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Conquering Chaos by Catelynn Lowell & Tyler Baltierra – I loved Catelynn and Tyler’s very real story of adoption on MTV. It wasn’t sugar coated, you saw the pain. the hardship, and the strength it took to place their baby for adoption. This book covers their earlier years and a little of the adoption journey.
Tyler definitely doesn’t hold any punches and tells things like it is. Their childhood was not all sunshine and roses and their story could have turned out very differently. The pregnancy seems to have been the wake up call they both needed to get their lives on a different path and break the cycle of addiction, teen parenting and dysfunction in their families.
With the support of only one parent each and the other set actively fighting against them, they managed to make it through a very difficult decision and seem to have gone on to help others. They give speeches about their struggles and their time on MTV has helped bring new awareness to adoption, the adoption process and how it is not like it was years ago. It also helps to dispel a lot of the myths surrounding adoption and the rosy or sometimes downright nightmarish way adoption can often be portrayed in film and on tv.
I liked this book but I wish it had been more. While it gives a good insight and perspective into the lives of birth parents and reasons why they made the decision they did it didn’t give me enough about what has gone on since. Yes they finished high school but that’s about all I know. I wish it had given me more on how they have pulled themselves out of the situations they were in. Did they go to college? I know they aren’t married yet are having an other baby, how long has it been since they placed their daughter for adoption?
I also found the book to be a bit repetitive in places. Each chapter has an introduction, the story from both Catelynn and Tylers perspectives and then a conclusion which is just a summary of everything that was just said which could have been eliminated and made the book flow a little better. All in all though I think that this is a good read for anyone who feels they are stuck having to repeat the past or is starting to notice that they are on their way to repeating a cycle in their family that has been passed down for generations. There is hope, there is a way out. It may not be easy, it may not feel comfortable but it can happen. amazon.com price $15.47 (HC) kindle price $9.99
The Garbage Bag Kids by Virginia Jeffers – Virginia Jeffers has been a foster parent for over 30 years. These are some of the stories of the children she has taken in and helped to heal. While not every story has an ending that is known Virginia did the best she could in the time she had to help teach those children in her care that there is love in the world and they are worthy of it.
Each story is deeply touching, and if you ever wondering how or why people choose to become Foster Parents these stories will give you a glimpse. The abused, neglected, and often forgotten children whose lives are caught up in the foster care system need people like Virginia and her husband who are willing to open their homes and their hearts, even if its just for a short time to these children in need.
No child should have to experience the pain of having to pack their things in a hurry (often in garbage bags because there aren’t suitcases available) be escorted by strangers to a new place and told that you are going to stay with these people for an indefinite period of time, yet this happens every day in the US. At least there are people out there who try to help these scared children find light and love in a world that hasn’t been so great to them so far. amazon.com price $7.16 (PB)
Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw -This is a fun little book about Won Ton the cat whose owner brings a puppy, Chopstick, home. Won Ton is not thrilled at all with the new addition and feels very displaced by his arrival. He finally realizes that they have some things in common and that maybe this dog isn’t so bad.
This book is the 2nd in the Won Ton series and is written in Haiku. I’m not quite sure why this book was listed under adoption other than it does explore the feelings of getting a new sibling and how siblings don’t always look the same. This may be a good book for families adopting for the second time. amazon price $13.49 (HC) Kindle edition $9.99
My Family, Your Family (Cloverleaf Books TM – Alike and Different) by Lisa Bullard – Filled with fun illustrations and talking points on each page, this book discusses different types of families and how not all families look the same. Some have kids, some don’t, some are divorced and have step- parents and step-siblings, some children are adopted and don’t look like their parents, some have 2 dads, some are bi-racial, some are loud, some are quiet. No matter what type of family you have there is something special about yours.
This is a great way to help children understand the wonderful diversity we have in the world and the different ways families are created and the different ways they live. One isn’t better than the other they are just different. Amazon.com price: $6.99 (PB) kindle edition $5.59