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We Wanted You

Liz Rosenberg; illustrated by Peter CatalanottoRoaring Brook Press; $16.95

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I hadn’t heard about We Wanted You, even though it was published two years ago. Written with love and humor by Liz Rosenberg and joyfully illustrated by Peter Catalanotto, this overlooked book belongs in the regular reading rotation for adopted children ages 4 and up.

Sweet but never cloying, We Wanted You tells a simple story of how two became three, and three became a family. We first meet Enrique at his graduation from high school, and his story unfolds through a flashback: “Somewhere in the world a mother gave birth to you, a father gave life to you. We weren’t your first father and mother.”

Acknowledging the child’s birth as well as his birthparents is important. Many adopted children, especially those adopted internationally, never hear a birth story and so they conclude that they came into the world some other way.

As Enrique’s story unfolds, drawings show a tired Daddy rocking an infant to sleep in the wee hours of the morning...a toddler in underpants racing through a meadow with his towel-cape fluttering behind him...a growing boy lounging on a couch under a handmade quilt, his face blooming with chicken pox. Rosenberg’s simple, elegant text expresses how much Enrique’s adoptive parents wanted and loved him, even before he was born.

It’s clear that We Wanted You will resonate with all adoptive families, but I especially appreciate its focus on the joys of parenting and loving an adopted son. Our boys get short shrift in adoption literature, as do kids adopted from Latin America. This book helps on both counts and speaks eloquently to a wider audience as well.

Reviewed by Roberta Rosenberg, the owner of and She is unrelated to the author, Liz Rosenberg.

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