The much awaited day finally arrives when a teeny tiny baby is born. In another part of the world, there is an air of excitement that surrounds a couple who are anxiously waiting to welcome the child of their dreams into their family. The book Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale written and illustrated by Karen Katz is an affirming story about adoption and one which is also very close to the author's heart.
Katz was inspired to write her first-ever book because she thought it was important to share the sentiments of her personal adoption journey as a gift with her own daughter Lena, as well as other parents and young children who share the same bond.
This adoption tale aims at helping the younger minds understand the hidden beauty behind the process of adoption and the untold feelings associated with it. The readers are left in wonderment.
What makes this book special?
The title of the book does justice to the plot of the story as well as the message hidden within the context. It serves a dual perspective to the phrase “over the moon,” by reflecting on the happiness and joy that the parents-to-be encounter when they receive the good news of their child-to-be. In addition, it refers to how they traveled all the way over the moon to welcome their bundle of joy into their lives.
The focus of the story is more on the adoptive family's beginnings, as the author understands how that can be particularly challenging to address for parents and caregivers. When it comes to helping younger children understand and have ready answers for their questions, emotions and color can work as great tools. And, this is exactly what this book has to offer. Katz is also known for being inspired by folk art from around the world, and this is reflected in the vibrant illustrations that she uses to promote positive feelings in her story.
It is worth commenting that the author has gone to lengths to not only make this story relatable and engaging for its audience, but also inclusive, in several other ways. And, here is how.
1. Embraces diversity.
One of the challenges tied to the process of adoption is associated with the child's perception of self-identity. Although the story does not highlight this aspect in the text, the illustrations allude to the adaptation of it.
Hence, it might serve as a beneficial starting point for a conversation by drawing your child's attention to the family structure and eliciting how the parents willingly accepted the child from across the seas, purely out of love and need.
2. Promotes good intentions.
One of the greater perspectives that is uncommon but is highlighted in this story is that of preserving good intentions. It talks about how families are brought together by adoption, rather than being separated. This is such a beautiful concept and one that can be linked to the legal aspect of adopting in Islam as well.
The Quran clearly reminds the adoptive parents in Surah Al-Ahzab how the biological family of the child must never be hidden, and neither should their ties be severed.
"Call your adopted sons after their true fathers; that is more equitable in the sight of Allah. But if you do not know their true fathers, then regard them as your brethren in faith and as allies. You will not be taken to task for your mistaken utterances, but you will be taken to task for what you say deliberately. Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Compassionate."
(Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:5)
Likewise, choosing a family to adopt your child is the greatest gift you can give to a family that cannot have their own child for a myriad of different reasons.
3. Helps bridge the gaps.
In the story, Katz addresses how certain moments can be challenging for the adoptive parents, in terms of connecting with their new child. But, despite those low-key moments, they still continue to show love, care and support. Projecting such honesty in the story, makes this book reach out to the hearts of the young and confused children who question their own belonging within an interracial family structure or even otherwise.
The powerful message further helps to establish a meaningful relationship based on trust, between the adopted child and the adoptive parents by helping them see the real beauty in adoption.
This story is ideally targeted towards children aged 4-8 years and can serve as a useful resource for families, educators, and social workers in helping children to understand either their own adoption story or to comprehend the concept of adoption in general.
Umm Ahmed is an early childhood educator and writer who is passionate about seeking knowledge and passing it on to others. She and her husband are parents to three boys and are currently living in Abu Dhabi.