Creating connections with Adoption Choices families

Posts tagged ‘baby books’

Must Read Books for Your Toddler

My husband and I have been talking about how wonderful adoption is since we brought our son home with us from Korea. Now that he is 3, we intentionally talk to him about adoption more often and give him more depth to our own story about how we became a forever family.  I finally completed his life book, after agonizing over every word and picture, and presented it to him like it was the holy grail.  I must say I am pretty proud of it, but I must also admit that he loves several other adoption stories I’ve gotten for him just as much.

Horace by Holly Keller is a wonderful story that we’ve been reading since he was 2 about a leopard adopted by tigers.   Another one that we started reading then is A Mother for Choco, by Keiko Kasza, and it is my all-time favorite. Choco is a little bird who needs a mommy and goes to Mrs. Walrus, Mrs. Penguin, and Mrs. Giraffe to see if one of them could be his mommy. He thinks that because he doesn’t look like them, they can’t be his mommy. He then meets Mrs. Bear, who just happens to do everything he needs a mommy for (hugs, kisses, dancing, etc).  You can guess where it goes.  The illustrations are the cutest I have ever seen, and I think it’s about the best you can get for a toddler who might be from a different ethnic or cultural background.

Books that we have moved on to recently are The Family Book by Todd Parr, I Wished for You by Marianne Richmond, and Over the Moon by Karen Katz.  Before I got these I did a ton of research on Amazon to make sure these books had the right messages and language.  What I learned is that there is no book that has the perfect language and story, except for the life book you create for your own child.  I would read lots of glowing reviews, then all of a sudden I would see reviews from readers quite offended by something in the story. I used some of these reviews to edit my selection, but soon I realized that I shouldn’t set perfection as the bar.  These books are all great in that they celebrate the love and joy of families created by adoption, and that was really what I was after for my son at this stage.

The Family Book, A Mother for Choco, and Horace are also good options for helping toddlers from non-adoptive families understand adoption.  I plan to get these for the young children of our relatives and close friends so that Maximus’ inner circle has the same context and understanding of adoption that he does.

I have also started to look for books that will celebrate my son’s Korean heritage. I stumbled across the perfect one, called Bee-Bim Bop, by Linda Sue Park. It’s about a family preparing for a festive meal of bee-bim bop, a traditional Korean dish.  It’s got catchy rhyming, cute illustrations of the food, and makes the meal preparation fun and participatory for the toddler from start to finish.

I had some paralysis every time I sat down to work on my son’s life book because I was so afraid I wouldn’t get every single word right. Reading some of these children’s books on adoption really helped because they gave me alternate ways to explain the major concepts – birthmother & father, why they made an adoption plan, who his foster family was, etc. And seeing him just enjoy the books, instead of agonizing over every word like I was, made me realize that at this age, my attitude is more important than the specific language.

Happy Reading!

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Baby Book Alternatives

I ran into a former colleague the other day.  She was delighted to tell me that her son had just taken his first steps, and I was delighted for her.  First steps, first tooth, first words – all things we typically put in the Baby Book – if we ever bothered to buy one.

I never bought a Baby Book for K, and it wasn’t because the books typically available at the time were more suited to biological children.  I didn’t buy one because I knew I’d never get around to filling it out and I didn’t want to feel guilty about it.  We took plenty of pictures and put them in albums but there were no firsts documented here.  I remember most of the big stuff.  First steps – nine months.  First tooth – four months.  First word – “light” or maybe it was “hat”?

But now that K is about to turn 13, I propose a book with different categories to document a childhood.

Would be really funny if your kid said it instead of mine

K was probably 4 and I was disciplining her for something.  She was really upset with me and stomped up the stairs to her room.  She reached the top of the stairs, turned around and said, “You’re so mean, even your clothes are mean!”

Ouch!  My clothes were mean?  What the heck?

Independence appropriate for a young adult but challenging in a three year old

One day when K was 3, she was playing in her room while I folded clothes in the room next to hers.  I heard a thump, thump, thump and ran in.  K had set up a series of boxes, each one taller and less stable than the one before and was jumping from box to box.  I told her to stop because she was being unsafe.  K responded, “I’m being a frog, Mom” and jumped again.  I crouched down and looked her in the eyes.  “I can see that, but when I tell you something is unsafe, you have to listen to me.”  K looked back into my eyes, put her hand on my shoulder and said kindly, “I do listen to you, Mom, but sometimes, I have to listen to me.”

K, here’s hoping that you remember to listen to yourself when you know the people around you are heading down the wrong path.

 

Can’t decide if it’s scary or funny

The Lego creation had been set up for several days in the family room.  I told 5 year old K that it was time to put it away.  She said, “God told me that we should keep it here.”  I replied “Really?  Well God told ME that it was time to put it away.”  (Okay, I’m not particularly proud of my response here, but I was a little startled that K had brought God into the discussion.  Although we were occasional church goers, God had never been used as a referee before).  In a voice much older and wiser than her years, K responded “He doesn’t talk to you Mom.  He only talks to me.”

The Lego creation ended up in her bedroom and I slept a little less soundly for a while after than one.

Other categories that come to mind – “Non-Halloween uses for costumes,” “Loud and inappropriate commentary on strangers in crowded places,” and “Creative reasons to avoid bedtime.”  The potential is endless here.  I’d love to hear the stories you’d put in these categories!  Share them with us in the comments section.

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