When I Met You: A Story of Russian Adoption

wimy_coverWhen I Met You : A Story of Russian Adoption

Written by Adrienne Ehlert Bashista, illustrated by Christine Sykes. 32 pp. Color illus.  ISBN 978-1933084008, published 2005.

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Based on the author’s family’s experience, this book describes a child’s life before and after she was adopted from Russia.From scenes in the orphanage to the child’s Russian birthmother, this is one of the first children’s picture books to chronicle the special background of children adopted from Russia.Delicate watercolor illustrations perfectly complement this poetic and heartfelt text, a celebration of the joy that adopting a child brings to a family.


“A child’s life doesn’t begin at adoption, and neither should his adoption story. This charming, delightful narrative of a Russian adoption contrasts a child’s life before and after adoption in ways that are respectful and insightful, explanatory and celebratory. From the first page (“When I first met you, you lived in Russia, a country far across the ocean. Now, you live here, close to my heart.“) to the last (“You will always be Russia’s child. But now, you are also mine.”), When I Met You carefully balances memories of Russia with new experiences in America, celebrating both.”    – Dellory Matthews, Adoptive Families Magazine

“Reading your story brought tears to my eyes. No other book about adoption has captured my heart like your story.”  – Lisa, mom to Jonathan, from Tomsk, Russia

“All kids are curious about when they were little. What was I like, they wonder. How have I changed? In a story of Russian adoption, Adrienne Ehlert Bashista mines this curiosity in When I Met You. “When I met you, you lived in Russia, a country far across the ocean,” states the mother narrator at the beginning. “Now, you live here, close to my heart.” The contrast between “when” and “now” continues throughout and proves especially powerful in scenes contrasting the girl’s former heavy snow boots with her pink, pirouetting ballet slippers and the long row of orphanage cribs with the girl’s own room and reassurance that she “can call Daddy and me when you need us in the night.” Beautiful watercolors by Christine Sykes prove a perfect match for Bashista’s lyrical prose. Sykes manages to convey a wealth of emotions–uncertainty, joy, loneliness, love–without devolving into sentimentality or cluttering her pictures.   —Washington Parent

“The collaborative work of author Adrienne Bashista and illustrator Christine Sykes, When I Met You: A Story Of Russian Adoption is a picturebook based on Bashista’s own family experience in describing a little girl’s life before and after she was adopted from Russia by an American family. From scenes in the Russian orphanage to the birth mother, When I Met You is a unique chronicle of the special background of abandoned or orphaned children adopted from Russia. Syke’s 36 delicate watercolor artworks provides a superbly visual enhancement of a story that is as entertaining for young readers as it is informative and thoughtful. When I Met You is a welcome addition to school and community library picturebook collections, and especially recommended reading for children from families who are themselves adopted or who have adopted siblings.”  ~Midwest Book Review.

“Delicate watercolor illustrations compliment the thought-provoking text in a celebration of the joy a child brings a family. I liked the way Bashista blends simple adoption language with Russian vocabulary to make the comparison and transition from orphanage to family life easier to understand. “When I Met You” makes an excellent introduction for a parent to share a more complete story of adoption at age-appropriate levels.”
Adoption Today