3 Books for Children of Surrogates

Many surrogates ask us about talking with their children about being a surrogate. There are a handful of books designed to help children understand how one happy family can help to create another.
This tale of a family created through surrogacy is a brilliant, clear understanding of what is sometimes a complex conversation for adults to share with a child.

The Kangaroo Pouch introduces young children, ages 2-to-8, to the concept of surrogacy. The story is narrated by a young kangaroo named Oliver whose mother has decided to help another family have a baby. The Kangaroo Pouch gently guides the reader on the surrogacy journey and answers questions they may have such as, why would someone choose to be a surrogate? What will family life be like during the pregnancy?  And most importantly, what happens when the surro-baby is born and given back to their biological parents?

The Kangaroo Pouch is designed to act not only as a conversation starter but also as a “how-to” manual for children to refer to throughout the surrogacy journey. The book has been reviewed by child specialists to ensure that it conveys age-appropriate messages.

[ Buy The Kangaroo Pouch here. ]
Geared to readers from preschool to age eight, What Makes a Baby is a book for every kind of family and every kind of kid. It is a twenty-first century children’s picture book about conception, gestation, and birth, which reflects the reality of our modern time by being inclusive of all kinds of kids, adults, and families, regardless of how many people were involved, their orientation, gender and other identity, or family composition. Just as important, the story doesn’t gender people or body parts, so most parents and families will find that it leaves room for them to educate their child without having to erase their own experience.Written by sexuality educator Cory Silverberg, and illustrated by award-winning Canadian artist Fiona Smyth, What Makes a Baby is as fun to look at as it is useful to read.
[ Buy What Makes a Baby here. ]

book for children of surrogate

This book is a great option for surrogates with intended parents who are gay.

This tale based on a true story about a charming penguin family living in New York City’s Central Park Zoo will capture the hearts of penguin lovers everywhere. Roy and Silo, two male penguins, are “a little bit different.” They cuddle and share a nest like the other penguin couples, and when all the others start hatching eggs, they want to be parents, too.

Determined and hopeful, they bring an egg-shaped rock back to their nest and proceed to start caring for it. They have little luck, until a watchful zookeeper decides they deserve a chance at having their own family and gives them an egg in need of nurturing. The dedicated and enthusiastic fathers do a great job of hatching their funny and adorable daughter, and the three can still be seen at the zoo today. Done in soft watercolors, the illustrations set the tone for this uplifting story, and readers will find it hard to resist the penguins’ comical expressions. The well-designed pages perfectly marry words and pictures, allowing readers to savor each illustration. An author’s note provides more information about Roy, Silo, Tango, and other chinstrap penguins. This joyful story about the meaning of family is a must for any library.

[ Buy And Tango Makes Three here. ] 

Book Review: Welcome to the Family

Welcome to the Family Family. It’s a simple word—with a lot of different, sometimes complicated, meanings. People have many ways of defining just what constitutes a family, and what being a part of a family means to them. As such, Mary Hoffman decided to take a closer look at the many different kind of families, through a children’s lens. Enter: “Welcome to the Family” (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books).

The book’s vibrant illustrations depict a rainbow spectrum of families, including same-sex, blended, and single-parent. A green teddy bear serves as the book’s relatable narrator, thoughtfully guiding young readers through the brightly illustrated pages as they learn that  there are many different configurations of the modern family—and that no one family is better or worse than any other. The hard-to-broach topics of adoption, IVF, and other ways a baby can become part of a family are explained by Hoffman in words that children can understand, starting an important conversation without wandering into heavy-handed or overbearing territory.

Among the many topics the book broaches are natural birth within a nuclear family, adoption, fostering and same-sex families. Moreover, it offers information to both parents and kids that is currently underrepresented among today’s literature on similar topics.

A charming, whimsically illustrated tale for children, with a positive message parents will be happy to impart, “Welcome to the Family” is a must-add to your particular family’s bedtime story roster.

To purchase a copy of the book, click here.

Accepting Our Children’s Differences: A sit-down with author Craig Pomranz

Made By Raffi

Childhood is a time fraught with uncertainty and insecurity. Growing up, almost everyone, at some point, has felt like the odd man out — or felt just plain different. While some children are fortunate enough to have adults in their life who celebrate their “differences” and encourage them to let their true colors shine, others aren’t so lucky. Made By Raffi (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books), a unique new children’s book about one brave little boy who forges his own path despite peer pressure, is a must-read for all children.

