Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Dear Sugar: 3 Questions to Ask Your Kids After Reading an Adoption Book

Dear Sugar,

Happy Adoption Month!

First, I'm going to posting daily adoption book suggestions on my Facebook page this entire month, so please join me!

We own a ton of adoption books, and I love reading them to the kids.  It's so important to have copies of these books in your home so that you and your children have access to them at all times, pulling out just the perfect one depending on your child's needs and stage in their adoption journey.

First, there are many, many children's adoption books out there, but I've got to tell you, I don't love all of them.   Some are too fluffy, some are inaccurate (generally speaking and/or to our family's story), and some are just plain old boring.   I don't know about you, but if I'm going to read a book to my kids, I want to enjoy it with them!   So here are some of our favorite adoption picture books.

Of course, the BEST adoption book is the one you create for your child, a Life Book, where you detail their personal adoption story.   My kids LOVE their Life Books!

Now, after you read your child the story, I suggest these three questions:

1:  How do you feel after reading this book?  

Sometimes kids have a hard time thinking beyond sad, happy, and mad.  I highly recommend these Todd Parr Feelings Flashcards as a tool to help your child express their accurate feeling in any situation or circumstance.  They are a heavy cardboard material and thick, so they work well for little hands.

2:  What's one question you have about adoption?

This may require some promptings such as:  what do you wonder about your birth parents?   Whatever your child's question is, my theory is to meet their words and expressions with education, empathy, and empowerment.  

Remember, kids are total masters at coming up with more than one question at bedtime, so prepare yourself.   Sometimes we do discuss multiple questions, but sometimes I tell them, when they are purposefully procrastinating, that we will table the discussion until tomorrow when I will be more than happy to respond to their questions.

3:  What was your favorite part of the book?  

Let them choose.  It might be a quirky detail in an illustration like one my daughters.  It might be a poignant moment in the book.

A mama-by-transracial-adoption who has been a mentor to me over the years once shared with me:  bring up adoption to your kids.  Don't wait for them to come to you.  Create opportunities to discuss adoption with honesty and empathy.  

I'm very thankful I have her in my life and have followed this advice.   Being proactive (vs. reactive) always feels good and lets our kids know that we CARE and we are open to their thoughts and feelings.

You've got this, Sugar!

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