- Books, Literature, and Writing
Are You My Mother? a Kids Book for Adoptive Families too
Imagine just popping into the world fully mobile and inquisitive, thinking big chick thoughts - what would they be?
Our baby was adopted so when a grandma gifted us with this book I was of two minds.
As newlywed Catholics (me, a year into the marriage) we managed to hold onto the designation for a few years. The two of us enjoyed plenty of couple time and we believed that baby time would come in God's plan.
But when our three-year anniversary date was approaching, with no signs of expecting, we wondered how long our wait might be.
So when our archbishop made a plea
on TV we listened. He was speaking to couples like us who wanted to begin a family and who might be willing to consider adoption. This was 1967, prior to the wide availability of legal abortions in the U.S. The archbishop, in a first for him, spoke to the people, to draw attention to the number of babies awaiting permanent families.
We decided to attend his informational meeting the next month. The event was held at a hall in a small town north of the city. Neither of us had any idea how our families would feel about adoption so we kept it between us, not wanting to get any misinformation piled on us before we got the real scoop from the parish.
The archdiocesan leader spoke with
the kindness of his heart and it was a good thing because we were a bit antsy. Social workers from the Catholic charity shared statistics and needs. They explained the exploratory process, the application, the home visits, the inspection, and then they got to the heart of the matter at hand.
Everyone wanted to know how long the process took, and what consideration would be given to a couple's desires - could they choose the sex, coloring, nationalities, educational backgrounds and musical talents?
Adoptive parents told their personal
stories and the excitement was palpable, as couples like us felt our hearts enlarging. Our drive back to the city was a lively conversation about how we would feel about raising someone else's baby. That was easy for us. We knew the baby we received would become our baby once we left the adoption agency.
We had been told that the whole procedure might be concluded in a matter of months, rather than years. The archbishop said our Catholic hospitals had so many babies awaiting adoption that all foster homes were full and newborns had to remain in the hospital nurseries.
Within weeks our application was in and
the home visit and other requirements had been met. We told our families and our enthusiasm was contagious. The Catholic side of the family knew the babe would be from Catholic parents and that settled the matter for them.
After sharing sorrow over our inability to produce a child of our own my folks became interested in the process and accepted that the baby would become their first grandchild.
We were approved and a week later
just as we packed for an out-of-state wedding, our social worker called to say they had a baby for us and he would be ready when we returned the following week. I wanted to change our plans and pick him up the next day, but the worker insisted that it would take longer than that to prepare everything so we should come in to get our baby in one week.
Waiting for my hubby's work day to end wasn't idle time. My mom and I shopped for and bought all the necessities we could manage on the run, and then we hurried home to set up the layette and bassinette in the nursery that opened off the bedroom. We set up a table in our oversized bathroom with dozens of folded cloth diapers and everything we'd need for bathing and changes.
Then the magical moment came and
we brought our first beautiful baby home. Two months from the inception of the idea to conclusion of our parenthood quest, and life was good.
Are You My Mother? was a gift we used
to introduce the idea of adoption to our first, and next and next, child, personalizing the little stories to build into their memories the joys of discovery, when we found each one waiting for us - not hiking all over to answer the question on their own. While the first thought that popped up inside my head was the image of a tot questioning whether or not I was his mom, eventually it became that very loving tool it remains.
and waited next to the phone for our call after we went to meet our baby.
You can buy the featured book above. Here I share some simple books for adoptive parents to read with their very young children.
In our small town we had many many adopted children in the school system, and the teachers ensured that the topic was presented in such a way as to make it admirable, and something for which to be glad.
I'm aware that's not the case in every school system or neighborhood, and I've seen movies of children, usually teens, learning in fright that they were adopted. Thank God, our children and those in our community were spared that trauma. Sharing these books with the neighbor kids, the preschool and playgroups can help spread the happy word.
So true, I wished and prayed for pregnancy, so when the babies entered our lives they were the answers to our hopes.
Answers such questions as why did you want me, and how did I fit. This book provides lots of ideas for how to share the reasons your adopted child is just the one you wanted.