(I started this review last year, just awhile after I interviewed Kelsey Stewart for the Open Adoption Bloggers Interview Project. For some reason, I never published it. Gah!)
I had the book The Best for You, by Kelsey Stewart on the kids’ Amazon wish lists since I don’t even know when. I know the wish pre-dated Cassie’s birth. When a friend gave us an Amazon.com gift card as Cassie’s welcome present, I put it in my shopping cart. Finally! Then, Kelsey offered to send me a free copy of the book, because I had interviewed her for the Open Adoption Bloggers Interview Project. I told her it was in my shopping cart, but she insisted on sending me a personally autographed copy.
I have decided that Kelsey Stewart is one of the nicest people I know.
The book opens with:
This is a story about love. This is a story about a gift from God that became an even greater gift to a family. This is a story about a beautiful baby whom I gave birth to. This is a story about you.
What follows is a simple, but powerful story of a woman who finds herself pregnant and chooses “the best” for her unborn child – adoption. It’s told in language that a child can understand. The illustrations are childlike as well.
Of all of the adoption books we have – and we have several – I think this is the one most suited to preschoolers and young elementary schoolers. Kelsey tells the story just as a person would tell it to a child who has asked, “Why didn’t my birthmudder keep me?” (Yes, Jackson has asked just that.) I like the clear and concise way in which the story is told. There’s not a lot of flowers and butterflies. Very nicely, but very plainly, Kelsey explains why she placed her child for adoption. It’s a story that many birthmothers could tell, which makes the book great for children adopted as infants through private adoption (as opposed to infants or children placed through foster care, who usually have different stories). Even if all of the facts don’t apply to your child’s birthmother, the idea remains the same – she wanted what was best for her child, and in this case, that was adoption.
When we got the book, Jackson immediately wanted to read it. Usually, he doesn’t want to read adoption books (“boring!”) but maybe because I told him this was for his sister, maybe because the cover graphic was very happy and colorful, or maybe because adoption books aren’t as boring as he claims, he climbed into my lap and let me read this to him. He said he liked the book and he would want to read it again some time. His favorite part was that “the baby was cute.”
I do recommend this book, with a few caveats. Kelsey emphasizes that she wanted her child to have both a mom and a dad. So, if you’re a single parent, this book is probably not for you. If you’re a same-sex couple, you may need to change the language a bit, but it could still work for you. The baby and the parents in the book are white, but my brown son didn’t seem to mind. Personally, I think the book’s message transcends race, so the fact that the family doesn’t look like mine isn’t a big deal.
The Best for You is a simple, beautiful book that adopted children will want to read. It imparts an important message that they need to hear: You were not given up. You were wanted. You are loved. “Adoption means I wanted the best for you.”