Retrieving Isaac and Jason by Elliot and Kenneth Fliés is an uplifting human adoption story “written” by the family dog Kai, in her native Labrador tongue. Like many dog tales, the story is translated into English, here by Elliot (known to Kai as “the writer”) and his father, Kenneth (simply called “Gramps”). Elliot the writer lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his partner, Randy (“the leader”) and their two adopted sons Isaac and Jason. Gramps lives in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife Mille (a.k.a. “Granny”).
The book uses a dog’s voice to tell the story of love, commitment, international adoption, gay marriage, and parental love, and the father-son writing team avoids cuteness while encouraging readers to form their own packs. The book subtlely explores the challenges faced by gay couples looking to gain recognition as a family without making demands and with a huge dose of Minnesota nice. This approach will likely have readers falling in love with this non-traditional family as seen through the eyes of Kai, the yellow Labrador retriever.
Elliot Fliés grew up in a family that believed in adoption. His parents adopted his brother, Phun, from Cambodia in the 1970s. When Fliés and partner Randy began their journey through the adoption process in 1999, they discovered that Cambodia was one of only five countries in the world where male partners could adopt a child.
If you are seeking a touching story, Retrieving Isaac and Jason is an enjoyable recounting of the adoption adventures involved in retrieving Kai’s human brothers, Isaac in 1999 and then Jason in 2002. Kai is devoted to her “pack” and delivers a tremendous gift of love through her words and stories. Readers laugh and cry as they follow Kai’s wonderful journey to create her own pack. Proceeds from this book will go to The Sharing Foundation, a non-profit organization which empowers young lives in Southeast Asian orphanages.