“My friend has an awesome son they adopted from Russia.  Like many eight-year-old boys, he has good days and tougher days.  After a string of tougher days, the boy mentioned that he sometimes feels like something strange is going on inside him.  My friend remembered the book, “As Real As It Gets,” by Amanda Barton and Natalie Hart.  She took the book and cozied up with her son on the sofa.  With each turn of the page, the boy snuggled up closer and closer to his mom and his body relaxed more and more.  After she finished the book, he looked up at her and said, “Mom, I know why you read me that book today.  Because that is just how I feel sometimes.”  Then he took off to go play.  She said that was the best day they had had in a very long time.

Thank you, Mrs. Barton, for writing a book that captures the emotions of precious young kids, giving them words, and even images, that they can relate to when they don’t know how to communicate what they are feeling inside.  This book has made a real impact on the life of my friend, her son, and their whole family.  Please keep up the good work.  Please keep giving a voice to the ones who have so much to say, and aren’t quite sure how to say it.”
 **Geanie R.


“As Real As It Gets addresses the intersection of our universal need for belonging with the challenges born out of merging families through foster care and adoption. Written out of Amanda’s own experience as a foster and adoptive mom, the book normalizes one of the difficulties foster and adoptive children (and some days all of us) face — the messy truth that sometimes love and forever are hard concepts to grasp. I’m thankful for Amanda’s heart for these children and as a child welfare worker I am confident this book will be a strong resource for foster and adoptive children and families.”
** Shelby Van Kooten, Licensing Specialist

“I have been working with adoptive children and families for 8 years and have not been able to find a book as informative, realistic, and honest as As Real As It Gets. This book not only helps the youth understand that what they are feeling is okay, it also helps the adoptive parents understand what the child is experiencing. I would recommend this book to any adoptive family to share with their children.”
** Heather Anton, IPP Specialist

“No amount of adoption training prepares you for that shocking and hurtful moment your child yells the words, “You’re not my REAL mom (or dad)!” By putting words and pictures to the feelings that many adopted children experience, As Real As it Gets gives adoptive parents a deeper understanding of their child’s emotions……including those of fear (can you handle these emotions raging inside of me?), doubt (do you really love me or will you send me away?), uncertainty (how long is forever, anyway?) Using a fun picture book format, this book gives parents the tools and language needed to navigate with their child those very scary underlying emotions that rage (or sometimes just lurk quietly) inside their children as they wonder just how long a “forever” family will last. These books would make great gifts for foster and adoptive families in your extended family, social circles, church, work place, etc. As as foster and adoptive parent I plan on keeping several copies but have plans for the rest of them already. I sure wish we had books like this when we adopted many years ago. My kids are now teens and we have a 12 year old foster boy. It is interesting to see their interest in this book…..the illustrations, having me read the entire text to them (several different times), etc. Even though they are older, this book has a timeless message that even (and maybe especially) adopted teens need to hear too.”
** Brenda Easterling, adoptive mom of 3, foster mom to many more

“As an adoption professional and trauma specialist working in the field of foster care adoption, the concepts of the monster of doubt, of “I’m not good enough,” “No one will want me,” “Let me leave you, before you can leave me” are VERY real to our children, of ALL ages…toddler – teen. As Real as it Gets is a groundbreaking children’s book for children who have experienced fragile early attachments and tough starts. It acknowledges the monster, the dinosaur, that lurks, and can come and go, but that the steadfastness of the parent’s love, through all circumstance, ultimately vanquishes the foe. As a foster and adoptive mother, I can attest to the need for such a book. It will open conversations in a non-threatening way, and the idea that the child and even parent, are not alone in their struggle against the monster. I am very excited for both the excellent text as well as exciting illustrations bringing alive the idea that we as parents ARE as real as it gets, and our love is NOT afraid of that monster, which WILL get littler and littler with time.”
** Sara Blomeling DeRoo, LMSW Trauma Specialist

“I see this book as being ideal for my clients and their parents as they process adoption together. I love that it explains the physical presentation of feelings, and that it normalizes the complex emotions that these children experience around adoption. I believe that this book can be very helpful for parents to gain insight into what their child may be feeling, and can help them better understand the hurt, fear, and sadness behind the hurtful words and behaviors that these children may express.”
** Alyssa Voetberg, LLMSW

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