I am always reading adoption and diversity-related books to not only broaden my understanding but to add to my resources list to give to potential and waiting adoptive families.
The Brotherhood of Joseph: A Father's Memoir of Infertility and Adoption in the 21st Century (Brooks Hansen): I honestly do not know much about infertility beyond what friend's have shared with me. The main reason I picked up this book was to learn about adoption from a man's point of view, as so many adoption books are geared toward and written by females. I love how the author is blatantly honest and shares, "Up until this whole fertility debacle, I'd always thought of myself as being pretty successful. No rags-to-riches hero, by any stretch, but someone who'd played his fortunes well, knew how to sight some pretty ambitious goals and see them through. So this prolonged ordeal with the clinics and syringes wasn't just painful and discouraging; it pretty much defied everything I thought I knew about myself" (53).
On the topic of adoptees, the author says, "And any time I've spoken to other adopted children [outside two of his cousins who were adopted], I'm impressed by the same moral: there is no moral. There is no norm. And that is good news, I think" (86).
The author compares adoption choices, particularly the "laundry list of variables" on those dreaded "what will you accept" checklists, like "Off Track Betting" (87). He goes on to say, "A bunch of factors that, if all goes well and love prevails, will end up having very little to do with the relationship you forge with your child, he or she being an individual first, not a gender, race, expense, or some unforeseen medical condition waiting to unfold. And yet a decision must be made. You literally cannot move forward without answering these questions and putting them in order, and you can't do that without feeling terribly cheap, impatient, selfish, cowardly, or bigoted" (88).
On the topic of international adoption: "[. . .] the process of adopting from a foreign country is a little like playing poker for the first time with your drunk older cousins. The rules keep changing. You're never sure who to trust, and there's a good chance the whole thing will end in tears and scandal" (100).
In a conversation with his wife, his thoughts based on the Biblical encounter between John and John's followers, "Faith isn't something you inherit; it's not even something you feel. It's something you have to do" (169). Interesting.
I don't agree with all of Hansen's opinions on adoption, but I can appreciate his experience, which is shared in detail, and again, I'm so thankful to read something written by a man in a female-driven adoption industry.
The Sandwich Swap (Queen Rania Al Abdullah): I loved this book (written for children ages 3-7, says the inner cover)! In sum, the book is about two young girls who are best friends and do many activities together every day, including eat lunch. Though they both think the other's lunch is yucky (one has pb and j, the other a hummus sandwich). The school erupts into a food fight based on the increasing friction between the two best friends, and in the end, of course, there's a happy ending. The girls try each other's lunches and discover something new, different, and yummy! I love how this book teaches tolerance and diversity in a practical way (with cute illustrations).
The Family Book (Todd Parr): Parr's simple and humorous sentences along with bright and baby-to-child friendly illustrations make this book a hit. My favorites lines are "Some families are different colors" and "Some families adopt children."