Showing posts with label Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reviews. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day 23: A Movie I Recommend

This feature length documentary is available on streaming Netflix or at Amazon.

While not specifically about older child adoption, this film paints a picture of what it's like to grow up as an international adoptee, always living somewhere between your birth culture and your adopted culture. It gives a rare glimpse of international adoption through the adoptee's eyes.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day 14: Sharing Control

We're on the ground, safe and sound in Colorado. Our conference begins tonight

Before I share today's Preparing to Parent link, I want to share with you about something fun I've been doing this summer. I've been taking Ordinary Miracles and the Crazy 9's manual photography class, Manual 'n More.

I've always loved taking photos, and I even have a fancy DSLR camera. Problem is, for years I've used it like it was a big, bulky, expensive point and shoot.

When I looked at all those dials and modes and settings, I felt a little woozy, and I usually quickly chose that green box, fully automatic mode.

Over the years, I've gotten some great shots -- totally by accident. I was at the mercy of that beast of a camera. It controlled me; I certainly didn't control it. I didn't even understand it.

Last Friday, after just a couple of weeks in Manual 'n More, I took the above photo of my 13-year-old son, Nathan. I took it totally in manual mode. I chose the ISO. I chose the shutter speed. I chose the aperture value. And I'll tell you a little secret. Now, I even know what those words mean!

I know a lot of you are waiting to travel to adopt your new child, and I know that for some of you the wait is getting long. Now would be a great time to take a class and learn to capture amazing photos on your once-in-a-lifetime adoption trip. After our 31 days series is up, I'll fill you in a little more on the details of the class. But for now, you can learn more about Manual 'n More here.

Nancy, who teaches the Manual 'n More class, is also an adoptive mama. This week she wrote a post that perfectly illustrates what Karyn Purvis talked about in our video yesterday. Even though Nancy adopted her daughter at 12 months old, parents of older children can learn a lot from how she's handling her daughter's current struggles with food. It's a beautiful example of sharing control.

Take some time today to read "Food issues and binging 5 years later."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

An-Ya and Her Diary: A Book Review

Dear Diary,
I have a new mother and a father. I call my father Daddy. I call my mother Wanna. I call her that in secret because she Wanna be my mommy. She can't. They mean nothing to me. I know their names, I know how many papers they signed to make me their daughter, but those papers mean nothing. I don't have anything else to say about them right now. 

These words from the opening pages of An-Ya and Her Diary, a young adult novel by Diane Rene Christian, stopped me cold. An-Ya, an eleven-year-old girl, recently adopted from China, calls her new mother Wanna? At the time, it was more than my adoptive mama heart could bear so I turned off my Kindle and didn't return to An-Ya's story for about three months. 

Recently, however, something prompted me to revisit An-Ya, and I'm glad I did.

Eleven-year-old An-Ya is one of China's abandoned babies. She was found in a box along with a blank book.  Printed on the first page of the book was her name, An-Ya. For years, An-Ya fantasizes about the day her birth parents will return to the orphanage for her and her diary, now her most precious possession. She keeps the diary blank, waiting for the day she can fill it with her story's happy ending.

But An-Ya's birth parents never come.

Instead, eleven-year-old An-Ya is adopted by American parents. She is their second child. Her younger sister, three-year-old Ellie, was adopted from China as a baby. The presence of Ellie in An-Ya's story provides a great contrast, showing how older child adoption is, indeed, very different from infant adoption.

Once in America, An-Ya begins to record her journey in her diary, and the words she writes paint a real life picture of international older child adoption. We watch An-Ya's family struggle. We cheer them on. And the unique value for adoptive parents like me, is that the story is told from An-Ya's perspective

An-Ya and Her Diary is a real jewel, and in my opinion, a must-read for any parent considering an older child adoption. Because adoption looks very different when viewed through the eyes of the adopted child.

Diane Rene Christian, an adoptive mother herself, resists the urge to neatly tie up all the loose ends in An-Ya's story, and the book closes with An-Ya and her family very much still in process. But they've all come a long way, and as I turn the last electronic page, I am convinced that An-Ya is going to be OK. I'm pretty sure she's even warming up to Wanna.

At this time, Amazon Prime members may borrow An-Ya and Her Diary free on Kindle. And in the future, I hope to review An-Ya and Her Diary: Reader and Parent Guide, a collaborative work by a group of professional adult adoptees. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Giveaway - Just in Time for Christmas

Wen has spent the first eleven years of her life at an orphanage in rural China, and the only person she would call family is her best friend, Shu Ling. When Wen is adopted by an American couple, she struggles to adjust to every part of her new life: having access to all the food and clothes she could want, going to school, being someone's daughter. But the hardest part of all is knowing that Shu Ling remains back at the orphanage, alone. Wen believes that her best friend deserves a family and a future, too. But finding a home for Shu Ling isn't easy, and time is running out . . .

Finally. A novel about older child adoption. And even better, it's written from the point of view of the adopted child.

I was cautiously hopeful as I began reading. Would this book really paint a picture of the challenges as well as the joys of older child adoption? Or would everything just be butterflies and rainbows? Would the story be compelling enough for kids of all ages (and even adults) to enjoy? Was that too much to ask of one book?

In the end, my hopes were realized. I really liked this book. In fact, I liked it so much I decided to read it aloud to all my kids.

Ages 12, 10, 9 and 8, my kids were the perfect audience for Red Thread Sisters which is aimed at middle grade students. I found it to be appropriate for older elementary kids as well. My one concern was Wenxin. Although the author, Carol Peacock, approaches the subject sensitively, when Wen and Shu Ling share their stories of abandonment, the ache of their hearts is unmistakable.  I cried for them. Would this prove to be too much for nine year old Wenxin, only home from China two years?

I prefaced the book by sharing with all the children that this was Wen's story (the main character), not Wenxin's. And as I read, I saw the biggest response from my biological kids.

Julia, age 10, said, "I never thought before about how the adopted kid might feel."

Following Wen's story, they were able to see international adoption through her eyes. Their empathy and understanding deepened.

As for Wenxin, he listened, but didn't say much, and I didn't push it. I just gave him room to process, and let him enjoy the story.

By the end of the book, all of us, even Wenxin, were cheering Wen on, hoping she'd find Shu Ling a family before it was too late.

After reading Red Thread Sisters, I gathered up my courage and wrote the author, Carol Peacock. She is so sweet. I asked if she'd be willing to give away a signed copy of her book, and she said, "Yes!"

So just in time for Christmas, you have the opportunity to win your own signed hardcover copy of Red Thread Sisters. It would make a great gift for any young reader. It would even be helpful for prospective adoptive parents. There's something about a good story that drives the truth home and helps it stick.

Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below for up to 12 chances to win! If you've never used Rafflecopter before, don't be intimidated. It's super easy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dr. Carol Antoinette Peacock grew up in Maryland, in a suburb outside of Washington D.C. She is the oldest of three children in a family who loved books. When she was young, her parents, Andrew and Gloria Peacock, read devotedly to her, her younger brother, Richard, and her younger sister, Nancy. Carol Peacock has wanted to be a writer since she was eleven. She is now a practicing psychologist and author of six books. Dr. Peacock earned a BA at Cornell University, a Masters of Social Work from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Psychology at Boston College.

You can find Carol Peacock on Facebook and at And if you don't want to wait for the raffle to end, Red Thread Sisters is available now at Amazon.

Shared at the Tuesday Baby Link-up.