When I Met You
by Adrienne Ehlert BashistaReviewed by Dellory Matthews
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A child's life doesn't begin at adoption, and neither should his adoption story. This charming, delightful narrative of a Russian adoption contrasts a child's life before and after adoption in ways that are respectful and insightful, explanatory and celebratory. From the first page ("When I first met you, you lived in Russia, a country far across the ocean. Now, you live here, close to my heart.") to the last ("You will always be Russia's child. But now, you are also mine."), When I Met You carefully balances memories of Russia with new experiences in America, celebrating both.
The glorious illustrations add interest, and Russian words sprinkled throughout are accurately transliterated into English. The book answers questions an adopted child often has, whether voiced or not. By reading it to your child, you will honor memories of her past, while also answering questions pertaining to your child's circumstances, thus facilitating a conversation that might otherwise feel awkward to initiate.
This charming book can be appreciated by a range of readers, including those who have adopted from countries other than Russia. It is written in language simple enough for a young child to appreciate its message, and could be read alone by a third grader.
Dellory Matthews is a part-time college student and full-time mom in Salt Lake City. She has eight children (two adopted from Russia) and 18 grandchildren.
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