15 March 2012

"How I Was Adopted"

by Joanna Cole
illustrated by Maxie Chambliss

"Sam has a joyful story to tell, a story completely her own, yet common to millions of families - the story of how she was adopted."

In this book there is a forward titled "A Note To Families: Adoption and Love" explaining how this book is helpful to children who were adopted. There is another part of the forward titled "A Child's Questions" where the author gives suggestions as to how to answer questions a child who was adopted may ask. The last part of the forward is titled "Raising Your Adopted Child".

In the story Sam shares where she lives, and what she likes. She says that she loves her parents and they love her too. She shares how her parents told her she was adopted when she was one week old. The book briefly explains how babies are born - an important part of explaining adoption to a child:

"They [Sam's parents] said that every baby grows in a special place inside a woman's body. That place is called her uterus." A cartoon picture is shown of a woman in a swimming suit with a drawing of a baby inside her. "When a baby is ready to be born, the woman's uterus squeezes and squeezes, and the baby comes out into the world!" Sam and her parents are looking at a book that shows a cartoon drawing of a woman from about her navel to the top of her thigh. You know, the one that cuts of the leg closest to the person looking at the picture. It shows four pictures - the baby inside the woman, the baby's head pushing out of an opening at the bottom (it does not look like a woman's private area, just an opening at the bottom), the baby's head out and someone's hands on the baby's head, and the baby halfway out of the woman.

Then the story goes on the tell how "many children stay with the woman who gave birth to them" but "Some children do not. Some children need to be adopted..." Sam shares that she "did not grow inside Mommy's uterus." She "grew in another woman's uterus." She then shares things about her appearance. I would note that the parents and child in this story all seem to be Caucasian. She goes on to tell some things about her personality. Then she shares her adoption story. It starts with pictures of her parents before she was born, tells about an "adoption counselor", how the phone rang, when they first met their baby and took her home, how her "our friends and relatives came to welcome you", and how she grew as a baby.

The story ends with Sam saying she loves to hear her adoption story. She ends by saying, "Every girl who was adopted has her own story. Every boy who was adopted has his own story. Do you know the story of how you were adopted?"

I like this book. It is well written toward what a child can understand. The illustrations are fun with cute details in the background. When my children are a bit older I think this book will become part of our home library.

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01 March 2012

"Black" Music

Though I haven't decided against including African art in our home, I feel it more important to include African-American art. Our family is a musical family. We listen to music all the time and have "dance parties" with the kids. My husband's big hobby and talent is musical theater. He directs the church choir. I've loved music for as long as I can remember. Our children seem to have a love for music too.

I've been wanting to include African-American music in our family's music for a while. However, the African-American, or black, music I grew up hearing is not something I want my kids exposed to. Neither is the popular black music of today. One day I had an epiphany. It seemed so simple an answer I don't know why I haven't thought of it before.

My Caucasian/white son loves Jackson Five's "Rockin' Robin". We use Pandora on our TV, internet, and phones. So one day I created a Jackson Five station. Best thing ever! We hear all the catchy mo-town songs that are awesome to dance to. Sure there's the occasional slow love song that's a bit too grown-up for the kids (no bad language, just too much about love-makin' kind of stuff), but all you gotta do on Pandora is thumbs-down it and you'll never hear it again.

{Quick paragraph about Pandora. you can find it at pandora.com. It's free and user friendly. You can create any kind of "station" you'd like and name it what you want. You can add songs to the station to help the website identify what type of music you'd like to hear on that station. (We also have a kid's songs station.) Then it does the rest! Based on what you've entered it chooses other songs it thinks you'd like and plays them like a radio station. If for some reason you don't like a particular song you can thumbs-down it and you won't hear it again. Easy-cheesy and pretty awesome.}

We hear Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, The Emotions, The Temptations, and many, many more great artists. I didn't realize how much I LOVE this music and knew all the words until I heard it all again. You may be surprised as well.

What about you and your family? Any favorite music artists you listen to to include your African-American child's culture and heritage in your family?

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