Families are unique ecosystems. They can change with each moment and they play an incredibly large role in a person’s identity. The anthology Welcome Home, edited by Eric Smith, explores the topic of adoption through a multitude of diverse stories and characters that address the realities, fantasies, and emotions involved.
I could easily wax poetic with plenty of clichéd ideas, axioms, or phrases, such as it’s not who you’re related to by blood that makes a family but who is there for you to support and love you, but that would get old rather quickly and not help explain my thoughts on this anthology. Instead, I’ll offer the following: no two stories were exactly alike, but they all helped to convey a similar message of love and acceptance. Some stories felt complete in their short form and others could easily be expanded to be part of a larger narrative. With a variety of perspectives about adoption and family presented throughout the collection via different genres, it offers opportunities to view the topic through a new lens.
I realize (and greatly appreciate) how tough the medium of a short story is and those included in this anthology are well-written and evoke emotion and thought during the brief time you’re immersed in the world they offer; however, I did find that there were a few that incorporated some rather unique fantastical elements that could benefit from further development, as I got hung up with questions about some of the details, but the oddness of it didn’t detract from the powerful messages being conveyed by the narrative. Regardless of your personal connection to the topic of adoption, these stories help to demonstrate that there is no right definition of a family, but family can be thought of as who we decide to surround ourselves with.
Overall, I’d give it a 5 out of 5 stars.