Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Gift for Healing

At the OCDF Great Wolf Lodge Weekend, I bought an adoption book I hadn't seen before, Before I Met You: A Therapeutic Pre-Adoption Narrative Designed for Children Adopted from China. I stuck it on their bookshelf, and Zoe picked it for night-time reading last night. I thought the book was really good -- it explained the one child policy, social preference for boys reason for abandonment, but also talks about other reasons. It addresses explicitly abandonment (without using the word) and is illustrated with a woman kneeling next to a baby in a box on a doorstep. It talks about being in an orphanage or foster family, and the care the baby would receive; but it also says "sometimes there were so many babies that it was very hard for the caretakers to pay attention to each baby like a mother does," which can make a baby not only sad but mad. I don't think I've seen another children's book that addresses that part of the orphanage experience.

I like the realistic approach and the basic message that however you feel about your adoption is OK (a frequent theme of ours around here). The book ends on an encouraging note, reminding the child she's part of her adoptive family forever:

We will stay together, always, when you are happy, sad, and yes, even mad (no matter what you say or do or think or feel!). And, I promise this: you won't ever have to be alone with all those feelings. I am strong and will be here to comfort you and keep you safe, for always.

But I didn't really intend this as a book review! Mostly I wanted to share Zoe's reaction, which moved me and tickled me in equal measure. After the story, Zoe said quite seriously about the author, "She has a gift for healing, the way she explained adoption to kids." Wow!

When I asked Zoe what "a gift for healing" meant, and where she'd come up with that, she said they'd learned about it in Religion class -- along with the gift of wisdom, the gift of knowledge ("that means being smart!"), the gift of faith, and I can't remember what all else. And then she declared proudly, "I have ALL those gifts!"


Joanne said...

Wow! She is such a special girl :) Thanks for the book recommendation - sounds like one to have!

AmericanFamily said...

What do you think is the appropriate age range for that book? The amazon listing doesn't have any information.


Michele RH said...

Thanks for mentioning Before I Met You. I bookmarked it long ago and always meant to buy it. I will now.

malinda said...

AmericanFamily: I'd say the age range is probably 5-12. The language is certainly appropriate for the younger end, but it does introduce some of those hard questions about adoption that are probably starting to come up at early school age -- say K to 3rd grade.

Louanne said...

All right, this post just made me start crying. What a sweet girl.