One of my favorite adoptive parent bloggers, as you may know, is Harriet, the mama force behind See Theo Run. Her posts are always succinct, beautifully crafted, and appealing to a wide audience. I am almost always shaking my head in the ah-ha way, over there. Their family’s full immersion in an open adoption is a continuous source of deep learning for her and this avid reader of their journey. She always manages to flavor her posts with a dash of education, a pinch of insight, and a splash of humor. Her most recent post; Top Three Things Never to Say to an Adoptive Parent, took the wind out of me with this exchange at a recent gathering she was savoring until this moment;
An acquaintance turned around and asked me how my son was doing. I said, “Great, he’s running around like a madman into everything – really hilarious.” She replied, “Where is he from?” <…pause… sigh…>. “We adopted him locally,” I said flatly. “Oh,” she said, “I thought he was from Korea or Vietnam or something.” The whole exchange whooshed by in a matter of minutes making no impression on the asker as my ‘festive, out-on-the-town’ mood temporarily evaporated.
Join her, Theo, and her husband on their relatively new journey (Theo just turned one) and you will be in for a delightful sink in the blog-o-sphere couch, with toddler shrieks, and extended birth parent family celebrations to keep you company, along with vlogs, vidoes, and Harriet’s unique and upbeat voice narrating the tour!
A chapter book, with an adoptee from China telling her story who is being raised by a single mom, breast cancer survivor, and who has two dads, in a small town in Maine, who has her own blog? Did I dream this up?
Meet India Mcallister in her first book, via this blog post from The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister, by Charlotte Agell. In this passage, the infinitely likable, strong, and insightful India talks about her birth mother in China:
I have a birth mom but I don’t know her. She’s like a flower whose seed blew away in the wind, and it grew. That seed is me. But my Mommy Mom, she’s like the sun and the rain. That’s what we used to play, when I was little.
In the interest of full disclosure, the book was introduced to me by the fabulous Kirsten Cappy who had the idea to design the blog as a way of introducing new readers to the book in a new way, and as a way to appeal to the young and upwardly technologically savvy readership India would no doubt attract.
When I had the opportunity to meet with Kirsten and the author over iced coffee last summer we had a rich conversation around best practices in talking to children about adoption, and language usage around birth families and adoption. One of the truly satisfying outcomes of that afternoon was this post, where India invites her readers into thoughts about her birth father as well;
My dad is a good hugger. I love hugging him. He smells like old books, garlic, clean laundry, and sometimes toothpaste…I have no clue what my Chinese birth father smells like. There are some things you can never know and there are some things you can’t even imagine. This makes me mad and scared sometimes, but it’s okay.
In a recent review of the book, it is aptly noted that; What gives this book strength and validity is that these topics are never discussed; they are simply part of India’s quotidian existence, presented in her authentic voice. The book may not reflect best practice in the adoption language cannon at all times; like in this line from India; where the words “gave me away” seemed almost archaic to me; “What if my birth mom wants to talk to me and I can’t say anything? Not that my birth mother would want to talk to me. She gave me away.” Then I imagined myself reading this book with my child, and realized that India might provide an amazing opportunity for the teachable moments, as well as simply the; “wow, didn’t she say that beautifully?” moments. The accessibility of India, and the appeal of a young Chinese adoptee as the hero of her own story, make this book, and blog a must have for the upper elementary, early middle school reader in your life-adopted or not.
What are you reading out there in the land of adoption that deserves a hand? Shout it out. Let us know. And spread the word if you like what you see here. It’s the good work, and we all deserve a hand now and then!