In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Baby book, adoption-style

Dear Annie,

Thanks to your pal Jean for the Ethiopian books.  It's interesting how the folklore stories feel very similar to ones from European traditions.  Congratulations to Jean, Casey and family on their new arrival.

On occasion, adoptive families are faced with small reminders of their differences from birth families.  In the world of books, those reminders often show up in one of the staples of baby shower gifts: The Baby Memory Book.  They're those books that one always intends to go back and fill in the spaces one was too tired to write at the time: exact time of birth, weight, baby's first smile, baby's first solid food/steps/words/etc.  The first page often includes spaces for details of pregnancy ("Mommy's food cravings") and childbirth ("what Mommy was doing when she went into labor" etc.). 

Along with those books, I also carry
Our Chosen Child: How You Came To Us And The Growing Up Years
by Judith Levy.  It's a fill-in-the-blanks book chronicling an adopted child from "Waiting for You" all the way up to "Teenage Years"  and "Looking Ahead."  It's got the how mom and dad met stuff, and the family tree (no mention of birth parents, but one can add lines fairly easily if one chooses).  Once the adoption's official, it keeps following the milestones in a child's life.  Like many books in this genre, it can get cloying fast:
We're two loving people,
Almost as happy as we could be.
We just needed a special angel,
To join our family tree.
And like some of the gay parent books we talked about, it doesn't make being adopted the point of the book.  The focus is the kid growing up, and the adoption is one of the details.




  1. Do you still sell Our Chosen Child: How You Came To Us And The Growing Up Years ? Please let me know.

  2. Just looking at your blog again and thought I'd mention a book we used when our daughter came home from Ethiopia. For my youngest, who is our biological child, we had the customary baby book. I wanted a similar book for my second child, who we adopted, so we used: "My family, My Journey, a Memory Book",- Just thought I'd mention it as another option as well!