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One of my five adoption goals was to read Theo books about adoption. He still has only the foggiest grasp on what adoption means but all of the books I’ve read have been hits including I’m Adopted, The Family Book, and most recently, Jamie Lee Curtis’s Tell Me Again About The Night I was Born. Tell Me Again is a well-known adoption book for children published in 1996. You might think it’s popular due to Jamie Lee Curtis’s celebrity status but it holds its own as truly wonderful book.

The story is both funny and poignant, and impossible to get through with tearing up ((shakes fist!)). It features a little girl who asks her parents to tell her about the night she was born but the story is really about how they became a family. The little girl never tires of hearing how her parents were curled up like spoons when the phone rang in the middle of the night and they jumped on a plane to meet her at the hospital.

I always worry about adoption books that go from “We yearned for a child and then we went to the hospital / orphanage and then we became a family” with no mention of birthparents or what came before. I think even authors are afraid to mention their existence or worry that parents want to brush that one aside “for now.” But Curtis references her child’s birthmother and includes her and the birthdad in a family tree.

Birthparents are included in the family tree.

Quite a few pages had my voice cracking such as the ones where the parents hold hands through the hospital lobby where they “both got very quiet and felt very small.” I’ll never forget going to the hospital to meet Theo and his birthfamily. Mark and I  felt lost. We were sweating, carrying flowers and presents. Our hearts pounded. We were dazed.

Feeling quiet and small at the hospital.

I also loved the image of the newly minted parents in the airport carrying their daughter like a china doll glaring at anyone who sneezed. I remember loading Theo into his car seat terrified that we’d hit a traffic jam or get into an accident or that he’d poo or scream or need to be fed. I wanted a huge sign that said “STAY OUT OF OUR WAY! NEW BABY ONBOARD!”

Stay away! New baby!

The book also reminded me of our first night together where we moved a futon into the living room due the extreme heat while Theo took turns lying on me or Mark wide awake for most of the night. We felt clueless, exhausted and amazed.

The book’s illustrations by Laura Cornell are whimsical, child-like and funny. The hospital section shows a mother of octuplets being stalked by the paparazzi while the nervous adoptive parents to-be make their way up to meet their baby. The family home looks like a hurricane hit it after baby comes home with bottles, diapers and half-read parenting books all over the place.

Like most books on adoption, the story does not exactly reflect our story, which no book can, so when I read it, I insert bits about our own journey, and polish ideas in the telling for a book that will tell story of the Day We Met.

The day we met.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

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