Monday, June 15, 2009

New Children's Book on Adoption

Publisher's Weekly offers a review of a new children's book on adoption:

Star of the Week: A Story of Love, Adoption, and Brownies with Sprinkles
Darlene Friedman, illus. by Roger Roth. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-114136-2

Cassidy Li is going to be Star of the Week in her kindergarten class, and that means she gets to bring a snack (the titular brownies) and chronicle her life story on a poster. But as she reviews snapshots depicting favorite activities, pets, friends and family, she also realizes that, as a baby adopted in China, “something is missing. I don't have any photos of my birthparents.” Her solution: adding a hand-drawn portrait of them to the photographic collage. Debuting author Friedman, who is also the wife of Roth (The American Story) and the parent of a Chinese daughter, doesn't try to smooth over the bittersweet elements of Cassidy Li's story, although she often veers into giving her heroine the voice and viewpoint of an empathic adult rather than that of a six-year-old (“Dad says our family loves my birthparents very much
even though we'll never know them”). Roth's affectionate domestic vignettes bolster the story's authenticity considerably, and his vivid portrayal of the confident, thoughtful Cassidy Li speaks volumes about the unconditional love in her life. Ages 5–9. (June)

Sounds like a winner! I'm a sucker for any children's book that deals even vaguely with birth parents. . . .

15 comments:

a Tonggu Momma said...

Thanks! I've been meaning to order Mei-Ling Hopgood's memoir, so this was the push I needed to head over to Amazon. I bought both books - they should arrive next week.

Wendy said...

Thanks. It will be on order soon. Sounds like a good one so far.

Lorraine Dusky said...

As one of the purveyors of a child who was adopted...I am a little put off by anyone who writes...We love the birth mother even though we'll never know her...

That kind of love comes easy. No problems. No competition. No parent who looks like your child. The sentiment comes too easy and ends up sounding fake. Hearing from birth mothers as I do,and as one myself, I am not aware that LOVE is what emanates from adoptive parents towards first parents who are living, breathing people they have to deal with.

lorraine from www.firstmotherforum.com

malinda said...

Lorraine,

You make a really good point, especially, perhaps, with China adoption where there is little possibility of ever knowing the birth parents. But I appreciate children's books that refer to birth parents at all, since that can open the dialogue with kids about their birth parents.

And I have to say there are different kinds of "love." I feel a caring/concern/compassion/empathy/
wondering/yearning/curiosity for my kids' birth mothers who are unknown to me, and I label it "love."

malinda said...

Tonggu Momma,

I'm curious to know your reaction to BOTH books. I've been meaning to blog about Mei-Ling Hopgood's "Lucky Girl" for a while now, but I'll hold off until you've read it! In fact, if you want to do a guest review, I give prizes!!!!!!

Wendy said...

Mei-Ling's book was very interesting and takes you down roads that are unexpected. It is a great for anyone who is interested in relationships and coming to terms with heridity vs culture. Highly recommend.

Anonymous said...

I think Lorraine brings up an excellent point. I've thought for awhile that the concern we adoptive parents express for Chinese birth mothers and the difficult situation they faced is somewhat condescending and patronizing given the fact that we don't actually have to deal with them. We get to sound as charitable, well meaning, concerned, etc. as we want without ever having to actually do anything. It might be a little bit harder to feel "caring/concern/compassion/empathy/wondering/yearning/curiosity" if we actually had to put our money where our mouths are.

malinda said...

Anon,

Some of us are "putting money where are mouths are." We're actively searching for birth parents in China, for example. And we do this KNOWING that we will then have to deal with them.

I've blogged before about my insecure new parent days when I was fearful and intimidated of dealing with birth parents -- that's one reasone why I chose China. But my feelings have changed, and they changed because of my children -- THEY want so much to know who their birth parents are (or at least Zoe does). I've put money, time and effort into finding them.

You might even be right about a majority of adoptive parents, but it certainly isn't the case with all.

Wendy said...

Thanks Malinda. As you know I may well be less than a week from meeting M's birth family (keep your fingers crossed). Not all of us are afraid or are running from first families, we are doing EVERYTHING in our power to establish relationships for our kids.

Bump said...

I don't feel anything for my daughter's birth mother. I don't know her. And there you have it. I'll respect her for my daughter's sake, but I don't know who the hell she is. She could be in jail for killing someone. Or, she could be a born again Christian. Who knows?

Mei-Ling said...

"I'll respect her for my daughter's sake, but I don't know who the hell she is. She could be in jail for killing someone."

Dear god that sounds so cold.

It's one thing to admit that as an adoptive parents, (generic) you just don't know. It's the truth, because you really don't.

But it's another thing entirely to assume the worst just *because* you don't know.

Anonymous said...

My point is that dealing with birth parents in the abstract and dealing with them in the flesh and blood are two entirely different things. You may be searching for your daughter's birth parents, as am I, but the chances of finding them are very slim. Navigating an acutal relationship is a lot harder in reality than it is on paper.

Anonymous said...

Wendy: I think it is amazing and wonderful that you may be meeting your daughter's birth parents. I hope you will consider posting information/updates through Malinda's blog or a personal forum? I have so appreciated the opportunity to follow Mei-Ling's reunion with her birth family.

Wendy said...

Anon-I have a personal forum where I have invited people I know to follow our journey. If we do get to meet them I will then make a more general statement (maybe Malinda will allow that here), but most of the information will remain private. I feel it is her right to own that information and since she is young I feel I should only share the basic information and allow her time to forge these *new* relationships--re-establish the connection that was lost.
Thank you for the good thoughts.

There is no doubt that the reality is much harder in that relationships are hard; however, I see it as a different kind of hard. My daughter has dealt with a great deal and the loss is so much more for her than I can fathom, it is in her times of deep grief and self questioning that hard rears it head as well. Answers and truths can be wonderful, can be difficult, can be unfathomable, but they can be dealt with--the unknown is too much to bear.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Malinda ~ with the way my summer is going, it may take a bit of time to read Mei-Ling's book. I'll give you a shout when I'm done with each.