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March Madness and Three Little Pigs

So we are all into March madness over here, both the basketball kind and the kind brought on by prolonged winter cabin fever.  Lucky for me, Susanna Leonard Hill is sponsoring a March Madness writing contest to help alleviate some of the boredom and restlessness that has settled into my brain. This one requires a 400 word max fractured Fairy Tale. thIt’s all just for fun (and a few great prizes) so give it a try, you just might get hooked!

http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-march-madness-writing-contest-is.html

Inspired by almost-true events:

Go outside Three Little Pigs!! 

Once upon a time there were three little pigs.

Three little, lazy pigs that just sat around all day and did nothing but play video games.

Until, one sunny day when Mama Pig decided she couldn’t take it anymore.

“That’s it!” She said, pointing to the door. “I have had enough! Go. Out. SIDE!”

“What?” said the First Pig.

“You want us to go out… there?” said the Second Pig.

“But, there’s never anything to do outside.” complained the Third Pig.

Mama Pig threw open the door.

“Have an adventure! Use your imagination! Just go outside, NOW!”

So the three miserable, lazy pigs went outside.

“It’s sooo hot out here,” moaned the First Pig.

“I’m sooo bored,” whined the Second

“I miss my video games,” cried the Third.

A dark shadow crept slowly along the fence.

“Little pig, little pigs, let me in,” whispered a deep, gravely voice.

“The wolf! Mom! Mom!” The three pigs banged on the door.

“Go away,” said Mama Pig from inside the house.

The three pigs stared at one another.

“Quick!” said Pig Number One. “To the straw pile!”

The three pigs ran across the lawn and burrowed their way into the middle of the straw.

“Ha!” laughed the Wolf. “Do you really think that measly house made of hay is going to keep me away? I am going to huff and puff…”

The three pigs dug as fast as they could through the back of the straw pile.

“To the tree house!” yelled the Second Pig.

The three pigs clambered up the ladder to the tree house and slammed the door shut.

Snap!

A branch snapped, and then another, and another.

Snap!
Snap!

Suddenly through the wall came the wolf’s furry head, his red, beady eyes and his pointed teeth.

“Really, a house made of sticks?” He snarled.

The three pigs quickly threw themselves out of the treehouse, landing one by one with a thud on the dirt below.

“Over there! Behind that brick wall!” yelled Pig Number Three.

The three pigs scampered behind the wall but they knew it was no use;

sharp claws soon crept over the rocks…

“Help! We’re doomed!” They cried.

“Pigs! Oh, Pigs, time for din-ner!” Yelled Mama Pig.

“Awww, already?” said Pig Number One.

“That was way more fun that video games!” Said Pig Number Two

“Sure was.” Said Pig Number Three. “See you tomorrow Wolf?

“See you tomorrow Pigs.”

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Sweet Sand

Sweet SandIMG_1468

 

I went to the beach last week with my kids. After forcefully applying sunscreen to my two older boys they finally broke away and ran off, quickly gathering a group of kids for a wiffle ball game, while my five year old, Eliza, plopped herself down on the sand by the edge of the water and began digging.

Soon a stout little girl in a flowered bathing suit sidled up.

 

“Whatcha ya doing?” She asked.

“Building a mermaid castle,” my daughter replied. “Wanna help?”

“Sure.” The girl said, picking up a shovel, “I’m Ava.”

 

(Amazing: a bat and ball… a bucket of wet sand, apparently that’s all you need to spark a few friendships. We adults certainly have a lot to learn, or unlearn perhaps.)

 

The two little girls planted themselves not far from my chair and began to dig, chatting as they worked side by side: How old are you? Do you have a cat? How many teeth have you lost? Important stuff like that.

“My mom had a baby.” I heard Ava say as she flung a shovel full of sand into the air.

“Oh,” said my daughter, pouring a bucket of seawater into a hole.

“She’s my sister. Her name is Sophie. See?”

