I want my children to grow up knowing their stories. Although I don’t want adoption to define them, because really, they are just my children, it’s pretty obvious when we walk into Chick-Fil-A and people notice my white hand holding tightly to brown little fingers. I want to be able to talk freely with them about their stories from early on. I want them to know how brave their birth mom was to choose life for them. I want them to be able to tell their friends, when they ask why their mommy and daddy look different from them. I want them to be able to tell their stories. And I want them to be proud.
People ask me all the time about the books we read in our home to help spark conversations about their stories. There are so many great books written about adoption, but there are also a few books I have read that aren’t respectful to every member of the adoption triad. These books listed below are my favorite adoption books because they are so sweet yet respectfully explain, using developmentally appropriate language, the love a birth mom has for her child. But also the love and longing the adoptive mom has for her sweet miracle.
Even if your children aren’t adopted, I feel it’s important to have some of these books in your home. Children should be aware of differences and learn to treasure them among other children. Before I became a mother to black children, I would say I was colorblind. Meaning, I believed and treated everyone equally. Even though I forget sometimes that I didn’t give birth to my children, when I am out in public with them, I know people are not colorblind. Most people are intrigued by our family and merely stare out of curiosity. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. I have learned mothering children that look much different from me, there is no such thing as being colorblind. When we say we are colorblind, we are devaluing the differences and uniqueness in which God made us, when really, they should be celebrated.
These books are my favorite picture books that not only encourage conversations about adoption, but also perfectly describe diversity among families, friends, and communities.
The Colors of Us tells the story of a mom and daughter observing the different colors and hues among the people living in their neighborhood. Selah has this one memorized and loves for us to put our hands on the colors that match our skin on the last page.
I Wished For You is the sweetest story of a mama bear telling her baby bear how much he was wanted. She tells baby bear about the months of waiting and wishing for him, but also all of the paperwork she had to complete. She explains the moment she first met him, and how her heart was complete when she brought him home. Baby bear asks why his fur doesn’t look like hers and she explains that not all families look the same. The book ends with baby bear feeling so loved and wanted.
The Skin You Live In is a cute, colorful, rhyming book about all of the different skin. The author does a great job of focusing on different areas where everyone excels. There is also a page that shows a little boy in a wheelchair, which I love. The theme throughout the book is to love the skin you’re in. Further illustrating that everyone is different, yet we’re really the same.
A Mother For Chaco is a story about a little bird searching for his mommy. He finds different animals that have a few of the same characteristics he has, yet they tell him ways he is different than them and how because of those differences, they can’t be his mommy. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but a mommy finally finds him that looks completely different from him. She asks him to come home and meet her other children, and they all are different animals. The main idea of the story, is love makes a family.
I’ve never read God Found Me You without crying. Mama Fox describes the way she felt when other mommies had babies and she didn’t. She told little fox how the seasons would change and she would stand on the hill waiting for him. Right when she felt she couldn’t wait any longer, God found little fox for her. Little Fox asks her why his first mom couldn’t keep him. Mama fox explains she must have had a really big reason and described how she prayed for Mama fox as much as Mama fox prayed for her. The author addresses such an important question in the most respectful, loving way. This is a must have for sure!
We read these books very frequently in our home. It’s my prayer that these books are simply another avenue in keeping an open dialogue about my children’s stories and differences. As we teach our children to cherish differences and embrace uniqueness, we are building for them a foundation of love.
And that love really does make my family.