Ten Days and Nine Nights: An Adoption Story by Yumi Heo
Here’s a new perspective on the adoption experience: an older-sister-to-be marks off the days, one by one, as she and her father and grandparents make special preparations for the return of her mother who will be bringing her new sibling from Korea. Yumi Heo’s illustrations are as delightful as ever, capturing the touching story with whimsy and heartfelt anticipation.
In case you were wondering, the baby sister-to-be’s name is SooYoung – the picture of the cat on the wall is addressed to her in Korean lettering, next to the “Welcome Home” cut-out red heart in English.
But … I can’t help but be a wee bit disappointed that on the day before the mother and baby’s arrival back home, the father puts the CLOSED sign on his dry cleaning store. Of all the different doors he could be closing, why did he have to be the owner of such a stereotypical venture? The associated problem is that that little detail throws off the story, as well. Koreans owning dry cleaners are common, but you might say that such businesses are more or less entry-level immigrant businesses. An immigrant Korean family is highly unlikely to be in an economic position to adopt (overseas adoptions come with hefty price tags well over $20,000), much less be culturally willing to adopt. One of the reasons that Korean children have historically been readily available for overseas adoption is that they were not adopted by other Koreans in country, especially because of the overwhelming cultural insistence for maintaining bloodlines. Only very recently, with the help of significant government incentives, are Korean families in Korea actually adopting Korean orphans.
Will children reading the story notice? Of course not. And since they’re the target market, they can just revel in the welcoming pictures and share the joy of a growing family.