January 30, 2010

Children of the Waters - A Novel with an Adoption Theme

I've been wanting to post about Children of the Waters for quite some time but I haven't had the time to dedicate to sitting down and writing. I now find myself with a napping baby and a steaming latte so I think it's now or never.

As way of disclaimer, a former colleague of mine, Carleen Brice, wrote this book. We had lost touch but have a mutual friend who was raving to me about her books. I figured maternity leave would be the perfect time to pick both of them up. Carleen's first book, Orange Mint and Honey was just made into a Lifetime Movie which will air on the Lifetime Movie Network on Feb. 21. It's a great book and I can't wait for the movie to come out but it's not as relevant to this group.

However, Carleen's second book, Children of the Waters, struck a chord with me and I am sure it will to anyone else who has been touched by adoption and IF/loss*. I've struggled with a way in which to write a review of this book without revealing too much of the plot so I'm going to be a little vague here and talk about the themes that the book covers.

Based in Denver, the novel focuses on two families impacted by adoption. What I find most interesting about this book is it focuses a lot on identity, race and culture. This book might be particularly interesting to transracial adoptive families. While not directly talking about transracial adoption, Carleen captures many of the struggles that I'm sure families in transracial adoptions face. The book explores the adoption topics of meaning of family, both birth and adoptive, secrecy in adoption, searching and reunification with one's birth family.

Carleen tackles race in our culture head on - what it means to be bi-racial in today's society, racial divides, a white mother raising a bi-racial child, racial profiling, prejudice, a teen's struggle with his racial identity and many other issues. The beauty of this book is that all of these topics are tackled and discussed in the midst of a very engaging and well-written story that holds your attention on it's own merit. This book raises many issues and would be a great read for any adoptive parent but especially those who may be in or contemplating transracial adoptions. (I will note that some of the language in the book isn't adoption sensitive but I think it's a fair representation of the characters in the book and society at large).

Another colleague of mine organizes the African American/Caribbean Hetitage Camp and is integrating this book into a book discussion during camp. If any of you end up reading the book, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

I'm clearly not a crack book reviewer but I did want to let everyone know about this great read. Even if you haven't been touched by adoption, this book is very engaging and well written.

For more information on the book and a complete description please click here.

*Loss does appear in this book and if it might still be a fresh wound I would recommend waiting to read this book.


  1. Sounds like a great book. I'm going to add it to my list of to reads.

  2. I'm glad you spent your steaming latte time writing this post :) I'm going to look for the book. It sounds great!

  3. Thanks for the tip. Sounds like a very good read.

    Lovely meeting you today :-)

  4. Sounds like a wonderful read.. thank you for the heads up.. will definitely add it to the list.

    So great to meet you for reals today! :o) !