N.A.A.M. Guest Post: “Storytime Adoption”

Each night when my youngest goes to bed we read a story as part of our bedtime routine. We have plenty of stories of her favorite cartoon characters, princesses and talking animals to choose from, but it’s the adoption books she loves best.

I bought ten children’s books on adoption for my daughter’s 2nd birthday. I wanted her to grow up surrounded by books that spoke to her experience and put into words what she went through. They are lovely books that deal with many of the themes of her adoption: being an adopted Chinese girl, why she was adopted, why she was relinquished at birth, who are her Chinese parents and what it means to be part of a blended family.

The adoption books don’t just provide an informative bedtime story for my daughter, but it also teaches me how to talk to her about adoption. The stories have made it comfortable and almost normal to bring up her biological parents and introduce the thought that she has two sets of parents: her biological one and her adoptive ones. The stories have also helped to introduce the idea that her biological parents loved her very much but, for whatever reason, were unable to care for her and so they placed her up for adoption to give her the best opportunities possible.

The books have given way to many conversations about my daughter’s adoption and have normalize her adoption experience. She asks about her Chinese mommy and if one day she will be able to meet her. I have replied that her Chinese mommy loves her very much and we will try and find her one day. I have promised her that when she is older we will try and contact the adoption agency to see if they have any information about her biological parents. My daughter accepts this and looks forward to this day.

Another great subject that these children’s books address is the possibility that an adopted child won’t look like her adoptive parents. In my Caucasian family my Chinese daughter does not look like the rest of us. We read that this is OK and that there are a lot of families out there that don’t all look alike. For now, my daughter accepts this and is proud of her black hair and black eyes.

I’m so grateful for these books and the dialogue they produce. My hope is that having read these books as a child that my daughter’s adoption identity is made more comfortable and normal for her. For the time being, talking about adoption is a natural and easy thing to do.

Melissa is a stay-at-home mom to four beautiful, spirited, rambunctious, loud and energetic children from the ages of 5 to 10. When she’s not chauffering, disciplining or entertaining my kids, she can be found reading at the local coffee shop drinking copious amounts of coffee. She has a love-hate relationship with yoga, though currently yoga finds itself is in the “love” column  For fun, Melissa likes going out to dinner with friends, watching movies in bed and reading the latest New York Times bestselling fiction. She blogs at Three Ways to Baby (follow her on Facebook and Twitter).

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