Adoption Books | Review of Just Really Joseph By Kayla Craig

This is a story that will warm anyone touched by transracial adoption.

Natalie Brenner November 08, 2016
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The boys were bathed clean with damp hair when we snuggled them up with dad underneath, just as we do every night before bed. One baby on his left leg, the other on his right, a book smooshed between.

Always on the hunt for quality books that appropriately confront and address the messiness and beauty of an adoptive and transracial family, we were thrilled to see our friend Kayla Craig release her first children’s book, Just Really Joseph.

Our desire is that our son who wears skin so brown would grow up seeing and reading books, confident that he is normal, that families are created differently, and he really belongs with us.

I am a firm believer that non-adoptive, non-transracial families should fill their children’s bookshelves with stories highlighting the various types of families and the array of colors that people wear as skin. I confidently believe that we should raise our kiddos with the concrete understanding that families are created in so many different ways, with different colors, and that each family is real. We do not have to “match.”

As we turned the pages and read the words so carefully chosen for this children’s book, I felt the emotions bubbling up thick into my throat. This book is for children, yes, but it is for adults too. We all need this book. It addresses how others often see transracial families and how people loudly question who belongs with whom.

I finally let the tears release as we finished the last few pages and my heart envisioned my boys asking these questions in the future. My heart wants nothing more than for them to know they belong to us and to one another. We are family.

We are really just a family.

One of the quotes that reached into my mama-soul was: “Our family’s skin doesn’t match. But that doesn’t mean we’re not real. We’re just really different.”

This piece is a definite recommendation. Kayla so easily paints the story that so many of us live: someone questions the “realness” of our family, of our brown son’s real sonship to his white parents, and she gracefully explains how very real each family is. It paves the path for necessary conversations about race and family, whether you are an adoptive family, a transracial family, or neither. I cannot recommend this book enough. It is heart-felt, real, and very age-appropriate.

We purchased a few special books before we met our child via adoption; we held onto those books as promises and set them on the nursery shelf with hopeful expectation. This book would be a perfect book to do that with. It would be a cherished gift as well, from or for an adoptive or transracial family.

Have you heard of Katelyn’s Fund Orphan Ministry? With every single purchase of this book, 100% of the sales goes straight towards the faith-based nonprofit. This particular nonprofit provides adoption grants to families across the United States and supports children waiting in Haiti. Not only will you receive a purpose-filled book of beauty, but you will also be changing lives by supporting children and families financially.

To order Just Really Joseph, hop on over to

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Natalie Brenner

Natalie Brenner is wife to Loren and mom to two under two, living in Portland, Oregon. She is the best-selling author of This Undeserved Life. She likes her wine red, ice cream served by the pint, and conversations vulnerable. Natalie believes in the impossible and hopes to create safe spaces for every fractured soul. She's addicted to honesty and believes grief is the avenue to wholeness. Natalie is a bookworm, a speaker, and a lover of fall. Connect with her at and join her email community.

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