 

Ava pointed a few seats down to a woman sitting under a large umbrella with a baby sling wrapped protectively around her body.

 

“Do you remember being a baby?” Ava asked.

 

Eliza shook her head.

 

“Me neither,” said Ava, diligently digging. “But my mom said I was sweet.” She laughed, “She said that she ate a lot of sweets when I was growing in her tummy that’s why I came out so sweet. She’s so silly! What did you mom eat when you were in her tummy?”

 

I glanced up from my book, curious to hear my daughter’s reply.

 

Eliza shrugged, “I don’t know…Maybe mac and cheese?”

Both girls giggled.

 

The girls worked on, decorating their structure with broken shells and gathering some unsuspecting hermit crabs (excuse me, I mean mermaids) to occupy their castle but soon the tide began to creep in, the water splashing at the walls of sand until at last the mermaid castle crumbled. The girls shrieked as the shells swirled about on the beach and the freed crabs all quickly scurried away.

 

After a brief lemonade and snack break the girls recovered from their loss and happily skipped off to swim together in the ocean.

It was a good day.

 

Later that night back at the beach house after a dinner of charred hamburgers, a trip to the local ice cream shop, and an evening full of silly cartoons I laid down, exhausted, in bed next to Eliza, bits of sand scratching away at my legs and back. Blasted sand, I thought, always sneaking into the house no matter how much I insisted everyone rinse their feet with the hose, use the outdoor shower and leave their flip flops at the door. I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable.

 

Eliza rolled over, flinging her tanned arm across my chest and pushing her nose against mine.

 

“Mom,” she breathed. “What did you eat when I was in your tummy?

 

My heart dropped.

 

“On the beach,” she continued. “Ava said her mom ate a lot of sweet stuff when she was in her tummy and that’s why she’s so sweet. So… what did you eat?”

 

“Well…” I took a deep breath, giving a futile swipe at the sheets, trying to brush the irritating sand away, down, onto the floor. “You were never in my tummy remember? You grew in someone else’s tummy.”

 

“Oh, yeah…right.”

 

There was a long silence then as we lay there together in the bed listening to the soft whir of the overhead fan, little pieces of sand poking insistently at our legs, our backs. Invisible bits that never seemed to leave no matter how hard I tried to sweep them up and toss them away.

 

“Mom?”

“Yes?”

“I think you ate a lot of sweets too.”

 

I held her close.

“Me too sweetie. Me too.”

 

 

The Playground

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As the weather improves I have been frequenting the playground with my youngest daughter and every time I am there I see parents chatting away on their phones as their kids play and I think to myself, “I wish there was a No Cellphone sign here.” One of those signs hanging on the fence with a picture of a cell phone on it and a big black X through it. Perhaps just a gentle reminder to all of us to hang up and play, run around, be silly.

It seems to me that cellphones have taken over our lives!  We can’t seem to be without one for five minutes and it really is so ridiculous. I know it is hard to believe but I survived a good portion of my life without a cell phone and whats-more my parents never had a cell phone and they not only survived but they managed to raise twelve fairly normal kids! How did they do that?

Believe me, I am not lecturing, I am just as bad as the next person. If I am in my car (or on the playground) and suddenly realize I don’t have my cell phone my heart rate skyrockets. Oh no! What if someone is trying to reach me and I’m not available?! What if there’s an emergency? What if my son stubs his toe at school or my oldest forgot her homework, or my friend calls to tell me about some juicy gossip from the book club that I missed? Breathe, breathe. How far away am I ? Should I go back and get it?

Okay, seriously, how many true emergencies happen to you in one day? Or one week? Unless you’re a brain surgeon or the CEO of Google do you really need to be available at all times to everybody?

I sort of miss the days of going to the playground B.C. (before cell phones) because back then, any news, any “emergency”, any gossip would just need to wait. I simply wasn’t available. I was busy. At the playground. With my kids.

THE PLAYGROUND

You said, “Let’s go to the playground today.

