November is National Adoption Month. Our Expert Mommy and Adoption Coach, Sherrie Eldridge shares her thoughts on celebrating this month!
SLAM! OWEEEEE! GRANDMA! GRANDMAAAAA!
Dropping everything and running to the second story of her home, Leah Cook lifted the old-fashioned wooden-framed window that was pinning her seven-year-old granddaughter’s fingers to the sliver-filled sill.
“Now, now,” Leah whispered as she swooped up her granddaughter into her bountiful arms, rocking and nestling her granddaughter until the sobbing stopped. Leah’s granddaughter had no idea of the eternal impact those arms that were holding her had on so many families. She didn’t know that Grandma’s house was really an orphanage, The Clinton County Children’s Home, where abused and abandoned kids found unconditional love, and safety. She didn’t know that her buddies who ate Wonder Bread with margarine and sugar sprinkles were really orphans. She didn’t know that Leah worked with county physicians, attorneys, judges, birth mothers, and parents wanting to adopt. She didn’t understand that the same grandma whose obituary would someday call her “the mother of many” was the mother of her dad and mom, Retha and Mike Cook.
To the little girl, now grown and a grandma herself, Leah was an angel in disguise, sent to give me, Sherrie Eldridge, a home, a name, and loving parents, when I myself was an orphan. How I wish I could see Grandma one more time, but guess I’ll have to wait for the Day when she’ll hold me and I’ll tell her how I loved her old fashioned calico aprons and fresh sliced carrots, sprinkled with pepper. I can’t wait to show her Forever Fingerprints…An Amazing Story for Adopted Children, inspired by her kisses on my hurting, little-girl hands years ago. Illustrator, Rob Williams, painted Lucie’s hands in front of a soft pink background, with bubble-like hearts floating upward. No wonder that page is one of my favorites!
A few days ago, when our family had dinner, our youngest daughter, Chrissie, brought out the book and announced its arrival, like a birth announcement. At the end of the book is a page that helps you identify what type of fingerprint you have. I was distressed because there were two large lines going through mine, which Michael, our son-in-law kindly explained, tongue in cheek, were wrinkles. Through this family experience, I began to see that it’s not just a book and project for kids and parents, but a family project.
A FEW WAYS TO USE THE BOOK TO CELEBRATE YOUR FAMILY:
- National Adoption Day Reading: Any adopted person or a person that has or is experiencing foster care is invited by EMK Publishing to read Forever Fingerprints aloud. Where? Anywhere anyone will listen! Book stores, libraries, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, the steps of your capitol, synagogues, churches, schools, tea rooms…you name it.
- Life Book Resource. See the EMK Website for connections to Life Book authors that are incorporating this. Make a forever fingerprint sheet each year for your child.
- Sibling Activity. For those with both biological and adopted kids, the sibling rivalry may get a little strong from time to time. How about having all the kids participate together in making a fingerprint sheet. Take a picture. This photo of our granddaughters will spur you on. I said to nine-year old, Ellie, while photographing this shoot, “Now smile like you’re happy everything about adoption!” Her response, “Yeah…sometimes.” We’ll record that remark and do another next year to see HER growth. It’s not just about adopted kids!
- Springboard for Talking about Adoption. Want to get your kids talking? Start reading and you may be surprised at the ensuing conversations.
- Teacher Resource. Adoption is a delicate topic in the school room. How about using this as a means of explaining adoption to your students?
- Therapist Tool. Not only reading the story, but engaging kids (even adult kids like me) in a forever fingerprint activity can be a tool for healing and growth.
Free craft sheets are available here.
by Expert Mommy, Sherrie Eldridge