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Murphy’s Three Homes: A Story for Children in Foster Care by Jan Levinson Gilman – This is supposed to be a book for foster children to explain the move from home to home but while its intentions were good it just didn’t deliver. From the very beginning of this book Murphy seemed to be blamed for why he needed to be moved from home to home. First it was because his mother couldn’t handle all of her children, the second home it was because he couldn’t learn where to go to the bathroom and the people abused him leaving him malnourished, the third home was with a family who wanted him to be perfect and when he wasn’t they gave him away, the third family finally accepted him for who he was but that was a little too late. Using a dog story to start a conversation about Foster Care is a good idea but this book put too much emphasis on what Murphy did wrong, and while kids may feel that they did do something wrong they didn’t and I’m not sure this book emphasized that enough. As far as books for foster children I think there are better ones out there. Amazon.com $9.95 (PB) $13.55 (HC)
The Search for Dixie Lee by Sharolyn L. Sievert – Written for her mother Sharolyn Sievert researches the past to find her mothers birth family. What she finds is a story of a birth mother trying to keep her family together, and a system that was more interested in taking it apart than helping them stay together. Sharon (Dixie Lee) and her sister were placed in an orphanage by the court system stating that they were the youngest and therefore the most likely to find a new home. Sharon’s birth mother didn’t want to lose her children but with 6 young children a missing husband and no money it was easier to give in than to fight.
Sharon’s adoption wasn’t ideal, her parents cared for her but were strict, religious and not very warm and loving. When she was older, like most adoptee’s Sharon searched for her past and in doing so uncovered some shady dealings within the courts, and a whole posse of siblings that she had longed for as she grew up an only child.
Sharing court documents and old family photos this book takes you on a journey that was Sharon’s life. In the end she discovers her siblings and her family, most of who remember her and had lost hope of ever reconnecting. While a little faith based and preachy in places for me it is an interesting story of searching for your roots and discovering family. Unfortunately it doesn’t paint a very nice picture of adoption but unfortunately there were many such stories as this from that era, luckily adoption has since changed.
Hi My Name is Hanna and I’m Adopted by Angie Barton– This is a cute book with adorable illustrations that tell the story of Hannah who was adopted from Ethiopia. I really like the book which talks about birth parents, different foods, and other differences from Ethiopia to America. It also allows Hannah to feel sad when thinking of her birth parents and miss them and not like all the food in the USA. This could really help empower children to feel comfortable with their mixed feelings about adoption and their new home. Allowing children to express their feelings in a positive way and being able to express any negative emotions can help children not feel bad or wrong.
This book also comes with an audio version which may be nice for children who aren’t yet fully reading on their own they can follow along with the story. The only negative that I found to this book is that I wish that the illustrations better depicted Hannah’s skin color which would make the story easier for children from Ethiopia to relate to. amazon.com $9.99 for the paperback