We’ll spend some time together and have fun while we play.”

“Yippee!” I yelled, “I know just what we’ll do!”

And I ran to get my sweatshirt and find my left shoe.

First, we’ll swing high on the swings and go down the big slide,

then hang down from the bars and play “you search while I hide.”

“Hello? Where are you?”  You will say with a smile,

(Knowing exactly where I am, all of the while).

Then we’ll look up at the clouds and see funny things,

like a rabbit with pajamas and a bear that can sing.

We’ll dig holes in the sandbox and pour sand in the trucks,

then walk down to the pond and feed bread to the ducks.

But when we got to the park I knew it wasn’t to be,

because the first thing you did… was sit under the tree.

“Go and play.”  You said, “I’ll just make one quick call.

It won’t take but a moment, really, no time at all.”

So, I tried a few cartwheels and a front forward roll

went to the sandbox and dug a huge hole.

I called, “Look at this!” to you as you sat,

but you just turned away, caught up in your chat.

You sat over there yakking away on your phone

leaving me to play, by myself… all-alone.

So, I glanced up to the sky but saw nothing there,

no silly cloud animals, just blank, empty air.

I climbed the tall climber and tried out a new trick,

then I sat on the swing and gave a few little kicks.

And after a while you yelled, “Com’on! Time to go!”

and I walked to the car; my head down, my feet slow.

And as you buckled me in, you said, “Oh, what a great day!

I’m so glad that we came to the playground to play.

Wasn’t it fun, but, boy, it went by real fast,

I wish I could find a way to make these special days last…”

Anne Sawan 2013

When He Was Small

It must be the graduations, the birthdays, the moving-ons that are swirling around me lately…for whatever reason, I am feeling nostalgic. I look at my kids and I think, “Stop! This is all going by wwaaayy to fast!” I look at my younger ones and I want to take a picture of every, single, ridiculous little moment so I can remember it all. And I look at the older ones and think, “Where did it go?” And… “Why didn’t I put all the old photos of their ridiculous little moments into nice, neat albums like I always said I would?”

I see them all growing, getting taller, bigger, moving onward. Struggling sometimes with figuring out how to become themselves, and it is hard to watch this bumpy journey.  Hard to know that there are some things I could help them with, if only they would let me, and some things I cannot …even if they ask.

One of my children is about to enter into that magical land we call middle school, and one is just leaving (Thank God!). My mother always said that she thought fifth grade, the grade before middle school, was really the last true year of childhood and as usual, she is right. It is the last chance.  The last chance we all have just to be kids. Just silly, playful, carefree children before all the social pressures and hormones of adolescence kick in.  Before the toys and imaginations are put away to gather dust in the corner as these once happy-go-lucky youth begin to worry about things like fitting in and pimples and wayward hair. Before they all start struggling to cross over that treacherous divide, that bumpy road, that long bridge into adulthood.

I’ve noticed that the girls usually seem quite eager to cross this bridge.  They just prance on over, all excited and proud…many sadly making the journey before they are ready, a false sense of maturity driving them onward, but the boys…well I think they tend to stand in the middle, one leg boldly planted on either side jeering at old father (and mother) time, “Oh yeah! I am the king of this bridge and I dare you to try and make me cross over! Come’ on, I dare ya!” (And this type of inflated bravado never really goes away, does it…)

One of my children has a birthday this week. Another year marked on the calendar, another foot towards maturity. I wrote this piece below about him, about saying goodbye to childhood.  It’s all-true, and shhhh… if you see him around say Happy Birthday but DON’T tell him you read this! It’s too sloppy and gloppy for a man-boy who is standing with one leg firmly planted on either side of the bridge scoffing at the world, “Come-on I dare ya!”

When He Was Small…

When he was small, he would ask me to sleep with him every night.

“Please sleep with me Mom.”

