Hi everyone! So, I had started to work on this post back in the summer, but I wasn’t able to get what I wanted to say out. About the first half of it was from then, and I was able to finish writing it last night and this morning. Honestly, I think it’s better that I waited and posted this during blogmas because family is such a big part of the holiday season that it feels right to be talking about it even though it’s a deeper subject than what I normally talk about.
It’s that time again when I get on my soap box, spill the tea, have a Ted talk, basically I just need to talk. It’s 2019 and everyone wants representation in books from characters of color to a wider variety of sexual orientation to characters with disabilities. The world of YA books has gotten better at expanding with the changing times and having people of different walks of life write books of their own, but what about the teens who are adopted or live in foster care? Now, in the span of my reading life, I’ve read roughly 400, so there are obviously a lot of books that I haven’t read. But, I feel like adoption is one of those rare topics in books.
Personally, I feel like it’s one of those things that people are kind of nervous to write about because it could go one of two ways: either people will love the story or they’ll think that the author is pulling stuff out of thin air and doesn’t represent adopted and people in foster care “correctly”. I think some people think that being adopted or in foster is this long and hard journey, so they expect these stories that are long and dark with the character constantly struggling this internal battle about fitting in and being accepted by these new people in their lives. But, for some, it can be a rather seamless process where you really say ‘There’s no way that it all of the pieces fell in place for y’all so easily.’
As an adopted person from China, I feel like books that explore adoption would have helped me so much during middle and high school when I had those moments where I felt like my story was so unique that nobody would ever understand. Now that in my early twenties, I’ve learned that there are others that have felt the same way. I mean there’s actually a lady in my class who has a really similar story to me, and it honestly shocked me as a (then) 19 year old because I felt like it was so uncommon.
My parents have always been open with me from a young age saying that I was adopted, and I think that has helped me throughout the years because I knew. Obviously, it would have been hard to deny at a certain point because I am Asian and they’re white. I know that there are couples who adopt children and never tell them. In some cases, this can leave the child questioning everything that they have ever know because they feel like their whole life is a sham.
Many people turn to books to feel like they aren’t alone, and in this aspect of my life, I wasn’t.
There are still times when I wonder what my life would be like if I wasn’t adopted by my parents or if I was never adopted at all. And sometimes, it really is like falling down the rabbit hole because I start playing the what if game and it’s just not a good head space to be in.
The first story I read where adoption played a huge part in the story was The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout where the MC was in foster care for a good part of her early life. Even though I was adopted as a baby, I was able to connect with Mouse because we have many of the same personality features.
I’ve noticed that it’s a common story line for authors to send the MC to live with a family member or close friends of the parents’ that the teenager know little to nothing about, so in some ways it’s similar to what I’m looking for in a book because the MC didn’t have much of a relationship with their new guardians to begin with and is basically starting fresh, but at the same time there is still that small connection to the character’s parents even if they aren’t there.
Last year, I took to one of the book Facebook groups that I’m in and asked for some recommendations where the MC was adopted or in foster care. One of the most popular titles I got was Far from the Tree by Robin Benway, and I have to admit that it sounds like the type of book that I was search for that day when I asked. Then I got some recs that was kind of grasping at straws because I never saw it like that but guess it does fit in some ways.
At this point, I have some many things that I want to see in this book that I’m inadvertently searching for that I don’t think it exists or if it does, I’ll find some ‘flaw’ because I’m being over critical. Really and truly I just want to read a story that is basically my life written in pages, but I don’t think it has been written yet. I feel like I could write a book that is loosely based on my life and it would do really well, but I just have it in me to write a story that is this deep.
If you made it this far down the post, I just want to say thank you for letting me talk because my blog is the equivalent of a journal and I was just able to say what was on my heart and hopefully make people feel less alone.
What are some of your favorite books that covers adoption and/or foster care? Let me know below!
Happy reading until next time,