Guest Author - Karen Ledbetter
Alex and Violet are now in elementary school and have been friends since their very young years. One day while playing at his house, Alex shares his life book with Violet and tells her how he joined his family through adoption. Violet is confused and full of questions because she does not even know what adoption is. She wonders if she has another mommy and daddy somewhere. Does she have a life book, too?
Violetís mom answers her questions honestly and compassionately, explaining that some children grow up with the parents who gave birth to them, while others grow up with different parents. Some children live in orphanages, foster homes, or with grandparents or other family members.
Violet asks why some children cannot live with their birth families. Her mother explains some of the reasons children cannot remain with their birth families. She also explains that children are different ages when adopted and that children are sometimes adopted from other countries.
Violetís mom also explains that families are created in many different ways and that we are all different because of who we are, not how we joined our families. The members of some families may not look alike, but they are still families because of their love for one another.
The next morning, Violet wakes up after having a bad dream. She is worried that Alex can be taken away from his family. Later that day, she asks Alex if his real mom and dad can take him away. Alex explains that the parents who gave him life are his birth parents and that his mom and dad are his forever parents and reassures Violet that he cannot be taken away. With Alexís momís help, the children talk about some of the things that real parents do for their children. She also explains that adoptions are made legal by a judge in the courts. The story concludes with Alexís mom explaining that all adoption experiences are different, and the information is private.
Following the story is a very informative page of notes to adults, with a guide to adoption questions to ask, how to tactfully ask them, and questions to avoid, as well as some appropriate adoption terminology.
Adoption professional, Sofie Stergianis, and adult educator, Rita McDowell, co-authored this excellent book to help non-adopted children (and adults) understand adoption. I think they did an extraordinary job of addressing many adoption issues in a positive, honest, and compassionate manner. As an elementary school librarian, I will definitely use this book for storytime. It is a book that every non-adopted child should read at least once.