As I posted Sunday, I’m following Sarah Bessey’s example and following along with a list of 10 book recommendations a day for one week. (I’m a day behind. Sue me.) Yesterday, she focused on books that influenced her parenting, and I’m beyond thrilled to have some suggestions for books promising help for the lovely tantrums we’ve been experiencing from Miss Ellie recently.
However, having been a parent for less than 18 months, I don’t actually have 10 books to recommend in this category. (Crap. Does this mean I’m a bad parent? I mean, I read the What to Expect book, but since she turned a year-old, I’m generally too busy trying to keep her from chunking my books into the toilet to actually find time to read them.) I’m hoping that some of these recommendations will hold the key to get her to stop tackle-loving other kids, dunking her pacifier in the dog’s water bowl, and maybe, just maybe, quit biting my knees? We’ll see. Every time I say “no,” she either goes all-out screaming-hissy…or uses this face:
Yup. That’s a cookie she’s holding. She’s manipulative, y’all. I’m trying to be strong, but seriously. It’s hard.
In any case, my parenting has been heavily influenced by the unique and sometimes complicated circumstances creating our family, so along those lines, my 10 for today are
All About Adoption
First, here are five that are unique to parenting Ellie. While I’m a bit behind in the overall parenting genre, I have done my research on being an adoptive parent, and I’ve tried to appreciate what unique challenges that may bring to our lives as Ellie grows and matures.
1. Adoption: The Complete Idiot’s Guide, by Christine Adamec
Don’t judge. We all need a place to get started, and when entering this scary new world, I liked the easy-to-navigate sections, handy-dandy charts, and simplistic definitions of unfamiliar terminology in the margins. So there.
2. Raising Adopted Children, by Lois Ruskai Melina
Kind of a thick read, but it contains a useful section on attachment and bonding.
3. Adoption Wisdom, by Marlou Russell
This one contains lots of excerpts directly from adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents in an attempt to capture the different viewpoints and struggles from each side. It provided my real introduction to the idea of the triad and its importance and also helped with resolving infertility issues. It’s still filled with blue sticky notes, and I find comfort in reading words from other triad members that have traveled the adoption path. Also, it’s written by an adoptee in reunion with her birth family, so I give it more credence than a book by any old psychologist.
4. Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, by Sherrie Eldridge
When I opened this book and started reading chapter titles such as ” I Suffered a Profound Loss Before I Was Adopted. You Are Not Responsible” and “I Need to Be Taught That I Have Special Needs Arising From Adoption Loss, of Which I Need Not Be Ashamed” I thought, Dang. You need shorter chapter titles. Seriously, it was hard to read a book so focused on grief, loss, and all the hurt that Ellie might feel one day. A few times, I huffed and threw it to the side. I wanted to reject the ideas in this book and say, “Not my child. She’ll be so happy and well-adjusted and wonderful that she’ll never feel this way. We’ll be such amazing parents that this won’t apply to her.” But that’s kind of why I needed to read this book. From the blogs of adult adoptees I follow, I know that no matter how wonderful and secure Ellie’s life is here with us, she will likely (and rightly) have some complicated feelings related to her adoption, and that’s okay. It’s my job not to try and prevent any of those feelings, but rather to do my best to understand and support her. She gets to feel what she feels…no matter what.
5. Dear Birthmother, by Kathleen Silbar and Phylis Speedlin
I’m SO grateful to my agency for requiring me to read this book. While I had accepted the idea of open adoption from an intellectual standpoint as the best thing for my child, this book portrayed birth mothers in a compassionate and real way that opened my eyes and my heart to the other side. This book was an important part of the path to our current level of openness. The section on infertility is also honest and full of passages from real people that understand the full range of emotions involved in healing.
And here are five children’s books related to adoption. (I’d take a picture, but they’re in her room, and she’s napping. If I wake her up, I can’t finish this post, so you understand, right?) Some of these were gifts, and I don’t necessarily agree with the portrayal of adoption in all of them, but they’re the ones on our shelf at the moment.
6. A Mother for Choco, by Keiko Kasza
7. Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born, by Jamie Lee Curtis
8. Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale, by Karen Katz
9. God Found Us You, by Lisa Tawn Bergren
10. I Don’t Have Your Eyes, by Carrie A. Kitze
I’m especially interested in recommendations in this area as she’ll soon be old enough to start internalizing more than just the pretty pictures and bright colors. I’m particularly having a hard time finding books that portray our definition of open adoption. What adoption-related children’s books do you recommend? Which ones do you have issues with and why?
Also, it would be sort of awesome if those of you who aren’t in the adoption world would consider getting some similar children’s books for your own kids. They teach several lessons including: families don’t all have to look the same, families are made in different ways, and in a family, love is the most important thing. Good lessons for any child, I think.
That’s it for now. With all these lists floating around, I’ve got some reading to do!