At Home in This World, A China Adoption Story Review

At Home in This World, A China Adoption Story
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There are at least two things that make this book stand out from the growing field of literature about adoption from China: it is told from the perspective of a child, rather than an adult, and it takes into account the sad feelings, as well as the happy ones that we parents remember so well.
In her introduction, the author (a mother of two girls from China) describes how she first put together an adoption story that emphasized all the wonderful things about adoption including a " heavy on adoption-day photographs." Then she realized that "The relentlessly positive spin I chose to put on my girls' pre-adoption birth story was confusing to my daughters, who recognized buried feelings that didn't always parallel mine." She found that she needed to address and legitimize these feelings.
This is not to say that the book is sad. The young narrator tries to make sense of why her birthparents would leave her, she wonders what they look like, she notes that she looks like a "confused little baby" in her adoption video, and she talks about early dreams she had of being lost after she went to sleep at night. She says "I understand all of these things in my head, but it is so much harder to understand in my heart." She concludes her story by saying that she is bringing her sides together ..."One girl from two places who is growing up to be at home in this big, wide world."
After the story, the author includes some information at questions that parents and children can discuss after they read the book.
The book is illustrated with charming watercolors by Qin Su, a native of China. They have a fresh, direct quality to them.
This belongs on adoptive parents' bookshelf along with Mommy Far, Mommy Near by Carol Antoinette Peacock and Kids Like Me in China by Yin Ying Fry.

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"I am nine years old and someone a lot like you. Part of my life has been like a puzzle needing pieces, but I am understanding more about myself and my life everyday. This is my story..."So begins the honest, lyrical reflection of a pre-adolescent girl on what she knows of her adoption from China, and the strength she gains from her acceptance of her bittersweet experience. The book addresses the underlying feelings and emotions that color the world of the China adoptee. At Home in This World effectively describes and empowers a young girl looking for acknowledgement, empathy and emotional validation. It also enables pre-teen readers to put their early lives into perspective, while emphasizing the supportive love that encircles them within their own families. What is your life story? Everyone has a one, and with a little detective work you will be certain that no one has a life story as extraordinary as your own...

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