What compelled you to write “ABC, Adoption & Me”?
Adoption brought great joy to my husband and me. We were thrilled to leave childlessness behind and to join the ranks of “Parents.” As the children were growing up, we worked hard to make adoption a normal part of family conversations. Our placement agency operated on the philosophy that they functioned to find families for children, instead of children for families. They spent a lot of time educating us to have an open heart about the realities of adoption. We did not allow adoption blessings to cloud our awareness that adoption had its roots in significant loss for our kids. Our family library included most of the kid’s titles available at the time. Many were wonderful and we all—kids and parents—enjoyed reading them together.
But the difficult aspects of adoption never got a mention in kid’s books. None ever talked about the yearning, the unanswered questions, the puzzling challenge of having both birth and adoptive families. Like most adoptees, our kids wondered about their birth parents, where they were and what they were doing. And of course, the biggie: why were they placed for adoption?
We generated our own “teachable moments” to address these complex issues. We utilized Positive Adoption Language, referred respectfully to their birth parents, and celebrated the gifts their biology contributed to our family. Yet we yearned for a book that addressed this aspect. ABC, Adoption & Me is our answer to this gap in kid’s adoption literature.
Who will want to read your book?
Parents can read ABC, Adoption & Me to kids when they are young. Kids will relate to the simple concepts on a very simple level. As they mature, they’ll notice the nuances of the material. For example: bellybuttons. We’ve all got one. The littlest of kids can understand that. As they get older, parents can expand their conversation to connect having a belly button to growing inside their birth mother.
Why did you choose the ABC format?
We all learn new material most easily when it can piggyback on current knowledge. By using the ABCs—one of the most basic and earliest things kids learn—there is a ready framework on which to layer these new ideas. Everyone has internalized that little ditty. It’s common to all kids. And the adoption concepts the book presents, meld into this context of normalcy.
What goal do you have for your book?
When my daughter and I collaborated on ABC, Adoption & Me, we wanted to assist families in dealing with the realities of adoption, to reassure kids and parents that the ambivalent feelings and conflicting ideas are common and normal. By encouraging these open discussions, families can support each other in a very authentic way. No one has to pretend perfection.
Life is diverse. Families are unique. We made an effort to be culturally inclusive so that the book represents all kinds of kids and families. What connects us all is love. We believe that thread of love and acceptance is the heartbeat of the book. We trust that it will help smooth out some of the bumps in the road as families walk their adoption journey.
Gayle H. Swift and Casey A. Swift