Childhood Milestones Celebrated with a Cultural Twist

universal-childhood-milestones-celebrated-with-a-cultural-twist-tooth-on-the-roof-border-51tn8sa6pjl-_sy485_bo1204203200_In today’s strife-ridden global world, it is reassuring to focus on the commonalities that unite us instead of the differences that divide us. Cultures around the world celebrate universal childhood milestones.  Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from around the World by Selby B. Beeler is a fun retrospective of the varied ways cultural traditions that celebrate children losing their baby teeth. Kids will get a tickle reading about the variety of celebrations. Some will feel similar, some quite unusual and some will strike their funny bones.

In the USA we believe the tooth fairy exchanges teeth for cash. In other cultures this job falls to birds, calves, mice, rats (Yikes!?!) and many more take the tooth and replace it with something valuable. Sometimes the tooth is planted, gold-plated, steeped in milk or simply tossed on the roof. Kids will learn how a specific practice is embraced within  different cultures. While it may seem silly to us, it’s folkloric  tradition in each respective culture–unique, mythical and charming. None is sillier than the rest. Taken as a totality, all the traditions are slightly goofy yet still fun to embrace.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens This story offers a chance to talk about differences between families as something interesting not as something to denigrate. Every family and culture, like the patches in a piecework quilt, contribute an integral element that is part of the overall beauty and success of the whole.

at-the-same-moment-around-teh-world-full-borderAt the Same Moment Around the World by Clotilde Perrin takes the reader on a world-wide journey. Under a brilliant cloak of dawn-painted clouds, the book begins at 6:00 a.m in Dakkar, Senegal. Each subsequent  page begins with the same refrain: At the same moment in…

Encourage young readers to repeat the refrain, to scrutinize the illustrations for the details identified in the text. The book presents diversity of characters, locations and activities. The end flap includes a pull-out map of the world.

Help kids to understand that the events occur simultaneously even though the “hour” is different (because of time zone changes.) This story captures this complex concept of time in dreamy, detailed illustrations which carry the reader through twenty-four separate vignettes.

Children can see how similar the human story is regardless of where one lives in the world. Understanding this universality encourages tolerance and respect, something which benefits us all.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens This story offers a window onto the diverse ways people around the globe live. At the same time, it reinforces our commonalities. This is also true for families. Although our families came together  through adoption instead of by birth, we have much in common with all families regardless of the way we formed. This book can open conversations about what kinds of things a child’s birth and adoptive  families might be doing simultaneously. Some will be similar, some will not.



Authors Support National Adoption Month

National Adoption.AllYear-WidgetLandscapeNovember is National Adoption Month. This year the emphasis focuses on sustaining sibling connections for youth in foster care and awaiting adoption. “Every November, a Presidential Proclamation launches activities and celebrations to help build awareness of adoption throughout the nation. Thousands of community organizations arrange and host programs, events, and activities to share positive adoption stories, challenge the myths, and draw attention to the thousands of children in foster care who are waiting for permanent families.” (U.S.Dept. of Health & Human Services) 


2014-10-13 16.29.23 It is appropriate that we celebrate National Adoption Month during this season of Thanksgiving. As parents, we have been entrusted with the privilege to raise children born to other women. We love and nurture them with an awareness that our greatest joy: their presence in our families–began in significant loss for them. This year while giving thanks for your many blessings, remember the birth parents who made such a commitment of faith in us. Continue your education as high AQ–Adoption-attuned–families. Deepen your understanding of the unique needs that adoption creates in a family. Live and love with an eye to the joy of the present moment and a heart filled with empathy, kindness and respect. Books offer a great resource to adoptive families for strategies, a sense of community or a great read for the children. These authors write about the journey that is adoption and as a National Adoption Month Special, the kindle versions will be available for $.99. We invite you to explore these books. (Excerpts are from Amazon)

Expand your adoption library and do it at a bargain price. After you read these books, post your reviews on Amazon and let other families know what you thought.


ABC cover with badges

Gayle Swift – ABC, Adoption and Me

Named a Favorite Read of 2013 by Adoptive Families, (the award-winning national adoption magazine.) Named a Notable Picture Book for 2013 by Shelf Unbound in their Dec/Jan 2014 issue; Honorable Mention – Gittle List of 2014; Finalist; IPNE 2014 Book Awards , Honorable Mention 2014 Purple Dragonfly Book Award 
 A child’s review: “Most adoption books only talk about the good part of adoption. ABC shows adoption from the kid’s side.” ABC, Adoption & Me expresses their complicated feelings in a way that makes them feel normal and which makes it easy for them to discuss with their families.  Includes a parent guide. ABC, Adoption & Me celebrates the blessing of family and addresses the difficult issues as well. Exuberant, multicultural illustrations depict a wide range of families

Nat Adopt promo.DyerJody Dyer – The Eye of Adoption
“No one just adopts.” From the very first steps of acknowledging adoption as a choice to the final document that seals the deal, Jody Cantrell Dyer paints a raw, warm, heartbreaking and eventually triumphant portrayal that narrates the entire adoption process through compassionate and humorous prose. Dyer’s candor and soul color each page of The Eye of Adoption. She directly addresses the sorrows of infertility and the demands of adoption while consistently word-weaving a life rope of assurance, humor, and optimism for her readers. A middle-aged wife, mother, and teacher, Dyer “tells it like it is” in hopes that waiting adoptive parents, birthparents, adoptees, and those close to them will find kinship through her story.”

