I am often asked advice on what to gift a special birth child, adoptive parent, or birth mother. While there are many great gifts I’ve stumbled on and given over the last 11 years (or savings to gift her one day!), for younger children within the adoption triad I recommend some adoption picture books to begin that conversation and make it part of their normal life. I’ve watched Anna grow up knowing she is adopted, who I am in her life, and the basics of why I chose adoption for her from a very early age thanks to her amazing parents who felt it was as important as I did. Adoption is her normal, having 2 moms with different roles is her normal. Having a brother she lives with and birth siblings who live a few hours a way is her normal. Over the years it has blossomed into a beautiful comfort of security knowing her story and her roots in both families. The Tummy Mummy by Michelle Madrid-Branch is always my top suggestion for a great picture story book that helps children to understand the basics of adoption in a language they can understand at their young age. I looked high and low way-back-when Anna was just 4 years old to find the best fit for our situation (we have an extremely open adoption) and the message I wanted to come across. However, it could fit easily in a closed adoption situation as well since it focuses on the choice made in love, not that relationship after.
“The Tummy Mummy narrates adoption from the birthmother’s perspective, which I loved. It talks about a woman who loved her baby very much but knew she could not take care of it and then talks about a couple who had lots of love and all the baby things, but did not have a baby. Therefore it shows that all around there is love for the child even before she was born. My favorite part is how the wise owl in the book guides the Tummy Mummy across the lake and leads her to the family. This to me was especially important because in my adoption, my “wise owl” was God and He certainly led me to Anna’s family. For another person, that wise owl could symbolize someone else in the adoption story (a counselor, social worker, a friend, etc). In the end, the message of love from all sides is well known, even from the birthmother afar. I loved that message: that even though I am not with her all the time I still love her.”
After giving this book I was referred to by her family as “Your Tummy Mummy” for a while and I would sign cards that way as well, but now nearly 12 years into our adoption “Miss Leah” is the name that has stuck! I’m okay with that 🙂 It’s about our heart bond, not about my title.
What is your favorite adoption story book for kids? I’d love more suggestions to have on hand for others!
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