I struggle to write this post. I know some of the celebrations that my daughter holds about her adoption, but I also am aware of some of the deep tensions that she also carries. I do not want to speak for her-- there is no way I could-- and her story is different than the girls in the book in many ways. And yet the question crops within me: how does this story honor adopted children? What would Alysa think if she read it? And if Alysa ever chooses to write her own story, what might she say?
This book tells the story of two young teens who live in an orphanage in China. The story starts with one in the process of meeting her new, adoptive family for the first time and saying good bye to her best friend who will stay in the orphanage. The ensuing travel home, settling into daily life here in the States, and meandering the patterns of newly-connected/created family all show up in this well-written tale. The author obviously knows adoption issues fairly personally; her story crafting makes sense, flows well, and rings true frequently. I appreciate the ongoing challenge of creating trust within this newly-created family, and I liked how the author kept weaving her way through the living series of celebrations and trials. But there is another issue percolating on the forefront of this story: the adopted girl refuses to let go of her promise to find a family for her friend still in China.
So back to those questions: I see the story totally honoring adopted children and in greater light, honoring the great loss adoptees experience over and over in their lives. Those tragic seeds of loss don't still reside inside, and finding ways to enliven those with people who both care and didn't experience what they did is truly a traumatic experience waiting inside of many of adoptees. I thought this book tried to open that conversation a bit. I think Alysa would like this book, and I think she would say it was not her experience. True: it's not. She could, could answer that question if she wrote her own story. THAT I would like to see!!