Perspectives On A Grafted Tree

By Patricia Irwin Johnston

A well-known figure in adoption and infertility circles, Ms. Johnston compiled over eighty poems by and for those who have been touched by adoption in Perspectives on a Grafted Tree: Thoughts for Those Touched by Adoption. As a volume that is now coming up on it’s 30th anniversary, a few of the poems will be familiar and oft-repeated but many are not. They are separated into sections according to subject, such as “Beginnings and Endings,” “Attachment,”and “Identities.” Any adoptive parent, birth parent, or adoptee will find poetry they identify with in this book. A few were so inspiring I was compelled to copy them into my children’s memory books. The final poem is a reminder of the weighty responsibility of all parents:

The heart of a child is a scroll,
A page that is lovely and white;
And to it as fleeting years roll,
Come hands with a story to write. 

Be ever so careful, O hand;
Write thou with a sanctified pen;
Thy story shall live in the land
For years, in the doings of men. 

It shall echo in circles of light,
Or lead to the death of a soul.
Give here but a message right,
For the heart of a child is a scroll.

Author Unknown

If you’ve not had the opportunity to read this collection, it is worth the time. But it has been out long enough that we think the adoption community is due for a second edition.  New voices and modern experiences deserve to be heard.

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