THE BABY WITH THREE FAMILIES, TWO COUNTRIES,
AND ONE PROMISE
An International Adoption Story
JULIE GIANELLONI CONNOR
Illustrated by Saman Chinthaka Weerasinghe
Genre: Children’s Fiction / Picture Book / Adoption
Publisher: Bayou City Press
Pub Date : December 9, 2020 ** 40 pages
I’m happy to have Ms. Connor as my guest today as she shares about her new children’s book and why it’s so important; not just to her, but to adoptive kids and parents and friends and relatives all over. Because adoption has touched my life, the topic is special to me, and she has written a charming book that lets everyone know how adoption impacts people in such positive ways and why the process should be celebrated. Read on and enjoy…
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The Baby with Three Families, Two Countries, and One Promise is a children’s book designed to be read by parents to a child adopted from a foreign country. The story is first recounted from the perspective of the parents in the USA, who are very sad not to be able to have a child. The perspective then switches to that of the biological mother, who realizes that she does not have the wherewithal to raise a child. She makes the difficult decision to give up her baby. Next readers learn about a foreign adoption agency, to which the biological mother surrenders her child. The adoption agency identifies foster parents to take care of the baby temporarily. The foster parents give the baby a temporary name.
The parents in the USA begin researching international adoption possibilities and connect with the foreign adoption agency. The parents begin the adoption process and have to go to a school to learn how to be adoptive parents. When the foreign adoption agency matches the USA parents with the baby, the USA parents fly to the foreign country, where they meet the baby and the foster parents at the adoption agency. They find out that the temporary name given to the baby by his foster parents is one of the names they have selected for the baby. Their last requirement in the foreign country is to secure a visa for the baby from the U.S. Embassy.
With the baby’s visa in hand, the parents and baby return to the United States, where they are joyously greeted by their dog, their friends, and the baby’s new grandparents. When the parents tuck their baby in at night, they tell him his story—that he has three families, two countries, and a promise for the future to visit the country of his birth when he is older.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
Children’s Picture Book First Place Winner, 2021 North Texas Book Festival Awards
“Clearly laying out some of the key reasons, factors, and steps in the emotionally complex process of overseas adoption, this book delicately explores the subject, making it a great launching point for conversations between parents and children.” Self-Publishing Review
“International adoption is a complex topic, but under the dual, in-depth focus of author Julie Gianelloni Connor and illustrator Saman Chinthaka Weerasinghe, the story comes to life to teach all ages about the emotional and organizational process involved in joining a child to new parents.” Donovan’s Literary Services
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How Is this Book Unique?
Guest Post by Julie Connor
For a different guest blog on this book tour, I wrote about the backstory to my children’s book, namely that it started out some 30 years ago as a small, private book I wrote for my own son. Fast forward 30 years, and I found myself locked down at home in the midst of the worldwide COVID pandemic, unable to get out and market my first book or do the necessary research for my next book. One night I awoke in the middle of the night thinking about that children’s book I had written so long ago.
My first step was to do some market research, which in 2020 thanks to the advent of the internet and Amazon was possible in a way that I had not been able to do in 1996 when I first wrote the small book for my adopted son. To my surprise, I learned that my book was still unique in many different ways.
It’s a Children’s Book: While there are many books about adoption, the vast majority of them are aimed at adults. Many of them discuss the how and the why of adopting. Many others are memoirs by adoptive parents or by adoptees. There are books for children, but not that many of them. My book is specifically for younger children in the two- to eight-year-old range.
It’s a Children’s Book about International Adoption: The small subset of books for children about adoption becomes even more limited when the adoption being written about in the book is an international adoption. The few books that do fall into that category normally focus on an adoption from a specific country. My book is meant to be used by parents who have adopted from any country, not a specific country.
It’s a Children’s Book with People for Characters: There are some adorable books on adoption for children, but most of them have cuddly animals as the characters. I am sure very small children love to hear about a chicken being adopted by a horse, but I wanted this book to be about them, about babies and children who get adopted, not chickens or geese or bears.
It’s a Children’s Book with a Wider View: Those adorable children’s books with animal characters normally focus on the adoptive mother and the adoptee. I wrote a book with a much wider focus. What about the adoptive father? The biological mother? The foster family? Grandparents? The adoption process is not one decision by one person, it is a web of people and organizations working together to make an adoption happen. While not wanting to overwhelm a child, I did want an adoptive boy or girl to understand that their adoption represented the love and effort of many, many different people.
It’s a Children’s Book that Addresses a Fundamental Question: As an adoptive mother, of course I have done a lot of reading about adoption. One issue that seems to emerge in the lives of many adoptees is the question of why their biological mother or parents gave them up for adoption. Didn’t they love me? becomes a fundamental arrow to the heart for many adopted children. In my book, I try to address that question in a way that children can understand. My illustrator did a wonderful job of drawing an image of all the things that an impoverished biological mother might want to give her child but can’t, from hamburgers to donuts to books to school. I sincerely hope my book can help adoptees begin to understand that their biological mother acted out of love and concern for her child when she made the difficult decision to pass her child to an adoptive family.
It’s a Children’s Book Designed to be Personalized: In my notes at the back of the book, I urge parents to personalize the book and make it their own. Change the names in the book to their own names. Change the flag of the country from which the child was adopted to the actual flag of that country. Add or subtract information relevant to their own particular adoption story. I want parents to paste in photos and names and events that are specific to their adoption story. Make their book unique to their family story, just as my small book for my son was uniquely for and about him.
I know my book fills a gap in the adoptive books currently available, and I hope adoptive parents can put it to good use.
Julie Gianelloni Connor is an award-winning author and retired senior Foreign Service Officer. Her first book, Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It’s the Pilgrimage, not the Hike, garnered no. 1 status on Amazon in both the category for new books on hiking and walking and the category for Spain and Portugal. It subsequently went on to win a silver medal in the eLit national competition as well as being selected as a finalist by Self-Publishing Review (SPR). She released her second title, a children’s book, in 2021. It has just won first place in the children’s book category at the North Texas Book Festival. The Baby with Three Families, Two Countries, and One Promise tells an international adoption story. Her short stories have appeared in four anthologies.
Julie is the owner and publisher of Bayou City Press (BCP) in Houston, Texas, which focuses on travel writing, Houston, history, and international affairs. Julie writes a weekly newsletter for BCP updating subscribers about activities. She founded BCP after spending 33 years as a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service, first with the U.S. Information Agency and later with the U.S. Department of State. She had nine overseas assignments in seven different countries: Israel (twice), Paraguay, Guatemala, Indonesia, Colombia (twice), Malaysia, and Chile. In Washington, DC, Julie worked on a variety of matters, ranging from nuclear non-proliferation to narcotics control to women’s issues. She has one son and two cats, Halloween and Charles Augustus V.
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3 signed copies of:
The Baby with Three Families, Two Countries, and One Promise!
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