Julie Swope is no stranger to adoption — she was four years old when she was adopted herself, and ended up adopting five children as an adult, as well.
“I know personally of the anxiety and feelings that adopted children experience as they must wait to be adopted,” Swope said in an email. “I know the feelings when an adopted child is asked by other children, ‘What happened to your real parents?’
“I spent a lot of years not feeling real.”
Swope chronicled her adoption journey in her 2012 memoir, “Of Roots and Wings.” But she also wanted to create a non-threatening way for kids to relate to the adoption process.
So, her children’s book, “The Bear Who Waited,” tells a story from the perspective of a stuffed bear who sits on a toy store shelf for months waiting to be bought.
“He questions his purpose,” Swope said. “‘Am I forever doomed to be on a toy shelf for people to look at, occasionally pick up, only to be put down again? Am I never to have a life of my own? Am I destined to scream silently? Am I always to remain invisible? And when I ask why, what have I done?'”
In the end, the bear forms a new family with a young girl who is also adopted.
The book came alive through illustrations by a family friend and first-time illustrator, Earl G. Glover, who lives in Columbia, Md., and “captured the expressions and emotions the story contain,” Swope said.
If you go
In honor of National Adoption Month, Swope will do a reading from “Roots and Wings” at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York, 925 S. George St., York, at the 9 a.m. service Nov. 24. Swope will also read from “The Bear Who Waited” at Grace Manor Bed & Breakfast’s Christmas Gala as part of First Friday Dec. 6.