May 12, 2008

Review: "Rain or Shine"

I had the chance to review a new children's book about open adoption for Open Adoption Support (thanks, Dawn!).

Commissioned by an open adoption agency, Rain or Shine tells the story of Finn, a young boy in an open adoption who looks forward to gathering with his extended family to celebrate his eighth birthday. The plotline focuses on how the family will salvage the party if it rains on the big day, but the real strength of the book lies in its depiction of a healthy open adoption.

There were several nice touches:
  • Finn does not make sharp distinctions between his adoptive family and his birth family. The two are integrated together into a single extended family for him.
  • Finn's grandmother on his birth mom’s side is an active participant in his life, reflecting the many open adoptions which involve multiple generations.
  • Finn’s adoptive parents and his birth mom talk appreciatively and affectionately about one another. They acknowledge and affirm both the nature and nurture portions of Finn's identity, pointing out traits that come from each side of his family tree.
  • Finn enjoys spending time alone with his birth mom and feels comfortable enough with her to tell her about his secret thumb-sucking, something he's previously only shared with his parents.
  • It’s mentioned that Finn’s birth mom did not attend his seventh party because she was having “a hard time” that year. Finn also expresses a desire to have contact with his birth dad, who the family hasn't seen since Finn was an infant. I appreciated the subtle acknowledgment that open adoptions can be positive and fulfilling despite not being "perfect." These also create openings for parents (birth or adoptive) to talk with their children about adoption-related disappointments.
  • I didn't mention this in the OAS review, but I loved that this book didn't include the usual "explanation for the adoption." You know, the one page in every kids' book about adoption that says something vague like, "My birth mom loved me but couldn't take care of a baby so she found a couple who could raise me." That sort of thing is obviously part of the background to our adoptions, but it's not part of the day-to-day of our relationships.
Puppy is still a little too young to get into the story, but he engaged with some of the fun details (a dinosaur puzzle, birthday pancakes). Sensitive and well-written, Rain or Shine is a welcome addition to the small but growing list of children’s books about open adoption. Hopefully its high price point will go down in the future so that even more families can enjoy it.

Probably for ages around 4-8. The characters are Caucasian and the adoptive parents are a heterosexual couple.

(written by Hilary Horder Hippely, illustrated by Margaret Godfrey, Xlibris Corporation, 2007)

3 comments:

Mama Bear said...

there is such a need for these books!!! I need to check it out!
Me and Goldilocks have always talked about writing a book together on open adoption - just don't know where to get started! thanks for the review.

Lis said...

Congratulations, you won the cork board giveaway from Simple. Please email me at lis.simple[at]gmail[dot]com and let me know which cork board you would like and the address you would like it sent to.

Emily said...

That looks like a great book! Wish it wasn't so expensive...I'll keep an eye out for it!

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