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The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption

By Jean Davies Okimoto & Elaine M. AokiIllustrated by Meilo SoClarion Books; $16.00.

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China adopters, make room on your bookshelf for The White Swan Express. Better yet, order three copies: one for your child, one for her teacher, and one for the local library. This is a story to share.

As the sun rises over North America, seven parents-to-be get ready for a life-changing journey, while in China, the moon rises over an orphanage where four babies sleep, not knowing that their lives will soon change, too. So begins this delightful tale of international adoption, told with affection and humor and brought vividly to life with Meilo So’s charming watercolors.

Many congenial touches brighten the momentous occasion. A baby burps in her sleep. A traveler practices “I am your mother” in Mandarin while the plane soars toward Guangzhou. Authors Jean Davies Okimoto and Elaine M. Aoki honor the diversity of adoptive families without polemics.

The Afterword needed fact checking, as traditions vary regionally in China, and orphanages are not all the same. Find out the conditions and customs where your child comes from. Most important, there hasn’t been a strict one-child policy in the vast Chinese countryside for a decade. For this age group, the simplified story is that most Chinese people are allowed to have only one or two children. Kids ready for more details can get them from When You Were Born in China and Kids Like Me in China.

–by Amy Klatzkin, editor of A Passage to the Heart: Writings from Families with Children from China.

Copyright 2002 Adoptive Families magazine. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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