Nat Adopt promo.Tim ElderTim Elder – 7 Steps to Domestic Infant Adoption
This take-action resource guide will save you TIME & MONEY as it shows you what it takes to go through the domestic infant adoption process. It is packed full of over 100 links, tips, articles, and my personal adoption stories. 
My name is Tim Elder – I’m an adoptive dad. I’ve been in your shoes. My wife and I went through a miscarriage and years of infertility before we adopted our children. We were blessed to adopt them as newborns – one in 2007 and one in 2012. After going through the domestic infant adoption journey twice, I have a strong desire to help others – like you – get through it so I created this guide to help you.

Nat Adopt promo.deanna Kahler     Deanna Kahler – From Pain to Parenthood
Follow one woman’s incredible and heartfelt journey from the pain of miscarriages to the joy of becoming a parent through adoption. Witness the many struggles that can permeate your life in the aftermath of pregnancy loss. Take a glimpse at the overwhelming desire some women have to become a mother. Celebrate the joy of overcoming adversity and achieving your dreams. Filled with honest, raw emotions and helpful coping tips, “From Pain to Parenthood” promises to touch your life with a real story that shows the power of the human spirit and the beauty of a mother’s love.

Finalist, 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Parenting/Family

Nat Adopt promo. Debbie MichaelDebbie Michael – But the Greatest of These is Love
On a March evening in 2000, an unexpected and unsettling thought came out of nowhere, disrupting Debbie Michael’s comfortable life—adoption! It was neither her idea nor her desire to adopt; she was already the mother of three. Instinctively, she knew God was speaking to her, but she did not want to listen if His message required action as life-changing as adopting an orphan. Dread lingered in the aftermath of the disturbing suggestion, and a debilitating fog of uncertainty settled over her life. A journey of a thousand miles (or five thousand, in this case) might begin with a single step, but Debbie was not eager to take that first step. Though God was relentless, she remained adamant. She was determined to ignore the nudging. But God would not be ignored! God pried Debbie out of her comfortable existence and opened a door to a life she didn’t know existed. But the Greatest of These is Love is about much more than adoption. It is a story about the powerful and astonishing ways God uses ordinary people to accomplish His divine intention that we love one another.

Nat Adopt promo.Kristen NicoleKristen Nicole – Our Road to Family
“My husband and I are adopting. Does anyone know what that means?” There was more than one answer to that question for Kristen and Dan, and this remarkable story takes you through their adoption journey from beginning to end. From fertility issues to two successful adoptions, Kristen eloquently sheds new light on each step of the adoption process. With an inviting and friendly style of prose, she guides readers through the heartache of having to let a child go and onto the joy of holding her child for the very first time. An honest portrayal of a different road to parenthood, this story affirms the real blessing that adoption can be.

A Child Delights in Seeing “Himself” in ABC, Adoption & Me

ABC, Adoption & Me display

ABC, Adoption & Me, visits Windmill Point Elementary School

When a school invites me to do an author visit, it still thrills me. I love to watch children as they listen to a story, absorb it, and ask questions. Books have such potential to affect lives.  Casey and I wrote ABC, Adoption & Me with the intention of making it that kind of book—one that truly touches children’s hearts and minds.

While reading ABC, Adoption & Me to the audience at a recent school visit, I experienced that connection. I had instructed the children to study the illustrations and listen to the text to find which page reminded them of their own family. Nodding heads and smiling faces indicated that the children had enjoyed the story.

I returned to my display table. Tugging on his Mom’s arm, a young child made a beeline to me. “I know which letter is like my family.” He beamed at me and hastily turned the pages until he came to O is for Open Adoption. Tapping his chest and then tapping the pages, he continued, “Open Adoption. That’s me. I have an Open adoption.” Clearly he was thrilled to see his experience reflected in the pages of a book. Coincidentally, the illustration character was Latino like himself.

I felt like he’d given me a gift—the gift of knowing that we had accomplished our goal of expanding adoption literature to reflect the child’s experience and to do it in a way that validated that experience.

Last week was Children’s Book Week. Much of the focus highlighted the need for more diverse books. The hashtag #weneeddiversebooks skyrocketed across the web gaining momentum and opening the conversation on the value of diversity in literature.  We are pleased to be part of that increased diversity. The right combination of a great story well told can engage a child’s mind and heart. This is how lifelong readers are born.


Books Open Hearts, Minds and Doors

Child Book Week collageBooks deliver high adventure, help inform and educate, entertain and encourage and they can create community and healing. A good story talks directly to the heart and becomes a part of the reader. Casey and I believe that ABC, Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture Book for Adoptive Families is that kind of special book. Adopted kid and adult adoptees report that ABC, Adoption & Me captured their thoughts and feelings about being adopted. To celebrate Children’s Book Week, we are participating in a great book giveaway. Enter for your chance to win a paperback copy of ABC, Adoption & Me. We ship only to the US and Canada.

Good luck and good reading!


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