Talking About Birthparents with Young Adoptees An Interview with Carrie Kitze
Interview By Allison Martin
See the Moon by Carrie Kitze is a story written from the child's
perspective, asking the questions that dwell in their hearts about their
birthparents...It can help children use the moon as a private tool to
connect with a family that is always with them in their hearts.
What inspired you to write the adoption book "We See the Moon"?
I was inspired by adult adoptees who talked about how they couldn't talk to their parents about adoption issues because they felt it would make them feel bad. I didn't want my daughters to feel they couldn't come to me with some of the most important feelings they will have. I wanted a way to help them understand that this information is a part of who they are and always available for discussion. I also wanted a way for them to be able to connect emotionally with birthparents we may never have the opportunity to meet. The moon was a tool my grandmother used with me when I was little to connect us, so the moon became a tool for my daughters to connect as well. It also is a powerful symbol in many cultures.
How do you think it will benefit children and families?
The benefits to families have been tremendous. I get emails every day from parents whose children feel enormous relief at talking about these issues and at having a book express their innermost feelings. It normalizes it all and makes it okay. One little girl sleeps with the book under her pillow because it gives her happy dreams.
Can you talk a bit about some of the images in the book and thoughts it provokes?
The power of this book is in it's simplicity. While the images are Chinese, they are simple and graphic, perfect for little ones to look deep into and find things. They are non-threatening. The prose is open ended and allowing of personalization and dialog. A parent and child can make this anyone's story because the universality is in the feelings it evokes. The feelings of how to understand why someone would leave them and do they still remember and think of them. These thoughts don't end with childhood either. Many adult adoptees have found comfort in reading and thinking about these questions as well.
The other interesting side note for this book is that while the images are Chinese, it resonates with adoptees from everywhere who don't have steady contact with birthfamilies. I have families who have domestically adopted, children from EE countries, Haiti, Ethopia, China, Cambodia, India, Vietnam, Columbia, Bolivia who have been moved by the book. It has been translated into Chinese, French, Dutch and most recently Spanish.
Could you provide guidance for parents on creative ways to use your book?
Opening the adoption dialog can be a daunting challenge for many of
us parents. This stuff isn't intuitive and many parents are afraid they
will say or do the wrong thing. The most important thing is to start as
young as you can with a skeleton and add the flesh of the story as is
appropriate for age and understanding. The only mistake a parent can make
is not being truthful. I have used this book in conjunction with working
with my 6 year old on her lifebook. Her lifebook is written from her perspective
and the feelings that We See the Moon evokes are a perfect spring board
for writing it. It has helped us to put pieces of her life in perspective
and added a concrete understanding to some of the adoption puzzle that
she will work on
Review Copyright Allison Martin
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