Wednesday, October 08, 2014

#WNDB Wednesday: Half a World Away

18510235Kadohata, Cynthia. Half a World Away
Published September 2nd 2014 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers 

Jaden has been adopted by a US family, but he was in an orphanage in Romania for so long that he has an attachment disorder and is not really happy with Penni and Steve, his adoptive parents. He hoards food and is fascinated with electricity, and even went through a phase where he liked to set things on fire. His parents have him in therapy, but he still just isn't comfortable. When Penni and Steve decide to adopt a baby from Kazakhstan, Jaden feels even more threatened. The family travels there only to find that the baby they thought they were getting has already been adopted, and the child they are shown instead does not seem to be bonding with them in the very same way that Jaden isn't bonding. Jaden, however, finds a toddler with whom he feels a connection, and he would like the family to adopt Dimash instead of Ramazan. Even though Jaden has stressed out the parents emotionally and financially, they decide to take both special needs children, and Jaden then feels like he might be able to connect with them a little.
Strengths: Can't think of another book about adopting a baby from a foreign country from the point of view of a middle grade child, or another book about a middle grade child adopted from another country who is not settling in well. Kadohata is an effective writer, and I did get sucked into this. The descriptions of the process and of traveling to another country were especially interesting.
Weaknesses: Not entirely sure how well this will go over with students, and at the end I had a horrible feeling that things would not go well for any of the people in Jaden's family when they got back to the US! This did not make foreign adoptions seem like a good idea to me.


Iron Guy Carl said...

Depends where you go. We adopted from China in 2002 and were delighted with our girl and very pleased with the process. Of course, we had a first-rate adoption agency, which made things a lot smoother. Say what you will about the Communist system--and there's plenty to say, just ask the people in Hong Kong--the adoption arm of the government is efficient and dependable. You know when things are going to happen, how they are going to happen and can depend on things going as you've been told. None of the corruption and iinefficience rampant in other countries.

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