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Welcome Home Photo Essay Where Children

Munira plays with her baby daughter Lorentia, 2, at their home in Ghana. Encouraging children to play from an early age helps them develop socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually.

A famous Nepalese actor dances with Jamuna, 9, at a UNICEF-supported child-friendly space in Nepal. Following last spring’s devastating earthquakes, we reached children and families with critical aid including nutrition, hygiene kits and shelter.

Mohammed, 5 from Syria, sprays water on his sister and cousins in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp. Six new schools opened at the camp this year to ensure enough space and resources for all 25,000 school-age children.

“This lovely boy made my day with his nice smile. When everyone else was afraid, this boy was laughing.”

Kinan, 26, is a Syrian refugee who left home five years ago and lives in Belgium. He flew to Greece in September to give back and welcome newly arrived refugees off the boats.

Newlyweds Ibrahim and Hauna married at a camp for Nigerian refugees in Cameroon. The couple planned to marry in their home village in Nigeria, but were forced to flee when Boko Haram attacked. They want to start a family despite the difficulties they’ll face.

Street children watch their peers perform skits at Child Restoration Outreach, an organization in Uganda committed to re-integrating them with family and rebuilding their lives. Street children are often exposed to exploitation and abuse — they have the right to be protected.

Dunya, 13, displaced in Iraq, opens a box of winter shoes in the Baharka IDP Camp in Erbil Governate. We’ve helped distribute warm winter clothing kits to nearly 2,000 children and pregnant mothers at the camp.

Swinging away! Children from South Sudan play at a child-friendly space in a refugee settlement in Uganda. For conflict-affected children, play is a crucial part of overcoming trauma.

Refugee and migrant children continue to arrive in Europe in record numbers — some travelling on their own.Pictured, teenagers play in the sun at a reception centre in Opatovac, Croatia.

Holding her up towards the sky, a father plays with his daughter at a transit centre for refugees and migrants in Serbia. The refugee crisis is a children’s crisis and we’re doing all we can to keep them safe.

This wide-ranging anthology features adoptees, foster-care veterans, trauma survivors, young birth mothers, adoptive parents, and those whose lives they touch.

Contemporary realism, science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction: these 29 stories cover complicated territory. In adoption, happiness is inextricably bound to sorrow, even when birth parents put their child’s welfare ahead of their own, even when adoptee and adoptive parents form a loving bond. In Caela Carter’s luminous story, an African-American teen, a gifted student and athlete, must tell her beloved mother, whom she visits in prison, that her track coach and foster mother wants to adopt her; being gifted a life her mother couldn’t provide is a bitter joy. In Julie Leung’s “Ink Drips Black,” the bond connecting a Chinese grandmother and her American-adopted granddaughter, Stacy, is sacrifice. The high price paid for Stacy’s future is loss of family and culture. Elsewhere, a veteran of multiple placements dreads removal from the warm, welcoming foster family she’s bonded with; an adoptive family invites the young birth mother who made their family possible to remain part of it. Too many less-impressive stories offer a conventional outsider’s view of adoption—adoption by generous, loving parents as the happy ending to years of birthparent abuse or neglect. The best, however, reflect the bittersweet truths that adoptive families differ profoundly from biological ones and that coming to terms with these differences is a lifelong process.

Skip this uneven collection’s slighter offerings; its best are worth finding. (Short stories. 12-16)

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