Paloma: about


Paloma the Possible tells of one girl’s adventures as she flies through her imagination, apart from her adoptive family, to discover her possible birth families (pirates?, princes?, superheroes?).

As she does, she also travels from a “posilutely positive” insistence that she is just like her adoptive parents, to a more nuanced understanding that she is the unique sum of her many distinct parts. Paloma — and her family — learn to embrace unknowns over the easy “positives”, and in the process, they are ultimately freed to fly together, in and out of the rich uncertainties in life.

Paloma is named for the Spanish dove and, although the wings that she wears here are figurative, her journey is a literal one for many adoptees.

In the words of adoptee Kacy Ames-Heron
therapist & author [] :

Paloma the Possible beautifully reflects the questions and fantasies that many of us who are adopted have about where we belong, where we have come from, who our family is and who we are.”
Paloma was created over the course of several years by an adoptive parent and child, because, in making a fictional character with imaginary wings, it became possible to talk with freedom and fluidity about hard issues — identity, loss, race — that were essential to address but difficult to approach. "We used her wings," they have said, "to show us how to fly there ourselves."

With encouragement and guidance from experienced clinicians and educators, the characters and story of Paloma the Possible took shape slowly and gradually. The collages that illustrate the book were their own intensive two year parent-child effort, the organic outgrowth of seeing Paloma's journey to its resolution.

While the book exists on its own terms, the collaborative process of its creation also embodies the book’s theme of familial integration. All images are made from parent-child drawings and photographs, combined with sheets of art paper and layer upon layer of found fragments, cut and pasted by hand into the landscapes and the families explored within.

Paloma the Possible has been read out loud in classrooms and workshops, to adopted children and to non-adopted children, to multiracial families and to parents who are none of these things but want to better understand them. In the process, it became clear that everyone wants to put on wings and everyone wants to check out new horizons of possibility.

In the words of April Dinwoodie,
Chief Executive of the Donaldson Adoption Institute,
the leading independent adoption policy and research organization [], and an adoptee herself:

"Paloma the Possible delightfully captures a child’s exploration of identity and belonging. The book, and what it represents, is a treasure for all children and families but especially to the adoption community, as it masterfully and simply brings to life the beauty and complexity of our shared adoption experience."
The response has been overwhelmingly positive — although, as Paloma discovers, being 100% "positive!" is never the most important thing. Instead, it is even more important to search the skies for who we could be, and to find all of the places where we might belong.

For all children, and especially for adopted children, encouragement to do so is a very healthy thing.