Crazy Cakes?

I just found this interview in the Boston Globe about author Rose Lewis of Needham, MA. I can’t say I’ve read or heard of her first book about her daughter who is a Chinese adoptee, but judging by the content of this interview, I’m a little concerned. I know I can’t really judge since I haven’t read it but I do think there are a number of issues that I’d hope she’d set straight in her book.

In the interview below she discusses the “universal chord of falling in love with your child adopted or biological.” Perhaps she means well, but I smell some colorblind parenting in between the margins-Somebody may have to set me straight who has read her book, but my initial adoptee-radar went off when I read that sentence.

—————————–

Take Two

(Boston Globe)

Crazy Cakes, her first children’s book about her adopted daughter, Ming, was a bestseller. So naturally, Needham’s Rose Lewis revisits the subject of children in her second book.

I Love You Like Crazy Cakes was a runaway bestseller. Did that surprise you?
I am still surprised by its success. I guess it struck a universal chord, because it’s about falling in love with your child, biological or adopted. The thing I was most humbled by was how this book inspired other women to adopt.

What about children’s responses?
I remember when a mother introduced me to her daughter once, and I was with Ming. She said her daughter was a huge fan of the book, so I asked her if they wanted to meet the little girl in the book. The mother quickly waved me off and whispered, “No, no. She thinks the story is about her.”

What is your new book, Every Year on Your Birthday, about?
The underlying message is the loving bond between any parent and child. I put it in the context of birthdays, because children love celebrating their birthdays. For their parents, I think it’s more powerful. Who doesn’t wonder “Where has all the time gone” after each birthday?

And why wait seven years between titles?
[The illustrator] Jane Dyer wasn’t available for five years. I wanted to wait for her.

How did you two begin your collaboration?
I was a huge fan of Jane’s, even before I wrote Crazy Cakes. When I contacted the publisher, I asked that Jane illustrate the book – I wasn’t aware at the time that you’re really not supposed to do that.

Why did you start writing?
I was looking for a book that summed up my own experience and what I wanted to say about adopting. . . . I decided to go after Jane Dyer’s publisher because I was a big fan of her books. So I contacted Little, Brown – in fact, they were the only publisher I contacted – and they said yes.

Wow. That’s almost unheard of.
It was wonderful.

You and Ming, 11, recently returned from a visit to the orphanage where she lived in China. Why did you go back?
Ming has been curious about her birth parents since she was about 5. I know she will always have a hole in her heart because she won’t know anything about her birth family. The trip was a way to help her fulfill some of that curiosity.

Did it?
There was something comforting about the experience. While neither of us said it exactly, I think we both felt that some questions had been answered, and we could now visualize Ming’s beginnings. My hope was to give her a sense of place that she can refer to, a sense of where she came from – her roots.
– Amy Yelin

(Correction: Because of a reporting error, the First Person interview in today’s Globe magazine misquoted author Rose Lewis. Lewis did not use the term real parents when referring to her daughter Ming’s birth parents.)

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4 Comments on “Crazy Cakes?

  1. I can see your concern about the possible colorblind parenting the quotation signaled. However, I can also another perspective on it.

    She may also be talking about loving adopted children versus non-adopted children, w/o race being involved. I know that just sounds like it’s colorblind, but hear me out. Some people do not adopt because they don’t think they could ever love a child that’s “not their own.” But, of course, you can. And perhaps that is what the author was touching on – that you can love your child whether he or she is of your flesh and blood… or not. Especially if she has biological children as well as her adopted daughter.

    My brother is not adopted, and I know that my mother loves us both equally. And she’s said that she grew to love us after we each arrived into the family. Why? Because when we arrived is when she got to know us. I think before we arrived she did care for us, but it wasn’t until after we arrived that she could know a more complete love. I hope that made sense.

  2. Thanks for the comment.

    Yeah I totally agree that much. I mean like I said, I haven’t actually read the book so I have nothing to really base my judgments on other than pure speculation. But I do understand what you’re getting at. That’s why I left my post sort of open-ended hoping that someone would have actually read the book and could shed some light on it.

    Also, I totally misinterpreted that correction at the bottom that they filled in. It’s funny because I just sort of skimmed through the article including the correction-and I totally thought she had written “real parents” in reference to herself as the adoptive parent. Because I do think there are some adoptive parents who are somewhat defensive when it comes to this sort of question of “ownership.” (bad word I know). I misinterpreted it when the typo had really referenced the birth parents as the “real parents.”

  3. Beware of skimming. 😉

    You’re not the only one who’s had problems with this book, so don’t totally dismiss your initial instincts. But yeah, read if you have time. With the onslaught of books and articles by and about APs, of which many were pats-on-the-back, justification type things, it’s hard not to take second, third and fourth takes.

    This is another book I should read, maybe after When Heaven Fell. Ugh’ing at that title.

  4. Read it, and it was pretty dull, drab and predictable. I think someone gave it to me as a gift when I was IN MY 20s. weird. I find it weird in the interview: “I know she will always have a hole in her heart because she won’t know anything about her birth family. The trip was a way to help her fulfill some of that curiosity.” It is as if, she assumes that there isn’t ANY WAY POSSIBLE that she could ever reach her birth parents. By the time many of these children are older, who knows? They may have an organized set of support systems to help birth families and birth children reunite. My adoptive family felt it would be near impossible for me to find my family, and it was possible. I just find it interesting how many mothers I have met that have adopted children from China and will remind me that “..oh, you found for birthfamily? oh you’re Korean? well… emma is from China, so she won’t ever be able to find her birthmother” etc. Very strange.

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