And most nights I would. I would snuggle in next to him, feeling his small body pressed against mine, an arm thrown across my neck as he burrowed in so close our noses would touch, his breath minty and sweet against my cheek, his hair still damp and fresh from the bath. He would whisper his dreams and silly rhymes in my ear as the room slowly darkened, a gently stillness seeping in, his chest rising and falling in time with the soft whir of the overhead fan and all thoughts of the piles of laundry that needed to be washed, the already late bills to pay, the sticky dinner dishes that should be rinsed floated sleepily, gratefully, away as I lay with my arms around my child, both of us drifting into sweet, sweet slumber.

And some nights I wouldn’t.  On those long, hard days when I just needed some space to think, wanting some peace and solitude to collect my thoughts and mull over the day. Those nights when I all I could dream about was a soft chair, a cup of hot tea and a good book, or a piece of the couch, a mindless television show and a glass of wine.

“No, not tonight. I am busy. I don’t have the time. ” I would say impatiently.

On those nights there would be tears and pleading; “Can I just have a  glass of water… maybe one more…can you turn on the light in the hall…open the door just a little…now it’s too bright…please can’t you lie down here…just a few minutes”…and then, finally, thankfully, he would fall sleep, alone.

Those days of asking are gone now.

Gone.

Funny, I remember the last time he asked.

The asking had slowed down, becoming more sporadic over the years as he grew, separating from me, as he needed to, but still, occasionally… after a scary movie, a hard day at school, a lost baseball game, he would ask… and I might.

Then came the dark, dismal, cloudy days of preteen rolled eyes, low mutterings, and out right defiance; days of arguing, yelling and talking back. He came to me after one of those long days; one of those days that left me still seething hours later from his insolence, the bitter taste of disrespect rolling around my mouth, the heavy buzz of his surliness ringing in my ears.

“Can you lie down with me for a few minutes?” He mumbled, his eyes shifting first to the window, then to the ceiling and down to the floor.

“What!” Anger boiled, bubbling and popping inside my chest. I was too annoyed to care that this humble asking was his best apology. To angry to see that this might be the time he needed me the most. I snapped and snarled,  “No! I’m busy! I don’t have the time for that! Go to bed!” dismissing him with a dark glare and a wave of my arm.

He shuffled out, shoulders slumped and I sat, by myself, pretending to look at my book.

Minutes went by. The clock on the wall steadily ticking out the beat of time… passing… I heard him turning in his bed, but… he never called out. Never asked for water or a nightlight.  Never pleaded for me to open the door just a crack … and the dull space that had started in my head slowly wormed its way down to my heart and landed with a heavy thud in my stomach. The silence of the night surrounded me, and in the quiet, sliding through the anger, I heard a soft whisper.

Not much more time.

I put down my book, shut my eyes and listened to the gentle hum, the quiet warning.

Not much more time.

And alone, in the darkness, I remembered.  I remembered the little boy who dragged his yellow dump truck all over the house carefully putting it next to him on his pillow at night as he pulled up the covers.  The one that had me read the same dinosaur book over and over until we both could name and identify the eating habits of each creature.  The one that held tightly to my hand as we crossed the street, readily sharing his vanilla ice cream and always saving the very tip of the sugar cone for me. The one that showed me the joy of finding worms in the rain and how to collect baseball cards and tried to teach me to like roller coasters.  The one that snuggled next to me, his chubby hands on either side of my face as he whispered about what he wanted to be when he grew up; a baseball player, a rock star, a paleontologist, a dad.

Not much more time.

I walked across the hallway, over the dimly lit space that separated us, and stood near him.

“Hey,” I whispered. “Move over.”

I climbed in next to his awkward almost adolescent body, the faint smell of sweat surrounding him but…this time…there was no hand thrown across my neck, no noses pushed together or silly whispers in my ear, instead he moved away, turning to the wall… and we slept in uneasy silence, our backs pressed together.

And that was the last time. The last time he was small ….and the last time he asked….

Man “Adopts” Girlfriend….argh!!

