Instant Mom by Nia Vardolos
While Nia Vardolos is certainly not the first celebrity to adopt publicly, this is the first adoption memoir that I've read. Reading it felt like I was sitting down with an old friend and a bottle of wine to swap adoption stories. She begins by discussing the struggles of infertility against the backdrop of her success from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", and then moves on to their decision to adopt and finally the first years home with her daughter.
Overall the book is lighthearted but underlying the humor she shows the true emotional roller coaster of adoption-pain and joy in rapid succession. Even though we chose different routes in adoption (international for us, foster care adoption for them), she put into words things I have never really been able to express to those who haven't gone through the process. I cried for all of us when she struggled with infertility. I felt the great weight of hope and love as she met her child for the first time. I cheered as she bonded and showed that yes, toddler adoption is HARD, but each step you take together as a family is amazing. She doesn't sugar coat anything, and best of all, she doesn't judge the road that brings you to being an adoptive family. And even better? She has tons of answers to the common questions about adoption, great resources and people to talk to if you more questions.
Go read this one. Whether you have adopted, are thinking about it, or just want a book that is hilarious and touching.
And a special thanks for Nia for finding the words that I couldn't all these years. Can we actually hang out and drink that bottle of wine?
A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza
This is a sweet picture book about little Choco, who wants to have a mother. He asks many animals, but they all say that they can't possibly be his mother because they don't look like him. Finally he meets Mrs. Bear, who shows him that love is what makes a family, not appearances. Great reassuring read for little kids as they begin to notice that not all families look the same. (It's also a good jumping off point for parents who want to talk to their kids about adoption even if they are not an adoptive family)
Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections edited by Jean MacLeod and Shee Macrae
This book is divided into different sections, with short chapters by various experts or adoptive parents exploring the issue. We come back to this book time and time again as our children get older. I needed the first part of it when they came home and we dealt with bonding and sleep and language. Now I need the parts about transitions and school worries. Practical and informative-this one will be dog-eared on your shelf.
I wish for you a Beautiful Life: Letters from the Korean Birth Mothers of Ae Ran Won to their Children edited by Sara Dorow
The perspective and grief of the birth family is often ignored in talks about adoption, but it is real. The social stigma against single mothers in Korea is not always understood by western society and this book gives a window into the hopes and dreams these women had for themselves and their unborn children. This can be a hard read, but some of the letters are beautiful. Providing a different and much needed perspective.
The path I took to motherhood was a long and sometimes tough road, but I was so lucky to have mentors along the way. If you are thinking about adoption read everything you can get your hands on and find people who have been through it before. They will give you hope when things are bleak, and shout the good news from the roof tops when it happens. I'm always happy to answer questions about the process and send more book links too so email away.
I hope you enjoyed the themed reading roundup! For my usual weekly reads, check our my Friday Favorites posts or my Books tab.
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