Anonymous, illustrated by Josée Masse,
Motherbridge of Love
Barefoot Books, 2007
Motherbridge of Love is a beautiful and reassuring testimony to the love that encircles adopted children. The text, a harmoniously constructed poem by an anonymous Western adoptive mother of a daughter from China, provides an answer to the questions of identity and cultural heritage which the adopted child struggles with - “this place or your birth place - / which are you a daughter of?”. And the answer is “both.”
Each line of the poem is exquisitely illustrated by Josée Masse, who manages to convey the concord between the different manifestations of love which have worked together to give life to and nurture the child – both through direct comparison of the “two different” mothers and the “two different kinds of love,” and in more subtle details, such as the intertwining branches of two trees to form a heart. The mothers may never actually come into contact but they are connected through space and time by their love for their child. Masse reflects this through their same, sweet smiles.
The poem is a reassurance for the little girl of her place in both their lives and reassurance is needed as a response to the question “Who am I?”. This lovely book could facilitate greatly in seeking to respond appropriately to that question from an adopted child as he or she reaches that age when children start to look around them and try to understand their place in the scheme of things. Equally, it could prove invaluable for any child or adult whose life is touched by adoption.
The poem was originally sent anonymously to the London-based charity The Mothers’ Bridge of Love (MBL), which seeks to maintain a bridge between Chinese children who have been adopted abroad and their native culture. The charity’s founder, the Chinese writer/journalist Xinran, has collaborated with Barefoot Books on the poem’s publication. Royalties from the sale of the book go to the charity.
Click here for a video of author Amy Tam's reading of the poem.