Wealthy Florida businessman “adopts” his long time girl friend….

Have you seen this news headline? I did, and I was horrified and disgusted and outraged (and many other adjectives!)! So I read further…it gets worse.  Apparently this extremely wealthy forty-eight year old Florida man (John Goodman) who was (allegedly) drunk, ran a stop sign, and plowed his car into a car driven by Scott Wilson, 23. Scott’s car was then pushed into a ravine and Mr. John Goodman drove away leaving this injured young man to slowly die; drowning, alone, hurt, and trapped, for over an hour.  Now, in order to save his many, many assets, John Goodman has “adopted” his forty two year old girlfriend (Heather Laruso). This adoption makes her one of his legal “children” and because she is over thirty-five, gives her the right to immediately access his money, for his use of course.

I am not a lawyer. I have no legal training what so ever, but I am a parent, a psychologist and most importantly a person with a heart (and I’d like to think a bit of a brain), and I find this whole legal maneuver pathetic and outrageous. What type of law (state, country) allows a forty eight year old man to “adopt” a forty two year old woman for his own personal gain?  What type of message does this “adoption” of John Goodman’s girlfriend send to our children and to the larger world of people out there that are not personally involved in adoption?

Adoption is not a joke or a game. It’s not some convenient legal maneuver to be thrown around. It certainly isn’t intended to be a way to salvage the material goods of people such as John Goodman and Heather Laruso.

So, what does the word adoption mean?

Adoption is about children and families, period.

You know that deep, bottomless, mysterious love you have for your child? The one that no words can touch, that you really can’t explain but you feel tingling through your core as you watch them try for a big swing in the baseball game, or sing loudly and very out of tune in the choir, or when you kiss the tippy top of their forehead and breathe in that sweet baby scent that never leaves? Well it’s the same love for those parents whose children happen to be adopted.

Words matter, they count.  The words we choose and how we use them define us as a people. They shape our beliefs, our culture and our country.  We can’t deny that what we say influences how we think and what we believe in.

Just ask people with disabilities, the gay community, minorities’ or kids on a playground…words matter.

And the word adoption matters. Adoption is love, it’s important.  (Please don’t tell me this man might love his girlfriend, I don’t belive it. He loves himself, and his money).  Adoption matters too much to let some idiot like this guy abuse it for his own personal gain, and when I see this word, this word with such a significant, out-of-this-world, magical, mystical meaning, being thrown around, mistreated and ridiculed by someone like John Goodman I am sickened.

Oh and Heather Laruso, woman up!  You’re his “child” now; you have a right to his money?  Take all that man’s money, donate it to the adoption organization of your choice and then get out.

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Why I wish I could be four again…

When I was little I had many, many great teachers (and a few not so great ones). My first grade teacher, Mrs. Caruso was one of the greats. This woman was loving, caring and generous.  I could hardly wait to go to school and sit at my desk, pencil in hand, heart pounding, wondering what new thing she would teach us, what new contest she would invent. The reading contest is still one of my favorite memories. For every book we read our parents would fill out a flower petal to add to our paper flower at school.  Soon a colorful, construction paper flower garden was springing up all around the classroom. At the end of the year Mrs. Caruso laid out a table full of treasures (little did I know that the treats was actually toys she had purchased with her own money at various garage sales). The person with the most flower petals got to go up to the table and choose their toy first, followed by the second, the third etc. What a great day that was!

