Summary: A simple story about a family of squirrels who go through the processes of separation from birth family, foster care, and adoption.
When our 3 children (all under 5 years old) were placed with us for adoption, we were faced with the problem of how to explain to them what had happened to them before, and what would happen next. This book was a huge help. It was a big hit especially with our 4 year old, who requested it to be read repeatedly.
The story does not evade the issue of the neglect that leads up to being taken into care, but deals with it sensitively and is not judgmental of the birth parents. The experience of moving foster homes is covered, with the possibility of sibling separation at this stage. Finally, there is a happy and secure permanent family - but the adopted squirrel is still allowed positive feelings towards his birth mother. The concept of the magistrate issuing the adoption order is also covered. It can be read all in one go, or in sections relating to particular phases of the life story.
Our children could relate to the characters, and it has helped them make some sense of what has happened to them. It helped us explain things in a simple and non threatening way, using language they could understand.
We didn't know quite how we would explain going to court for the adoption order. But our children understood that we were going to see the "wise owl" who would make us a proper family forever.
I would recommend this book to anyone trying to explain adoption to young children.