November 11, 2011

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Ask a Local Library to Display Adoption-related Books

One of the biggest obstacles for the adoption community is public naivete. Asking a local library to display adoption-related reference or children's books may give your local community the information and facts needed to have a full understanding of everything adoption entails--for all sides of the adoption triad.

Our Trip to the Library

I went to our downtown library (well, it's the only library in our smallish town other than the one at the university) yesterday to tell the librarian about November being National Adoption Month. It was the first the librarian had heard about the observance, but she was receptive to the idea of letting people know about it. She said "we" could either create a bulletin board with some of the book jackets of adoption-related books or that there would be a cart placed in the entrance to the children's section to publicize the month.

I didn't know what she meant by "we" did she mean the two of us, or herself and another colleague? When she asked for my name and phone number, I figured that I might be taking a more active role in publicizing the event, so I handed over my number and said that I would get her a list of titles for the display.

I would imagine that most of the readers of this space will be familiar with the adoption related books geared for toddlers and children. Picture books like I Love You Like Crazy Cakes, Shaoey and Dot: Bug Meets Bundle, Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born and A Mother for Choco are very popular and really wonderful, I might add.

Because of the familiarity with these books, I thought it might be a good idea if I did something a little different and focus on books that might be good for older children and teenagers. Any adoptive parent who has gone through adolescence with their adopted child knows that this is a vulnerable time for our kids as they struggle to build an identity on top of an uncertain history, a history that is shrouded in mystery or one that is punctuated by trauma.

I have a couple books in my collection such as How it Feels to Be Adopted by Jill Krementz and Pieces of Me: Who do I Want to Be by Robert Ballard are books of essays by adopted teens. Many of the individual pieces are very touching and all are incredibly honest. How It Feels...might not appeal to your child as much as it appears to be a bit dated. It isn't the stories as much as the photographs that accompany each essay. I can see kids getting distracted by the images and not focusing on the messages of the various stories.

Pieces of Me, however, starts off with Ballard making the connection between adoption and a puzzle: "(As adopted persons) we are trying to gather the pieces so we can put them together. We're trying to reconnect with birth family or birth country. We're trying to find a friend or role model. We're trying to find ourselves. We're trying to relate to our adoptive family or adoptive community. We're trying to understand the importance of blood ties or birthmarks. We're showing how it doesn't have to make sense for it to be connected. We're showing how gathering pieces helped us see our puzzle in new and revealing ways."


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