adoptive parents. I am just so sad now after reading that - but Karen's memory will definitely live on with me - and thank goodness her mother honored her by sharing her daughter's story - well before they could possibly know that she wouldn't be around forever to share it herself.

It's a great book, I can't recommend it enough - I picked it up for next to nothing on Amazon.com.

-Lisa

P.S. Guess I'm not the only one who has read the book - I see a post from Elizabeth on here (before we adopted Kayleigh even) under the Birthgrandparent's section of the forum -

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Has anyone read Without a Map by Meredith Hall...I just ordered it from Amazon.

This is the synopsis on Amazon site...

From Publishers Weekly

It was 1965 when Hall was expelled from her New Hampshire high school, shunned by all her friends, made to leave her mother's home, and kept hidden from sight in her father's house—all because she was a sexually naïve 16-year-old, pregnant by a college boy who wasn't all that interested in her anyway. And in this memoir, chapters of which have been published in magazines, Hall narrates this bittersweet tale of loss. After childbirth her baby was put up for adoption so fast, she never had even a glimpse of him. She finished high school at a nearby boarding school, then soon wandered to Europe and eventually found herself just walking, alone, from country to country. Somewhere in the Middle East she scraped bottom and repatriated herself. She accumulated another lover and had two children, before her first son, the one she was forced to abandon, made contact. Making peace with him was deeply healing. This painful memoir builds to a quiet resolution, as Hall comes to grips with her own aging, the complexities of forgiveness and the continuity of life.

I'll let you know what I think after I get it and read it! The customer reviews on Amazon were all favorable.

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Has anyone read Without a Map by Meredith Hall...I just ordered it from Amazon.

This is the synopsis on Amazon site...

From Publishers Weekly

It was 1965 when Hall was expelled from her New Hampshire high school, shunned by all her friends, made to leave her mother's home, and kept hidden from sight in her father's house—all because she was a sexually naïve 16-year-old, pregnant by a college boy who wasn't all that interested in her anyway. And in this memoir, chapters of which have been published in magazines, Hall narrates this bittersweet tale of loss. After childbirth her baby was put up for adoption so fast, she never had even a glimpse of him. She finished high school at a nearby boarding school, then soon wandered to Europe and eventually found herself just walking, alone, from country to country. Somewhere in the Middle East she scraped bottom and repatriated herself. She accumulated another lover and had two children, before her first son, the one she was forced to abandon, made contact. Making peace with him was deeply healing. This painful memoir builds to a quiet resolution, as Hall comes to grips with her own aging, the complexities of forgiveness and the continuity of life.

I'll let you know what I think after I get it and read it! The customer reviews on Amazon were all favorable.

That sounds powerful!

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Here are some books from Abrazo's library that make for good reading (and which "count" for those who need recommendations for their book reports ;)):

Outsiders Within: Writings on Transracial Adoption, edited by Jane Trenka, Julia Oparah & Sun Yng Shin. (South End Press, 2006.) Healthy white infants are hard to find and expensive to adopt. So white people looking to grow their families turn to interracial and intercountry adoption, often with the idea that they're saving children from terrible lives. But as "Outsiders Within" reveals, although transracial adoption is generally considered win-win, it can exact a heavy emotional, cultural and even economic toll. Through gripping essays, poetry and art, transracially-adopted writers from around the world carefully explore this most intimate aspect of globalization.

Twenty Life-Transforming Choices Adoptees Need to Make, by Sherrie Eldridge (Pinon Press, 2003.) A celebration of adoption, "Twenty Choices..." is based on the fact that adoption raises some of life's most difficult questions but also creates opportunities to truly understand yourself.

The Adoption Triangle, by Arthur Sorosky, Annette Baran and Reuben Pannor. (Corona Publishing, 1984.) The adoption classic that examines sealed or opened records: how they affect adoptees, birthparents, and adoptive parents.

The State Boys Rebellion, by Michael D'Antonio. (Simon & Schuster, 2004.) The true story a group of boys at the Fernal State School, part of the bureacracy designed to save America from the so-called "menace of the feeble-minded" from early in the 20th century through the 1970's. More than 250,000 American children were separated from their families, tens of thousands of whom were not disabled but orphaned, delinquents or truants. Denied schooling, routinely abused and subjected to sterilization, lobotomy, shock therapy and experimental drugs, this is a shocking account of those who survived, and those who did not.

LifeGivers: Framing the Birthparent Experience in Open Adoption, by Jim Gritter. (CWLA, 2000.) An examination of all the ways in which birthparents are marginalized, and a glimpse of the birthparents' emotional rollercoaster ride through the institution of adoption. Gritter's tome is a challenge to us all to treat everyone involved in the adoption process with honor and respect.

The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child, by Nancy Newton Verrier. (Gateway Press, 1996) A study of information about pre- and perinatal psychology, attachment, bonding and loss that clarifies the effects of separation from the birthmother on adopted children... Verrier's insight contributes not only to the healing of adoptees, their adoptive families and birthmothers, but... understanding and encouragement to anyone who has ever felt abandoned.

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I ran across some books at Powells, my favorite online bookseller! Just thought they look like some great selections, for anyone who might be looking to add to their Adoption Lit collections (just click on each title, below, to find out more!):

Wait a minute? How did I miss this? Powells... as in the largest book store in the world... in Portland Oregon? I was there last week in person (buying a few adoption books). That store is amazing - it takes a map to find your way because it's so big - LOVE IT!

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This isn't suggested reading, but a quote I came across recently and wanted to share, and this seems like the most logical thread in which to post it. In reading something for my book group last month, I came across this quote by the late writer John Dunne, from an essay he wrote called "Quintana," about his adopted daughter:

"All parents realize, or should realize, that children are not possessions, but are only lent to us, angel boarders, as it were. Adoptive parents realize this earlier and perhaps more poignantly than others."

I've had several friends who have adopted children describe to me having this precise realization very early on. Seems like an important thought for all parents to bear in mind, so I thought I'd share it.

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