Thursday, December 10, 2009

Book Reviewed by an adoptive mother...

Book Review: Why Can't You Look Like Me

Trans racial parenting is a unique experience, but being the child in a trans racial adoptive relationship is even more complicated. Ola Zuri was one of the first trans racial adoptees in Canada when she, an African-Canadian child, was adopted at the age of 2 with her twin sister to white parents. Her own experience, feelings of isolation and pain shaped her view of adoption, and trans racial adoption in particular.

My first interactions with Ola were somewhat less than stellar. We had an email spat over terminology, both of us passionate people with a penchant for using words to advance ourarguments. Later that same year we met in person, and the year after that she forgave me, kind of. Now, I dare say, she might even consider me a friend. It's a good thing because wecamp together every summer.

If you come to camp, you will find Ola providing support to both the kids and the parents as she invests herself in ensuring that kids in multiracial adoptive families do not have the same experience she did, and when they feel those feelings as so many do, that they have supportive and understanding adults around them. You will also find her running after her girls who just might happen to be the most active and enchanting children I have ever met.

Ola is a woman who invests herself in what she believes in with great passion. She has written a children's book, the first in a series, called "Why Can't You Look Like Me?". A simple story of a young black girl with white parents feeling alone in her family and school. This story isn't about solving the problems that kids in a trans racial adoptive family feel, it's about acknowledging the feelings that some kids have. This book is meant to be a conversation starter with your child, and a jumping off point to approach a discussion of racial isolation.

Go buy it and add it to your child's library. You will not regret it, and maybe Ola will finally forget about our spat. (Right Ola?)

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