Mrs. Caruso would also occasionally call me up to her desk, quietly winking and slipping me a note. Inside the note it would say, “Tell your mom I am going to buy you hot lunch tomorrow.”  Now maybe to you this is not a big deal but to me, the fifth child in a family of twelve children, (well at that time there may have been only eight or nine of us) hot lunch was for rich kids. Oh, to be able to buy chicken and French fries, and sit at the hot lunch table! (Yes, back then there was the cold lunch table and the hot lunch table. Classism at its best!) Mrs. Caruso would also occasionally ask me to stay after school, and then give me a ride home, bags of toys and clothes stuffed in the back seat for us. She would invite my family, all of us, over to her house in the summer, where we would drink lemonade, stare at her white sofa and wonder at her koi fish in the back yard.  Mrs. Caruso clearly knew that my family was struggling, that there were a lot of kids and maybe not always enough money for the extras that everyone else around us seemed to have. She went out of her way to make me feel special and smart, praising me, telling me what a great reader I was, how creative my stories were. I didn’t always feel smart, certainly not in third grade and not through all of junior high, but in first grade, I was smart, and loved. I loved her.

Years later my mother told me that Mrs. Caruso started off every parent teacher conference with lots of sweetness, something like, “I love so and so. She is a wonderful child! So smart, so clever.  She really gives everything her all…etc.” Then after filling you up with honey, she would slip in one or two things your child could work on, “…however her desk is very untidy. She seems a little disorganized.  Math is difficult for her.”

Now a parent myself I realize how effective this technique is. I have recently had my own parent-teacher conferences and when the teacher starts off with. “ He is so funny, happy, eager, etc.”  I am so much more willing and able to hear the “but” that comes next.  Fill me up. Let me know that you like my child, that you appreciate them, then slip in your “however…” We all worry, we all know our children struggle with something, but we all want them to be loved, appreciated, and cared for.

Here is a little piece I wrote the other day as I watched my four-year dance, sing and play.  This is her last year before kindergarten…before it all starts. When I was deciding whether to send her onto school this year or not, (she is a late August baby, which would make her a full year younger than many of her classmates) her preschool teacher wisely said, “Why rush? Why not give her another year of childhood?”

I thought, she’s right. Wouldn’t we all love another year of childhood?  How great it would be to be four again and not worry about playground politics or math tests. How great to be able to read a book you want to read when you want to read it. To draw a picture and hang it up, proud of your work, not worrying that an art teacher is going to critique it or assign a grade to your masterpiece. To play baseball in the backyard for fun, not worrying about strikes or homeruns. How awesome to not be judged, because the real judging will come soon enough.

Why I wish I could be four again…

You can wear a two-piece on the beach and not worry about your tummy sticking out because the more it sticks out the cuter it is.

You can tell someone you love them, whenever you feel like it.

You can hug anyone. Anywhere. Anytime.

You can take long, warm bubble baths on a nightly basis.

You can fill your bed with stuffed animals.

You can laugh, skip and sing all the way down the street and no one thinks you are crazy.

You fall and get up, fall and get up, fall and get up, fall and get up….

When you fall, someone hugs you and wipes away your tears.

You can wear blue polka pants, a rainbow striped, sparkly shirt and purple cowboy boots and still look cute.

You can look at yourself in the mirror and loudly announce, “I am beautiful.”

You can order a hamburger, french fries and wash it all down wash it down with a coke without worrying about the calories.

You can spend hours playing with your best friend, your shadow.

You can wear a ballet tutu to Target in the middle of a snowstorm.

You can ask a million questions like, “Where does the sun go at night?” “Why do fireflies light up?” “How far is it to China?” and no one will think you are stupid for asking.

You don’t need three cups of coffee or a double latté to wake up in the morning.

You can tell come right out and tell someone, “You are mean. You hurt my feelings.”

Everyone smiles at you.

You can proudly say, “Look what I did!” and no one thinks you are bragging, they just clap.

A chocolate chip cookie fixes everything.

You can fall asleep anywhere and someone will pick you up and carry you to bed.

No matter what you do, all is forgiven the next day.

2012: Off And Running And Writing.

2012! Wow! How did that happen? Weren’t we all supposed to die about a million times already from some sort of apocalyptic disaster? I think there is one happening this year as well.  So this might just be it, the real end.  Better go live your dreams, make your wishes come true; eat that chocolate cake before we all explode into a million microbes.

