Many adoption experts, including myself, recommend sharing a child’s adoption story with him or her early in life. Sharing this your child’s adoption story allows them to understand themselves. This sense of openness means you never feel that you have to keep a secret. Ultimately, it can be a great blessing.
Of course, this can present its own challenges. How do you begin talking to your child about adoption? When should you bring up the idea in the first place?
Children’s books are part of a child’s early understanding of adoption and family. Adoptive mother Rianna and her husband Chris know this firsthand, having adopted their daughter through Lifetime. Life got busier in the best ways when they were surprised to find out her sister was on the way! “Watching them grow up together has been a true joy!” Rianna shares.
She continues, “After our second daughter came along, I was struggling to find a book that reflected our family and helped start open adoption conversations. Having an open adoption, we’ve been very conscious to discuss with our oldest, so when our youngest was born I was looking for a book that reflected our family and could be a conversation starter. I knew many families that were in our situation, so when I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I decided to try writing it myself!”
Rianna’s book, A Tale of Two Princesses, has just been released. You can find the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Mascot Books. In this sweet, imaginative, and beautifully illustrated children’s book, princesses Jade and Jane are sisters who arrived at their kingdom in different ways. But, even though their stories are unique, they are both beautiful in their own ways and end in the same place: with a Queen and King who love them.
I had a chance to catch up with Rianna and ask her a few questions about her book. As an author myself, I am always curious to learn about other writers’ processes and idea conceptualization. Here’s what I learned!
What is the main message you’re trying to get across in this book?
“That it doesn’t matter how you arrive in your family, you’re loved. Families can look different and include lots of people, and they’re all wonderful families. It’s not necessarily bloodlines that create a family. Love creates a family, so any way that you come to the family, the end result is that your love is the same. I intended to create something that would be a conversation starter for parents and their young children early on in age-appropriate terms.”
What is your writing process like?
“My writing process was actually mostly done while rocking my babies to sleep. I would think about where I wanted the story to go next, then when they were asleep add it to my written pages.”
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
“One of the most surprising things I learned was just how many talented people are touched by adoption and wanted this to be a project because it spoke to them. It’s something we don’t talk a lot about, but once we do, it’s so encouraging to see how many people out there want to see books that reflect their families.”
What do you think makes a good story?
“I think a good story is a story that speaks to you. We see a lot about how important it is for people to be able to see themselves in stories, media, etc. My hope was that this book could be that for someone else out there.”
Rianna concluded by sharing, “Once again, thank you to everyone at Lifetime for making our family possible. We are truly grateful each and every day that this little girl is part of our family, and it would not have happened without you all!”
A Tale of Two Princesses is currently available for purchase from Mascot Books, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”