Adoption can oftentimes cause a child to be transported from their native country to a foreign land. Like other immigrants, an adopted child from a foreign place must undergo a period of adjustment. At some point in time, coping with the adoption will become a secondary issue. The situation is intensified immediately if the child is old enough to understand what is happening and is further compounded when there are significant differences between the original culture and the child’s new homeland.
In the picture book, Yafi’s Family: An Ethiopian Boy’s Journey of Love, Loss and Adoption, Linda Pettitt and her coauthor, Sharon Darrow, tell the story of an Ethiopian boy who is trying to bridge the gap between his first home in Ethiopia and his new home. It is unclear whether he moved to the U.S. or Linda’s homeland, Australia.
By listening to the warmhearted dialogue between Yafi and his new adopted family, the reader learns that Yafi’s moved in with his grandmother after his mom died. Even though Yafi was too young to remember her face, he remembers her presence. When Yafi’s grandmother could no longer care for Yafi, she placed him in an orphanage. The ongoing conversation reveals the moments when Yafi first met his new family in Ethiopia and some of the challenges he faced as he adjusted to his new life.
Award winning artist, Jan Spivey Gilchrist’s illustrations show the love that Yafi received from both his birth family and adopted family.The subdued tones add to the gentle nature of the story.
Linda’s prior experiences with adoption and international travel provide insight into the dynamics of international adoption. The reader feels a tug of emotions as Yafi tries to balance the love for his birth family with his adopted family and new home.
- Adoption and international adoption
- Being connected to one’s roots
- Contrasting African life with either life in Australia or the U.S.
- Adapting to a new culture
- Being an orphan
- Acceptance and understanding
- Being part of a family
- Where is your comfort level when addressing the topic of adoption?
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