ADOPTING: real life stories – Adoption Book Review

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From the Cover of ADOPTING: real life stories by Ann Morris:

“Who makes adoption a success? We do: the kids and parents in the new family as we change shape to accommodate each other.

With more than 70 real life stories, revealing moments of vulnerability and moments of joy, this book provides an authentic insight into adoption. These stories take the reader on a journey through every stage of the adoption process, from making the decision to adopt to the challenges of bringing up a child who has lost all trust in the adult world, offering informative, honest and often emotive accounts of families’ experiences. It includes the stories of adopters, adoptees and birth parents. Chapters cover every aspect of adoption: adopting older children to adopting sibling groups; adopting as a single parent; adopting as a same-sex couple; adopting emotionally and physically abused children; the nightmare of adoption breaking down; contact with birth parents; tracing and social media and much more.”


Grade:

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Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 4 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]


What I Thought:

This book is a collection of stories as well as general information on adoption, specifically pertaining to adoption in the UK. The stories are organized in great fashion, surrounding different topics in the adoption and foster care community. The book begins with “So you want to adopt?” as the first chapter and has quite a bit of good intro info as well as stories to support the topic. Th book progresses through the topics of the first meetings, ages of the children at time of placement and how that might look, to different types of abilities as well as trauma. The topics covered next are about different types of parents ( same sex and single parent adoption). As well as additional adoptions in the same families. The following chapters cover more controversial topics of race/religion as it relates to adoption as well as the difficult subjects of school, future contact with biological parents and children, attachment issues, behaviors, helping the adoptive children know there story, social media and adoption, and concluding the book with a birth mother’s story.

What makes this book a stand out are all of the years and years of personal stories that are shared throughout the book to help the reader fully understand how each topic relates specifically to adoption and what it might look like in the real world. I personally appreciated a book like this on the market to help paint a more realistic picture of how adoption looks in real life. One of my favorite parts of the book was the Adoption UK’s ten-point guide to handling teenagers. It was a more how to/step by step guide to follow and apply for parents, (not just what to do with your children but also how to help yourself while parenting). Additionally, the chapter entitled, “Taking in the Child, Taking on the School” was incredible. It really paints a clear picture of how important finding the right school for the child is, as far as how to best help with trauma and trust. There are many tips and ideas on how to specifically help your child when in comes to the school setting. Another very informative chapter is called “Breakdown”. This chapter discusses adoption disruptions and has some statistics as well as in depth information about what an adoption disruption looks like. I appreciated this chapter being in this book as the social stigma for adoption disruptions appears to be so negative. The book does a great job of explaining the truth as to why they occur as well as what that looks like, with personal stories from adoptive families. Overall, this book is a easy read, that you could pick up and get some great take away’s from for your adoption journey or if your just considering an adoption.


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Ellie Jelly and the Massive Mum Meltdown – Book Review

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From the Cover of Ellie Jelly and the Massive Mum Meltdown by Sarah Naish:

“Ellie Jelly wakes up hungry and ready for breakfast but Mum is busy with her little sister; Grace. Ellie tries to get Mum’s attention: she bangs the table, she makes loud singing noises, but it’s no good. Finally, she decides to make her own breakfast, picking up the heavy milk carton and – OH NO – spilling the milk over the table and the floor.

Mum gets really angry and shouts at Ellie. Ellie feels wobbly and her chest is banging – will Ellie Jelly and Mum ever be friends again?”

Grade:

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Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 4 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

What Our Family Thought:

The target audience of this book appears to be the general public with the topic of how a family navigates times when a caregiver might have a meltdown. Transfiguring Adoption believes that this book is still very relevant for foster/adoptive families as many caregivers find themselves in more heightened stressful situations which could easily cause them to have a meltdown with children. This book seems like it would work well for children from ages 4 – 9 years old and possibly a couple of years older depending on the child.

The illustrations appeared to be drawn in a colorful cartoon style through the use of mixed drawing media. The images do a good job of bringing the reader into the world of Ellie Jelly. The figures convey clear emotions help to engage a child so that a family can easily progress through the story.

