Every once in a while, we field a really silly adoption question.
It goes a little something like this:
Will you tell Joseph he was adopted?
Our reaction is usually laughter. Because it’s a little obvious.
We’ve been talking with Joseph about how he joined our family from day one. Talking about adoption in age-appropriate and developmentally-appropriate ways is incredibly important to fostering a secure relationship and environment.
One book that we’ve had in our bedtime rotation for awhile is A Mother for Choco. It’s a precious book that follows Choco, a little bird who lives alone, on his search for a mommy. Other animals tell him they can’t be his mommy because they don’t look like him. He starts to feel very discouraged, until he meets someone who turns that thinking on its head.
No adoption language is used and it’s not specifically adoption-related, but it’s all about how families don’t have to match, and how families are formed in different ways.
Love makes a family.
Unlike many adoption narratives, A Mother for Choco doesn’t start with parents who are unable to have biological children. (I understand why many adoption books have this perspective, and there are many wonderful books that approach the angle in sensitive and beautiful ways. Since it’s just not our family’s personal journey, I like that A Mother for Choco starts right in on Choco’s journey.) That being said, I think A Mother for Choco would be a great book for any adoptive family with a young child, whether it grew through domestic, international, or foster care adoption.
There are a few things I’m cautious about in this sweet little book. I’m aware that adoption narratives can make it seem like the adoptive parents are rescuing or saving the child. I think A Mother for Choco does a good job at not making that the case, but it’s something to talk about. It also breaks my heart that Choco has to find a mother for himself. I also don’t love that there are different species. I think the book could have been just as beautiful and powerful if there were birds of different colors, instead of birds and pigs and bears. Again, I think it all circles back into using the book as a tool to foster conversation.
Some questions to ask your little one to foster and further conversation:
- Why was Choco sad?
- How did it make you feel when other animals said no to Choco?
- What things did Choco want to do with a mommy?
- How did Mrs. Bear show Choco that she can be his mommy?
- How was Choco the same as Mrs. Bear’s other children?
- How did Choco feel at the end of the story? How did you feel at the end?
- What do mommy and daddy do to make you feel loved?
For Christians, the book can also segue into conversations about how like Mrs. Bear, God loves all little children — how he sees our hearts, and doesn’t limit his love to children who look a certain way.
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