Zachary’s New Home – Foster Care and Adoption Book Review

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From the Cover:

Children in foster care and adopted children have usually suffered painful separations from their families for reasons they may not understand. They are often very confused, angry, and sad. This appealing and comforting story explores their experiences, problems, and emotions. Foster and adoptive parents, counselors and therapists will find Zachary’s New Home to be a useful tool for understanding these children and helping them to cope with their many losses and to feel happier about the present and optimistic about their future.

Grade:

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Transfiguring Adoption gave this book 4 out of 5 Hoots based on it’s usefulness to foster and adoptive families. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here.]

Our Family’s Thoughts:

Our family found Zachary’s New Home by Geraldine Blomquist to be a great book for children in foster care to explain on their level the process that their family is going through and help them process their feelings. The introduction in the beginning of the book directed at parents and professionals states that the target audience is foster children ages 3 through 8, and the book is meant to be read to them by their foster parents, adoptive parents, social workers, therapists, or counselors. We and the kids thought this was a great book for that age range and even felt kids a little older would benefit from this book, especially as kids in foster care do not often have books like this that they can relate to or that help them process their stories.

The illustrations being in black and white and the longer text definitely target more of the late preschool through elementary age. Our children were able to relate to Zachary and see parts of their stories or feelings in his. This book would be particularly helpful to families receiving a placement who is coming into foster care for the first time. It is also a great book for children who are going through a goal change away from reunification, as Zachary experiences that in the book.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How did you feel the night you were taken into foster care?
  2. Have you ever thought about running away? Would running away solve the problem? What might happen if you ran away?
  3. Do you think your foster parents love you? Why do you think that?
  4. Have your feelings ever gotten out of control? Have you ever done something wrong because of your feelings?
  5. How did it make Zachary feel when he learned that he would not be going back to live with his biological parents?

One thing I noticed about the book is the terminology that is used when referring to Zachary’s biological parents. They are referred to as his “real” parents. Depending on where your child is in the process, you may be able to start a discussion based on what that word means, how it makes people feel, what a “real” parent and “real” child are, etc. Our daughter equated the word “foster” to being fake, whether it was used in front of either parent or child. She even interchanged the words at times, referring to me as her “fake mom” while on the phone with her biological mom. We were ALL fake and in a fake relationship to her. This impacted how she felt about herself and how she behaved, and we didn’t even fully realize how much until she walked out of the courthouse after adoption and said, “I’m a real girl now,” and we saw immediate changes in her behaviors, feelings, how safe she felt, and so on. You may want to address some of these words and how they are used with your kids.

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