Category: Ethiopian Adoption Story
Created on Wednesday, 09 November 2011 21:13
Most families we know who have experienced their own “Ethiopian Adoption Journey” share the feeling that this is a life changing experience that we all wish more people would open themselves up to. We also know that bringing that child or children home comes with many challenges. One of those challenges is building that sense of family with your child and helping them understand their new family loves them dearly.
While reading twitter feeds the other day we came across one from Cynthia Rohwedder, Baobab Haus, announcing that her children’s book “Forever Family” was published and ready for families to purchase. We clicked on the included link and were pleasantly surprised to read the following description:
"A tale of a two parents trying to create a family through adoption. The story starts at the decision process, takes you to the child's birth country of Ethiopia, and then back to a joyous homecoming in America. Written in such a way that even a toddler can understand in how adoption is such a magical journey not only for the parents but for the child as well."
We finished reading the description and knew we had to talk to Cynthia. Cynthia was gracious in her response to our interview request and shares her thoughts on “Forever Family” with us:
When did you adopt your child from Ethiopia?
We brought our son, Gavin, home from Ethiopia May 18th 2010.
Has going through the adoption changed your life? If so, how?
Adoption has changed our life completely! We became parents for the first time due to adoption and it has made me aware of the wonderful children that still need parents.
Something I will never forget is our trip to my son's orphanage, and seeing all the beautiful children. There was a girl who was about 14 who was being adopted and waiting for her parents to pick her up. She had a best friend there who did not yet have a family. When children get to be 15 years of age there, they can no longer stay at an orphanage because of the law. She was so sad to leave her best friend behind yet so excited to have a family. I will always remember that girl and her friend.
What inspired you to write your book?
I was actually inspired by my son. He loves story time, so I wanted to find some children's books about adoption, but I was surprised at the lack of a selection I could find regarding African adoption. My son's a toddler and most adoption books are made for older kids. The book I wrote is geared towards five and under, and easy for a toddler to understand.
How did you come up with the title?
The title actually came to me while I was half-asleep, half-awake tending to my then newborn daughter. I felt that it really conveys what an adoptive family is; a family forever hence the title "Forever Family".
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your book to life?
There were a few challenges. I'll be honest, it was tough trying to find someone to publish a book about adoption, let alone a children's book about it. It's a small market so I would say I got lucky that someone was interested in this book. I'm also not a great artist, so finding someone to illustrate the book was pretty difficult too. Thank goodness I had a friend who suggested one of their artist friends.
Are you working on any new book projects?
I have several new stories in the works. I have 3 more titles that I've been working on to help children with understanding adoption.
Who did the artwork for the book?
Angel Ramos was my illustrator. He's a very talented artist from Cleveland Ohio.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part was finding the right wording that my toddler would understand. Talking like a toddler isn't always an easy task.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I did learn something. I learned that adoptive families face many unique challenges and if you can't find the book you're looking for, then you may have to write one. Also, finding time to write a book with two children under two can be quite the battle.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I would encourage writers to write what they know! Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone has an experience to share. Who knows, maybe you can inspire someone else.
Do you have any advice for other families wanting to adopt from Ethiopia?
Ethiopia is such a wonderful country, and the children there are precious! I can honestly say from visiting Gavin's orphanage in Asela, that the children get so excited when they know they have a family that's coming for them. It may be a long process with ups and downs but it's well worth the wait! I couldn't imagine my life without my Bubba. Bottom Line: Patience is the key.
Are there any adoption books you would recommend to readers?
I would recommend several. Gavin has a couple that are pretty good, one is called "Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale" by Karen Katz and "Happy Adoption Day" by John McCutcheon. The illustrations are good in these books plus the message is a good one too. For the adults, I recommend "Creating A Family" by Dawn Davenport.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I really just want readers and their children to enjoy the message of the book, which is no matter how you build your family, be it through adoption or biologically, family is forever.
With the holiday season quickly approaching we can’t think of a better gift than Cynthia’s book. You can purchase a copy of “Forever Family” by following this link to Publish America. You can catch up with Cynthia and her family by visiting the Baobab Haus site.
We thank Cynthia for taking the time out of her schedule to provide us with her thoughts. We look forward to talking with her again.