Borya and the Burps: An Eastern European Adoption Story
Book Review by R. Spottswood
What a delightful surprise this was!
Here’s me: “Oh no, another book for kids about body noises….” But I bought it to review, read it quickly on the train to work, and whammo — a bullseye story book about the view from the crib when being adopted from a nominally secure eastern European orphanage. The orphan’s burps are simply the comedic twist in a complex description of what it’s like for a baby living in the comforting routines of the orphanage to see weird-talking strangers come in and start removing familiar kids — eventually including him! The pictures are some of the best artwork I have seen in children’s storybooks.
The author learned her insights by gradually adopting 11 children — now all adults. The book displays her detailed awareness of what it’s like, and she offers some tricks for new parents to help recreate a sense of familiarity in the new home.
As the author describes, in her meaty forward to grownups:
“When a family adopts a child from an orphanage, it is usually a long anticipated time of joy and excitement for parents. But the children being adopted often have other perceptions and feelings, from fearful to cheerful, from open to anxious….some adoptive children have [later] shared that this positive event felt more like a kidnapping than a rescue to them at first.”
“To help children build strong and healthy attachments in their new families, parents need to learn as much as possible about the orphanage environment the children are coming from upon which the children’s early experiences of security have been built….”
Not racially diverse, but very much about attachment.