Brian Was Adopted

Brian was adopted coverBrian Was Adopted

Yet another Doris book for your consideration. This time we have 8 year old Brian who was adopted from Korea by the creepy family with the disturbing head shapes and cult-like demeanor. I am sure regulars to the Doris Hall of Infamy will be able to predict the insipid non-story and be ready to brace for disturbing illustrations. For newbies to ALB, please prepare yourselves!

I don’t know what else to say but that these particular illustrations are bothering more than the other books. Is it the plastic looking creepy dad? Is it the “children of the corn” look of the kids? Regardless, I won’t sleep tonight with these “visions”.



Brian was adopted back cover

are you really brothers?

different race

letter to god

Korean clothes

letter from Korean agency

Korean restaurant

giving Brian the details



  1. They claim to honor his birth country (oops! his “completely different race”), but they called him “Brian????” Why am I railing? It is a Doris book. But, what is with that utterly weird letter? I know, I know: It is a Doris book.

    1. I teach at an international school, and many of our students have a “home” name and a school/English name. It is totally up to the students and families, but many of them seem to enjoy picking another name or coming up with an easy-to-pronounce nickname. Either way, our policy is that all official paperwork has the passport name, and otherwise we respect whatever students asked to be called.

      I’m wigging out at the only eating Korean food once….. (but I’m a big food = culture believer)

  2. Proud mom of two adopted children here (both from the Philippines). Some of the information is pretty good but man is it disorganized as if the author is writing for both adults and children. I agree about the illustrations! The on on the page with the letter seems more appropriate for a “Please send me back!” note. Oh one last thing. Why does the book feature a boy? Many more girls are adopted from Korea than boys.

  3. The text seems pretty okay – considering it’s Doris book – but holy cow those illustrations! If I saw this as a kid I’d think adoption meant getting replaced by a Pod!

  4. I don’t find anything wrong with this book at all. I suppose even Doris has to hit one right now and again! That last page here seems fit for a “tips for parents” though, not for a child. Good advice, but leaves the reader wondering about Brian’s background!
    I know someone who adopted a Korean baby (he’s grown now). They had to teach him Korean culture as part of the adoption requirements (perhaps they too saved items, I don’t know), but they gave him an American name.
    The illustrations aren’t bad either. I think we expect Doris books to be bad, and looks for evidence of it!

  5. Since this isn’t really about a problem (alcoholism, disease, etc.) she didn’t mess it up. I think it’s just when she’s writing about “bad things” that she goes off the deep end in her way.

  6. The page with the food made no sense. Brian brings up one point, then talks about something else entirely for no reason.

    1. Kimcch’i is a Korean food, but just because Brian is from Korea doesn’t mean he will or should like foods from his country.

    2. That is how kids talk in real life, though, just switching seemingly-randomly from one topic to another. Though whether writing an informational picture book in that style is a good idea is a debatable point. I agree with most of the above posters–there are still things I would change, but this book is actually okay (i.e. outstanding by this series’ standards).

  7. I have a Korean-born brother who came to us when he was three (he’s 54 now!) and we gave him an “American” first name on the advice of the agency that facilitated the adoption. We kept his Korean middle name, the clothing he came in and his passport. Honestly? Except for the fact that Doris couldn’t draw a human-looking person if her life depended on it, this is pretty congruent with my family’s experience. I was nine when he arrived and remember it very well indeed.

    1. Yup! Many people who adopt from other countries usually give their child an “American” first name and either keep their original middle name, or make their original first name a middle name. That’s what my aunt and uncle did when they adopted two boys from Russia, though in one’s case he had a name that easily translated to a more Americanized form (not his real name, but for an example let’s say how Yakov translates into Jacob). I think it’s not only to help the child feel like he or she fits in better, but later in life they could choose which name they’d like to go by. It’s kind of similar to how people who immigrate from different countries adopt an American name to use at school or for business if they feel their original name may be too hard to pronounce (though if I find their original name easy enough to pronounce, like one girl I knew, I usually just call them by their original name).

      I’m really surprised to see a book by Doris that actually seems, well, NORMAL and not off its gourd. In fact, if a child wanted to understand a little bit more about what it’s like to be adopted, it might even be one of the books I’d recommend. Something I’ve never been able to say about a Doris Sanford book before…that’s kind of an eerie feeling actually…

  8. I’m acutally beginning to wonder if Doris is now writing books specifically so she can see how many she can get listed on ALB!

  9. There’s no drunk mothers causing all the trouble, no sentient doves, or child-murdering cultists? I want my money back!

  10. I don’t know. I know it’s not as off the wall as most Doris books, but it still feels “off” to me. Like it’s vaguely racist or something. I understand that real people who have children that look different from them get asked the stupid questions mentioned in the text. That’s not the issue. It’s just weird and off, but that’s Doris, I suppose.

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