Adopting a Child from Another Culture: I Love You Like Crazy Cakes
By Melissa Chapman
“I don’t think any of us choose to be a single mother” says Lewis, the New York Times best-selling author, of the book I Love You Like Crazy Cakes which depicts her journey to China to adopt her daughter Ming. “I think circumstances present us with a choice to have a child alone or not at all. I wasn’t willing to do the latter.”
Still Lewis had some reservations about her decision to adopt, especially as a single woman. But any lingering doubts were immediately squashed by her parent’s extremely supportive and heartfelt reaction to her plans.
“When I told my parents I wanted to adopt a child my dear father said, ‘I know you would like to be married, and someday I hope you will be, but I truthfully can see you living your life without a husband, but not without a child,’ it was very genuine and sweet” says Lewis, whose mother journeyed with her to China to bring Ming home.
After much research, she decided to adopt a child from China, not only because of the difficulty single parents encounter in their attempt to adopt in the United States, but because she was familiar with the situation of girls in China and truly wanted to parent a child who really needed one. Finally, after nine and a half months of waiting anxiously by the phone, she got the call that would ultimately complete her family.
For Lewis, as she laid her eyes on her seven and a half month old daughter Ming, it was purely love at first site. Unfortunately she and her daughter have not been shielded from their share of bitter moments.
“I was never worried about my child looking like me and I have always embraced our differences,” says Lewis. “I can’t say I have had any real challenges for me. However, my daughter has had to deal with some hurtful taunts on the playground or in school like, “Are you sure you’re Jewish? You don’t look Jewish. When I heard this I wondered what that boy’s parents told him Jews are supposed to look like. It was especially chilling when I actually heard my daughter’s classmate say, “So who is your REAL mother, you know, the one who left you?”
So how has Lewis handled those hurtful highly charged situations? With good old-fashioned dialogue.
“The best thing you can do is talk to your child about things that might come up and face them head on so they are prepared to answer questions or nasty comments,” says Lewis. “Whether it be religion, questions about your family, or where your child comes from I think it always helps to give your child some suggestions and warn them that they may face some hurtful questions.”
To make sure Ming knew just how incredibly loved she was, Lewis wrote I Love You Like Crazy Cakes, a book whose underlying theme is about falling in love with your child biological or adopted. It has subsequently struck a universal chord and has become a classic must-read story for adoptive families.
“I think it’s a wonderful way to tell a child’s story, how they came to be part of a family,” says Lewis who has recently penned the book’s sequel, Every Year On Your Birthday. “The book is also a gentle way to teach everyone from ages one to 101 that adoption is something to be embraced, not hidden or thought of as shameful.”
While Lewis feels adopting as a single parent has not always been easy it is still, by far, the best thing she’s ever done.
“I know many single women whose families and friends tried to talk them out of adopting and they persevered,” says Lewis. “So, as corny as it may sound, do what is in your heart. Don’t wait until it’s too late…by all means go for it!”
The DVD version of I Love You Like Crazy Cakes, is narrated by Mia Farrow available now.
Other SMW Family Articles
Are You A Single Mom Who is Too Close to Your Child?
Clutter Control 101 for Single Moms