The Offering

From Wendy Bocian
Title: The Offering
Author: Angela Hunt
A woman and her husband cannot afford to have more children right away so they decide she will become a gestational carrier to earn money. The husband is a soldier and just as the wife is about to give birth to another couple’s baby,the husband is killed while on duty. She gives the baby away, but two years later discovers that she mistakenly and unkowningly gave away her own biological son. She struggles with taking back her child who she does not even know or allowing him to stay with the family who has raised him for two years as their own. This book raises some very interesting and difficult moral issues. I felt slightly disappointed in that after reading the jacket, I was able to predict much of what occured. I would have enjoyed it more had I been completely shocked at the events which took place.

Somewhere Between (DVD)

From Ellen Druda
Somewhere Between (DVD)
Filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowlton has created an incredibly touching documentary about adoption.  The film stars four teenage girls adopted from China who have either never known their birth families or only have very scattered memories of life before America.   Haley, Jenna, Ann, and Fang seem like typical teens, but as we get to know them we see their inner struggles with identity are both personal and universal.  Because of China’s “One Child Policy” these girls were given away to orphanages or simply left on the street, and although they have good lives now, they still carry hurt and confusion and a strong sense of something missing.  Haley and Fang get to travel back to China and find a way to connect.  Ann begins to question her complacency, and Jenna tries to come to grips with her feelings of abandonment.  All the girls are articulate and intelligent, and as they open their hearts, it’s impossible not to feel moved as they question deeply who they are. This is a fantastic film about gender and race in America vs. China and how adoptees feel “somewhere between” their birth families and their new lives.

Secret Daughter

From Michele Lauer-Bader
author: Gowda, Shilpi Somaya
Secret Daughter
This moving novel tells the story of Kavita in India who gives away her baby daughter in order to save her, and Somer in California who adopts her.  It is about two mothers who both love their daughter and what they learn about themselves. This story speaks of motherhood (and fatherhood) and the loss they all share. The writing is excellent, the characters are real. You won’t put it down.

As Simple As It Seems

From Donna Barnes
author: Weeks, Sarah
As Simple As It Seems
This book tells the story of a twelve year old girl named Verbena who is struggling with many changes the summer after fifth grade.   Her first change occurs when her best friend since kindergarten has abandoned Verbena for a more popular girl.  This is more or less standard tween fare, but to deepen the drama , Verbena also discovers that she is adopted.  Once she finds out who her biological parents are, (her paternal uncle , who is in jail and his alcoholic wife)she worries that she will turn into a “mean” person just like her biological father.  She is clearly confused and has no friend to confide in, until Pooch moves in next door.  This is Verbena’s chance to re-invent herself and that she does.  What initially starts out as a friendship based on deception, evolves into a meaningful friendship that helps to pull Verbena out of her sadness.   This is an emotional story that is both heartwarming and humorous .  There is a bit of mystery, deception and danger to add to the excitement and turning of the pages as well.

Claire Voyant

From Elaine Pasquali
author: Rosenberg, Saralee
Claire Voyant
This book is both funny and fun to read.  The story is set in Plainview, L.I. and Miami, so readers will be able to identify landmarks, like the Plalinview Diner. Despite her light and frothy writing style, Rosenberg raises some thought-provoking questions about adoption, destiny, life after death, and after death communication.  In fact, she poses some “Hot Topics for Book Discussions” at the end of the book.  What I found amazing was that I was contemplating some of these questions while reading a book I would characterize as “light reading.”  Talk about a spoon full of sugar making the medicine go down!