Children's Book Recommendation

I Wished for You: An Adoption Story
By Marianne Richmond

I love children’s books, and I’ve tried to get a head start on reviewing and collecting stories that incorporate adoption. My favorite is “I Wished for You” by Marianne Richmond. I received this book as a gift from my mother upon Hakon’s arrival, and I was deeply touched by its representation of adoption in a tender, age-appropriate way. The story follows a conversation between a little bear named Barley and Mama, as they curl up in their favorite cuddle spot and talk about how they became a family. Barley asks Mama the kind of questions many adopted children have.

Mama Bear starts by telling Barley Bear, “A long time ago, a wish started growing in my heart. At first, it was a quiet wish that nobody knew. Then it become and out-loud wish that grew…and grew… and grew. Until one day, my wish came true!” Barley asks, “Why,” and Mama explains “I had an empty place in my heart that I wanted to fill wish love for a special child like you.”

When Barley asks about the mama “who grew me in her tummy,” Mama Bear explains “the mama who grew you loved you enough to make a different wish- a wish for a family who would love her little one with a total and adoring love… the kind I have for you!” The story goes on to describe all the special “wishing” that Mama Bear did during her wait for him. Barley asks about when he first came to Mama: “What did you do when you first held me?” Mama answers, “I fell deeply in love with you. I looked into your sweet face, and right then, you became my wish come true.”

Especially touching for trans-racially adopted children (but meaningful for all biological differences) is Barley’s question: “Mama, me and you are in the same family but we don’t look the same. You have dark fur, and I have light fur with brown ears. Is this okay?” With the simple wisdom all trans-racial parents hope to have, Mama answers, “Some families look alike, and others don’t. All families are different. What makes a family is their love for each other.” In the story, Barley decides this “makes sense” and that he “likes Mama’s answer.”

This book provides a balanced, respectful picture of the adoptive family and all involved in the “triad” while communicating the child’s value. Through adorable illustrations and careful words, this book will provide a great connection piece for parent and child.