While being perceived as different can be difficult for kids who just want to fit in, seeing other kids being brave, and celebrating themselves for who they are, can be a powerful tool. Craig Pomranz’s heartwarming book is one such tool for both children and their parents.

We caught up with Pomranz to ask him some questions about his newly released book, advice for parents and kids who might be struggling with feeling different, and about his own childhood experiences.

Q: What or who was your inspiration for penning Made By Raffi?
A: The book was inspired by my godson. As a little boy, he wasn’t so interested in sports or rough and tumble play. When he was about 9, he asked for knitting needles for his birthday, and I was delighted to supply. He really took to it and found it very peaceful and comforting.  At some point, I guess he was teased. He then began to ask questions about why he was different.

I was fascinated when he came up with the term “tomgirl,” because it brought into focus the huge difference between a little girl who likes traditional boys’ activities – a tomboy – and a little boy who likes traditional girls’ activities. A tomboy is admired for her toughness and independence. But “tomgirl” connotes a negative idea: a little boy who is effeminate or weak.  I thought to myself, this is huge. I can really help kids and parents by telling this story.

Raffi Books Languages (2) Q: What message do you hope to send readers?
A: I hope the book supports young boys and girls who are perceived as “different” because of their appearances or hobbies and at the same time encourages all kids to try many different kinds of activities. I also hope it provides comfort for worried parents. It is healthy for children to experiment, try on different identities, and discover themselves. They should do so openly and without fear. It is a funny, colorful book, because kids should also be able to laugh without malice—differences are fun!

[Read more…]

Telling Children The Story Of Surrogacy

Becoming a parent through a surrogacy arrangement involves jumping through many hoops both physical and psychological and it does not end at the long awaited arrival of your child for there arises the issue of disclosure; that is when and how to tell one’s child about their conception and how to broach such a potentially overwhelming subject that could undermine all the effort that we as parents make to build a loving and nurturing environment to ensure that our child grows up confident and happy.

sacha-the-little-bright-shooting-star Research shows that it is better for a child to know his or her birth story as early as four. It is a time when mummy’s and daddy’s every word is taken at face value and accepted without question. To leave it too long one runs the risk of the story being revealed in an inappropriate manner, which can serve to destabilise both the child and the parents. Accidental or belated disclosure can cause a tremendous sense of hurt, anger, and betrayal. Leaving it longer still, to tell the story or not to tell at all, you run the risk of a disaffected teenager finding out through a third party with dire consequences.

We decided it would be easier to tell our own son’s birth story with the aid of a book. I searched for something that would tell the story sensitively, artistically and in an age appropriate way but all I found were books that were too anatomical and cold. This is how our picture book Sacha, the Little Bright Shooting Star was born which I wrote, illustrated and published myself. Sacha, the Little Bright Shooting Star strives to add a sense of tenderness and magic that brings the story to life through a story of bears. The story hinges around baby bear Sacha who one night appears as an apparition above his intended parents as they lay sleeping together in their cave and whispers in their ear “Soon, very soon we will be together”.

surrogacy-children When Nanook bear hands his seed and precious honey to Otsana, the surrogate bear, the delicate issue of conception is dealt with. While recounting the story to your child instead of ‘seed’ for a traditional surrogacy simply replace with ‘egg’ for a gestational surrogacy. The bears have been drawn lifelike and with quite neutral names and neutral appearance and therefore again, same sex adaptation of the story is possible. However, for us, the most important issue to get across to our child was that he was most wanted and that a third party (the surrogate) helped mummy and daddy achieve their dream.

Our son loved the story and we read it to him many times. We did not probe him whether he understood or not, choosing to wait for when he was ready to discuss it. It was about a year later when he began to ask more precise questions about his birth and made the link between himself and Sacha bear. The book is just the beginning of the journey our child will make in understanding how he was created and we hope it will give him the tools to be proud of who he is.

You can find out more about Sacha, the Little Bright Shooting Star as well as order a copy of the book here.