October 20, 2011

Children's Books about Open Adoption

My apologies for two book list-y posts in the space of a week. But Dawn at Creating a Family asked for recommendations for open adoption books for kids. And you know I love to talk me some books!

There are actually several children's books out there which feature kids having ongoing contact with their first families. Of them, these three have won top prizes in my extensive in-home research (sample size: two).

I love Megan's Birthday Tree. Megan's first mom has a tree at her house that she planted when Megan was born. She decorates every year for Megan's birthday and sends a photo. When she's about to move, Megan is worried that her birth mom will forget about her without the tree to remind her. It's a touching story that keeps Megan at its center and lets her have lots of different emotions. (Read my full review.)
Pugnose Has Two Special Families doesn't really have a plot; it's more of an explanation of open adoption basics. Pugnose the mouse talks about how he came to be with his adoptive family and all the ways his birth parents are part of his life. It's sensitive and sweet. I appreciate that Pugnose's first dad is an active part of the story. (Read my full review.)
Eddie pulled Rain or Shine out on his birthday eve last week to read before bed. A fitting choice, since it's all about a boy, Finn, whose adoptive and birth families celebrate his birthday together every year. There are also some small moments which acknowledge, from a kid's perspective, that first parents aren't always able to be present.  (Read my full review.)
Two others that I've been wanting to check out but haven't gotten my hands on yet:

Nutmeg Gets a Letter is a book from the U.K. geared toward kids adopted from foster care. Nutmeg the squirrel is sad when his birth mom's letter for his birthday arrives late. I'm interested in seeing how it addresses dealing with disappointment (something Eddie is feeling keenly right now); it also talks about the value of peer support from friendships with other adopted children.
Sam's Sister is the rare children's book that's told from the birth family's perspective. The main character is a little girl, Rosa, whose mom places her baby brother, Sam, for adoption. The story starts during the pregnancy and goes into a post-adoption visit between the families.
Have you read any of these? What did you think? What would you add to the list?


Mama said...

I've heard about Sam's Sister and have wondered if it was any good. Hannah has birthsiblings that are livig with her birthmom and I've considered ordering the book for them as I know they are doing A LOT of processing about her adoption at the moment (we're five years in now). However, I didn't want to buy a book I hadn't read myself just in case! Let me know if you get your hands on it and what you think about it.

moxie7874 said...

Sam's Sister is excellent. Sam is the baby who is adopted, the sister is parented by birthmom. I loved it so much, I sent a second copy for my daughter's birthmom (parenting two sons, and the younger one was about the sister's age when bmom placed our daughter--and he had a tough time with it; I wish I had known about this book at the time). I cannot speak highly enough about it. Birthfather is not present or mentioned, adoptive mom and dad are in it and they invite mom and sis for a personal visit at their home. There is also an element of transracial/transcultural adoption as b-mom/b-sis are hispanic, and the adoptive parents appear to be a bi-racial marriage actually (caucasian mom, light af amer dad, but I'm just speculating). I'd say it's good for a 5 year old, altho I read it to my 2 year old.

moxie7874 said...

By the way, I also love Megan's Birthday Tree; but it is definitely for an older child. I think it would be good for an adopted kid in the 8-12 age range for a first reading, but something they could continue to appreciate going forward. I've not seen the others, but I appreciate their listing and will add them to my collection! THX!

Katie said...

We're pursuing open adoption and I've not heard of any of these, so I will add them to my list. Thanks for the recommendations! I love me some books too :) Visiting from ICLW :)

Heather said...

@moxie7874 - Thanks for correcting which character is named Sam and telling us more about it!

Eddie (he just turned six) has been able to sit through Megan's Birthday Tree. Every kid is a little different, but it is definitely a wordier, more involved picture book. There's no way Mari could sit through it. If I had to put them in a general age order, it would go Pugnose, Rain or Shine, then Megan's Birthday Tree.

Chris, Dana and Addison: Hoping to Grow through Open Adoption said...

Thanks so much for these helpful suggestions! I love children's books in general and have been trying to find some good open adoption books. Perfect!

Anonymous said...

We bought Sam's Sister for Jackson's birth family and for our (hopefully) daughter's birth family. I really love the book. I'm thinking I might get it for our family as well.

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