The tale centers around a little girl named, Ellie Jelly, who is not to happy about her baby sister, Grace, demanding so much attention of Mum. Ellie begins the day by doing various actions to get Mum’s attention. When Mum must leave the room, Ellie decides to take on the task of making breakfast on her own which ends in one mistake snowballing to larger mistakes. The result is Mum having a meltdown in front of the girls.

Transfiguring Adoption appreciates that this story seems to be a true-to-life tale to which families will be able to relate. The family itself speaks to many groups, such as single parents, traditional birth families, foster families, and adoptive families as it is vague how this family was formed. Transfiguring Adoption appreciates the author’s care for addressing the feelings a child might have when a caregiver has meltdown as well as taking the readers through a journey for healthy resolution after a meltdown occurs.

Sarah Naish has written several other books for children. While all of her books have been found to be very useful for foster and adoptive families, Transfiguring Adoption finds that her work is continuing to grow and become even richer. The only reason this book did not earn a perfect score was merely due to our guidelines requiring a 5 HOOT score to be given to media directly relating to foster or adoptive families.
Overall, this book is a MUST for caregivers to have on their shelves to help reconnect and have a healthy conversation with children after (or possibly before) their next meltdown.


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It’s Your Turn:

  1. Why doesn’t Ellie like being busy?
  2. How do you think Ellie felt when mom was yelling and banging things around?
  3. Why did grandma come visit?
  4. Did Mum mean to hurt Ellie with her words?
  5. Does Mum still love Ellie? How do you know?
  6. Have you ever felt like Ellie? How?
  7. How do you know your mom or dad loves you?
  8. Is it okay for people to get mad at times?
  9. What do kids AND adults need to do when they hurt someone with their words?

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The Mermaid Who Couldn’t – Book Review

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From the Cover of The Mermaid Who Couldn’t by Ali Redford:

“‘I am a useless mermaid,’ Mariana thought, ‘I can’t do anything.’
Mariana is not like the other mermaids. Abandoned by a careless mother on the ocean floor, she has never laughed or played, she can’t sing and can barely even swim. Then she meets a turtle called Muriel, who welcomes her into her family and shows her all the things she can do.
Written for children aged 4 to 9 and beyond, this picture book shows how children who lack confidence can learn to find a sense of self-worth.”

Grade:

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Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 4 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

What Our Family Thought:

The target audience of this book appears to be the general public and targeting children ages 4 through 9 years old. With the current popularity of mermaids children younger and older could be read this book – though children younger than 4 will more than likely not be able to see the comparisons which can be drawn from the story and the foster care or adoption world.

Even though this story may not have been written directly to foster and adoptive families, the theme of self-confidence and self-worth is one that foster/adoptive children deal with in a large way. The author, Ali Redford, is herself an adoptive mom and knowledgable on this theme from a caregiver’s perspective.

The illustrations of the story are quite rich and full. They will surely transport your family into Marianna’s world. The images help children to discover emotions and thoughts that are being conveyed in the story. It seems that the images really help a family move through a well-told story and tackle some abstract thoughts/emotions.

Caregivers will appreciate this story as it showcases a turtle named Muriel, who acts as a foster or adoptive mom to the little mermaid, Marianna. The book does a good job of portraying Marianna before Muriel takes her through a process of improving her self-confidence, as well as doing a good job of showing that Marianna may have touches of feeling unworthy from time to time even after going through her journey.

Overall, Transfiguring Adoption finds that this book will be an entertaining story for your family to enjoy. Our grading system requires a piece of media to directly address foster or adoptive families in order to get a perfect score, which is the only reason why the story did not earn a perfect score. This story is in fact a powerful tool which can begin needed and healthy conversations with your foster or adoptive children. Your family will do well to purchase this resource as a way to bond and connect with your child.


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It’s Your Turn:

  1. What were things that scared Marianna?
  2. Why was Marianna scared?
  3. What did Muriel do that made Marianna feel loved?
  4. Is Marianna worthless? Why?
  5. What does Marianna do when she starts to feel bad about herself again?
  6. Do you ever feel bad about yourself? Why?
  7. What are you good at? What do you like to do?
  8. Who are people that remind you about how special you are when you feel bad about yourself?

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