I had a great 2011. I felt like I made some strides in my writing, and want to thank you all very every much for your votes in the various contests I entered. I truly appreciated all the support and encouragement.

These writing contests remind me of the races I subject myself to every few months.  I run and run and run, maybe limping a bit a long the way, then come home proudly clutching the medal that shows I did in fact pay the entry fee for the race and my kids jump around, asking, “So, did you win?” To which I inevitably reply something like, “No, but I was the 200th runner over the line!”  They stare at me, sadly shaking their heads and place a sympathetic hand on my shoulder saying, “That’s okay Mom.” Or, more likely,  “Wow, you stink.”

Look, I know going into these races I am not going to win but I love them. I am hooked. They challenge me, give me something to put my energy into and inspire me.  I see the true athletes out there and I am in awe. These people are good! They train year round, living and breathing this stuff. Me…not so much.  In many ways these races are a lot like the writing contests.  They provide me with a goal, urging me on, daring me to learn from my mistakes and to strive to become perhaps a just a little bit better.  Afterwards when I read over my material, see my glaring errors and then read other peoples entries and see their genius I think: That’s it!  I am done, no more writing for me… then I get just a sliver of good news.  Just enough to keep me going…like two great things that happened this past week.

One, I received news from Adoptive Families Magazine that my book, The Very Best Day, was the most read printable article of 2011. That felt great! (Not exactly sure what it means.  Aren’t they all printable?  But hey, take what you can!) Now I just need a publisher…

And, two, my book A is for Adoption was published last week in the January 2012 issue of Adoption Today. So all and all, a good end to 2011 and off to a running start in 2012.

I am placing a link to Adoption Today below, but I know some people have had trouble accessing it, so I will include a copy of A is for Adoption as well.

Now here is a quick disclaimer about the book. The book is narrated by a girl named Anna, which some people, including my own children, found a bit confusing given the makeup of my family (my oldest is named Anna).

Teddy: “Wait! Anna is adopted too?”

“No, Anna is not adopted. Eliza is adopted.”

Harry: “You never told us Anna is adopted!”

“Because she’s not.”

Teddy: “Am I adopted too?”

“No!”

Eliza (crying) “Wahh! I want to be adopted like Anna.

“You ARE adopted. Anna is NOT Adopted.”

Teddy: “Are you sure I’m not adopted?”

Challenges!

I hope you all have a good, healthy, and happy New Year.

http://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=95083&p=38

A Is For Adoption

A is for Anna, that’s me! What’s you name? When you see the first letter of your name in this book shout it out!  A is also for adoption. I’m adopted, are you? Adopted means your birth parents couldn’t care for you and your parents really, really wanted you so they made you a part of their family, forever.  Some people are adopted when they are babies and some when they are older. Some kids are in foster care first, and some aren’t.  How were you adopted? What’s your story?

B is for birthday.  I have a birthday party every year to celebrate the day I was born.  This year I want a chocolate cake with rainbow sprinkles and a HUGE piñata. B is also for birth parents, the man and woman that made you but couldn’t raise you. B is also for brother. I have three. They like to wrestle, look for worms and play baseball.  Sometimes they let me play with them, sometimes they don’t. Do you have any brothers? Do they live with you? Do they look for worms?

C is for cookie.  Everyone knows that!  C is also for caseworker, some people call them adoption workers or social workers.  A caseworker is the person who watches over kids before they are adopted and makes sure they get to the right family.

D is for Daddy. I love my dad. He takes me on bike rides, and buys me ice cream.  I also have a birth dad. I never met mine. Do you have a dad? What do you guys like to do together? Do you know your birth dad?

E is for eternity. Eternity means forever and ever, which is how long I am going to be a part of my family.

F is for Family.  My family has a mom and a dad and three brothers and a sister and two dogs and a turtle and some fish.  My friend Lizzy has two dads, one brother and a cat and Jay has a grandma and that’s it.  All families are different.  What is your family like?

