Julie and I met through the Houston writing community. She is the founder of Bayou City Press. Today she tells us about her children’s book on international adoption. Thank you Julie for taking time to stop by today.
Guest Blog by Julie Gianelloni Connor
My children’s book on international adoption came about because there is nothing like it on the market.
Way back in 1992 when I adopted my son, I searched for a book on adoption to read to my son. With no internet yet existing, I searched as best I could while living overseas, but with no luck. Books about adoption were mainly written for adoptive parents, not children, and usually focused on the process of adoption. Meanwhile, the training course for prospective adoptive parents that I took emphasized that a child should know from his earliest years that he was adopted; hiding this information can lead to bad outcomes, such as the child feeling deceived when he finally finds out he is adopted.
Unable to find a suitable book on adoption that I could read to my son, in the end I wrote a text. I hoped to find an illustrator and to create a small handmade book just for him, but after failing to find an illustrator I settled for reading him the text over and over.
From a Pandemic Comes a New Book
Fast forward to 2020. With the world in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, I started thinking about writing a second book. My thoughts turned to my old adoption manuscript. I pulled it out of the file where it had resided since my child became old enough to read for himself. I re-read it. It was specific to my son, but I saw that I could adapt it to be more universal. Then I went online to see what books were now available on adoption and ordered a number of them.
What I learned as I examined those books was that almost all of them have as principal characters animals. So, for example, a mama bear might adopt a fawn. A second characteristic of the children’s books I read was that the books focused on the adoptive mother and the adopted child, with no or few other characters appearing.
Filling an Unmet Need
While the books are adorable, and I am sure children love them, they don’t fill a need I believe exists. Adoptive children want to know why their biological mother gave them up for adoption. They also need to understand that their adoptive parents didn’t just take them in as an act of kindness—the parents are desperately seeking to add a child to their family. Moreover, the adoption process involves many more people than just a mother and child. In my book, The Baby with Three Families, Two Countries, and One Promise, I sought to write a child-friendly story that incorporated these issues.
I also urged parents to personalize the book, to make it their and their child’s own. As they read the book to their child, they can change the names to their own names. Paste in a photo of their pet over the one in book. Substitute the flag of the country where their child was born for the fake flag in the book. I want my book to serve as the bones of an adoption story that adoptive parents can modify as they read it to their child. There is still no similar book on the market.
Learn more about Julie’s book here. Learn more about Julie her book about her pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago at Bayou City Press. Thank you for stopping by. Share this with a friend or sign up for your own free subscription at HowWiseThen.
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