Yesterday I shared about raising up a bunch of readers, ones who can read for hours a day because their daily schedules are very light and filled with ample unscheduled time. While they sprawl about the house reading, it is far too seldom that I find myself doing the same. When I do pick up a book, it is usually with a specific purpose in mind – growing, research, education. Sounds fun, right? The truth is I love to learn and research. When I make the time to read, I would rather be learning than escaping. I have a feeling the time will come again when I curl up with a book just to escape.
Yesterday I shared about what the boys are reading, today I thought I would share my most recent book list. I’m currently reading China’s Hidden Children by Kay Ann Johnson.
It is a hard book to read. Hard content to digest. Hard emotionally. And hard in the sense it is written like a research paper more than a light story. It is also a book I think is extremely important for any Chinese adoptive parent to read.
“Until recently, most accounts of international adoption from China have been written by or for international adoptive parents, who in turn, pass on the account as they know it to their adopted children. The voices and perspectives of Chinese birth parents, those who lost the children adopted by others, are largely absent. Also absent in these accounts, indeed wholly invisible, is another group in China that is crucial to this history, the Chinese adoptive parents of children.” (Johnson, 1-2)
Over the last few years the majority of books I read are related to the stories of birth families in China, birth planning laws in China and Chinese adoption laws. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to learn as much as I can regarding the cultural, political and social forces at work in China in the years surrounding my youngest daughter’s birth. I will not be another American mindlessly saying, “Oh the Chinese do not value women that is why so many girls are abandoned,” or “because of the one-child policy Chinese parents only want sons.” Those statements are broad and quite often simply not true and cause great harm. I don’t want further perpetuate general statements about a culture and people that are not based on research and truth, but to do that I must learn. I owe it to my daughter.
Instead of creating a fairy tale story for my daughter about things that I do not actually know, I will research. I will learn facts and I will acknowledge the things I do not know. While she is young, I’m read all the books I can get my hands on related to these topics, no matter how hard they are for me or how much they break my heart and call into question beliefs I once held. My reading these days is not light.
Along those lines here are the last few books I’ve worked through (or am working through):
Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother (another important read, not pictured)
Each of these books have challenged me to think deeply about hard topics. The last two (Too Small To Ignore and Operation Christmas Child) are not related to China. Those two allow me to further understand and get glimpses at two non-profits we support as a family (Compassion International and Samaritan’s Purse). My book list sure isn’t for everyone, but for those interested in these topics – I highly recommend them all.
That being said…I do have other books I’m ‘reading’, well more like thumbing through frequently.
On the totally opposite end of the reading spectrum is the other books I like to pick up often. Obviously, they are much lighter reading! These are inspiring books to have around in regards to creating spaces in my home.
My wish list in this genre:
There are TONS of books I would like to read. Many recommended by friends and other bloggers. I have a lists in nearly every genre, but for now my reading is pretty intentional in regards to gaining knowledge, understanding and wisdom to prepare me for the years ahead as I dive into conversations with my youngest daughter. When I read outside of this topic, it is usually a book with the kids. I’m covering a lot of old classics with them, which are pretty fun to read again as an adult.
What are your favorite current books?