As an adoptive parent I’m always keeping an eye out for children’s books that are out there which resonate with our own son’s adoption story. There aren’t a lot out there. Until the other day I had only one children’s book on adoption on my bookshelf, which is a decent one, but because it gets a bit specific in the details in the story of what happened on the night of one particular adopted child’s birth, it doesn’t quite capture our story the way I’d like. Individuals’ stories vary tremendously not only in the specific details of each person’s adoption but also in the type of adoption that took place (example: international vs. domestic vs. foster care) which differ from each other vastly. Finding a good children’s book for an adopted child is not an easy task.
With that said I’d like to give a shout out to a new children’s book sent to me by Blue Slip Media (to be released on April 25) called Wonderful You by Lauren McLaughlin. This story resonated with me because the focus of the book centers around the concept of an open adoption where a birthmother searches for and selects the parents for her unborn child.
The moment I opened up the cover of the book I was intrigued by the bright and vibrant colors. As an artist I appreciate good artwork and the illustrations by Meilo So are truly beautifully done. Each page is its own masterpiece.
The story begins with the introduction of the birthmother, ‘a lady in blue,’ who is looking all over the world for the parents for her unborn girl. A couple of pages in she spots the parents-to-be in which they exclaim, “Can it be? Is she looking for us? Is it finally time?” (At this point in the story I had tears welling up in my eyes remembering this defining moment for us and the intense longing that many adoptive parents feel in desperately wanting to love a child and start their own family but having to wait to be picked.) A page or two later the book touches on how carefully the birthmother was about being sure the home she was picking for her child was a good fit. “‘Will you love her,’ she asked, ‘every morning and night?’” (OK now I was a crying blubbering mess! What a beautiful way to exemplify the love a birthmother feels for her child.)
The story goes on for several pages with the girl growing into a toddler then a young child and the adoptive family is shown having lots of fun together doing various activities and living life together as a true family. Near the back of the book ‘a woman in blue’ shows up again on a faraway perch up in the sky watching over her child and her parents as they get ready for bed. The book ends with the adoptive family of three playing lovingly together.
I have read this book a half a dozen times now and I love it despite the fact that I can’t seem to get through it without shedding at least one tear. I’ve shared it just once so far with my son who seemed to enjoy it. His only comment throughout the book said in his sweet little voice was, “Don’t cry Mommy,” which he is used to saying whenever I tell him about the days surrounding his birth.
If your family was formed through an open adoption or if you are thinking of giving a gift to another adoptive family who went through an open adoption this book really is an absolute must. It may even be appropriate for families of international adoptions as well although birthmothers would likely be more mystical characters to the children vs. reality since the process is done so differently. Either way, this book is a nice addition for both children and adults in the adoption community.
Note: Although Blue Slip Media contacted me to consider reviewing this new book for them it was not at all an obligation and reviewing the book was purely voluntary on my part with no money exchanged. I am happy passing along adoption resources that help other adoptive families or bring them joy.