G is for Gecko, which are the only lizards that make noise. They live where is it warm. They have nothing to do with adoption, unless… are you from a warm place? Did they have geckos there? I hope I get one for my birthday. That would be cool!

H is for Happiness.  Happiness is love, fun, friends and families…. oh, and Disney World, of course!

I is for I love you. That’s it.

J is for jumping, juggling and jogging.  J is a fun letter! J is also for Judge. A judge needs to say it is okay for your parents to adopt you. I had to go with my family to a judge when I was a baby. I saw a picture of us all in our dress up clothes.  The judge wore a black robe and was holding this hammer thing called a gavel. Everyone was smiling.  Some kids go to the court when they are older.  Do you remember going to see the judge?

K is for knowledge.  That’s a big word that means to know or learn stuff, like who you are, where you are from, what your adoption story is.

L is for life and learning and love.  My birth mom and birth dad gave me life, so I could breathe and eat and swim and run, so they are really special.  Learning is important because you need to learn about who you are, where you came from, and then there is learning in school like how to read and do math. Love is the best.  I love my mom and my dad and my brothers and sisters and friends and pets and teachers and cousins and grandparents and…whew! That’s a lot of love!

M is for Mom.  I love my mom; she plays with me and likes to read to me.  What do you like to do with your mom? I know there is another person out there who is my birth mom, but I didn’t know her. I am glad she had me though, or I wouldn’t be here! Do you know your birth mom?

N is for Naked mole rats. They are small rodents who live in underground colonies in Africa. They have large teeth that stick out that they use to dig. They have very little hair and have wrinkled pink or yellowish skin. They are really funny looking and have absolutely nothing to do with adoption, unless…are you from Africa? Maybe you have seen one?

O is for open.  Open means you can talk about anything and not be scared or embarrassed to ask questions about adoption.  Your parents might not always know the answer, but they will try to figure it out for you.  Open also means something you forgot to shut, like the refrigerator door and then your mom will yell, “Who left the door open!”

P is for parents.  I have two, a mom and a dad. How about you? Parents get to make the rules like say what you can eat and where you can go, and tell you to do your homework, and stuff like that.

Q is questions. I have a lot! Like who were my birth parents? Why couldn’t they keep me? What did they look like? Where are they now? Why did the dinosaurs become extinct? How do fireflies light up like that? Do you have questions?

R is for rainbow.  Rainbows are cool and have so many different colors, just like people.  Some families look like rainbows because there can be all kinds of colors in one family: brown hair, red hair, blue eyes, green eyes, brown skin, tan skin, light skin with freckles.  If you line up your family maybe you can make your own people rainbow.

S is for super, stupendous and special!  I am all those things, super, stupendous and special, oh and my mom says I am silly. S is also for sister. I have one older sister.  She likes to play softball, swim and shop for clothes.  Do you have any sisters?  Mine is awesome, even though she doesn’t like me touching her stuff.

T is for together. Adoption is about being together as a family.

U is for Ultrasaurus which was a huge, long-necked dinosaur.  Their bones have been discovered in both South Korea and the United States.  They don’t really have anything  to do with adoption either, well unless you are maybe from South Korea or the United States. Are you?  Wouldn’t you love to ride on an Ultrasaurus!

V is for valuable.  Valuable means something that is desired or wished for or important.  My parents say all kids are valuable.

W is for wish.  My parents had a wish and it was me! I have a wish, to go to Africa and see a naked mole rat in action.

X is for Xenops, which are birds that live in South America and again have nothing to do with adoption, unless you are from South America, then, I suppose it could have to do with your adoption story.  Are you from South America?

Y is for yes! Yes I am adopted! Yes I love my family! Yes I am valuable! Yes I was wished for! Yes I have questions! Yes I want to see a naked mole rat!

Z is for zillion. I have a zillion more places to go, things to do and questions to ask.  Oh, yes, and I love my family a zillion times through.

Anne Cavanaugh-Sawan, 2012